Scotland is held back by two failing governments - Ian Murray

Alison Watson, Director of Shelter Scotland ,is asking readers to make their views known to the First Minister.Alison Watson, Director of Shelter Scotland ,is asking readers to make their views known to the First Minister.
Alison Watson, Director of Shelter Scotland ,is asking readers to make their views known to the First Minister.
We are used to the Tories making promises about fixing something which they originally broke.

Their desperate approach – such as crashing the economy and then spending months reversing their own mistakes – doesn’t fool the voters.

So it was galling to see the SNP copy straight from the Conservative playbook this week. Humza Yousaf’s first Programme for Government focused on tackling the “scourge of poverty” – which is of course what his administration should be prioritising.

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What the First Minister didn’t say though was that we have a child poverty scandal in Scotland that has been overseen by his own party for 16 years.

A quarter of Scotland’s children live in poverty; applications for help with homelessness have soared to the highest number ever; and more than 9,500 children – which is also the highest ever - are living in temporary accommodation. I see this myself every day in my constituency postbag.

If Yousaf was being honest with the people of Scotland, he would admit that he is trying to fix the mistakes of his predecessors Sturgeon and Salmond, who spent so much time obsessing over the constitution that they forgot about the real job of government.

Although it appears to have been a futile attempt as Alison Watson, Shelter Scotland Director has said that "Anyone in Scotland currently experiencing homelessness who listened to the First Minister today would have taken no comfort from his words “The extra money for the Scottish Child Payment and the wage rises for social care staff – something Labour has been campaigning for for years – are welcome, but in the words of Save the Children this is just a “timid step forward”.

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Frankly, the SNP has lost its way. When Labour was in power across the UK we lifted 1 million children out of poverty – a legacy that has been squandered by the SNP and Tories.

When Anas Sarwar highlighted this fact in Holyrood this week, some SNP MSPs laughed.

Imagine laughing at a record of lifting a million kids out of poverty – a stark reminder that nationalist MSPs have become woefully out of touch. And out of ideas too.

The Programme for Government was an opportunity to bring forward a new recovery plan for the NHS that would have got services back on track and dealt with the huge backlogs in diagnosis and care.

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This was completely missing from the FM’s speech. Astonishingly, it took him 22 minutes to even mention the NHS. As for his promised “reset” with the business community, how can any business trust him given all the recent U-turns on government policy?

The new Scottish Cabinet should be brimming with fresh ideas, but all we got was tired rhetoric and a head-in-the-sands approach.

Where was the help with the cost of commuting by capping bus fares and freezing the cost of rail travel?

Where was a policy to repurpose Scottish Water’s reserves and give a £100 rebate on water bills?

Where was the mortgage rescue scheme?

And where was the plan to restore our NHS?

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They could have even stolen our newly published child poverty reduction plan, but no. Scotland is being held back by two failing governments, and we deserve better.

The opportunity for change is coming, and only Labour offers an alternative that can fix the mess made by the Tories and SNP.

Ian Murray is Labour MP for Edinburgh South

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