To truly al­le­vi­ate poverty, we need change, not char­ity

The Herald - - OPINION -

SIR Tom Hunter is to be heartily con­grat­u­lated for again dis­play­ing his gen­eros­ity by do­nat­ing £7.5 mil­lion to­wards mit­i­gat­ing the ef­fects of poverty (“Scots ty­coon’s rad­i­cal bid to end scourge of child poverty”, The Her­ald, March 30). It’s a shame, how­ever, that our af­flu­ent so­ci­ety is de­lib­er­ately con­structed in a way that en­ables a few in­di­vid­u­als to amass more than they need or could ever spend whilst oth­ers live in poverty. Change is ac­tu­ally what is needed, not char­ity. David J Craw­ford,

1300 Great Western Road, Glas­gow.

THE Scot­tish Na­tional Party/green al­liance has long de­clared that clos­ing the at­tain­ment gap and end­ing child poverty is one of its core aims. Another core aim is to tax the “broad­est shoul­ders” and, as a di­rect con­se­quence, de­stroy the in­cen­tive to do bet­ter. Is it not there­fore rather ironic that pri­vate en­ter­prise has had to step in to fix the in­abil­ity of the Snp/greens to achieve what they set out to do?

Sir Tom Hunter may not want to as­cribe blame for the need for this fi­nan­cial in­ter­ven­tion but it points rather ob­vi­ously to a fail­ure of the Gov­ern­ment’s own child poverty ef­forts and also high­lights the dan­gers to the poor­est in so­ci­ety of tax­ing free en­ter­prise out of ex­is­tence.

Will the SNP heed this wake-up call and will the Greens shelve their ru­inous tax-rais­ing ideas? Scot­land will suf­fer even more if does not.

Dr Ger­ald Ed­wards,

Broom Road, Glas­gow.

WE wel­come the recog­ni­tion and in­clu­sion of out of school and hol­i­day child­care in the launch of the first child poverty de­liv­ery plan un­der the Child Poverty Act (Scot­land). It has mea­sures to sup­port parental em­ploy­ment and im­prove chil­dren’s in­clu­sion with the po­ten­tial ex­ten­sion, or low­er­ing the costs for their fam­i­lies, of the pro­vi­sion of af­ter-school and hol­i­day clubs. There is no bud­get at­tached to this tar­get yet.

Aca­demic stud­ies have demon­strated that the chil­dren who ben­e­fit the most from out of school care and ac­tiv­i­ties are those from the low­est in­come fam­i­lies, yet since out of school care and hol­i­day clubs are not statu­tory, or funded, they are of­ten not ac­ces­si­ble to low-in­come fam­i­lies (if not in paid work or able to ac­cess child­care tax cred­its). The Scot­tish Out of School Care Net­work is work­ing closely with the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to as­sist in the pro­duc­tion of a strate­gic plan in 2018 for out of school and hol­i­day child­care. We hope to see gen­uine strate­gic lead­er­ship and in­vest­ment in cur­rent and ex­panded ser­vices which en­sure low in­come chil­dren know that they mat­ter.

Low in­come chil­dren should be able to ac­cess a range of play, care and learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, de­liv­ered by pro­fes­sional staff, so vi­tal to their care and devel­op­ment. There are cur­rently more than

1,000 out of school care ser­vices and more than 600 each of hol­i­day clubs and break­fast clubs. We should be care­ful to ex­tend and sup­port this ex­ist­ing pro­vi­sion to in­clude more chil­dren from low in­come fam­i­lies seam­lessly, us­ing the ex­per­tise al­ready in place for many years, and avoid a plethora of short-term funded clubs “just for low in­come chil­dren” which could be stig­ma­tis­ing and un­sta­ble in terms of on­go­ing sus­tain­abil­ity.

Out of school care was started in the 1980s in Scot­land pre­cisely to ad­dress the needs of low in­come fam­i­lies in ar­eas of dis­ad­van­tage; we have never lost that core pur­pose and are pleased to see this is recog­nised in the ac­tion plan.

