IT is unbearable to learn that malnutrition in Scottish children is rising (“Thousands of Scots children are treated for malnutrition”, September 17).

Numbers nearly doubled last year, and with food prices on an inexorable climb, the situation is unlikely to improve without drastic intervention from the UK government.

The reported 3,895 admissions of children under the age of 18 to an acute site for malnutrition run by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are the tip of an iceberg, masking all the referrals through primary care, and multiplied across Scotland.

Leaving aside the disgrace of energy costs, with UK energy bills rising even as the cost of wholesale gas is declining, a country which spends so much money on pomp and circumstance should take a look at itself.

Approximately five million households are on Universal Credit – paid annually a maximum of £4,020 for a single person, £6,312 for a couple, with additional payments for first and second children. The U.C. bill is £38 billion a year, so the average annual payment per household is £7,600.

Contrast that with nearly £100 million paid out to a single household, the Royal Family, by the Sovereign Grant. With the same criteria of a couple with two children, King Charles and Camilla, Queen Consort, William and Harry, enjoy an extraordinary income.

I am reminded of his namesake, Charles II, who generously provided pensions for his mistresses and advanced his illegitimate children with titles and allowances. Moll Davies, a rival of Nell Gwyn for the King’s affections, ‘retired’ on £1,000 a year. Her daughter Mary, given the surname ‘Tudor’ and precedence of the daughter of a Duke, received an annuity of £1,500 – £230,000 in today’s money.

His loyal subjects objected to paying taxes that funded Charles’s various mistresses and offspring, but had little say in the matter.

On average, a man living in Glasgow has a life expectancy of 71 years; healthy life expectancy reduces that by ten years.

Childhood lays down the markers of longevity, decent food, exercise, education, and a life that doesn’t strain the body through hunger, cold and bad working conditions.

Perhaps it is time to have a say in how we help the poorest in our society before we close the food banks to honour the richest.

Frances Scott, Edinburgh.




THE news that Liz Truss is lifting the cap on bankers’ bonuses is consistent with her belief that tax cuts alone will magically restore economic growth.

The Tories have only ever had one answer to economic problems – tax cuts, deregulation, and letting the market rip. The fact that this voodoo economics approach has never delivered national prosperity doesn’t interest them.

They have wholly abdicated their responsibility as a government, which is to regulate market failures to protect the population, because they’ve been too busy lining their own pockets and those of their oligarch donors.

There is no better example of ruinous market failure than the so-called energy market, run by private corporations for profit alone. It doesn’t function efficiently, it doesn’t serve the interests of people and business, and it has failed to invest in renewable energy and technology.

The UK stands alone amongst European states in having sold off its energy assets and it did so in the service of a failed ideology. It’s why even though the prices of wholesale gas and electricity are the cheapest since 2010, energy bills have soared 85% since March. It’s pure profiteering.

We’re living through the death throes of neoliberalism, an economic ideology indifferent to human suffering.

Scotland’s opportunity is to build a state that prioritises its citizens’ welfare, by taking back control of its resources and establishing and enforcing regulations to save and enhance lives.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.



I WONDER just how many of your readers are like me and have no real interest in the last few pages of The Herald. I get as far as the ztocks and shares page and my mood changes.

No matter how you look at it, this is just a casino for those who wish to make money while sitting on their backsides contributing nothing to society; any profit they may derive is ultimately created by the workers of the country or by the purchasing power of the general public.

At a time when the vast majority of UK citizens are experiencing (or are about to experience) the worst drop in living standards for a generation, that this siphoning-off of wealth persists and is portrayed as being worthy makes me despair for the future of these islands.

It exemplifies the historic “us and them” divide which is strangling our communities and deliberately keeps the Poor poor.

David J Crawford, Glasgow.



LIKE most ordinary folk in Britain, I find it impossible to believe that in 2022 and beyond, we as a population are facing, in many cases, destitution, while we read amongst other policies that this new Tory government is considering removing the cap on bankers’ bonuses.

We also read of the enormous profits in each quarter of the main energy companies and of the new Prime Minister’s intention to exempt these from a windfall tax.

Fear of deaths of vulnerable people made me wonder if, if this were to happen in significant numbers, would the government and the energy giants be liable in any way under the Corporate Manslaughter Act and Corporate Homicide Act in Scotland of 2007, which came into force in April 2008?

Some of the tests include ‘Recklessness and Negligence’.

Thinking of the above entities, it seems to me that someone such as Aamer Anwar would be more than capable of firing a warning shot over the heads of these organisations.

I accept that there is much more to the Act than simple ‘Recklessness and Negligence’ but it seems a good place to start.

I hope that some of your legal readers will take this up and either shoot the thought down, or react by finding a part of the act that may be applicable – and, at the very least, gives pause for serious thought by those who are apparently washing their hands of any liability that may arise.

Ian Gray, Croftamie.




MARK Gray (letters, September 16) eloquently expresses his pride in Scotland and our extremely dignified and heartfelt farewell to the late Queen.

Unfortunately, like several of his fellow Unionist contributors to the letters page, he feels the need to launch an attack on the Scottish Government and Nationalism.

I am pretty sure that a goodly number of the folks lining the routes through towns and cities across Scotland were Nationalist voters who just wanted to pay their respects.

Sometimes dignity and respect transcend petty politics and rise above it.

Perhaps some of your contributors should do likewise.

Bill Marshall, Stirling.




WE need to be worried—and vigilant—about the SNP whips ‘disciplining’ John Mason, MSP, because the justification the whips give is classic doublespeak (“MSP disciplined by SNP bosses for supporting anti-abortion protests”, September 16).

They accuse him of bringing the Parliamentary group into “disrepute” because he expressed his observations on people who hold peaceful anti-abortion protests and offer alternative help to women who are seeking an abortion.

His views were not critical of these protests. So the whips accuse him of “imposing his views on others”; in other words, of expressing views that are contrary to theirs.

They fail to realise that no-one can “impose” views on others. We express our views. Others are free to agree or disagree, to listen or ignore.

It is the whips who are bringing the Parliamentary group into disrepute. They claim that they uphold Mason’s right to freedom of speech while simultaneously reprimanding him for exercising that right. This is doublespeak. It smacks of totalitarianism and is seriously worrying.

David Kennedy, Glasgow.



I NOTE that the SNP’s top economic “guru”, Tim Rideout, after completion of his anti-racism course,’ is returning to work for the party.

Having read some of his forecasts and statements, I fear there should also have been a compulsory course on basic economics and – most of all – one on living in the real world.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh