I met someone the other day I hadn't seen for many years and we got chatting about growing up in Clydebank, and although there were happy recollections about the ad hoc jobs we did, paper or milk rounds, collecting empty bottles etc, and that any money we earned, apart from a shilling or two, went to our mothers. We agreed that life wasn't all that easy during the 50s and 60s, and even at a young age we were acutely aware of the many hardships families faced.
People weren't well off, there were high levels of poverty, it was a struggle for many people just to survive. Decades before banks liked to say 'yes', the pawnshop was the only way people could get money to see them through to the the end of the week.
Although in our modern society people are generally better off, it seems like we are heading back to those shameful years as pawnshops are on the increase and some people are having to resort to pay-day loans to see them through to the end of the month and paying huge interest rates for the privilege; foodbanks are being used more frequently, even some churches are finding that more families are coming to them for assistance.
The fact is, poverty still exists, for example, a few months ago the Post highlighted that child poverty is very high in this area, over 30 per cent, which is almost unbelievable in the 21st Century.
We can't ignore this issue, I believe that in any just and fair society we have a duty to ensure that all in our community, regardless of age, should receive support in equal measure.
How do we attain this? How do we achieve equality and rid ourselves of any aspect of poverty? How do we move on as a society when we have an unjust taxation system wherby those who are on subsistence level incomes struggle.
We've had the iniquity of the poll tax and now the bedroom tax has been thrust upon us, which will affect almost 3,000 people within our community.
Therefore, in terms of the public purse, unless there is a u-turn on this policy it seems we will accumulate more debt, because if some don't, or can't pay this latest tax, it will inevitably impact on all social landlords and their already over-stretched budgets.
In terms of the council's collection rates, the vast majority of us will have to bear the burden of any financial shortfall, or face the possibility of cuts in public services, ergo, the never ending vicious circle continues.
I wish I had all the answers, but I do have some basic advice and a few questions for those in charge. Will you please stop blaming each other for the mess we're in and deal with it! It is totally divisive, and why are the banks still paying out huge bonuses despite being bailed out by public money? Also, why are the big multi-national companies getting away with paying as little tax as they can, whereas ordinary hard-working people are paying their dues?
Sort out those anomalies and recoup what is owed to UK plc before imposing unfair taxes on those who don't have the means to pay.
There isn't enough space in this newspaper to list the companies or certain highly paid individuals who benefit from legitimate loopholes in the tax system to avoid paying their fair share.