OUR new Prime Minister, in reply to a question from Keir Starmer at PMQs on how support for households in the face of rising energy prices would be paid for, said, in rejecting a windfall tax on energy companies, “this country will not tax its way to growth”.

While in general Liz Truss’s contention is arguable, the increase in profits that have been and are being made in the international energy market have nothing to do with economic growth and much more to do with the terrible war in Ukraine, and Europe’s decision to cut back on, and eventually end, their use of Russian gas.

The contemporary rise in the profits of energy companies have little to do with managerial foresight, planning or risk-taking, and much more with global political decisions. Their increase in profits is unearned and largely due to (for them at least) good fortune.

Surely, therefore, the energy companies’ excess profits as a consequence of the war in Ukraine, should be taxed back and the proceeds directed at families struggling to pay their energy bills, and indeed small businesses who have gone through all of this without even the protection of the price cap?

Otherwise, the proceeds will go off to shareholders in such as Shell and BP whose profits in this year’s April-June quarter alone were £9.4bn and £6.9bn respectively. More, a lot more, is a not unreasonable expectation in the months to come. Is this acceptable?

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.


IAN R. Mitchell’s long letter advocating Realpolitik (September 7) omits two important words: right and wrong. Put simply, invading other countries is wrong; defending Ukraine is right.

D. A. Cruickshank, Stockholm, Sweden.


IN the speech Liz Truss made after becoming PM she stated that her priorities for the next two years were mitigating the energy crisis, reducing taxes, and solving the problems in the NHS.

Addressing the first two of these is predicted to leave the public finances with a hole in the shape of around a couple of hundred billion pounds.

One assumes the various spending departments, including health, will be under pressure to contribute as much as they can to reduce the size of this hole.

New hospitals, more doctors and nurses, and improved facilities doesn’t seem to fit particularly well with this aspiration – unless, of course, the plan is to sell it all off to the highest, or perhaps best connected, bidder.

If all of the priorities are to be achieved by the next election, the much-advertised economic growth will make no contribution whatsoever to their delivery, because even by Ms Truss’s own admission growth is a longer-term objective.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.

* NOW that new incumbent in is Downing Street I wonder just how much of that expensive refurbishment, allegedly paid for by a “donor”, is heading for a skip out the back. So sad – and I bet that donor, wherever he is, is not a happy Tory.

Douglas Jardine, Glasgow.

* LIZ Truss says her new government “will get spades into the ground”. Is that to dig graves for all those likely to die this winter because of the cost-of-living crisis?

Andy Stenton, Glasgow.

* HAVING read your front-page headline yesterday, can I, on behalf of her loyal subjects, wish Her Majesty every success in her endeavours (“Truss meets Queen as she plans energy bills freeze”)?

David Osborne, Paisley.

* INTERESTING that the only Scottish Conservative MP to feature in the new Cabinet at Westminster comes about with the re-appointment of the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack MP.

What message does this portray to the remaining five Scottish Conservative MPs? And looking at the bigger picture, what message can the people of Scotland take from this only appointment ?

Catriona C. Clark, Falkirk.


BRITAIN is now in trouble across many fronts. Energy and inflation are just two. We are also at war with Russia, having imposed economic sanctions and provided military assistance to their opponent, Ukraine.

Surely the time has come for a coalition government to pull together and get us out of this mess. Parties no longer have the luxury of propounding their own policies, which are usually no more than fine tuning anyway. The days of adversarial politics are over.

There is worry and unhappiness in the population that will led to civil unrest if not relieved soon.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.


IF the new health secretary, Thérèse Coffey, wishes to be taken seriously in her new role, may I suggest that her very first goal should be to lose three stone in weight. She is also a smoker. Frankly, you couldn’t make this up.

The real health crisis facing this country is that of obesity which accounts for literally thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of deaths, every year.

The media are obsessed with problems like having to wait an hour for an ambulance (an indefensible situation, I agree) and the hundreds of deaths due to the use of illegal drugs in Scotland. The numbers of Scots who die from the use of legal drugs, nicotine and alcohol, and from obesity-related causes, is frankly eye-watering.

Would I have written this letter if Thérèse Coffey had been a man? Certainly. Her two predecessors (men) were both slim.

Sheila Duffy, Glasgow.


GUY Stenhouse’s latest epistle (“And another thing ... where is cash for public sector pay coming from?”, September 7) reaches a new level of selectivity, even for him.

His antipathy to the SNP government is well-known but his accusations that they are borrowing money which we can’t afford to pay for pay rises could, and should, be balanced by the fact that the Westminster government is about to borrow perhaps £100 billion at increasing rates of interest to dampen down the fuel crisis.

Instead, we get his mantra that the UK can shoulder such borrowings while Scotland could not.

I wonder if he has looked recently at how the pound has fallen against major currencies, which shows what the world thinks of Westminster’s management of the UK economy and its ability to borrow on the financial markets.

Sam Craig, Glasgow.


ROSEMARY Goring’s opinion about those persons who wish for the return of Boris was similar to mine during a short stay in south-west England recently (“It is alarming that anyone thinks Johnson’s political re-birth is a good idea”, September 7).

I showed Steven Camley’s cartoon depicting Boris as Pinocchio getting his long nose trimmed, (after Boris’s nasal treatment).

This was received with shocked silence before a mutter about the fact that all politicians sometimes lie. It is an unfortunate truth that most English voters still deny that Boris’s election and Brexit were terrible mistakes.

Even as he left Downing Street Boris again claimed that Brexit was done – never mind the Irish trade problems or the immediate increase in Scotland’s wish to leave the present state of the UK. He went on to take credit for the Covid vaccine rollout when it was the NHS that actually achieved it.

The one hope I have is that a new Cabinet, without most of Boris’s Eton mess, will remember the rest of the UK. However I fear that the Tory old guard and its rich sponsors will return as soon as they can. After all, Liz Truss got less than 60% of the leadership vote, so failed to reach her own recommended vote of success.

J. B. Drummond, Kilmarnock.


SPEAKER Lindsay Hoyle said he wants a “nicer Parliament” as he rebuked an SNP MP yesterday for describing Johnston as “corrupt”. Good luck, Mr Hoyle, in reforming that testosterone-laden bear-pit.

D. Scott, Glasgow.


AM I alone in noting the happy congruence of yesterday’s Herald headlines: “Scots have been getting their oats for 5,000 years” and “How to increase our birth-rate” (letters)? Read The Herald and Go forth. Be fruitful and multiply, (Genesis1:28).

R. Russell Smith, Largs.