I SEE no reason why we should go down on our knees and thank the Chancellor for cutting Scotland's resource budget by more than 7% in real terms, while the equivalent reduction for our capital budget is more than 9% in real terms. Jane Lax (Letters, October 29) hails the £20 million for Aberdeen, but omits to mention that Aberdeenshire lost out on the £1 billion carbon capture project.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Fiscal Studies is warning that millions of people will be worse off next year as inflation and higher taxes on incomes will negate the small wage increases for middle earners, while "real pain" will be felt by low-income households ("Inflation ‘eats up’ wage increase", The Herald, October 28). And we all know what that means; more food banks, more people pushed into poverty, more misery all round; unless you are a millionaire or a billionaire, or a donor to the Conservative Party.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.


JANE Lax has obviously fallen for Tory PR smoke and mirrors over the Budget proposals, as we in Scotland pay our share of UK taxes and the reality is that in cash terms, the OBR forecasts UK borrowing will be £183 billion next year, plus inflation of up to five per cent will eat into any promised £4.6bn. Also, Scotland’s resource budget is being slashed by 7% compared to last year.

Boris Johnson’s disastrous Covid decisions caused the need to borrow so much and although Scotland voted overwhelmingly against Brexit, we are continuing to pay a heavy price, with the UK’s GDP predicted to fall by 4%. No trade deal with New Zealand can make up for the loss of 27 European single markets.

The direct financing from Westminster for Scottish communities and councils is a deliberate attack on the powers of Holyrood and comes from the Internal Market and Shared Prosperity funds, designed to replace cash from EU schemes that supported various projects. The Scottish Government administered the EU schemes. If London distributes this cash directly to Scottish councils, it is squeezing out the democratically-elected Scottish Government in yet another Westminster power grab.

Unionists may think this is a wizard wheeze, but those of a Labour or Liberal Democrat persuasion should ask themselves if they consider that would be acceptable if their party were elected by us to be in power in Scotland.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.


TODAY'S Letters Pages (October 29), with three letters from regular correspondents, was an almost perfect microcosm of the contradictory views of Herald Letters contributors.

First, we had Dr Gerald Edwards being wrong as usual. He writes:"The Chancellor has given Scotland around £15 billion extra money over the next three years." No he hasn't, the Chancellor has returned to Scotland some of the cash that Scotland has sent to him, having first filtered it through the peculiar prejudices of his right-wing Tory mind.

Next we had Dr John Cameron being half-right as usual. He writes of Nigel Lawson's dictum "Income or property belongs to the people who earn it". At least one definition of the word "earn" is "gain deservedly in return for one's behaviour or achievements". As we know, far too much wealth in the UK is unearned, wherein lies the contradiction in Dr Cameron's and Lord Lawson's argument.

Lastly, Alasdair Galloway points out the errors of another regular contributor, in this case, Peter Russell's understanding of why we do not have a Local Income Tax in Scotland. Successive Westminster Governments of both stripes have scuppered LIT in Scotland because they fear the can of worms that such a progressive measure would open in the only country that really matters to them, electorally at least, England.

Keep up the good work.

John Jamieson, Ayr.


WE now have a new definition of "talking down". Apparently those concerned enough about Scotland’s biggest city to point out the desperate deterioration in its cleanliness, hygiene and appearance over the past 10 years or so, are "talking Glasgow down" ("Sarwar accused of ‘talking down Glasgow’ for raising rats problem", The Herald, October 29).

This is of course the new Scotspeak expression for pointing out glaring deficiencies if in doing so they can in any way embarrass the SNP. Orwell will be turning in his grave.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

* I REALLY object to Nicola Sturgeon claiming that people are talking down Glasgow when non-SNP politicians ask legitimate questions about its poor state. I love Glasgow and its people, I just want it to be clean. Is that too much to ask?

It seems that Ms Sturgeon wants Scotland and Glasgow to be a critique-free zone regardless of its visibly poor condition.

Ian McNair, Glasgow.