Irene Au­dain,

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Scot­tish Out of School Care Net­work,

100 Welling­ton Street, Glas­gow.

I READ two, ap­par­ently un­con­nected, ar­ti­cles in to­day’s Her­ald: Tom Gor­don cov­er­ing First Min­is­ter’s Ques­tions (“David­son: Stop mak­ing Brexit an ex­cuse for poor Scot­tish econ­omy”, The Her­ald, March 30) and Ali­son Rowat’s re­view of 50 years of Re­port­ing Scot­land (“Look back at 50 years of re­ports on Scot­land”, The Her­ald, March 30).

Ruth David­son at FMQS led on Scot­land’s poor eco­nomic growth vis-à-vis the UK. If she had watched Re­port­ing Scot­land over the whole of its life span, she would have known low eco­nomic growth for on­shore Scot­land (com­pared to Eng­land/uk) was no new event, but has been ev­i­dent for more than a cen­tury. “If Eng­land catches cold, Scot­land gets pneu­mo­nia” was the sound­track to all these Re­port­ing Scot­land tales of eco­nomic woe.

Scot­land has few us­able fis­cal pow­ers to af­fect growth in the econ­omy, but Holy­rood seems bet­ter placed to af­fect Scot­tish growth than West­min­ster, no mat­ter who con­trols ei­ther.

Theresa May de­nies a “power grab”, even as she plans to take con­trol over the most im­por­tant of the repa­tri­ated EU “re­spon­si­bil­i­ties over de­volved ar­eas”. De­volved is the clue here. Send for Her­cule Poirot ... Oh, he is one of that Brus­sels lot – that won’t do.

GR Weir,

17 Mill Steet, Ochiltree. AC­CORD­ING to the Fraser of Al­lan­der In­sti­tute, Scot­land’s econ­omy only grew by a miserly 0.6 per cent in the last year ow­ing to the “clut­ter” of strate­gies pro­duced by the SNP Gov­ern­ment mak­ing things dif­fi­cult for Scot­tish busi­nesses and in­dus­try to flour­ish (“Eco­nomic fo­cus ‘lost’”, The Her­ald, March 28).

There seems to be an alarm­ing anti-busi­ness strat­egy emerg­ing from Holy­rood of il­lus­trat­ing how bad things are in Scot­land to make the prospect of in­de­pen­dence seem more at­trac­tive.

The Scot­tish elec­torate will not be mis­led in the mat­ter as the polls con­tinue to show in­de­pen­dence is not ac­cept­able as a way for­ward for Scot­land’s fu­ture.

Den­nis Forbes Grat­tan, 3 Mugiemoss Road, Aberdeen.

● Have your say:

The Ed­i­tor, The Her­ald, 200 Ren­field Street, Glas­gow G2 3QB; e-mail: let­ters@the­herald.co.uk

THE hos­tile take-over of GKN by Mel­rose as­set man­age­ment (“Mel­rose wins bat­tle for GKN”, Her­ald Busi­ness, March 29) smacks of pan­der­ing to the greed of in­vestors. It says “I will buy your com­pany, split it up and sell it off. I will earn £40 mil­lion this year as will some of fel­low as­set-strip­pers and I will not give a toss about things like hu­man be­ings, work­ers’ rights or ethics. I will make all the right noises to MPS who will pre­tend to be con­cerned about yet another dis­as­ter but will do noth­ing.”

Wel­come to the world of the su­per-rich pan­der­ing to them­selves while chil­dren go hun­gry, the NHS strug­gles, home­less­ness rises, schools don’t get re­paired and un­bri­dled cap­i­tal­ism con­tin­ues to steal from so­ci­ety un­der the pre­text of the “free mar­ket” – that is, a sys­tem de­signed to ben­e­fit the rich and kick the or­di­nary de­cent per­son in the teeth. In­stead of lords and barons with their fab­u­lous wealth we now have the rob­ber cap­i­tal­ists.

Brian Mckenna,

Over­toun Av­enue, Dum­bar­ton.

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