Eilidh Whiteford


SNP Debate to Focus on "Fairness and Inequality"

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Commenting in advance of a House of Commons debate today (Tuesday) held by the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru and the Green party in which the motion for debate will be ‘Fairness and Inequality’, Dr Eilidh Whiteford MP, SNP Welfare and Pensions spokesperson, said:

"We are having this debate at Westminster because the Westminster system is driving so much of the inequality and unfairness blighting our society which has got us into this sorry state. In September this year people in Scotland have a choice of two futures, and today’s debate will focus on the dangers for Scotland of remaining in a system in which austerity, cuts and even greater inequality appear to be the only things on offer from a No vote. The Westminster system is letting Scotland down badly, and in the referendum we have an opportunity to change the future and create a fairer and more prosperous society.

"We live in a country brimming with resources and talent but also a country where in the last 40 years the gap between rich and poor has widened at alarming rates, and where men still make up the vast majority of top earners and women are still far more likely to work in low skilled, low paid jobs. Westminster governments, over many years, have allowed these inequalities to grow and show no signs of reversing the trend.

“The Scottish Government with the current powers available to it has taken a number of steps to boost jobs and fairness. These include the modern apprenticeship programme which is doing so much in terms of skilling young people. The fact that the Scottish Government, uniquely in these islands, has a minister dedicated to youth unemployment, that child poverty has fallen more rapidly in Scotland than any other part of the UK, and that a higher proportion of women are in employment in Scotland, are all part of - and results of - that different approach.

"The Scottish Government’s White Paper 'Scotland’s Future' outlines the step-change in childcare provision we can achieve with the full powers of an independent Scotland. It also commits to access to higher education based on ability – not wealth - with a guarantee of no tuition fees for young Scots. While Westminster debates inequality today, we can look towards a better future in an independent Scotland. The NO campaign has outlined nothing that would be a change for the better after a No – just more cuts, more austerity, and increasing inequality as the price of Westminster government in Scotland. That is why it is vital we achieve a Yes vote in September."

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