So far, the UK Government has cut Scotland’s welfare bill by £1.6 billion - that’s about £320 for each person in Scotland.
That money has been taken from the unemployed, the disabled, pensioners and low-paid workers and it’s forced 110,000 more Scots into poverty in the last year alone. One quarter of kids in Scotland now live in poverty - that’s horrific.
The UK Government is also cutting another £2.5 billion next year. How many more Scots will be relying on food banks after a second wave of cuts? It’s not just the poor who are getting hammered, our public institutions are also getting hit.
The Scottish Government and councils have lost hundreds of millions of pounds as a result. Edinburgh council alone has lost £4m a year from its housing budget because we chose to protect tenants from the worst effects of the Bedroom Tax and the Scottish Government has spent another £50m doing the same, protecting the most vulnerable in our society from a Tory-led government Scotland didn’t elect.
However, not everyone is feeling the squeeze. In the last year the richest 100 Scots increased their wealth by 19% - an average of £50 million extra each.
Recent figures show Scotland’s GDP has reached a record high. Scotland will always be a rich country, so the decision shouldn’t be how much richer can we get but how can we use our wealth to create the kind of society we want to live in.
The benefits debate in the independence referendum matters to all of us, whether we’re living comfortably or struggling to make ends meet. This isn’t a debate of rich versus poor, we all have a stake in our society. When it gets damaged it’s hard to repair and we all suffer.
By 2016, Scotland’s welfare budget will have been cut by £6 billion with even more families struggling instead of living. We don’t have to accept that.
We have a choice in a few weeks - stay with the UK and condemn more to poverty or take a different path, build ourselves a better country where we can take care of the people around us who need a bit of help. It’s a stark choice, and for me there’s only one way to go. Yes.
Adam McVey, SNP Councillor, Leith
Name Albion Street The Famous Five Way
With reference to Katie Richardson’s article (News, August 5) about naming a street in honour of Lawrie Reilly. As a Hibs supporter for 70 years may I make a suggestion?
Lawrie was part of the Hibs Famous Five forward line consisting of Lawrie, Gordon Smith, Bobby Johnstone, Eddie Turnbull and Willie Ormond.
If any individual in that forward line was to be honoured with a street name, it should be Gordon Smith, undoubtably the finest player, certainly in my memory, to wear the famous green and white.
My father, who was a Hearts supporter, was of the same opinion and went even further in saying he was the best he had ever seen in any team.
If I remember correctly, Lawrie Reilly was also quoted saying Gordon was the star of the team.
However, what I would suggest is that the Famous Five should be honoured as the unit that they were.
My suggestion is, just as in the High Street and the Canongate, where additional gold coloured street signs THE ROYAL MILE have been fixed alongside the historic original names, we could fix, beside the Albion Road street sign at the junction with Easter Road, a similar sign with THE FAMOUS FIVE WAY on it.
George McLeod, Edinburgh
Waverley station access is still a major headache
I recognise that Network Rail is taking action to meet the concerns that I and others have expressed but I remain concerned about access to Waverley station for passengers generally.
People with restricted mobility should be able to access the station as independently as possible rather than rely on passenger assistance service provided by staff, however good it is.
The only access route for cyclists is now along the pedestrian footway from Waverley Bridge, which is clearly undesirable for both cyclists and pedestrians.
There is no longer any taxi access into the station, but there also don’t seem to be there any signs to taxi ranks outside. There are signs to buses, but not which bus and tram services stop where.
The number of passengers using Waverley went up to 19 million last year but too many still face problems accessing the station.
Mark Lazarowicz, MP for Edinburgh North & Leith
Debate leaves too many questions not answers
As a 68 year old grandmother, I write to express my extreme concerns in the event of a ‘Yes’ vote.
Having researched, with an open mind for both sides, Yes and No, I can see absolutely no advantage for an independent Scotland.
Alex Salmond’s case appears to be a knee jerk reaction to any questions asked of him with ever increasing anomalies.
At the moment with a successful Scottish Parliament and a strong UK we have the best of both worlds, having power over things such as schools, hospitals, police and transport and we get the security of being part of the UK as one of the biggest economies in the world.
There is also the danger that international companies will withdraw from Scotland if we were to leave the UK. Supermarkets have already stated that prices would increase if Scotland stands alone.
We would no longer be part of the EU. No longer have the pound as our currency. What about pensions? The list of questions is endless.
Name and address supplied