GLASGOW is to be honoured by the attendance of our Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, fondly known as Scomo by his followers, at least two, because he does not represent the opinion of most Australians. He brings with him a document regarding how Australia intends to meet its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. The same document which he waved to the media before his departure, like Chamberlain's piece of paper before Hitler annihilated him. This document relates how Australia will meet this mythical target, but offers no clue as to how much it is going to cost or where the technology is going to come from to achieve it. This will liken the document to almost every single other document that will be carried by the leaders of the free world at COP26.

It is entirely fitting that COP26 should be held in Scotland, since it was the Scottish King Macbeth who uttered the lines most appropriate to it: "A tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury – signifying nothing."

W McCall, Bonnells Bay, Australia.


IN an interview with a UK minister over the seizure of a Scottish trawler by the French police, a BBC Scotland reporter asked about the impact of the four per cent hit to the economy from Brexit. However, had BBC Scotland staff read your article of February 6 over the impact of a ban on fossil fuels, they would have been aware of the 33% cut to Scottish GDP from the closure of Grangemouth.

Why does BBC Scotland fail to give a balanced review of the impact on the economy not only from Brexit but also COP26?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.


REJOICE with me. This morning in the post I received a communication from the Department of Work and Pensions intimating that, as of 15/11/21, I will receive an additional £0.25p per week. The letter is from Pension Service 3 from the Mail Handling Centre 3 in Wolverhampton, but on the back of the envelope the return address is a PO Box in Belfast.

In the event I find this decision wrong I can appeal (in writing). Bearing in mind the cost of postage plus the cost of reading and processing the appeal by some civil servant in whatever part of the civil service empire they are secreted, it seems that Kafka is writing the script for this farce.

Ron Oliver, Elie.


I READ Mark Smith's column with interest, especially as our son came home from London this morning for a long weekend ("What the English can teach us about masks", The Herald, March 28). According to my son, very few if any people in London are wearing masks, which of course is perfectly legal there. He had not realised until coming home that we here in Scotland are following different advice. What happens in Northumberland does not necessarily happen elsewhere in England.

Isobel Frize, Glasgow.


DALBEATTIE is a small town near Dumfries, about which not a lot is probably known by most people. I suspect it goes about its business quietly and with little fuss. It seems a pity, therefore, that readers of The Herald, unless they have reason to think otherwise, will, after reading Struan Stevenson's article ("When fascism flourished in a quiet corner of Scotland", The Herald, October 28) only be aware of it having been a home to fascism in the 1930s.

Let me point out, therefore, that in the 19th century granite from Dalbeattie was quarried and sent for the building of such parts of the world as the Thames Embankment and the Eddystone Lighthouse and was also exported all over the world. Accordingly, there has been more to Dalbeattie than having a brief fling with the ideas of Sir Oswald Mosley.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.


I THANK Alasdair Galloway (Letters, October 28) for resolving something that has puzzled me this year: why has my dentist become a doctor?

I’m reminded of a story I heard years ago, about a Mr Smith who changed his first name to Lord. Which meant that he could, in all honesty, phone a restaurant and book a table in the name of Lord Smith, confident that he would get the best table in the house.

I’ve just realised I can better that. Sikhism emphasises the equality of men and women, and all Sikh women take the surname Kaur, meaning Princess. So marriage 40 years ago brought an unexpected bonus, a royal title.

(Prince) Doug Maughan, Dunblane.


I NOTE with interest Maggie Ritchie's column ("If you want to visit a pub or restaurant these days, don’t forget your ear plugs, The Herald, October 29). I enjoy background music when dining out. My only requirement is that I’ve been in for at least 10 minutes before it registers.

R Russell Smith, Largs.

H20 NO

RE the fluoride debate (“We must not allow this man to poison Scotland’s water with fluoride”, The Herald, October 23, and Letters, October 27): when was the last confirmed sighting of a child drinking water?

Perhaps the youngsters’ instinct is sound. Though Para Handy conceded water to be “capital stuff for sailin’ boats on”, Dougie warned: “Look at the way it rots your boots.”

Robin Dow, Rothesay.

Read more: So why doesn't the SNP want the UK's money?