Friday, 6 March 2015

Craigneuk's Story

Siobhan from Craigneuk wanted to work. But she could not get low-cost childcare that would enable her to travel to a job in a call centre.

Mary, a lone parent, found it impossible to return to work: “… I’ve never been so much a financial cripple my whole entire life. If you are going to get people to go back to work, I think the priority is to make sure it’s financially feasible for these people to go back to work.”

Affordable childcare, along with education, health and other social services are part of the welfare state. The idea behind the welfare state is to share the risks amongst us all - "risk pooling" - so that the social risk that one person suffers ill health or financial hardship is shared by all of us.

In a new paper by The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a research team from Glasgow Caldeonian University, led by Professor Darinka Asenova has shown that the cut in the block grant to Scotland (11% down in real terms between 2011/12 and 2014-15) has transferred the risk back to the poor. In other words, we are not, now, sharing the risks: we are leaving the poor to suffer. Prof Asenova points out (as did Lesley Riddoch in yesterday's The National) that this has a cost to us all; increased inequality means less economic growth.

We think we have a welfare state. We don't. We have a broken state. We are breaking up, over the poor.

Time, now, finally, for Scotland to take control of welfare, taxation and its economy, so that we can start to mend the wounds we are making.

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