ANDREW McKie ("A maximum wage would do nothing to help the poor", The Herald, October 20) attacks the idea of a maximum wage, arguing that cutting the apparently undeserved and sometimes outrageous incomes of a few at the top would do nothing to raise the salaries of those at the bottom.

One alternative redress for inequality which is rarely discussed is Wage Ratio Legislation (WRL).

This should be based not on the ratio between a nationally imposed minimum or maximum wage, but on the ratio between the salaries of the most highly paid person and the most lowly paid person in any single organisation.

This would cut inequality both directly, by narrowing the range within salary scales, and indirectly by giving the bosses of an organisation a personal interest in maintaining levels of salaries amongst their own workers at the lower end.

Boosting low earnings by applying a ratio rather than a fixed sum is inflation-proof, unlike minimum/maximum wage legislation which has to be regularly updated.

Other countries have considered WRL. In 2013 the Swiss Government held a referendum about legislating for a wage ratio of 12:1. Result: 35 per cent in favour.

Dr Naomi Eisenstadt, the Scottish Government’s independent advisor on poverty, proposed WRL in her 2016 report Shifting the Curve. However, wage regulation is a power still reserved to the UK Government.

In 2011 David Cameron's UK Government commissioned the Hutton Review on Low Pay in the Public Sector. They backed a national 20:1 pay ratio. As a result most UK public sector bodies now have to disclose their pay ratios. However in the absence of legislation, nothing is enforced.

Perhaps Wage Ratio Legislation is an idea whose time has come.

Mary McCabe, Glasgow G31.


I NOTE the letter from Dave Morris (October 21) regarding providing rest areas when dualling the A9.(Rethink A9 dualling works)

As one who was involved in the original rebuild of the A9 in the 1970s, I well recall the furore there was from the towns and villages on the chosen route with consequential pressure from councillors that this route would deprive the shops and restaurants of passing trade. This resulted in the proposed rest areas being deleted from the initial proposals put forward then. This was to force traffic into the aforementioned towns to placate the business owners at that time.

This in turn led to travellers becoming stranded in blizzards and other poor weather conditions with no ready places of safety readily available, but the councillors of that time did not appear too distressed nor did the business owners.

Hopefully the rebuild now will take full account of this issue. I would fully support the concerns raised by Mr Morris.

Allan Martin, Farr, Inverness-shire.


ALL this stooshie about the new fire alarm regulations (Letters, October 12, 15, 19 & 22). We were leafleted last week and thought we’d better act, although the regulations weren’t due to come into effect until February. Ordered the necessary alarms online which were delivered next day. The set-up procedure was simple and they are linked and working – replacing the old non-linked but working alarms.

Steve Barnet, Gargunnock.


I NOTE an interesting article by Mark Smith in support of the work of Agatha Christie, of whom I've never been a fan ("Agatha Christie’s books cosy crime? Don’t you believe it", The Herald, October 22). While she undeniably has her admirers, I've always preferred the more plausible approach of Dashiell Hammett. Raymond Chandler once memorably said that Hammett "took the murder out of the drawing room and put it back in the alley, where it belongs."

David Gray, Glasgow G11.