Which currency would you like to be skint in?

TWO events occurred this week at opposite ends of the money matrix.

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First, we had Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, taking the road north to Edinburgh talking high finance and international trade over Alex Salmond's plan to keep the pound in a currency union with the UK if Scotland votes for independence.

Then today, we have the Welfare Reform Committee on the plight of those hit by the bedroom tax, who are unable to afford the £40 a month George Osborne is taking from them.

Although Alex Johnstone, the Tory MSP on the committee probably didn't agree, the Committee concluded the 'tax' was "iniquitous and inhumane".

It is similar to what a Glasgow Housing official said when it was introduced last April branding it "cruel and unfair".

Everyone except the Tories and the Department for Work and Pensions seem to understand that now.

We know there are not enough smaller houses for people to downsize to. We know there are not enough jobs for everyone to have one at the same time and the DWP solution of taking in a lodger is ludicrous.

Or as one MSP on the committee said to a senior official "claptrap".

Many people are trapped by this, unable to avoid the cut in housing benefit, so like any budget the cash has to come from somewhere else.

People are having to use money that would be spent on something else to pay the extra rent now required. It is little wonder that the use of food banks is increasing at an alarming rate.

Similarly, to try and ease the problem, the Scottish Government has found £20m this year and again the next to help people with the shortfall.

It is not enough, but it is as much as John Swinney is allowed, using the UK Government rules.

So it will have to find another mechanism for providing extra cash if it is to fully mitigate the cost of the bedroom tax.

Once again this is using money that could be better spent on other priorities in order to pay for George Osborne's cuts.

Back to Mr Carney, who said Scots would have to give up some powers to keep the pound and have a currency union with the UK.

The same would apply if we used the Euro with European Central Bank setting the rules of the game.

Another report was issued recently, this time by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which showed the number of people living below the minimum income standard has increased by 20% in the last three years.

Younger, single people were most affected and single parents hit hard also with private rents an issue.

What is the connection between these three events, I hear you ask.

Well it struck me that for far too many people the row over using the pound, euro or some new Scottish coin is this.

Which currency would you most like to be skint in?

Finance

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