13th July, 2015
A Divided World
When Roman Abramovich’s super-yacht sailed into the River Clyde just over a week ago, it provided a stark reminder of the divided world in which we live.
On the same day it arrived, I attended the Trussell Trust’s foodbank at Tesco’s Port Glasgow store, for families who can’t afford the groceries, let alone a multi-million pounds yacht.
The huge gulf which exists between the rich and poor is not the fault of those at the bottom. It is a result of the political decisions made by those at the top.
Those governments with the will power and a belief in redistribution can act to reduce inequality. Here at home the Scottish Government could use the real and substantive powers it has to make a difference.
For a start, it could ensure that people earning below the Living Wage get a pay rise. There are over six thousand jobs in Inverclyde that would benefit from this. With rents and poverty levels soaring in our private rented sector it could also put a stop to rip off rent rises.
The UK government has a very important role to play too. For one, it needs to find a better way to reduce the deficit. Its decision announced in last week’s budget to cut tax credits will hit hundreds of working families in Inverclyde who are struggling to get buy.
Inequality is not only bad for the individual. Its impact can be felt throughout society. It demotivates the workforce. It slows down economic growth. And it puts huge pressure on our public services.
Both governments therefore need to make the right political choices and take concerted action to reduce poverty. There has to be a better way for us all.