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To Each According to their Needs

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

“Scotland must again have independence; the country must have one clan, a united people working in co-operation” – John McLean

Around a fifth of Scots live in poverty and poverty rates have been increasing since 2014.

One in four children (240,000) are living in poverty. Single people, single-parent families, and large families (more than three children) in particular suffer increased levels with a third living in poverty.

Deep poverty (50% of median income) has now reached similar levels to those found 20 years ago with 14% of people in Scotland having far less than what is needed to make ends meet.

And, Scotland is at the mercy of the most unprincipled, corrupt Tory government ever, a government intent on lining the pockets of the rich while curtailing the human rights of the rest.

While the ‘party of independence’ does nothing to advance the independence cause. Instead, they have settled down at Westminster and in Holyrood, counting their cash and ignoring the despair of the people they are meant to represent.

Scotland has been slowly retreating into the shadows and the dream is dying.

In 2014 Scots from the working-class areas registered to vote many for the first time at last they had something to vote for. They had one chance, one opportunity to vote ‘Yes’ to independence. The boxes came back from those housing schemes full of Hope.

The new Scotland, the better Nation for one day on 18th September 2014 was within their grasp.

The Scots that had grown up through the Thatcher de-industrialisation of Scotland, when Scotland struck oil and discovered foodbanks when unemployment reached 15% and Scotland’s wealth was sucked South to fund a loadsamoney ‘greed is good’ boom for the London fat cats.

The Scots that had paid the austerity price for the folly of the rich.

The young mothers sang ‘Flower of Scotland’ as they marched to the polling station with their bairns in buggies, voting to give their children the greatest gift of all - a country of their own.

The SNP promised ‘Bairns Not Bombs', and the social justice of the Common Weal’s ‘All of Us First’. But once the ballots were counted the working-class were abandoned.

It is hard to determine what Sturgeon’s political ideals are other than vacuous virtue signaling, selfies, and the destruction of women’s rights. She pursues a safe neo-liberal agenda, no land reform, no council tax reform, nothing to address structural inequalities, nothing that might upset Westminster.

She was handed a united Yes movement, almost total political dominance and during the best opportunity for Scottish independence in over 300 years, did nothing and the Yes movement let her. We were the generation called upon to be great and we failed.

Those brave working-class Scots who voted Yes have been so badly let down. We do not yet have the powers of independence but we can do what is in our power to improve their lives. They deserved so much more.

The ALBA Party is advocating for a council tax freeze fully funded by the Scottish government and in the upcoming council elections ALBA will be campaigning for a five-point plan to tackle poverty:

  • A £500 annual payment to every low income household in Scotland

  • Universal free lunches and breakfasts to all nursery, primary and secondary pupils in Scotland, provided on an all year round basis.

  • A doubling of the Educational Maintenance Allowance to assist 30,000 of school and college students from poorer families to continue in education.

  • Universal free access to sports facilities for the under 18s benefiting 1 million children.

  • Increase the Scottish Child Payment to £40 per week for 400,000 children in a quarter of a million households.

The ALBA Party General Secretary Chris McEleny recently explained on Twitter how these policies will benefit the poorest Scots and how they can be paid for:

“It would take 2.46% of the Scottish government's budget to fund these measures. Politics are about priorities and if tackling poverty & deprivation are priorities to the Scottish Parliament then they should fund them at the expense of many policies aimed at Scotland’s middle class.

The Educational Maintenance allowance has been at the same rate for nearly two decades and kids are financially penalised if they don’t make 100% attendance. It would only cost £23M to double it and that would benefit 30,000 of Scotland’s poorest young people in education.

Nearly 500,000 would benefit from the £500 annual payment to those in receipt of council tax relief because of their income. This would make water charges free to them and leave extra to pay other bills.

Free access to sports facilities would benefit 1M kids. Obesity has upwards of £4bn impact on productivity and costs the NHS up to £600M a year. This policy would cost £250M a year, would reduce NHS costs, and remove the financial barriers to accessing sports.

Free school meals to all primary schools are already on their way after years of campaigning, it makes no sense to end this at high school when the school day gets even more expensive.

The £40 child payment would benefit 400,000 children across 250,000 households. It will stop more children from falling into poverty and ensure we start drastically reducing poverty. £20 a week is a start but it doesn’t go far enough.

Poverty is the biggest barrier to equality. Poverty is not an accident it is man-made and can be removed by our actions. In May vote for ALBA’s five-point plan to tackle poverty and for independence.

Only independence will truly meet the needs of Scots. With independence we can create that better nation; one clan working in co-operation and putting all of us first.

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