THE Grievance Party is never a more appropriate description of the SNP than when it is claiming that it is being hard done by when receiving additional funding.

Aberdeen has been given £20 million for a large development as part of the UK Government’s Budget ("Biggest spending rise for Scotland since devolution", The Herald, October 28). The SNP described it as smoke and mirrors. Future generations need to look closely at the SNP reaction to UK spending. It would rather the UK didn’t fund projects within Scotland as it highlights the benefit of being part of the UK.

The SNP would rather continue wasting money on overseas offices than help those of us here who are desperate for Aberdeen to get a new lease of life. What future do younger generations want for Scotland? A flashy office in Brussels or investment in their cities, making them places they want to spend time?

Jane Lax, Aberlour.


JUST when is the SNP going to grow up and abandon its tiresomely childish tactics? The Chancellor has given Scotland around £15 billion extra money over the next three years. The SNP's response to this windfall is predictably to complain. This policy of decrying anything from Westminster as a slight against devolution or similar charges, designed to garner support for independence, is infantile.

Perhaps the next referendum put to Scots voters ought to be whether to cancel devolution rather than seek independence. The rather large amount of public money saved by dissolving an under-achieving Holyrood with its huge infrastructure and running costs could be better spent elsewhere in Scotland, such as giving it to our local councils instead. They would use the money more wisely and effectively.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.


LEAKS to the media and spin set the scene for positive Budget reviews to aid Rishi Sunak’s political ambitions. Yet under Mr Sunak as Chancellor, the reality is that the UK economy will have the highest taxation for 70 years, coupled to high inflation and substantial borrowing.

Cuts to future GDP growth are linked to Brexit (4%) and Covid-19 (2%), while large swathes of us now face a real squeeze on our living standards. He has also made the Prime Minister look foolish, with a freeze on fuel duty and a drop in air passenger duty (within the UK) just as delegates are arriving for COP 26. He could easily have made travel by electric aircraft free of duty and doubled it for fossil fuel planes; a carrot for green transport and a stick for polluters.

Will Mr Sunak soon be PM? He must be favourite, given the absurd “positivity” toward him in the Tory media, while doubts about “socialist” Boris Johnson, by the same media, are growing.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.


BY expanding the state and raising the tax burden to postwar levels this Tory Budget evoked uncomfortable memories of the era of rationing. The Chancellor pledged that every government department would receive an above-inflation spending increase – an extra £150 billion in public service spending. To pay for such largesse, the tax burden will rise by the end of this parliament to well over one-third of our GDP.

This is the kind of high-tax, high-spending economy with low productivity and average public services which would make Gordon Brown blanch. The belief that we can tax our way to wealth has not been borne out in my span of four score years. In fact I have more sympathy with Nigel Lawson’s dictum: “Income or property belongs to the people who earn it and the case has to be made for taxing it away.”

This Budget along with previously-announced policies of raising corporate taxation, national insurance contributions and freezing income tax personal allowances will deter enterprise. Britain is plunging down the tax competitiveness rankings and is now 22nd out of an index of 36 nations. As social benefits such as the health service get steadily worse, I doubt if “taxing and intervening” is really the way to go.

Dr John Cameron, St Andrews.


FOR once I agree with Peter Russell (Letters, October 28) that power should be devolved “back to regional authorities and/or regional consortia of service providers …empowered to raise a Regional Income Tax and act as a major tool of redistribution”. However, if this is to be done let’s do it on an honest basis.

First, Mr Russell displays his central belt prejudice by suggesting “Greater Glasgow” be first, followed by Edinburgh and Lothians and Fife. What about the rest of Scotland? There well might have to be varied arrangements in parts of Scotland, but surely the approach cannot ignore large parts of our country. And how much local democracy would be lost through the creation of “Greater Glasgow” (for instance)?

Secondly, his claim that “the SNP first came to power in 2007 on an explicit manifesto commitment to 'scrap the Hated Council Tax' and to replace it with a Local Income Tax (LIT)”, is correct as far as it goes, but omits a crucial detail. LIT had to be given up because Gordon Brown’s Government threatened to hold back the council tax rebate, worth about £400 million, if Scotland changed its system of local taxation. If Mr Russell wants to understand the failure to implement local income tax, he would do well to look to his own party.

Mr Russell’s proposals are interesting, particularly as local government is in serious need of reform after the gerrymandered system bequeathed to us by the Major government. If, though, LIT could be frustrated in 2007, how is Regional Income Tax likely to fare in 2021 with the current Westminster Government?

It must therefore be understood that even though such reform lies within the powers of the Scottish Parliament, the chances of success of any scheme will demand the sanction of the London Government.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.


RORY Mair is quite right to draw attention to officialese disempowering ordinary people ("Speaking officialese can leave compassion out in the cold", The Herald, October 27).

It reminded me of the growing numbers of ordinary people who have to carry out self-assessment for their taxes, whose means are too modest to secure the services of an accountant and therefore risk making a mistake and being penalised. Or those who have been given more flexibility with their pension accruals but no way of knowing what their best option might be. The free government advice is not specific enough, the online pages confusing and full of technical terms, and gone are the days of asking your friendly bank manager for that sort of advice as not only is the manager unlikely to be in the local branch (assuming you still have one, of course), but bank staff are constrained by law as to the advice they can give.

"Consult your financial adviser" is the mantra. Do those repeating it not realise that most people do not have such a thing? There must be thousands of people with no idea how to find a financial adviser or how much they would cost (hint – a great deal), and so are cast adrift and left floundering. As a consequence, there must be many who take the wrong decisions, or, even worse, don't do anything, because there is no affordable way of finding out what the right options for them might be.

In the meantime the better-off can afford to pay for expert advice on taxes, pensions and investments, as they have always done, secure in the knowledge that they will secure the best returns.

Somebody must be making money out of all this confusion and inertia, but sadly it is not the people who could most do with it.

Jane Ann Liston, St Andrews.


I WAS not surprised to see localised flooding in various areas of Glasgow. On my way home on Wednesday night (October 27) there was a deluge of water running down Springburn Road to the Hawthorn Street off-ramp where a massive lake had appeared. It looked like none of the gullies/drains on the east side of Springburn Road were taking any water.

Judging by pictures in the media of Great Western Road, Balgrayhill Road and other locations, I wonder when these locations were visited by a gully cleaner, remember them? Too many kerbside drains appear full to the top with mud stopping the water flowing away into the drains. Perhaps this is yet another example of a lack of spend on roads maintenance.

Douglas Jardine, Bishopbriggs.

Read more: This was a Budget that was bad for Scotland