'IN the world of politics most attention is now very much focussed on the General Election and understandably so, given what is at stake.

The levels of wage stagnation that hard working people are experiencing is not an accident but a direct result of seven years of failed Tory austerity which also impacts on economic growth. If the Tories are allowed to get away with it this will get worse under the hard Brexit proposals of Theresa May which does threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs.

At the same time the SNP have completely taken their eye of the ball in pursuit of a second divisive Independence Referendum which is ludicrous at this time when we do not know the implications of Brexit and would put hundreds of thousands of more jobs at risk with the threat of pulling out of our largest single market – the rest of the UK. Our NHS in Scotland is struggling to cope with shortages of GPs, Consultants and Nurses whilst in education the failure to workforce plan means there is just not enough teachers and sadly the focus seems to have been lost when it comes to supporting teaching and learning. The SNP have been in charge of health and education for the last ten years and they are letting Scotland down, not standing up for us as they claim.

Worst of all last week was the figures which showed the massive rise in poverty not just in Scotland but across the whole of the UK. The Tories have slashed the value of child benefit, in 10 years to 2020 it will rise by just 2% whilst prices will have risen by 35%. This is why Scottish Labour has put forward a proposal to use the new powers of the Edinburgh Parliament and increase child benefit by £5 a week helping hard pressed families. Child poverty rose to 260,000 in Scotland this year and incredibly 180,000 of them are in families where at least one parent is in work. It is one thing to keep demanding more powers but it is another to use those powers something the SNP seem unwilling to do.

So in this election there are clear choices, we can choose to continue the politics of division whilst doing nothing to meet the big challenges as the SNP are doing, or there is the Tories with continued failed austerity creating more inequality, more wage stagnation and more poverty or Labour who will use power to create a more fair and more just society for the many'.