Gazette Letters May 21st

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Labour’s priorities

Councillor MacCormack (Letters 7th May) clearly has difficulty reading, let alone understanding, the references I have given to demonstrate that child poverty is endemic in areas where the Labour Party is in control.

He wants to know how many local authorities controlled by the Labour Party have the lowest level of child poverty. The table is provided by the ‘End Child Poverty’ organisation’s website to which I referred and which he could have read had he taken the trouble. There are no Labour-controlled councils in the 20 best-performing authorities.

The reduction in child poverty of 1.1 million, claimed by the Labour Government and quoted by Cllr MacCormack, was clearly rigged. This much is admitted by by the Government itself (https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/192213/child_poverty_in_the_uk_the_report_on_the_2010_target.pdf) when it states (page 11) “Of the 1.1 million reduction, 300,000 occurred in the year 2009/10 to 2010/11. This fall was not due to a rise in real incomes for the poorest families, but was driven mainly by the fact that median income fell sharply and benefits remained largely stable in real terms for low income families with children. During this period absolute child poverty did not fall”.

For child poverty in working families, the Government’s report is even more scathing, when it states (page 13) “To halve the number of children in households experiencing in-work poverty the total needed to fall by 800,000 between 1998/99 and 2010/11. In reality it only fell by 300,000 from 1.7 million to 1.4 million”.

The Labour Government had a truly miserable record in reducing child poverty, the worst record in Western Europe. This much is stated in black and white and no amount of bluster by Cllr MacCormack can dispute this.

And where on earth did Cllr MacCormack get the idea that it took the Labour Government “11 years of work” to enact the Child Poverty Act of 2010? With cross-party support, including enthusiastic support by Angus Brendan MacNeil, it took just 181 days to pass through the House of Commons. (http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2008-09/childpoverty/stages.html).

The Bill could have been enacted in 1997. The fact that it took the Labour Party 13 years shows just where ending child poverty lies in Labour’s list of priorities.

Dr David Wilson

Press Officer

SNP Lewis branch

Tolsta Chaolais

Isle of Lewis HS2 9DW


More cuts to services

Now the election euphoria for the SNP is beginning to vanish we’re left with the realities, they lost the independence referendum and they didn’t get Cameron out of Westminster.

They still talk of another referendum, possibly at next year’s Holyrood elections, they’re not satisfied with what has been promised to them in the Smith report, they want further powers.

Sturgeon says of Cameron it simply cannot be business as usual, forgetting the UK Tories have the majority of the Westminster seats.

It may be a slender majority and even though Cameron wanted to concede to SNP demands it’s the English backbenchers that have to be reckoned with.

The SNP demand a cut to austerity opposite to the Tory manifesto plans for more cuts to public services, what will this achieve?

It seems the reason Cameron gave Scotland a referendum was he thought they could walk it, he said the referendum was too close and wouldn’t give another if he thought the SNP would win it.

Should the UK government vote to leave the EU and Scotland wishes to stay in it, couldn’t the Scottish electorate set up a referendum on independence again on their own? They could but it won’t do much good without the UK government go ahead. The difficulty in running our own referendum without agreement by Westminster is that the result won’t be recognised within the UK.

There won’t be any new Scottish referendum on independence even though they say that there will be, as the UK Tory government will veto it.

We must go along with their plans for us and the country and the reality is more cuts to public services - sorry.

Donald Murray

Inverness

Infrastructure

I am launching a major report outlining issues affecting the transport and logistics sector over the past year, and I will be calling on the new government to make investment in transport infrastructure a top priority.

The Freight Transport Association’s Logistics Report 2015 uses data from a number of sources, including our own in-house analysis, to help members plan for the future. Whether it’s filling supermarket shelves, supplying hospitals with essential medicines or emptying our bins, logistics affects all we do and plays a huge role in our everyday life. Without an adequate infrastructure, the industry cannot carry out this vital work.

Our message to the new government is that the needs of the logistics industry should not be ignored. From the factory floor to the kitchen table, it is logistics that will deliver sustainable growth and the government ignores it at its peril.

David Wells

Chief Executive

Freight Transport

Association

Kent TN4 9UZ

EDITORIAL - New jobs created by Lews Castle Project

There is some cheering news for the local economy this week with the announcement that around 25 new jobs will be created at Lews Castle, Stornoway as part of the development of the accommodation and hospitality element.

Luxury self catering specialists Natural Retreats are in town this week to conduct information sessions for those interested in hearing about job opportunities and potential for local businesses. The hospitality parts of the Castle are due to open in September with accommodation opening September 2016.

Although local employment statistics reflect a fall in unemployment from a high of over 600 several years ago to 386 claiming Job Seekers Allowance now there are fears that this doesn’t mean local job creation, but in fact reflects people moving away from the islands to look for work. So this news of a boost to the jobs market can only be welcomed.

In a separate strand of news about the project there are fears by businesses locally that the new accommodation provider may impact on already established businesses.

But given the Islands’ continuing attraction as a visitor destination and the fact that currently accommodation can be hard to find at the height of the season the signs are healthy for the economy, both for job creation and established businesses.

If you would like to comment, or write a letter on this topic, or any other contact me at: news@stornowaygazette.co.uk