Think Edinburgh's 'affluent'? Why taxes may need to rise to prevent return to Dickensian society – Helen Martin

A church volunteer who is about to become a minister has been working with the needy and told my husband people would not believe how much poverty there is now in Edinburgh. The same opinion is shared by those working in food banks.

Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 4:45 pm
Those who provide food for homeless people and others struggling to get by know how much real poverty there is (Picture: John Devlin)

Covid-19 has had a devastating effect on many. People have lost their jobs and many self-employed lost all contracts and income. We know there is an increase of those unable to pay council tax, or even to pay rent, not to mention many struggling with mortgages

Some are facing huge debts, including those who had no money but paid on credit cards. Many expected their jobs and work would come back and they would eventually be able to repay, but the lockdown went on so long the debt just built up.

With both Covid and Brexit, businesses are still struggling too with more jobs going, no ability to raise wages and a fear of closing down.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The Scottish government is certainly trying to help the poor (especially children in poverty) and restart the economy when all are vaccinated and fierce variants aren’t extending lockdown.

But it would be good for us in the Capital to be told the current 2021 statistics here in the city, which has for many years been described as “affluent”. We may be shocked.

It could mean higher taxes for the affluent and more allowances and benefits for those in poverty and more council support. Of course, it’s not just Edinburgh it applies to the whole UK. But anything is better than returning to a Dickensian society.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.