The Future of Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 10:13 am on 29th March 2007.

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Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party 10:13 am, 29th March 2007

Scotland's future will be decided by Scotland's people. We look forward to their decision on 3 May.

Only Labour could call for a debate on Scotland's future in which its members have attempted to extol the virtues of the so-called union dividend in the same week that the party's inability at all levels of Government to address the scourge of poverty and child poverty in Scotland has been exposed. Under the union dividend almost a million people in Scotland are living in relative poverty, according to the most recent figures, which show an increase of 20,000 people in poverty on the previous year. The statistics show that the number of working-age adults in relative poverty has gone up by 30,000 to a staggering 620,000 people.

Save the Children in Scotland was right to brand as "disgraceful" figures that showed a standstill in the number of children in relative poverty—250,000 children. Save the Children said:

"The Scottish Executive and UK Government strategies have not gone nearly far enough—the figures are disgraceful."

Behind the statistics are real people. The statistics are a shocking indictment of Labour's 10 years in power. The situation is made worse by the Brown bombshell for the lowest-paid families in our society. The doubling of taxation for low-paid families from 10 per cent to 20 per cent is a shameful attack on the poor. Gordon Brown's budget has backfired spectacularly. Low-paid and part-time workers in Scotland will be among the hardest hit by the budget, with a staggering 836,000 working Scots paying more tax under his proposals.