“Liz Truss and Kwarteng as our dynamic economic duo – heaven help us”

Tuesday September 27th 2022

Christine Grahame MSP in Parliament Main

Christine Grahame MSP writes her monthly column for Midlothian View

Well we now have Liz Truss and Kwarteng as our dynamic economic duo – heaven help us.

No cap on bankers’ bonuses, tax cuts for the rich and keep the cuts on those on Universal Credit. This is Tory ideology at its worst and a reprise of Margaret Thatcher. As for the energy crisis that £2,500 cap does not mean you will not pay more than that. It depends on how much you use. This means that those who are pretty well housebound due to age or infirmity and require to keep their home warm 24 hours will be back in the dark ages-post war – when I recall us huddled as a family round one fire wearing layers of jumpers and going to bed early with a hot water bottle to try to keep warm.

The solution? Nuclear power stations and fracking. Nuclear powers stations take decades to build and the waste lies contaminated for centuries. Fracking is inherently unstable and most unsuitable (if at all) for small geographic areas with urban areas close by. Neither can take place under this SNP government thanks to the fact that planning is devolved.

Why on earth her attention is not turning to renewable sources and to a wide-ranging insulation programme is a mystery. Wind turbines can deliver energy in a few years and insulation works as soon as it is installed. Back to post war when UK PLC was up to its ears in debt as now. Then a large housebuilding programme for public rented homes and road building was put in place. This provided much needed houses and the infrastructure to go with them.

What Truss and Kwartang are investing in is banks and financial services – the very banks which we all had to bail out in 2007. As for the reaction of the financial sector to her “Do or Die” economic policies sterling has plummeted against the dollar and the Euro. Watch the rich moving their money to other currencies.

Now some folk ask me if Scotland could “survive on its own”. On the simplest of analysis and comparison, from the dire economic impact of Brexit which we did not vote for and is still causing us financial grief, to the failure to invest in green energy, to propping up pals with spurious claims to deliver PPE costing millions, the UK has failed on all counts. We are energy rich, we are food production rich, we have a plentiful supply of nature’s essential, water, and we have an educated population.

Through our own domestic parliament which has been governed by the SNP since 2007, we have the most generous of welfare systems. For our young people there are no tuition fees (£9,000 per annum in England.) There is free bus travel to all over 60 and under 22. There are 1140 hours of free nursery to all over 3. No prescription charges (£9 per item in England). Free school meals from P1-P5. Uniform grants. The child payment to qualifying families (currently £20 for each child under 6) will be extended in November to all children of families on certain benefits. Each baby born in Scotland can have a free Baby Box with over 95% take up. No bedroom tax and lower council tax than England. Businesses benefit from the Small Business Bonus Scheme which means some pay no rates at all.

Can we do better as an Independent nation? Would we be a wealthier but fairer country? Yes, we would.

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