Pages tagged "Holyrood"

  • SNP’s Legacy is a Perfect Storm of Increased Poverty and Reduced Investment in Addiction Services

     

    “Perfect Storm of Rising Poverty and Cuts to Drug and Alcohol Addiction Services – The Legacy of the SNP’s Failure to Help the Most Vulnerable in Society”

     

    by Renew Scotland activist, Jaspur Heer

     

    With the election day in sight, now’s the time to really think back over the past five, ten years on the progress, or lack of it, under the current SNP government. With the pandemic offering a whole host of problems for everyone in Scotland, a subject that has flown under the radar, to the SNP’s delight, is the incredibly important issue of drug addiction in Scotland. On the SNP’s own website, they explain that in 2019 an equivalent of three people every day lost their lives to drug addiction, using this point to prop up their news of saying they’re going to put more money in to tackle this. The lack of perspective and empathy to expect people to see this as a positive is absolutely mind-blowing. The SNP have had a majority government since 2011, and they are seriously saying they’re going to fix the problem now election time has come around…how convenient.

     

    With Scotland having the highest drug related death toll in Europe, with figures likely rising over the coronavirus pandemic, it is a bleak picture for the nation. The SNP have undervalued sensible drug policy but more importantly failed to improve the societal building blocks that have a grave knock-on effect for young people in Scotland. Opportunity has been slowly but surely weathered down by poor decisions coming from Holyrood, areas have become deprived, communities have been pushed out, young people left without a purpose. With community funding being neglected year after year it’s not a surprise that drug use and drug related deaths have kept climbing in number. When the problem was and still is so clearly recognised in Scottish society, the SNP still moved forward in cutting the drug and alcohol addiction services by £47 million. This has left a dire situation in which we have the perfect storm of a budget-stricken drug and alcohol service with a continuous rise in deprivation and poverty in our cities.

     

    Most would believe that the way around the problematic relationship that Scotland has with issues of drug addiction and rising poverty is through policy. For Renew Scotland, policy is not the only tool that needs to be used to fix this incredibly deep-rooted problem. We must tackle the issues that create this black hole of addiction. The environments that children grow up in is key to providing a better future for the next generation. We must afford every child in Scotland to be provided with an education system that doesn’t discriminate, providing opportunities and help to every pupil no matter their socio-economic background. We must also provide extensive research driven mental health services to children across the country. At the end of 2020 there were 1560 children who had been waiting more than a year for mental health treatment, triple the figure reported in 2019. How can we tackle issues of addiction when we are currently neglecting hundreds of young people who need urgent help?

     

    We are not asking for radical changes in policy and law in Scotland, this is not a debate on decriminalisation and legalisation, we are talking about areas in which the SNP has neglected or given empty promises of changing the dark path that Scotland is currently on. What is clear to you and me is that none of this is surprising is it? We can’t hold our politicians accountable to their empty promises and lies most of the time, we don’t have that power. But the single power that you and I have comes every five years via the Scottish Parliament election. It represents a moment to review what’s happened over the years and think to yourself, what have the party in power done for me? Did they deliver on their promises? What do I want for the future of Scotland? This is the time to hold your politicians accountable, it’s time for change.

     

     

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  • 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."

     

     

     

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