Scotland decides 2014: Independence and poverty

Decision time
Decision time

A debate will take place tonight (Wednesday) on one of the key issues in the referendum debate: will independence mean more equality?

‘Fighting austerity cuts, easier in an independent Scotland?’, will be debated at Dalkeith Arts Centre at 7pm.

Organised by Midlothian Trade Union Council, the debate will be led by local politicians including Owen Thompson (SNP) and Bryan Pottinger (Lab), who both outline their views here. Owen Thompson (SNP) believes that only a Yes vote will make a positive financial difference to the people of Scotland.

He said: “The current plans of George Osborne and the Westminster Government will take public spending down to levels not seen since 1948.

“But it’s not just the Tory Party who are doing this to us, Ed Balls and Ed Miliband have both committed to continued austerity in the unlikely event of a Labour win at the next General Election.

“So while the people of Scotland are subjected to these policies of austerity, in Westminster we see a competition to see who can cut deepest and fastest.”

Councillor Bryan Pottinger (Lab) said: “I debated devolution (and home rule) from an early age and campaigned for devolution of powers, as it was for more democracy, and takes decision making to a closer level where local priorities can be decided. The “Yes Yes” as it was called was for a Scottish Parliament – Yes! Should it have tax raising powers? – Yes! Progressive targeted taxes. I hoped this would distribute wealth favourably to the poorer people in Scotland, but it was never used and instead we have only seen tax freezes which have maintained the status in Scotland with the “rich getting richer and poor poorer”.

“There is nothing in the ‘White Paper’ that changes the agenda and reducing “corporation tax” will only give share holders and financiers more money in their wealthy pockets and promote a race to the bottom, including threats to many workers rights etc.”

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