LETTERS: Anthem row masks true story of Scottish poverty

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It is both intriguing and disappointing to note so much of the news leading on the fact that Jeremy Corbyn did not sing the national anthem at the Battle of Britain Remembrance ceremony on September 16.

This was on the same day that the Conservatives pushed through a vote in the Commons in favour of lowering the earnings level above which tax credits are withdrawn, impacting on nearly half of all families in Scotland.

Around half the people in poverty in Scotland live in working households, a worse situation than in the UK as a whole, with tax credits going some way to alleviate this.

While more than 500,000 children in Scotland benefit from tax credits, seven in ten Scottish households who receive them are working households, with 90 per cent of expenditure on tax credits going to households with an income of less than £20,000.

It is estimated that a ten per cent cut in child tax credit will cost Scottish families £150m a year, while a ten per cent cut in all tax credits would leave households £250m worse off.

The UK government’s cut in tax credits will hit Scotland’s poorest children and families hard, a frightening indication of the potential impact of the proposed £12bn in welfare cuts.

If the media mirrors society, it is indeed a sad situation we are in which sees Mr Corbyn’s non-singing of the national anthem dominate while many thousands of Scottish children are destined to be driven into or even further into poverty.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Youth groups need our financial support

I warmly welcome the funding announcement from the Scottish Government this week as it is a positive step forward in helping support Scotland’s unemployed youth to prepare for the world of work and get jobs.

While it’s great to see the government continue to offer assistance in strengthening links among schools, colleges and employers, it is also important to recognise the impact the youth work sector can have on helping young people get ready for employment and the need for additional support in this area.

Formal volunteering opportunities can play an important role in getting young people used to the working world in terms of developing their time management, communication and leadership skills.

The Boys’ Brigade and other similar youth work providers are committed to providing learning experiences for all young people which can provide them with transferable skills they can take into the work place.

Through structured activity programmes organisations such as ours offer stable and continual support to young people.

I believe that our engagement with Scotland’s youth works well alongside the support they receive in school and college. In order to maintain this balance, it’s important the voluntary sector receives assistance.

I hope the Scottish Government is able to take into account the role youth organisations can play in the future of Scotland’s employment issues and continue to support the sector.

Bill Stevenson, Director, The Boys’ Brigade Scotland, Carronvale House, Larbert

Tasers are another step to arming police

Regarding the issuing of Tasers to all police, such action would be viewed by many as the penultimate stage to arming all police with guns.

Of course we must have law and order and our police need to be protected. However, would it not be better to have the punishment realistically fit the crime?

Anyone assaulting a police officer should be given a minimum custodial sentence of two years. This, I’m sure, would act as a deterrent.

Our police have to be protected. However, Tasers are not the way 
forward.

George Fairgrieve, Edinburgh

Fletcher of Saltoun awards fitting tribute

Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun, a 17th century Scottish writer and politician and a keen patron of the arts during his lifetime, died 299 years ago this week – a fitting anniversary to pay tribute to the latest winners of the Saltire Society’s annual Fletcher of Saltoun awards.

In tribute to Andrew Fletcher’s legacy as a prominent Scottish patriot, these awards seek to honour individuals for their unique contribution to Scottish society in science, the arts and public life.

This year’s winners include leading cancer researcher Tessa Holyoake, Gaelic and English language poet and songwriter Aonghas MacNeacail, landscape painter James Morrison and Andrew Kerr, a lifelong supporter and leading campaigner for the Scottish arts and conservation.

Through these awards, we strive to give recognition to the talented and driven people who help make Scottish culture and society as vibrant and stimulating as it is today, as well as achieving wider recognition for Scotland on an international stage.

Once again, this year’s recipients are extremely worthy winners.

Sarah Mason, The Saltire Society, Fountain Close, High Street,

Edinburgh

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