We should take to the streets to protest against Uni­ver­sal Credit


The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

IT is about time peo­ple took to the streets once more to protest about the in­iq­ui­tous Uni­ver­sal Credit.

Uni­ver­sal Credit is mak­ing a mis­ery for peo­ple on ben­e­fits whether they are un­em­ployed or dis­abled the length and breadth of the Bri­tish Isles.

There are many rea­sons why it is so ap­palling. First and fore­most is the fact that poor and dis­abled peo­ple with no sav­ings have to wait be­tween four to six weeks to get any money. Given that Christ­mas is just round the corner, what a bleak fes­tive pe­riod these peo­ple face – lack of food, lack of heat­ing and lack of rent money. For peo­ple on the edge this is bad news. There is some help avail­able but many peo­ple will not be aware of what they need to do to get this help.

Once the Uni­ver­sal Credit is rolled out, money goes to the head of the house­hold to dis­trib­ute same. This is not good news for women and chil­dren, es­pe­cially if the husband has ad­di­tional prob­lems such as al­co­holism.

Then there is the ques­tion of pay­ing rent. If the pri­vate land­lord is not paid di­rect then evic­tions will in­evitably fol­low. Nor will they now be in­clined to ac­cept ten­an­cies from those on ben­e­fit. Coun­cils too will find that their bud­gets will be af­fected both by de­lays in rent pay­ment as de­faults will be higher as the rent money will no longer be au­to­mat­i­cally de­ducted for the first six months.

If these prob­lems are not enough, there is a ques­tion of ev­ery­thing be­ing done on­line. That is a ma­jor chal­lenge, es­pe­cially if peo­ple do not have a com­puter and you have to go to a li­brary to do it.This is ex­tremely chal­leng­ing.

It is time for everybody to con­demn this to­tally un­just as­sault on the poor and dis­abled. The cause of scrap­ping Uni­ver­sal Credit must be taken up by everybody in­clud­ing politi­cians, cler­ics of all faiths and trade unions. It must be con­signed to the dust­bin of his­tory.

Ed Archer,

18 Hope Street, La­nark.

THE tax rise of an av­er­age of £213 for 507,000 Scot­tish tax­pay­ers earn­ing over £43,000 per an­num is hardly a bomb­shell (“Tax rise bomb­shell for half a mil­lion un­der SNP pol­icy”, The Her­ald, Novem­ber 14). The amount is fairly in­signif­i­cant and most peo­ple in Scot­land earn­ing more than £45,000 should be able to af­ford the ex­tra £400 payable as a re­sult of the change. In­deed the tax should al­ready have been col­lected un­der PAYE tax ar­range­ments and I have not heard of any out­cry from those af­fected. As for the in­dig­na­tion ex­pressed by the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive spokesman I have to re­mind him that Ge­orge Os­borne changed the method of col­lect­ing tax on div­i­dends and as a re­sult any­one with in­vest­ment in­come in ex­cess of £5,000 will ac­tu­ally have to phys­i­cally pay over in­come tax to HMRC by Jan­uary 31 of next year, rather than have the tax treated as hav­ing been paid by tax cred­its.

Sandy Gem­mill,

40 War­ris­ton Gar­dens, Ed­in­burgh.

I WAS in­ter­ested in Mar­i­anne Tay­lor’s sug­ges­tion that the Gov­ern­ment in Holyrood should en­cour­age peo­ple to come and live in Scot­land to in­crease the num­ber of peo­ple in work to pay for our ris­ing pen­sion, health and care home costs (“David­son must put coun­try be­fore party on im­mi­gra­tion”, The Her­ald, Novem­ber 13). Per­haps she could ex­plain how her ad­vice tal­lies with the Scot­tish Na­tional Party’s plan to make Scot­land the most high­ly­taxed part of the UK.

Anne Kegg,

12 Holm­wood Av­enue, Ud­dingston.

IT’S a sad re­flec­tion in this en­light­ened age that with child poverty in­creas­ing and food banks labour­ing un­der aus­ter­ity the char­ity Shel­ter has launched an ur­gent ap­peal, as home­less­ness in Scot­land has af­fected a stag­ger­ing 28,297 house­holds. In the Scot­tish work­ing pop­u­la­tion new re­search has re­vealed that nearly one in five Scots are still earn­ing be­low the real liv­ing wage in this richly en­dowed na­tion. In stark con­trast, the £120 bil­lion lost to the UK Ex­che­quer in tax avoid­ance and eva­sion is ut­terly ob­scene.

The shock­ing rev­e­la­tions about the UK’s tax avoid­ance schemes for the rich and pow­er­ful, through off­shore bank ac­counts, none of which are ap­par­ently il­le­gal are fully com­pli­ant with this Tory gov­ern­ment. And since the ma­jor­ity of press and me­dia are owned by the UK es­tab­lish­ment the hege­mony of the cor­rupt rul­ing classes is as­sured ir­re­spec­tive of aus­ter­ity, West­min­ster sleaze, tax-avoid­ance, low wages and the rest. When it comes to tax dodg­ing on a grand scale, con­trary to Gor­don Brown’s re­cent ut­ter­ances, both Labour and Con­ser­va­tive ad­min­is­tra­tions have been com­plicit in look­ing the other way – a po­lit­i­cal sys­tem that pun­ishes hon­esty and in­no­cence and re­wards greed and avarice must not sur­vive.

As this lead­er­less mi­nor­ity Tory Gov­ern­ment dis­in­te­grates it is vi­tal that democ­racy is res­cued and a firm stance taken against moral cor­rup­tion. Since Scot­land is be­ing dragged out of Europe against the ex­press demo­cratic will of its peo­ple by a dis­as­trous Bri­tish far right Brexit ide­ol­ogy, its only log­i­cal op­tion is to vote for com­plete in­de­pen­dence, leav­ing proud Eng­land to find its own way in a post im­pe­rial world.

Grant Frazer,

Cru­achan, New­ton­more.

SNP MP Martyn Day’s in­tro­duc­tion to the West­min­ster Hall petitions de­bate on a Scot­tish in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum re­run, rather summed up the tun­nel vi­sion of the SNP’s ap­proach to democ­racy (“Sup­port against a new poll wins out”, The Her­ald, Novem­ber 14).

He and his col­leagues are de­ter­mined to ig­nore the ma­jor­ity opin­ion in Scot­land that does not want an­other ref­er­en­dum and sup­ports re­main­ing in the UK. So even though Mr Day opened the de­bate on be­half of the Petitions Com­mit­tee, he chose to com­pletely ig­nore the sup­port for the heav­ily sup­ported pro-UK pe­ti­tion and in­stead used his 25 min­utes to spin the SNP’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to only ac­cept a ref­er­en­dum re­sult, whether for Scot­land or the UK as a whole, if the SNP gets the re­sult it wants.

His des­per­ate at­tempts to try to jus­tify this po­si­tion re­quired the tor­tu­ous mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the Scot­tish el­e­ment of the UK-wide EU ref­er­en­dum re­sult to jus­tify the SNP hold­ing a sec­ond in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum if it does not get its way on Brexit. He and his col­leagues know­ingly take the Re­main votes of all those who also want to stay in the UK, and act as if the SNP has the right to speak on their be­half. The next time we get a chance to vote, those vot­ers will no doubt en­sure the SNP find out what we all think of that.

Keith How­ell,

White Moss,

West Lin­ton, Pee­b­lesshire.

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