Mike Vickers' Blog

February 19, 2015

Scotland’s Future Sharing in Growth and Prosperity – Jim Murphy at the DHI

Filed under: DHI SPIF, Left Politics, Politics, Scotland — derryvickers @ 8:36 am

Jim Murphy at the David Hume Institute

The fourth lecture by Scottish Political Leaders

Jim Murphy provided a somewhat erratic lecture; he would have been better if he had not had to refer to his notes so much; he was more relaxed in responding to the questions.

His central theme was ‘Inequality’ in Scotland and how Labour would change / mitigate it.

  1. Inequality is corrosive
  2. Inequality spans the whole life from school onwards.  In the poorest schools only 1 in 5 pupils gets more than 5 O grades.  Only 200 pupils in total  from the poorest families in Scotland get to University
  3. The poor live 9 years less than the richest
  4. The Pay of Glasgow workers is down £1,800 in real terms since the crash.  Families in work have to rely on food banks to survive
  5. We can’t afford so many jobless workers; their tax is needed to cover the growth in pensioners and to fund better schools for the poorest.  But it’s not just the money it’s to give people dignity.
  6. 74,000 workers in Scotland are on zero hours contracts
  7. Labour in power would tackle the 20 schools in the poorest areas – not only to bring on the pupils but also their mums so that they can help their children with their homework
  8. Politicians need to be honest and tough to come up with the money.  There’s the Mansion Tax for houses valued at 2million or more; 50p in the £ for the high earners; tax on bonus.  But the middle class though will not be affected – Murphy mention the middle class a number of times (whether he felt in talking to the DHI he was largely talking to ‘the middle class’)
  9. The cash from Taxation will flow from the South to the North and may be from the West of the Cities to the East but Murphy sees no real fight
  10. Scotland has to recognise that North Sea Oil is a dying commodity but we need to cash in on expertise such as Oil Platform decommissioning
  11. More generally science and technology needs boosting from primary school onwards.  It is essential that Scotland remains well educated – world competition is inexorably growing
  12. One 1% of university graduates set up their own business after graduation
  13. Social care needs to move from the hospitals to the home
  14. Democracy needs to be devolved to the Cities
  15. The Financial sector remains a key industry for Scotland – it was only the tiny section of the top executives that created the bank collapse.  In questioning Murphy said the Labour government had had no option but to bail out the banks.

Murphy summed up his ethics as Social Justice and growth in the economy, not only for us but for our children.

Inequality is the ‘flavour of the month’  of all political parties and not just in the UK but throughout the Western World; as Murphy says help for the poorest has to be funded from somewhere but whether Labour’s somewhat Robin Hood approach would deliver the funding remains unclear.

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