Members appointed to the Poverty and Inequality Commission

The new Poverty and Inequality Commission has been established as an advisory non-departmental public body from 1 July 2019. We are pleased to announce that the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell, has appointed seven members to the Commission for a three year period. An eighth member will be appointed later this year. They are:

Linda Bamford’s early career was with NHS Scotland, initially as a psychiatric and general nurse before moving into para medicine with the Scottish Ambulance Service.  Ms Bamford took early medical retirement after surgery for a spinal cord injury and during her rehabilitation she became involved in Children’s Hearings Scotland as a Panel member and Panel Practice Advisor.  Ms Bamford also took up opportunities with the Open University and on-line learning to expand her knowledge mainly in Child Development and Psychology, the Children’s Scotland Act – Criminal Justice and Corrections, Disability and Equality Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  In 2016, Ms Bamford was appointed by Scottish Ministers as the Convener of the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS).  She has also worked with Scope on the research elements of Disability Price Tag.

Yvonne Blake is a lifelong social justice anti-poverty campaigner. Her campaigning is embedded in the empowerment of migrant community to recognise and effectively challenge oppressive structures and behaviours individually and collectively.  She is the co-founder of Roots to Return, a member of the Unity centre where she is responsible for day to day running of the centre, strategic development, volunteer recruitment and training and retention, and co-founder of Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment.

Alex Cobham is Chief Executive of the Tax Justice Network, the leading international organisation dedicated to ending global damage caused by tax havens and corporate tax abuse.  He is a development economist, having worked on inequality and tax at Oxford University and the Centre for Global Development, and leading the policy research teams at Christian Aid and Save the Children.  Mr Cobham has published widely in academic journals, and forthcoming books; The Uncounted and on Illicit Financial Flows.  He is the co-creator of the widely used income inequality measure, the Palma ratio.

Lindsay Graham is a former community nurse and local government officer from the Highlands.  She has direct knowledge and understanding of supporting access to services for vulnerable groups.  At a national level, she chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on School Foods ‘Holiday Hunger Task Group’, developing guidance and training on the issue.  Ms Graham is also founder of two children’s charities for families affected by disability and is an advocate of their rights.  She has an interest in tackling food insecurity causes and consequences and rural poverty.  A Churchill Fellow, she is a member on the Scotland Committee of National Lottery Community Fund and Trustee for the charity Dundee Bairns.

Shona Stephen is currently the Chief Executive of Queens Cross Housing Association with over 4,300 tenancies, 2,500 factored owners and 220 staff.  She was previously a senior Civil Servant in the Housing and Regeneration Directorate within Scottish Government where she advised Ministers on policy areas including homelessness, fuel poverty, older people’s housing and housing support.  Previously Ms Stephen was Director for The Prince’s Trust in Scotland and spent 11 years as a development officer working for a range of Housing Associations in Easterhouse, latterly as Director of Lochfield Park Housing Co-operative.

Professor Morag Treanor is Professor of Child and Family Inequalities at Heriot-Watt University.  Her focus is on child and family poverty and she has conducted research in this field for close to 20 years.  She analyses strategic and other data to inform policy and practice in relation to child and family inequalities.  Professor Treanor is a Member of the Advisory Board for the Child Poverty Action Group.

Douglas White is Head of Advocacy at the Carnegie UK Trust, a charitable foundation that aims to improve people’s wellbeing with a particular focus on communities experiencing disadvantage.  He leads the Trust’s Digital Futures and Fulfilling work programmes, overseeing a range of research, policy and practice projects with a strong focus on tackling poverty.  Mr White is Vice-Chair of Shelter Scotland and worked previously as a consumer rights advocate and as a social researcher, working with people and communities across Scotland.

 Commission Chair Bill Scott said:

“I’m delighted to welcome the new members to the Poverty and Inequality Commission. Each of them brings a unique combination of experience and skills to the Commission which will be essential to the Commission’s role in advising Scottish Ministers, monitoring progress and promoting the reduction of poverty and inequality in Scotland. We are looking forward to working alongside Scottish Government, local authorities, the NHS, the third sector and businesses to achieve the shared goal of reducing poverty in Scotland. Only when the evil of poverty has been eliminated will all of Scotland’s citizens be able to achieve the wellbeing and happiness that is their right”


A new statutory Poverty and Inequality Commission was established from 1 July 2019. It is an advisory non-departmental public body which will provide independent advice and scrutiny to Scottish Ministers on poverty and inequality. This replaces the previous non-statutory Poverty and Inequality Commission which came to an end on 30 June 2019.

The Child Poverty (Scotland) Act 2017 sets out specific requirements for the Commission in relation to child poverty, while The Public Services Reform (Poverty and Inequality Commission) (Scotland) Order 2018 widens the Commission’s remit to cover:

  • Advising Scottish Ministers on any matter relating to poverty or inequality in Scotland, including the impact of polices and the use of resources in reducing poverty and inequality
  • Monitoring progress in reducing poverty and inequality in Scotland
  • Promoting the reduction of poverty and inequality in Scotland


Subscribe to our newsletter for updates