Vote for Food Bank Economy? Yes or No – You Decide

Is a vote for No a vote for a Food Bank Economy? Aileen Campbell and David Mundell answer this weighty reader's question.
Is a vote for No a vote for a Food Bank Economy? Aileen Campbell and David Mundell answer this weighty reader's question.
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The fourteenth question from the Carluke and Lanark Gazette’s Independence Debate, answered by Clydesdale MSP Aileen Campbell and Clydesdale MP David Mundell, asks whether a No vote will secure a food bank economy.

Aileen and David kindly agreed to debate the case for Yes and No at the Gazette’s Independence Debate in Lanark Memorial Hall on May 26.

They were only too happy to answer questions posed by our readers that we couldn’t quite get through on the night, thanks to a heated meeting which 420 people attended!

So, just a matter of hours before Carluke and Lanark Gazette readers go to the polls to decide on independence, we’re bringing you their responses.

Each hour on the hour, between 8am and 10pm today, we’ll post one of the answers to a question posed by a Gazette reader.

For each question posed, we will give one opinion from the Yes camp and one from the No camp.

Question: If we vote No, the only guaranteed results will be £25 billion in cuts to welfare, benefits and services, the abolition of the Barnett Formula and five more years of austerity. George Osborne and Ed Balls have both signed up for this. This means five more years of the rich getting richer and the poor suffering. What is the point in voting for a Food Bank Economy?

Aileen Campbell, Yes campaign: It is a scandal that a country as rich as Scotland has children and families relying on food banks for their basic and everyday requirements. And spending obscene amounts of money on Trident nuclear weapons while 100,000 children stand to be forced into poverty as a result of welfare reforms is abhorrent. It doesn’t have to be like this. With the powers of independence, we can create the type of country we want now and for future generations. We can create a fairer, more prosperous country that cares for its vulnerable citizens and has at its heart the priorities and principles of people in Scotland. The referendum is not a vote about independence versus the status quo – far from it. A ‘no’ vote risks undoing all the gains we have made as a country through devolution and threatens further heartache and pain through the austerity measures which all Westminster parties have pledged to continue to impose.

David Mundell, No campaign: The UK Government has made it clear that there are no plans to abolish the Barnett formula. Yes, there are still difficult decisions to take in order to reduce the deficit but the alternatives are far more painful. If we didn’t get our debt under control interest rates on mortgages would have gone up, leaving families across Scotland in danger of losing their homes and unemployment would have continued to rise. Instead, we have seen our economy grow and thousands of new jobs created. I believe that work remains the best way out of poverty for most people and it is important that we have a welfare system that supports that principle. Here in Scotland, the Scottish Government and the SNP must take their share of responsibility, as they already have significant powers and funds to tackle poverty and promote social justice. The sad truth is that this seems to come second to their plans for separation and rather than face up to the real challenges we face, the SNP would rather blame someone else.