Tackle the real questions
Sir, – Regarding Thursday’s Question Time broadcast from the Scottish parliament building.
There is not much to say about Ross Thomson’s ill-informed attitude to the drug problem in Scotland.
Likewise Universal Credit, a vicious attack by the Tories on those who have the least. Most worrying of all, Universal Credit is only around 10% rolled out meaning most areas have still to experience its impact.
Highlands became the guinea pig and the effects are being felt by the unemployed, working people on low wages, self-employed people, single parent families, the vulnerable and the disabled.
Many have been stripped of their rightful support, forced to wait, sometimes months, on payments.
What happens when money is stopped? Who do you turn too?
Many will find help from Citizens Advice Bureau; (CAB is funded by the Scottish Government).
In the Highlands a staggering £24 million was reclaimed on behalf of claimants by such bodies as CAB. Others may try their representatives, in the council, MPs and MSP. Then there are those who will simply suffer in silence.
I am old enough to remember when the Tories introduced Care in the Community, when vulnerable people ended up in Sally Ann hostels, places that had neither the experienced staff or the wherewithall to look after them.
Many simply ended up sleeping in doorways, and far too many took their own lives.
The Tories have tried to portray Social Security payments as a handout, they are not, and people on benefits should not be made to feel like scroungers. Most money handed out in this way not only helps people but will go straight back into the local economy.
People on benefits don’t go globetrotting to top up their winter tan, neither do they go off on winter skiing holidays in Austria. The money is spent locally.
Since the introduction of Universal Credit, in the Highlands alone, the council has already reported an estimated £36 million loss to the local economy and they are carrying a £1.8 million in council housing debt.
Council house tenants are better placed to ride out the storm, but what happens to the people living in private accommodation that have their housing benefit stopped?
Forget Question Time for now. It’s time for meaningful discussion on the real political questions affecting Scotland.
Walter Hamilton. City Park, City Road, St Andrews.