East Lothian Courier – 4 May 2023


There’s a cost of energy crisis that’s not gone away and that’s now compounded by a cost of food crisis. A Parliamentary debate on the cost-of-living crisis allowed me to detail the shocking extent of food poverty in East Lothian.

The information provided by the stalwarts at the foodbank is both shocking and shameful. They’ve been experiencing their highest ever demand. Only a quarter of the way into the year and they’ve had to provide for 3647 people in the county, in 1210 households.

1 in 3 of those cared for were children. That just shouldn’t be. No bairn should be going hungry in a wealthy country. Yet their parents were simply unable to provide for them. But 69% of those requiring help did so as their benefits or wages were just not enough to allow them to do meet all their bills. The situation’s only worsening as mortgages and rents also rise, yet wages don’t keep up.

It’s not all down to a war in Ukraine or climatic conditions as the Tory Government try to say. Of course, they’re factors but the situation’s worse here than in comparable countries. Instead, it’s down to political choices with Brexit and Covid seeing a few get rich, but the many suffer. We’re now in an age of austerity which is a political choice imposed upon the many, by the few.  Wealthy bankers tell us just to get used to being poorer but that doesn’t apply to them or their rich pals. Meanwhile for some the misery is increasing.

East Lothian’s energy rich. Equally, it’s a fertile county with arable land and hard-working farmers. Yet folk are going without heat and food. That’s not just wrong, it’s perverse. The wealth in this country needs shared fairly, and our natural resources used for the benefit of our people.

Finally, when I left the SNP in 2021, I explained that I did so as I had both political disagreements and concerns over internal democracy. Recent revelations have confirmed concerns I had, and I hope some who were surprised or angered will now realise why I did so.