Labour need to get with the programme - your letters

"Only independence can free us from a bleak post-Covid future under continued London rule”

Monday, 5th April 2021, 7:00 am
The SNP is to announce plans to double the Scottish Child Payment to £20 a week, but there are warnings that the benefit should be even higher. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Labour need to get with the programme

Ian Murray (News, April 1) can’t help talking down Scotland and the democratically elected Scottish Parliament.

What he and Anas Sarwar don’t grasp is that Scotland can’t recover from the pandemic and years of Tory and Labour economic mismanagement without having the full economic powers enjoyed by other independent nations.

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The UK government record is appalling. Poverty and income inequality have worsened, zero-hour contracts are the norm, benefit payments have fallen, public services are sold off to the highest bidder, the NHS has been chronically underfunded, a hard Brexit has brought economic carnage and the UK has one of the worst Covid death rates in world.

Scotland has mitigated the worst impacts of Westminster rule. Poverty is three per cent lower and child poverty is six per cent lower than in the UK, achieved by providing more affordable social housing, increasing childcare payments, and funding free school meals.

The Scottish Health Service is better resourced than the NHS with more doctors and nurses per head which is why 98.6 per cent of cancer patients were treated in 31 days and the 62-day target was met 21 per cent more often than in NHS England.

The education attainment gap has been halved since 2010 whereas it has widened in England. More students are leaving school with passes of Higher or better and university tuition fees were abolished in 2008 while they have soared in England after being introduced by Labour in 1998.Only independence can free us from a bleak post-Covid future under continued London rule. Labour needs to get with the programme or remain irrelevant.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Merchiston Crescent, Edinburgh.

Is indy worth the wait of catching up?

Most expert predictions suggest that a separated Scotland would have to wait up to ten years for admission to the EU.

Adopting the Euro as the separated Scotland’s currency would be a given for entry, as would a hard border with England. Only nationalist fantasists would suggest otherwise.

We can add to this the certain super-charged austerity for Scotland that would follow a break up of the UK and on the emotional side a centuries old partnership alongside the others with whom we share this small island and with whom we have stood shoulder to shoulder to help rid the world of real evil.

Of course Scotland could survive as a separate state and eventually catch up with the rest of the UK and the EU. The question, however, is: would it be worth it?

Alexander McKay, New Cut Rigg, Edinburgh.

Labour did Scotland no favours, Ian

Ian Murray (Opinion, 1 April) forgets that under the last Labour government the gap between the poorest and wealthiest in the UK widened. Then, since 2010, ten years of Tory austerity has driven more children and families into poverty.

In 2019-20, the Scottish government spent more than £1.96 billion targeting support at low-income households and the Joseph Rowntree Trust has illustrated that compared to England there has been a bigger improvement in the relative poverty rate over the lifetime of the SNP government.

Contrary to Murray’s claims, after taking housing costs into account, the 20 parliamentary const-ituencies with the highest levels of child poverty are all in England. KPMG analysis forecasts that Scotland’s recovery from Covid is likely to outstrip the UK average.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh.