Devolution can work



Time and again the Scottish Labour Party has called on the SNP to use the significant resource and powers under devolution to help ordinary working people.


In turn the SNP has failed to pay heed to these calls blaming the UK Government for all the problems that Scots face.


However, last week there was a glimmer of hope that at long last they are beginning to face up to the responsibilities of government.


Remember how they said the only way to end the Bedroom Tax was through Independence?  Well, last week the Parliament effectively scrapped the tax by agreeing to mitigate its effects.


Remember when they said that Scotland’s drug access program was world leading and did not need to be improved? Well, last week, following considerable pressure they announced a major shake-up of that very program. Sixty new medicines will now be made available for those with rare conditions and terminal illnesses benefiting over 1,600 people in the first year.


You may also recall that despite the huge drop in student numbers – 140,000 over five years – that the SNP said that there was nothing wrong with our college sector. Well, last week, they changed their mind and took a small step to address the problem by putting back £13 million into our colleges. We wait in hope that more will be done to restore all the funds they have taken away.


This week demonstrated that through the combination of effective opposition from Scottish Labour and the determination of campaigners, changes can be made for the better.


It also showed that devolution can work when Parliament focuses on the issues that matter to working people, rather than being distracted by the constitutional debate.