Independent Scotland can beat poverty

In his letter titled “Focus on poverty” (16 May), Labour councillor Alex Gallagher ­attempts to advance the myth that those who support independence do so at the ­expense of confronting ­poverty in Scotland.

It is a dishonest assertion put forward by left-wing ­Unionists becoming increasingly isolated in a right-wing No campaign and in need of an issue with which they feel comfortable.

However, history reveals that the Union has in fact exacerbated poverty in ­Scotland. Prior to devolution, a staggering one in three Scottish children lived in households whose incomes were so low they were considered to be in poverty.

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It was a direct result of Scotland being a peripheral economy of a London-centric UK government, with resultant low economic growth.

Indeed, Scotland was the only country on the planet whose population fell between the Second World War and the millennium as ­millions had to leave to ­escape poverty.

Devolution has shown that, by taking decisions in ­Scotland, with Scotland’s interests paramount, poverty can be reduced here.

For instance, under the current administration, child poverty fell to 20 per cent (though this is still up to ten times the level of our near neighbours).

However, the retention of economic power at Westminster coupled with the UK’s increasing economic weakness has seen progress stalled with the constant threat of it being reversed at the stroke of a Whitehall pen.

A No vote in 2014 will not see the fight against poverty return to centre stage as it has never left it.

What it would do is 
ensure that UK economic ­expediency remains a dagger against its heart.

Independence is not a 
distraction from that fight.

It is the means of progressing it by using Scotland’s stronger fiscal position to create the prosperous and socially just society the Union has failed to deliver in more than 300 years.

Stuart Allan