Scotland is suffering from harsh Tory cuts
It’s hard to believe a year has passed since the Independence Referendum.
In many communities across Rutherglen, Cambuslang and Blantyre there were majorities for ‘ Yes’. However, a majority in our country were not persuaded or ready for Independence.
A lot has happened in that year. We all remember the now infamous ‘vow’ made to Scottish voters by the anti-independence campaign. They offered as close to home rule and federalism within the UK as possible. It is estimated that around 25 per cent of those that voted ‘no’ did so because of that offer. Today only nine per cent of Scots believe the ‘vow’ has been delivered, and many ‘no’ voters believe they were cheated.
What has Scotland had from the UK Government instead? Savage cuts to our budgets and an ongoing assault on our most vulnerable constituents. Unfair sanctioning of those on benefits to meet austerity targets, and reforming the housing benefit and tax credit systems to target and penalise young adults and families. Or even undermining our trade union movement by legislating to erode workers’ rights, rights hard fought over generations. The story of the last year has been one of attacks on our communities by an out of touch and distant UK Government.
However the response from the SNP and the Yes movement has been inspirational. Far from having a ‘we told you’ mentality, there’s a real determination to stand up for our communities across Scotland. The 56 SNP MPs, including our very own local MP Margaret Ferrier, is testament to that determination. I work closely with Margaret representing constituents in my capacity as an SNP MSP for Glasgow Region and am well aware of the pain that UK austerity is causing in our communities. I see too many examples in my advice surgeries in Cambuslang and Rutherglen.
Our MPs are not only making Scotland’s voice heard, but are also seeking to make common cause with any progressive voices that exist in England. We want to help not just our communities, but others right across the UK.
Making our voice heard is vital in representing communities effectively. Yet listening to local communities is something that South Lanarkshire Council seem to be singularly incapable of. Their decision to axe free school travel – albeit in April next year – is the latest part of Labour’s chaotic handling of the matter. The council will now reinstate school travel for some – those on free school meals for instance – but not for others. This will lead to some children walking unsafe routes to school and others being able to take a bus. Many parents who experience inwork poverty will not be able to pay commercial operators to take their kids to school. The tactic seems to be one of divide and rule.
The council have also got it spectacularly wrong with the extension of the Cathkin Relief Road, which received planning permission recently. It’s unneeded, unwanted and will impact dreadfully on the local environment. My view is it’s a complete waste of money and seriously calls into question the priorities of South Lanarkshire Council.
On a brighter note, the Scottish Government has just announced our Programme for Government which sets out a range of measures to take forward the Scottish Government’s commitment to making Scotland a fairer, more equal nation. Some examples include placing a duty on public authorities to report on the gender pay gap, consulting on a Social Security Bill for a new, and far fairer, system of social security in Scotland, and ensuring that kinship carers are equipped with the same level of support as foster carers.
I am particularly proud of our kinship carer commitment and I have worked with the Scottish Government since 2007 to get to this point. I promised kinship carers when I was elected that this is a cause I would champion. I’m delighted we have now delivered for kinship carers.
Standing up Bob Doris MSP