CHANNEL 4 News recently did a piece about a damning report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) about poverty that revealed the extent of hardship and desperation across the UK, describing it as social failure at scale.

Households defined as being in relative poverty have less than 60% of the median income. The report found that for a single parent with two bairns, that would be less than £294 per week. For a single person, it’s less than £174 per week. Fourteen million people in the UK are in this bracket. However, more than six million of these are in very deep poverty which is less than 40% of the median income. That’s less than £196 per week for a single parent with two bairns and less than £116 a week for a single person.

Rachelle Earwaker, a senior economist with the JRF, was interviewed by Channel 4. She stated: “A level of really deep poverty in the UK has been rising and what that means is that more and more people have been moving away further and further from the poverty line and we find that around six million people on average would need to double their income just to meet the poverty line.

READ MORE: Plaid Cymru: Scottish Child Payment should be replicated in Wales

“That should shock us. What we have also seen is that over the past 20 years, over consecutive governments, over six different prime ministers, we still haven’t seen a sustained fall in poverty in the UK.”

That, in my view, is a total abomination in a country that is meant to be one of the “richest” in the world! (Aye, rich for whom?) I dug out the JRF report online, titled “UK Poverty 2024” and published on January 23. I was astounded to find right near the top of the report, a graph showing that from 1994/95 up to 2021/22, bairns consistently had the highest poverty rate. Then I found the following, which outside of The National/Sunday National, you are highly unlikely to read or watch in any UK or “Scottish” press and media.

It stated: “Child poverty rates in Scotland (24%) remain much lower than those in England (31%) and Wales (28%) and are similar (if slightly higher) than in Northern Ireland (22%). This is likely to be due, at least in part, to the Scottish Child Payment. This highlights the effect benefits can have in reducing poverty.”

So the Scottish Child Payment introduced by Nicola Sturgeon’s (below) government almost three years ago is most definitely getting the thumbs up by the JRF! Since the statistics just went up to 2021/2022, surely there is a fair chance that gap between child poverty levels compared to England and Wales will be even higher now, almost two years on! Did Nicola and the SNP get any credit for this on our airwaves? Naw, nae chance!

The National: Nicola Sturgeon

So, returning to the general point described by the JRF as “social failure at scale”, why has this happened? Please allow me a bit of alliteration here as I think the following just sums it up to a tee: It’s caused by cancerous, callous capitalism and corruption perpetrated by c***s (the last “c” word is very naughty and would not be published but you get my drift!).

Abrupt change of subject. I really felt I had to comment on the treatment at the UK Covid Inquiry of the former first minister, along with her colleagues, that helped ease this child poverty in Scotland, unlike in England!

READ MORE: UK Covid Inquiry will feed innocents to the lions

I’ll be brief. Yes, some mistakes were made – as they were with politicians throughout the UK and the world – during the pandemic. However, Nicola, in my view, made decisions – after very long hours of hard work and soul-searching – in good faith, with the best of intentions, considering the welfare of all of us who live in Scotland.

Personally, if I had to make these life-and-death decisions, I would be a total gibbering nervous wreck by now! Oh, and two other words definitely come to mind in relation to recent events – LYNCH MOB!
Ivor Telfer
Dalgety Bay, Fife

I COMPLETELY agree with John Vosper (Letters, February 1, 2024) when he calls for a massive poster campaign with short, punchy messages on the benefits of independence to undecided voters across Scotland.

The series of white papers on independence recently produced by the SNP will never be read by anyone outside a tiny minority of the political establishment and certainly not by the great majority of voters.

At the moment, there appears to be no real attempt to get the message out and the last 10 years of uninspiring drift continues with the slow decline of support for the SNP, although support for independence remains strong.
James Duncan