Dunfermline Press

We could do so much more with control of our own taxes


THE announceme­nt from Humza Yousaf of an extra £300 million to reduce waiting lists is very welcome but I feel it is important to understand why we are in this position.

The BBC reported Scottish Government figures that showed that people on waiting lists for operations in Scotland numbered around 200,000 in 2012, and it is pretty clear that the increase to the current figure coincides with the period of Tory Austerity.

The Glasgow Centre for Population Health estimates that there were 335,000 excess deaths in the

UK due to Austerity, with poorer people, particular­ly women, suffering disproport­ionally more.

And, logically, if there was this increase in death rates, then clearly there would be an increase in the number of people needing operations.

No one chooses to be poor.

Some people don’t do much to help themselves but that doesn’t explain the 18 per cent of the population of Scotland that live in poverty.

No, poverty is inflicted on people by things like government policies, like the UK Government’s austerity programme.

Reaganomic­s and Thatcher’s version of this were both shown to be ineffectiv­e while the ‘trickle down’ economic policy proposed by Liz Truss in her very short time in Downing Street were just a rehash of the same failed policy.

Of course it was excellent at putting money into the pockets of the rich people who back the Tory party, but it does nothing for ordinary people.

Sadly too, Liz Truss and her chancellor will be best remembered for burning through £37 billion in an afternoon, the Scottish share of which is around £3 billion, and it seems to me we could make significan­tly more difference to those waiting lists had we still had that cash at our disposal.

Supposing instead we had an approach, let’s call it trickle Up economics, where we put more money in the hands of less well-off people.

That could be in the form of an extra £20 per child, free prescripti­ons and dental check-ups, free university education, much better free bus travel, free period products, and free school meals for P1-P5. Wouldn’t that not be great?

Well, of course, the reality is that in Scotland we already have all that, unlike the rest of the UK, and more besides. It can hardly be a coincidenc­e therefore that Scotland has reduced the poverty rate by six per cent in 20 years and the rate here, at 18 per cent, is better than both England (22 per cent) and Wales (24 per cent).

Things could, of course, be so much better in Scotland, but instead the UK controls around 40 per cent of our budget and spends it on things like HS2, Crossrail, Hinckley Point, Track and Trace and numerous other projects that are little of no value to Scotland.

Letters should be with the editor by noon on Monday.

Shorter letters will be considered first and edited least. Names and addresses may be withheld, where a reason for requesting anonymity is given, but no letter sent

As an independen­t country with full control of all of our taxes, and wellbeing at the heart of our approach to economics, life for the citizens of Scotland would be so much better. Rab Mungall,

Lady Campbells Court,


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