Pure potions skin salvation

A rich and steroid-free treatment for eczema, that doesn't leave a sting

£6.30, 30ml
£11, 60ml
£16.50, 120ml (£14.50 if you buy three jars or more)

Stockists: www.purepotions.co.uk, tel: 01273 623123

Launched: October 2002
Ingredients:

* produced under organic standards
 
*Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Beeswax,
*Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil,
*Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil,
Aqua (Water), Alcohol (from tinctures),
*Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract,
*Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract,
*Stellaria Media (Chickweed) Extract,
*Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract

I use this every day on my daughter’s now, mercifully, diminishing patches of eczema. It’s a steroid free salve, extremely rich and easy to apply. By that I mean it’s already soft (but, crucially when you’re dealing with children, manageable) and it doesn’t sting on application; it’s instantly soothing. This is important because there are some natural eczema creams out there that do help, but they sting when you first put them on, and this just causes more stress for babies and children. Skin Salve can be applied on any sort skin patch: elbows, knees etc, but it really excels in treating eczema.

I’m not going to pretend it cures eczema, because so far no one knows what causes it, let alone what can cure it. But it really helps soothe, and we use it every day in conjunction with the very occasional use of hydrocortisone cream for when the eczema gets too itchy.

Annalisa Barbieri was in fashion PR for five years before going to the Observer to be fashion assistant. She has worked for the Evening Standard and the Times and was one of the fashion editors on the Independent on Sunday for five years, where she wrote the Dear Annie column. She was fishing correspondent of the Independent from 1997-2004.
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Scotland's vast deficit remains an obstacle to independence

Though the country's financial position has improved, independence would still risk severe austerity. 

For the SNP, the annual Scottish public spending figures bring good and bad news. The good news, such as it is, is that Scotland's deficit fell by £1.3bn in 2016/17. The bad news is that it remains £13.3bn or 8.3 per cent of GDP – three times the UK figure of 2.4 per cent (£46.2bn) and vastly higher than the white paper's worst case scenario of £5.5bn. 

These figures, it's important to note, include Scotland's geographic share of North Sea oil and gas revenue. The "oil bonus" that the SNP once boasted of has withered since the collapse in commodity prices. Though revenue rose from £56m the previous year to £208m, this remains a fraction of the £8bn recorded in 2011/12. Total public sector revenue was £312 per person below the UK average, while expenditure was £1,437 higher. Though the SNP is playing down the figures as "a snapshot", the white paper unambiguously stated: "GERS [Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland] is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances". 

As before, Nicola Sturgeon has warned of the threat posed by Brexit to the Scottish economy. But the country's black hole means the risks of independence remain immense. As a new state, Scotland would be forced to pay a premium on its debt, resulting in an even greater fiscal gap. Were it to use the pound without permission, with no independent central bank and no lender of last resort, borrowing costs would rise still further. To offset a Greek-style crisis, Scotland would be forced to impose dramatic austerity. 

Sturgeon is undoubtedly right to warn of the risks of Brexit (particularly of the "hard" variety). But for a large number of Scots, this is merely cause to avoid the added turmoil of independence. Though eventual EU membership would benefit Scotland, its UK trade is worth four times as much as that with Europe. 

Of course, for a true nationalist, economics is irrelevant. Independence is a good in itself and sovereignty always trumps prosperity (a point on which Scottish nationalists align with English Brexiteers). But if Scotland is to ever depart the UK, the SNP will need to win over pragmatists, too. In that quest, Scotland's deficit remains a vast obstacle. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.