THE PUBLIC SERVICES CHALLENGE, DEBATING OUR NHS, TRANSFORMING RAIL IN SCOTLAND AND SCOTTISH CONSUMER RIGHTS
Welcome to Issue 22. We hope you enjoy this week's articles - we are interested in similar contributions from others in differing policy areas. If you have a perspective you would like to share in a future issue please contact us. As always, we welcome comment and contributions. Please contact us if you would like to discuss advertising in or writing for a future edition at email@example.com. Issue 23 will be published in two weeks' time and fortnightly thereafter.
Twenty years on from the establishment of the Scottish Parliament, much is made of Scotland’s distinctive approach to public services. There’s no doubt that there are some real successes, like the Scottish Government’s approach to social security, where the rhetoric of dignity, respect and fairness has so far been matched by the reality. But Scotland is facing the same headwinds that are affecting public services all over the world. And we are more exposed than ever before, as the Scottish Government is now responsible for taxes that fund around 40% of devolved spending.
The issue of whether our railways should be nationalized never seems to be far from discussion. However, the actual situation regarding trains, tracks and ownership in Scotland is a little more complicated than simply a public/ private sector debate.
Consumer advocacy has a proud history in Scotland. Forty years of championing consumers by the Scottish Consumer Council and its successor bodies until the sad closure of Consumer Futures in 2014. These bodies had a hugely impressive track record, achieving significant impact across diverse topics, time after time shaping public policy in the interests of consumers and demonstrating an unshakeable commitment to social justice alongside a willingness to tackle difficult issues and powerful interests.
“During times of universal deceit, the truth becomes revolutionary.” So said George Orwell, whose quote applies perfectly to one of Scotland’s most important and sometimes controversial policy areas. In our national discourse on the NHS, we are far from reaching the revolutionary truth, however we are certainly living in a time of universal deceit. Healthcare is the single devolved policy area in which there is effectively no policy discussion.
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