Friday, 23 May 2014

'YES' to tackle inequality

Local MSP Margaret Burgess says a ‘YES’ vote in September’s Independence referendum offers the chance of a more equal society in North Ayrshire and across Scotland.

The Cunninghame South MSP blasted what she described as “Westminster’s shameful record”, saying, “The poverty rate in the UK stands at 10 percent – only the United States, Australia, Italy and Canada have higher poverty rates, while small European nations, such as Norway, Finland and Denmark perform much better.”

The new figures on inequality in Scotland were recently published by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, which provides impartial analysis and research to MSPs of all parties.

Mrs Burgess noted that the Scottish Government’s White Paper on Independence – Scotland’s Future - sets out a number of options to tackle poverty, including the establishment of a Fair Work Commission to ensure the minimum wage would rise at least in line with inflation.

The SNP MSP said, “New figures show that, since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1999, action to tackle pensioner poverty in Scotland has been more effective than in the rest of the UK, which highlights the benefit of decisions for Scotland being made here in Scotland.

“This also demonstrates why we need a ‘YES’ vote in the Independence Referendum – Westminster has an absolutely shameful record on poverty, and with more Tory welfare cuts and austerity measures coming down the line, the situation is only going to get worse.”

Independently compiled international data shows the UK is already the fourth most-unequal society in the developed world, while current projections indicate that proposed Westminster cuts to welfare budgets could push up to 100,000 more Scottish children into poverty.

Margaret Burgess said, “With a ‘YES’ vote we can take action to tackle poverty, ensuring a minimum wage that rises at least in line with inflation every year and establishing a welfare state that works for Scotland.

“The opportunity for Scotland to escape from Westminster’s punitive welfare cuts and get on with tackling poverty and creating a more equal society shows exactly why we can, should and must be independent.”

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