Deprivation, the experts remind us, isn’t just about being skint.
It can include fewer resources and opportunities for people in health and education and difficulties in accessing services.
Yet, when the figures on multiple deprivation in Scotland are issued every four years we are always shocked, but never surprised by the usual suspects heading the list.
Nor do we hear anything new on the issue from whoever is running the country at the time.
The Scottish Government says the figures “allow effective analysis for targeting of policies and funding where the aim is to wholly or partly tackle or take account of area concentrations of multiple deprivation.”
If you are one of those struggling to make ends meet, to afford everything from bus fares to spreadable butter, you won’t read that last quote and say: “That makes me feel better.”
Four years ago, we saw the introduction of the Scotland Act 2012 after Calman Commission recommendations like the ability to raise or lower income tax by 10p in the pound were written into law.
Strangely, a Holyrood-based government which purports to look after the needs of the working class, has declined to pull that lever, otherwise the poor of Scotland might not be experiencing the kind of struggle they face today. The Scottish Government said the figures showed “why Scotland needs a government committed to tackling deep-seated deprivation, poverty and inequalities”.
It might have added: “We’re not so committed that we’ll eradicate poverty.”
Communities Secretary Angela Constance, left wanting in her previous role in charge of Scotland’s education, said: “This will not be an easy job while we do not have the full levers of power …”
Let’s be clear, Ms Constance and her buddies have ENOUGH powers NOW to make the difference all right-minded people desire.
Bridge to happiness
Might we expect the Tay Road Bridge to become busier than ever?
I ask only because the Bank of Scotland’s annual happiness index – yes, it is involved in such nonsense – shows those living in Dundee are the least cheerful souls in Scotland. Yet, on the other side of the bridge – in Fife – we have the country’s most joyous citizens.
Maybe it’s time Dundonians got out their tickling sticks and headed for the Kingdom for some upbeat company.
EU ruling takes bite out of Apple
APPLE was shaken to its core over an EU edict that it pays £11 billion to the Irish government in taxes avoided over the past 25 years.
The Irish government hasn’t been uncomfortable with this, seemingly content with the little they receive from the tech giants.
But were the multi-nationals like Apple to pay their dues in this and other countries, we might not have to worry too much about finding the money to feed and properly house our poor. If only there was a political will to close the loopholes.