An observer who attended last night's Poverty Alliance hustings at the SYHA, Haddington Place, tells us the level of debate was high.

Questions and issues covered included:
  • the financing of local government;
  • central government measures to alleviate poverty versus local accountability;
  • the impact of poverty on children's health;
  • wellbeing and learning;
  • children's centres and support for early years;
  • school uniform grants;
  • working motherhood;
  • poverty-proofing government measures;
  • custodial sentencing and rehabilitation policy;
  • dealing with the root causes of poverty versus tinkering round the edges.
Broadly, there was cross party agreement on the living wage of £7.15.

Attending were: Sheila Low (Scottish Conservative), Malcolm Chisholm (Scottish Labour),  Alison Johnstone (Scottish Green), Shirley-Anne Somerville (Scottish National), Jacquie Bell (Scottish Liberal-Democrat), Ken O'Neill (Independent), Catriona Grant (Scottish Socialist Party). John Dickie (Head of Child Poverty Action Group, Scotland – pictured standing – chaired.)

'Some spoke better than others, no-one disgraced themselves,' commented our Labour-leaning correspondent, 'although the Tory, Sheila Low, seemed to focus on the role of schools and education, and a simple view of wealth creation, as the sole solutions to the problems.'

Whatever your party allegiance or non-aligned scepticism, Spurtle welcomes your Broughton election thoughts, irritations and observations.