DCSIMG

Poor solution

Nobody with any sense would say poverty in Scotland will be solved by keeping our money and not giving it to England, and Brian Wilson (Perspective, 20 February) harms his own case by pretending such is the typical Nationalist view.

Although who the gets most from the pork barrel of UK politics is a legitimate question for debate, it’s clear neither the poor of England nor of Scotland are the main beneficiaries.

Poverty and inequality are ­political problems. In the UK, the powers required to alleviate poverty and reduce inequality are mainly in the hands of the Westminster government.

The UK is the second most unequal country in the European Union and one of the most unequal in the developed world and poverty here has steadily increased over the past 40 years.

That is so because of the government’s political decisions.

In the UK, England usually gets the government it votes for, while the Scots tend to get the same government, whether we vote for it or not, and generally we don’t. In the past 40 years we have spent more time under Conservative-led governments we didn’t vote for than under governments we did vote for.

When we voted Labour, and the party got elected, it was ­sufficiently timid about voter ­reaction in marginal, mainly English seats that it did not make inroads into the increasing inequality in the UK.

Brian Wilson should know this, since he was a government minister with responsibilities for tackling poverty.

Perhaps his criticisms of the Scottish Government’s sometimes ill-focused policies are ­justified to some extent.

But is he seriously suggesting that there is a chance of reversing the increase in poverty in a UK context? The evidence suggests the opposite. It is not inevitable that an independent Scotland will succeed in alleviating poverty, but there does seem at least to be a will to achieve this, a willingness lacking at the UK level. Maybe if we can take our own decisions, we can lead other countries by example.

Robert Seaton

Bedford Court

Edinburgh

 
 
 

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