Westminster dispenses pain and poverty - Lorna Slater

Liz Truss is entering Downing Street to a backdrop of deprivation, anger and chaos.

Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater said she was “terrified” by the Conservative leadership candidates’ approach to the economy
Scottish Green Party co-leader Lorna Slater said she was “terrified” by the Conservative leadership candidates’ approach to the economy

The economic landscape that she's inheriting from Boris Johnson is a terrible one, but it's one that she was instrumental in building.

She stood right with him when he cut Universal Credit, taking £1000 a year away from many of the most vulnerable people. Like the Prime Minister, she had heard all of the warnings about the devastating impact it would have and the destitution it would create. But she supported it anyway, knowingly plunging thousands of families into poverty.

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She was cheering him on when he delivered a reckless and unworkable Brexit based on a campaign of misinformation and lies. As the trade minister and then the foreign secretary, she wasn't just a bystander, she was an architect and co-creator of his disastrous plan.

Right now millions of families are being hit with bills that they simply can't afford. Johnson has done nothing for them. Instead he has spent his last days in the UK's most powerful office at photo-ops and stunts rather than doing the hard work that is needed.

Even now, when his legacy lies in tatters and he's been well and truly found out, Truss is backing him. Throughout the disgraceful partygate scandal she was one of few MPs who refused to call for his resignation. She has been happy to sing his praises at Tory Party debates and interviews.

The decisions she makes in the days ahead will be crucial, and will have an impact on millions of lives. Every day of inaction will be another day that poverty and debt are allowed to ripple out across the country.

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This isn't just a big day in Westminster, it is also a big one for the Scottish Parliament.

Our Parliament will resume today after a busy recess. This afternoon, the First Minister will publish the Programme For Government for the year ahead.

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It is an urgent and ambitious programme with poverty-relief and the environment at its heart. It is a serious vision for serious times and will have big steps to help people and our planet.

It will stand in sharp contrast to the apathy, complacency and total lack of ideas in Westminster.

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It will build on the important steps we have taken in the last 12 months, with the doubling of the Scottish Child Payment, the delivery of free bus travel for everyone under 22 and the guarantee of a real living wage on all government contracts all helping people through the current crisis.

We can see the pain and poverty that is being inflicted from Westminster and, despite the huge constraints of devolution, we are doing everything we can to offer hope and provide support.

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The programme that the First Minister sets out this afternoon won't just be a bold statement of leadership in a time of crisis, it is also the result of a different and better way of doing politics. It is the result of negotiation, collaboration and a huge amount of great work from Ministers, MSPs and civil servants.

As politicians we are elected to be representatives and to deliver positive change for our communities. It is a responsibility that my colleagues and I take very seriously and we hope that is evident in today's announcements.

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Lorna Slater is a Lothian Green MSP and Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity