East Lothian Courier – 24 May 2021


Last week brought a physical return to Westminster and in London as in East Lothian life’s slowly regaining normality. The focus in Parliament was on the Queens Speech which sets out the Tory Governments plans. Much doesn’t apply to Scotland but there are omissions that are significant.

As indicated previously building social housing’s essential to address homelessness, create work and tackle climate change. Sadly, borrowing powers necessary to fund the building and retrofitting haven’t been given and the current plans of the Scottish Government are underwhelming, failing to address the scale of the need. I was able to make those points and will continue to press them.

The deteriorating situation in the Middle East was also a focus. I made the point in a parliamentary motion that whilst all life’s lost are a tragedy, there’s a false equivalence drawn between Israel and Palestine. The former’s a heavily militarised state funded and supported by the USA and sadly abetted by the UK. The latter’s a country under siege and where reaction’s by outraged but unarmed demonstrators or via missiles fired by Islamic militants, who see nothing left to lose. All violence should cease but its not a battle of equals, as the death toll shows. Palestine’s being crushed slowly by Israel and It’s immoral and in breach of international law

Shameful statistics were also published showing child poverty increasing in Scotland and East Lothian sadly has its share. Its worsened over recent years and now stands at almost one child in every four. That’s simply unacceptable. It denies them life chances that should be open to all and will also impact on us all more widely. We need to ensure that every child can achieve their full potential and minimise any risk that they fall by the wayside, risking harm to them and us.

Proposals by the Tory Government to withdraw the uplift to Universal Credit provided during Covid will worsen it. The proposed Child Payment from the Scottish Government whilst welcome is entirely inadequate at £10 pw. I’ve called on both to act as time’s short and the need’s great.