Public deserve more than ‘political rhetoric’

In his letter to the Hawick News last week it is now clear that Mr Wheelhouse MSP agrees with Mr Lamont MSP that it is scandalous 685 children in the Hawick wards are living in poverty.

He then goes on to analyse the reasons for this situation and apportions blame on Tory benefit cuts.

No doubt Mr Lamont will duly respond by blaming the previous Labour government and so it goes on.

As well as being an MSP, Mr Wheelhouse happens to be an economist of some repute and knows full well that there are
a number of underlying causes for the situation he
rightly describes as scanda-lous.

As mentioned in my letter published two weeks ago, the residents of Teviotdale and Liddesdale for a decade now have been amongst the lowest paid in Scotland.

Since 2008, according to the Office of National Statistics, their standard of living, along with those in Perthshire, has dropped faster than in any other part of Scotland.

May I suggest to Mr Wheelhouse that cuts to benefits which have yet to take place cannot be blamed for the current situation but will certainly make it much worse when they do take effect in the near future.

In these times when businesses are struggling and some are failing due to the downward spiral of the economy, we should expect more than exchanges of political rhetoric from our elected representatives.

Surely now is the time for a plan of action.

This area will benefit very little from the massive expenditure on the new Forth Crossing or indeed the new Borders railway or even the trams, but it is high time we saw some government intervention locally.

Mr Wheelhouse’s experience in economics, rural affairs, environment and climate change could certainly be put to good use.

The lack of decent job opportunities means that our brightest young people have to leave the area to realize their ambitions.

Those who remain are likely to find themselves either on the low wages cycle with limited opportunity for improvement or locked into the welfare system where some regard children as a means of accessing housing and enhancing their benefit payments.

There is now clear evidence that this is one of the two areas worst affected by the recession in Scotland.

We have elected representatives whose job it is to address this situation and are in an excellent position to do so.

Child poverty is about to get worse, our elected representatives have agreed that this is a scandalous situation, so we must ask what are they actually going to do about addressing the underlying causes?

ANDREW FARQUHAR