The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:15 am on 29th March 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour 9:15 am, 29th March 2007

The child poverty figures that were published this week should encourage us to redouble our efforts. Tackling child poverty should be a priority for the Scottish Parliament and for the whole of the United Kingdom.

I saw Mr Swinney being interviewed on television about child poverty the other night. He did not have one policy or idea and he did not make one promise or pledge that would help to tackle child poverty. The one policy that the SNP has announced for the elections on 3 May is to tax Scotland's lowest-paid workers. Scotland would become the highest-taxed part of the United Kingdom. The SNP's proposals would increase child poverty and the number of families in poverty, which would be a disgrace to Scotland. That is why the voters will reject the SNP.

When a political party such as the SNP complains of negativity, it is a sure sign that it does not like the scrutiny that it is under. The job of political parties is to point out the weaknesses in their opponents' cases. The SNP has weaknesses to spare. It knows that one enormous and immoveable block to its progress is at the heart of its weaknesses: the people do not want to buy the product that it is selling—a separate Scottish state. However well packaged, branded, made over or hidden that product is, the people will not buy it because of its cost. The SNP has made the most expensive election pledge that is on offer in the election—£5,000 for every family in the country. The people of Scotland are right to be nervous about Alex Salmond's gamble. We have seen a bit of window shopping in the polls, but that is not the same as the people making a purchase. The SNP does not come without independence and independence does not come without a cost.