Poverty spotlight on parliamentarians

I WRITE to commend Andrew Farquhar on his letter (Public
deserve more than ‘political rhetoric’, March 15), in which he throws down the gauntlet to our two local Scottish parliamentarians, Messrs John Lamont and
Paul Wheelhouse.

Whether Mr Farquhar’s latest missive has the desired effect of
at least inititating some constructive dialogue over ways to tackle the awful situation that Hawick’s 685 poverty-hit children find themselves in,
remains to be seen, but his letter has certainly thrown the spotlight on what, if anything, Mr Lamont and Mr Wheelhouse are doing to address the problem.

Quoting figures from the
Office of National Statistics, Mr Farquhar revealed that the standard of living of those in Teviotdale and Liddesdale, along with Perthshire, has dropped faster than in any other part of Scotland since 2008. This I find appalling because the numbers suggest that we have been on this dreadful downward spiral for some five years now, yet absolutely nothing has been done to arrest such a slump.

Indeed, the poor standard of living experienced by large swathes of Teries is about to get a whole lot worse with the impending benefit cuts. But, in truth, how much worse can it really get?

Mr Farquhar quite rightly calls for government intervention
locally. Realistically, though, this just isn’t going to happen. Not when cash-hungry capital projects such as the trams, trains and Forth Crossing are having money thrown at them like there’s no tomorrow. Mr Farquhar’s “plan of action” may be Hawick’s only hope, but I certainly won’t be holding my breath.

Action is not a word I’d
associate with our local MSPs, and they’ve been unable to
formulate any sort of plan to aid Hawick, which hardly inspires
confidence for the future.