To truly alleviate poverty, we need change, not charity
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Overtoun Avenue, Dumbarton.