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Our Man in Westminster: The choices governments make matter, and the motivations behind their decisions matter

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Drew Hendry MP.
Drew Hendry MP.

As your Member of Parliament, I work with people impacted by the UK social security system every day.

Both parents work, but they still can’t afford to put food on their tables because of low wages and rising living costs.

People living with disabilities fighting tooth and nail to get personal independence payment support; despite many of them having conditions their doctors say will never improve or will worsen.

A policy that forces women to prove they were raped to justify additional support for a child and another that asks people diagnosed with a terminal illness to prove they only have six months to live to get fast-tracked access to financial aid.

The choices governments make matter, and the motivations behind their decisions matter. The effects of a policy change will reverberate through our society, and there is no better example of this than how a government approaches social security.

This UK Tory government is choosing these policies while fully understanding the impacts their decisions have on those with the least.

Here in Scotland, we are making different choices with the powers we have. By putting our society’s wellbeing at the heart of policy, the SNP Scottish Government is already delivering policies to create a fairer society. From Scottish Child Payment and Best Start Grants to investment in adult social care, progressive wellbeing- centred policies are the foundations for a better way forward.

The newly published social justice and fairness commission SNP report offers a route map for going even further in an independent Scotland. The report offers us an alternative to the decisions currently in the hands of Westminster. One where, with full powers, a government of Scotland can implement progressive policies that have the nation’s wellbeing at heart.

We have seen first-hand the outcomes of UK policies that seek to punish the vulnerable in our society – this report shows us we can choose a different path.

One predicated on the value that we are a caring and compassionate society. One that shows we understand that investing in childhood isn’t just good for the child’s outcomes; it is good for our community, our public services and our economy.

The famous quote by Gandhi, still rings true: “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” He was right in his assessment of society, and two very different parliaments are offering you two very different futures.

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