East Lothian Courier – 20 August 2021


The Council’s preparing a poverty plan and they’re right to do so, as many are facing hard times. It’s not coming about because of coronavirus but due to political choices. Matters have been exacerbated by coronavirus, but the trajectory had ongoing for years. The rich have been getting richer and the poor have been suffering.

As a 60s child I recall seeing poverty, kids with gutties on their feet, even in winter, and holes in the jersey elbows. But nothing on the scale of today. Food hunger was unknown, and work guaranteed a sustainable standard of living. But not now.

Removing the Universal Credit uplift will be a real hardship for many. Suggestions by the Chancellor that employment will provide a solution are patently false. Unemployment’s rising and, in any event, almost 40% of those on universal credit are in work.

Of course, the council and the Scottish Government will take steps to mitigate and community groups like the Food bank will do their best. But the solution is for those with the broadest shoulders to take most of the burden. Big corporations must be made to pay their share, offshore wealth along with other wealth assets and those who’ve profited during the pandemic should be taxed. Sadly, I don’t see that change coming from Boris Johnson and his government of the rich.

Another notification from the council was of another planning application for the offshore wind energy coming ashore in the county. It’s needed to allow for this natural bounty to be harnessed for public good. But other than the erection of the substation where’s the local benefit. For sure some construction jobs as the site’s laid out. But it’s then being transhipped by cable to the North of England.

Yet it should be the basis of jobs in turbine construction across Scotland and of new jobs in East Lothian. A little bit of ingenuity allows for hydrogen plants and other schemes offering employment. East Lothian should be a place for business to locate. Scotland missed out on its oil wealth. It mustn’t miss out on the renewable’s bounty.