We Must Eradicate Poverty in Scotland, says Co-Leader, Heather Astbury
Speaking at a virtual hustings event held last night (Apr 21) Renew Scotland's Joint Leader and Lead Candidate for Lothian, Heather Astbury, spoke about one of the party's key policies for the Holyrood 2021 election.
"It is completely unacceptable that in this day and age we have escalating and out of control levels of poverty and deprivation in Scotland," Heather told the online audience.
"We are a supposedly rich country and yet honest, hardworking people are struggling to get by and many are even having to resort to using food banks to feed their families. The SNP government has been so intent on convincing people in Scotland of the need for Independence that they have not only failed to improve the lives of the people they are accountable to, but in many cases people are now worse off. Nicola Sturgeon's explanation is that she "took her eye off the ball". There should be no greater focus than on improving the lives of the people you represent.
"We've experienced dedcades of policies that promote the rich getting richer, with the suggestion that perhaps wealth at the top will magically filter down and benefit the rest of society. It simply is not the case. In fact our experience shows that the reverse is true, with the rich salting their gains away to tax havens and benefitting no-one but themselves. It is time to reverse those policies and instead give people at the bottom of the wealth pyramid far greater disposable income. Through mechanisms, such as Universal Basic Income, and changes to income tax and corporation tax, we can create greater disposable income among a far greater number of people; people who will then spend more on leisure activities, going out, doing up their houses, shopping and many other activities that will help to stimulate the economy and in turn help to circulate wealth more fairly around society.
"The knock on effects of eradicting poverty would be seen throughout society. People able to spend money on healthier food and sporting activities will in turn become healthier and reduce the burden on the NHS. We may even be able to reverse the decline in life expectancy that Scotland has seen in recent years.
"Children going to school well fed will have more energy to put into their studies and extra-curricular activities, which will result in a rise in attainment. If we are to compete on a global stage we need to ensure we have a well educated population. Standards of educational attainment have been declining and we must end that now before we have completely failed a generation in Scotland.
"Lifting the weight of worry about how to pay the mortage, feed a family and keep the house warm in winter will free people to do more to support causes and take on the challenges society needs to face.
"Renew Scotland may be a small party now, but the electoral system in Scotland gives small parties a chance. With a relatively small percentage vote we could win one or more seats at Holyrood and then we could really start to make a tangible difference to lives of people in Scotland. Don't keep voting the way you have always voted and expect things to change. If you want change give your 2nd vote to Renew Scotland."
Renew Scotland is working with Volt Scotland in this election and is fielding candidates on the regional lists as follows:
Glasgow - Ben Meechan and Andrea Kozlowski from Volt Scotland, standing for Renew Scotland
West of Scotland - Peter Morton
North East Scotland - Colin McFadyen
Mid Scotland & Fife - Bruce Henderson and Stefan Diesing from Volt Scotland, standing for Renew Scotland
Lothian - Heather Astbury and Anna Freemantle-Zee
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