I HAVE been struck by statistics from the Trussell Trust highlighting the fact that the use of food banks in Scotland has risen by 20 per cent in the last year.

In addition, the Austerity Generation, a report just released by the Child Poverty Action Group, as reported by The National, has revealed one million more children will be driven into poverty by the end of the decade as a result of the UK Government’s welfare reforms.

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also recently noted that the UK Government had acted with total neglect when it came to the rights of disabled people.

However, these rises in child poverty, homelessness, hunger and undue harm to people with disabilities are not enough to make Theresa May’s Government reverse its devastating policies.

Contrast this with the revelations from the Paradise Papers, which highlight politicians, celebrities and companies protecting their cash from the taxman and hiding their financial dealings. These even extend to the Queen, with £10 million of her fortune invested in an offshore tax haven in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

So, while we have a Tory Government fixated on tackling what is the relatively minor financial issue of benefit fraud, it seems more than a little lax in closing the loopholes that ensure that those, many of whom coincidentally are Tory supporters and donors, are able to squirrel their money away offshore.

Our moral compass as a nation is seriously askew, as we have a government seeking to balance its budget on the back of the most vulnerable, while many of the wealthiest seek to avoid their tax obligations.

Alex Orr


WE owe a debt to the German newspaper the Suddeutsche Zeitung as it starts to trawl through the millions of documents in the Paradise Papers. It is noticeable that every hour or so a new revelation hits the online press, a new revelation about a person or titular individual or celeb who has used the system. Theresa May has refused to initiate further probes or even set up a register of such offshore companies. She takes refuge in her usual wooden rendering of “people should pay the tax that is due”. Now there is a conundrum! Tax due under which fiscal system? In which British overseas tax (avoidance) haven?

The UK Government, we are told by its spokespersons, has been able to increase the amounts of tax being collected from avoiders and evaders. Having a list of such companies in British overseas territories would enable probes to be undertaken more easily and would enable the Government to identify the persons directly or indirectly involved.

The elusive circumlocutory reason for not probing further given by Theresa May is that we are now recovering more tax is a non-sequitur. Perhaps she is feart that more information may surface implicating government investment practitioners? Or is she simply clueless and merely reacting to events?

Yet, May must beware. The information from the Suddeutsche Zeitung files is coming constantly on stream, with more revelations by the hour. This could rebound and show May’s decision not to have full oversight to be negligent. Will that be that her possible Waterloo moment?

The current government is really on a shoogly nail. On top of the tax evasion revelations, it is detached from reality on a number of issues ranging from Brexit to sex scandals as well as ministerial failings, such as the actions of Priti Patel. The UK Westminster settlement post-1688/89 is crumbling fast.

John Edgar