Edinburgh Poverty Commission is an independent group working to define the steps required to end poverty in the capital. It has been listening to people and organisations in the city over the past few weeks to hear at first hand the profound impacts of the Covid-19 emergency on people living in poverty, now and in the future, and issues its interim report today.
‘Once the public health crisis of COVID-19 is over, it might yet expose the flaws in this capital-led economy just as it has exposed the inadequacies of our public health systems that has suffered from under-investment over a decade of austerity.’
‘But the more we study COVID-19 the more the differences with influenza become evident. However, public pronouncements still take their cue from that virus, like the need to avoid a second wave that will swamp the NHS…time to stop using ‘flu as a useful model…’
‘Not everything is about the constitution. We need to find a way out of the lazy constitutional rut Scottish politics has descended into. This is not to suggest that the constitutional question or relations between London and Edinburgh are unimportant, only that there are other ways of looking at politics and policy. Even in the midst of this crisis, this needs to be a learning exercise and not only when we look back and seek to learn lessons retrospectively.’
On security and surveillance trade-offs: ‘Even if the government is well intentioned, as many people doubtless think, are they competent to build a secure system? As the Scottish Government pauses for reflection, declining to adopt NHSX, we have an opportunity to ask these questions.’
‘As the inequalities in our economic system are laid bare by this crisis, rather than returning to business as usual, countries such as the UK would be well-served to instead build back better by creating a wellbeing economy.’
‘Our prime minister has discovered the hard way that cheery optimism alone will not protect us from this virus; the only certainty about the future is that it is uncertain. Bad things can, and do, happen. We are all ‘buffeted by events.’ I hope this reality check will extend to his view of Brexit.’
‘Science is a vital resource for modelling scenarios and developing medical and technical responses; but for many aspects of decision-making it is contested and uncertain. If we set our scientific advisors up to find policy solutions, we risk generating disillusionment with science, and, in the long term, further erosion of its authority.’
An open letter to Labour leader Keir Starmer and Scotland’s First Minister from a senior medical statistician urging at least a re-think of their refusal to break ranks with UK Government policy for containing/suppressing Covid-19.
‘While billions are being spent on our nuclear deterrent, British troops were deployed without adequate equipment, including body armour, in Iraq and Afghanistan. And now, in the midst of the pandemic, doctors, nurses, hospitals, and care home staff, are under-equipped.’