Facing disastrous economic figures, Chancellor Osborne has warned that
it is an independent Scotland that would threaten sterling CARTOON: Norrie Stewart
Scottish News: Dramatic rise in Scots needing food banks as UK crisis policies failing
The number of Scots in need of emergency food banks has doubled in the last year, warned a leading charity, raising fears that Westminster austerity policies and the UK debt crisis is causing a social and economic collapse endangering the welfare of Scottish families with children being the primary victims.
The Trussell Trust has set alarm bells ringing releasing new figures showing that 14,318 people in Scotland required emergency food help during 2012-13 which was more than double the figures, 5,726, from the previous year. The trust indicated that in almost a third of all cases those needing emergency food were children.
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There are now over 300 food banks across Britain which provide more than three days of emergency food supplies to citizens suffering a financial crisis.
As the government's austerity programme, caused by policies aimed at shoring up a failed financial system, leads to many more families experiencing hardship, the government is giving the banks more money via low interest rates and quantitative easing (money printing) policies which drive up price inflation on survival items such as fuel, bills and food and reduce savings which in business creates high value jobs.
A new report out today shows that Scottish manufactuing output has fallen sharply over the last few months by a net twenty-three percent leading to a huge loss in optimism in the sector - related to exporting - which is critical to underpinning the balance of trade and therefore the nation's currency.
Judith Robertson of Oxfam Scotland, commented: "These shocking figures show that a perfect storm of spiralling living costs, lack of decent, secure jobs and benefit changes are making it impossible for many people to feed themselves or their families...It's clear there is a massive hole in the safety net when so many more people are being forced to rely on emergency food handouts."
UK crisis policies counter-productive
These Westminster policies, aimed at cutting government debt, look certain to deepen as the UK economy was downgraded by another ratings agency, Fitch, last week and the IMF slashed its UK growth forecast.
Despite these policies the UK's debt load continues to sky-rocket while Chancellor Osborne claimed that the independence debate could endanger sterling. The announcement is a further sign, say Nationalists, that the treasury is co-ordinating announcements with the Better Together campaign against the case for Scottish independence.
The Better Together campaign had rested its own economic case on the notion that Scotland should stick with the UK's economic strength and stability however with the proliferation of food banks and Britain being described as a "crisis economy" by the incoming Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, those claims appear increasingly questionable.
Last year the Office of Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) forecast UK borrowing for 2012/13 to be £92bn – however the latest publication reveals the true figure to be £120.6bn – meaning Osborne has missed this target by almost £30bn which is equivalent to almost the entire Scottish block grant.
The latest Westminster warning over an independent Scotland remaining within a formal sterling zone contends that Scotland would have to restrain public spending and cut debts or face the possibility that the treasury may refuse to agree to a formal currency union with a new independent Scottish government saying it would not be “worth it”.
However with the latest figures showing the UK's debt load mounting rapidly having risen by around £600bn (30 times the Scottish parliament budget) since the start of the financial crisis while the Scottish government has managed a surplus, Alex Salmond is accusing George Osborne of ‘sabre-rattling’ in order to kibosh a 'yes' vote in the referendum - an accusation which would show up Westminster to be manipulating Scotland's referendum campaign.
Last week, leading Scottish economist, Jim Cuthbert warned that sterling may be profoundly unsound and argued that the Scottish government should adopt a separate currency in order to avoid the dangerous consequences of a potential crash of sterling saying Scotland would be exposed to the "high likelihood of a potentially catastrophic crisis in the not-too-distant future".
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