In a special guest blog, Sir Tom Hunter, whose eponymous Foundation commissioned the recent Raising Scotland’s Economic Growth Rate report from Oxford Economics, underlines how Scotland’s economy lags behind and needs radical change to catch up and rediscover its innovative dynamism.
“..further Covid-related allocations are designed to support the economy during ongoing restrictions – and these provide the Scottish Government with further resources during 2021/22. In years beyond that, this was a budget that aims to rebuild the economy by leveraging investment, whilst raising more from tax and tightening the screw on public services spending. But there is no role in the future economic vision for welfare policy or public services spending.”
In Scotland, one in every 85 children born between 2008 and 2017 was in public care at some time before their first birthday, separated from their mothers in their first year of life. These figures are shocking. They raise a basic question no one here seems to be asking: why and why so many?
‘…richer nations such as Scotland need to live up to their oft-repeated, much-vaunted proclamations in favour of global solidarity. So far, we’re not even talking about it in the pandemic.’
‘Child poverty is a systemic and deep routed issue that has been prevalent in our society for too long. However, universal free school meals all year round are unlikely to be the most effective way of tackling this issue.’
‘By far the most important risk factor for getting hospitalised, being admitted to an ICU, and dying from the disease is old age, particularly being over 80. Not many housing scheme residents get that far…’
During pandemic times all four pillars of food security are challenged as domino effects and blockages, compounded by Brexit and the climate emergency, disrupt processes at different points of the supply chain.
In his latest piece on the pandemic, Hugh Pennington examines inter alia how cuts in labs and scientists have helped damage our response to the coronavirus
‘It’s right that we do not forget that the objective of protecting the NHS in Scotland resulted in people being denied essential care for non-COVID-19 conditions nor the mistakes made in respect of care homes…But the drawing of comparisons is not a political debating ploy. It is essential to our safety.’
‘The current COVID-19 events are not a “second wave”, or a “second peak”, or “second spikes”. They are continuations of the ongoing epidemic. There was no second wave with SARS, a closely related coronavirus, and we are still waiting for one in Wuhan.’