Fuller Nairn

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All views are strictly my own and do not necessarily represent the views of any group, organisation or business that I may be affiliated with.

YES Nairn – Journey to YES

On Saturday 23rd YES Nairn will be showing a series of “Journey to Yes” Films in the little theatre.

Poverty is imposed upon us by the UK Government

A United Nations Special Rapporteur visited the UK to investigate human rights violations against people with disabilities. They concluded that the current Conservative Government and the preceding Lib-Dem/Conservative coalition have been responsible for a welfare system which violated human rights of disabled citizens.

The full report can be found here – OHCHR document.

This report found that poverty is getting worse in the UK, with 14 million currently living in poverty and a projection that by 2022 40% of UK children will be within this class. The report states that the UK Government statistics are untrustworthy, using methods of measuring employment and poverty that are designed to allow ministers to say that things are improving by masking the extent of the problem.

Brexit has already caused the situation to worsen and will be even more devastating once the UK leaves. Due to Brexit the value of the pound has fallen leading to higher prices, we are at risk of losing EU funding for areas most in need and once the UK is out it will most likely result in low economic growth or even a recession.

The Scottish Government’s approach to poverty has been very different. Scotland spends around £125 million a year mitigating the effects of the UK’s austerity. This mitigation will not be sustainable in the long term, not while we remain under UK governance without the full powers to be able to raise income and the Scottish Government’s block grant seeing an annual reduction. Scotland currently has the lowest poverty rate in the UK (although in some areas it is still a significant issue) and the Scottish Government has a “promising social security system guided by the principals of dignity and social security as a human right and co-designed on the basis of evidence”.

Austerity is a choice, the UK treasury with it’s resources could spare the poor and transform the lives of those in poverty but the political choice was made to fund tax cuts for the wealthy instead. While the Conservatives continue to be in power this will always be the case and while we remain under UK control we will go on to have poverty imposed upon us. If the Scottish Government had the powers and was free to make decisions on the fiances for Scotland things may be very different for those who are worst off.

Making Stats Work for the Few

Scottish Labour campaign group “Scotland Organisers” put out this tweet on Friday with a video containing an interesting graph.

The graph appears at around 21 seconds in but is only displayed for a split second so blink and you’ll miss it. I’m guessing the group do not want you to spend too much time looking at this graph as the data is actually very damming for ScotLab. The graph itself comes from data collected by the charity group shelter.

Below you can take a better look at this graph and see why this data looks very bad for Scottish Labour. The solid red line shows when Scottish Labour were in power and had responsibility over homelessness and the Yellow Line shows when the SNP were.

Those respective directions of travel are striking, aren’t they?

Because while homelessness did indeed rise by a tiny amount last year, the reality is that having skyrocketed during the entirety of Labour’s eight years in control of Holyrood, even with last year’s small rise it’s fallen by over 40% since the SNP came to power. Indeed, it’s lower than it’s been at almost any other time for quarter of a century, and substantially lower than it was at ANY time during Labour control.

In the strictest technical sense Labour can of course get away with claiming that “homelessness has risen under the SNP”, so long as you measure it on a REALLY short scale. But despite a decade of global recession and UK austerity, the problem has in fact been almost halved in Scotland, whereas in England it’s been rising for the last seven years and is now almost exactly where it was in 2007.

(And we should probably recall – for contrast – that Labour also ran Holyrood during an unbroken economic boom, when its budget from a friendly Labour administration at Westminster rose every year, whereas the SNP’s has been slashed by the Tories.)

So the next time Scottish Labour try to whizz something past you, you might want to have your finger ready on the pause button.

Originally reported on wings