THANK goodness that here in Scotland we have a progressive taxation system in place, one that recognises the need for a just society, something this cost of living crisis will unfortunately demonstrate in time. The new Chancellor brought forth his first Budget, one without morals, a Budget rewarding bankers and multinational fuel companies, giving the largest tax cuts in half a century to the better-off and taking from the poor and giving to the rich.

The Chancellor said: "We don’t believe the state should take more and more of people's incomes." How I wish those sentiments were extended to those on Universal Credit and benefits who were warned by the Chancellor that strengthened sanctions will follow.

The country was deafened by the Chancellor’s silence on assistance for pensioners, carers and the vulnerable. This Budget was all about enhancing the incomes of the better-off, so let us draw breath and take stock. Kwasi Kwarteng does not have a mandate from the country for his proposals, so let’s put them to the country through a General Election, because the country simply cannot continue with any more austerity. There is only so much charities can do to fill the gaps, because their incomes are being depleted by the cost of living crisis.

If the country is to survive we need a General Election and we need it now.
Catriona C Clark, Falkirk

The lesson of history

WHEN the leader of the world's largest liberal economy tells you your apparently-liberal economic theology is wrong as Joe Biden has just pointed out to Liz Truss ("PM Truss and President Biden discuss Northern Ireland Protocol in New York", The Herald, September 22), you expect the economically-literate to take heed. Not so our new Government.

In the hope that a little history lesson may fall on functioning ears may I recall that the 2008 financial crisis was a direct result of loosening regulation in the financial markets? Contrary to the myths still surrounding the economic wisdom of the Thatcher reign we should recall that interest rates rose to 15 per cent and the pound was devalued on world markets by 50%. Just as the Thatcher denationalisation sell-off has resulted in our strategic assets now entirely owned by overseas investors, we are once again to be dependent on external investment to generate growth. Given Vladimir Putin's activities in Ukraine and the freezing of oligarchs' assets that leaves China and the Gulf States to expand their ownership to any valuables left.

There is a strange irony in a Government that condemns "tax and spend" but relies on "borrow and spend" and adopts the "who cares?" attitude of those who know they will not have to pay the bill. Payment in electoral terms is the only remaining solution.
LDM Mackenzie, Appin, Argyll

• I AGREE wholeheartedly with Iain McIntyre (Letters, September 23) when he states that there should be a levy on the energy companies' excess profits to pay for the price cap.

Given that the her Tory leadership campaign was heavily funded by the wife of a BP director, did he expect Liz Truss to do this?
Robert Aitken, Glasgow

Why comparisons are important

JANE Lax (Letters, September 23) doesn’t like NHS comparisons with the rest of the UK, but it helps to put things into some perspective, not least as the UK Government determines overall health funding, after which a proportion is passed on to the Scottish Government.

Well over 600 beds in Scottish hospitals are still utilised for Covid patients and discharges are proving more difficult due to staff shortages in care settings since leaving the EU. NHS Scotland’s A&E departments see around 300,000 patients in a year and some five per cent wait more than 12 hours because after triage they have been found to be not at serious risk.

As an MP, Douglas Ross should know that the consistently poorer waiting times in England are greatly underestimated, as it is measured from the time that a decision to admit a patient is made, while in Scotland it is from the time they checked in at the hospital.

The Scottish Government is recruiting many more nurses than in England and since the SNP came to power there are more than 25,000 extra NHS staff with more doctors, nurses and bed per head of population than elsewhere and Scotland's remains by far the best-performing NHS in the UK. Also, the previous Labour/LibDem executive was set on closing hospitals, whereas the SNP has built numerous new hospitals throughout Scotland.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Another symptom of failure

I HAD occasion to contact Police Scotland regarding a vehicle abandoned outside my address. As it wasn't an emergency l dialled 101 and was informed by automated message that they were experiencing a high number of calls.

I was then told that the waiting time was 20-25 minutes. I decided to hang up.

Which prompts the question: how many more people with genuine complaints do the same?

This was another of the SNP's bright ideas and like the ferries, the schools, the education of our children, the roads and our railway system, it has been an abject failure.
Neil Stewart, Balfron

Be open about royal wealth

I NOTE the letter from Max Cruickshank (September 23). I, a monarchist, would go further by suggesting that the full extent of the royal family’s wealth, its sources and the purposes to which it is put be made available for rigorous scrutiny.

This would enable an informed public debate, currently lacking, at a time when countless numbers of the King’s subjects face inconceivable poverty.

This would be in the interests of the King himself, for whom the issue will otherwise become a running sore.
John Milne, Uddingston

The bourgeois environmentalists

THE General Secretary of the GMB, Gary Smith, has said that "the big winners from renewables have been the wealthy and big corporate interests". He has urged the Labour Party to abandon "bourgeois environmentalism", get real about energy supply, and back fracking. I completely agree.

The Labour Party and the SNP have been captured by people who have no experience of industry, engineering, or infrastructure projects, but like Luddites have turned their backs on economic development and its creation of greater wealth and higher living standards for ordinary people which reliable energy sources have provided for decades. Now that the UK Government has realised that energy policy over the past 20 years has been disastrous and is trying to increase oil and gas output we can expect these bourgeois environmentalists to become more desperate in their demands to shut down oil and gas production. Stand by for more raving, ranting, disinformation, gluing, mobbing, smashing, tyre-deflating criminality in the months ahead.
William Loneskie, Lauder

Are wind farms the future or a massive waste of our resources?

Are wind farms the future or a massive waste of our resources?

Wind farms are a sick joke

WIND turbines as sources of energy are wind speed-dependent electricity generators typifying the wastefulness of the UK's futile attempts to avert the world's risks of dangerous climate changes.

As proportions of our used electricity supplies, wind turbines contribute percentages ranging between single figures and about a third. They are always dependent on variable wind strength and on fossil fuel back-up.

Because of inability to store useful amounts of electricity, Sir David MacKay, Professor of Engineering at Cambridge University and government scientific adviser, warned the politicians not to touch them, pending vast improvements in battery storage. That has not proved possible.

No pilot studies were done before their adoption so as to evaluate wind turbines' usefulness and drawbacks. Professor MacKay's advice was ignored. Since then, some 11,000 UK wind turbines have been installed.

Costs are about £20,000 for each windmill's structure alone. They are manufactured mainly in China.

Including the additional outlays for installation, servicing and maintenance the costs amount to, it is said, a total of up to £250,000 for each. Their lifespan is only about 15-20 years.

Damage to land, sea, people and avian wildlife is incalculable.

All in all, this is a scandalous waste, especially recalling that they are not even green when the greenhouse gases emitted from manufacturing, transport and installation are included.

The UK's carbon dioxide output is negligible at less than 1.5 per cent of the planet's total. They still need petroleum products for backup and lubrication.

Their installations are ongoing, with no end in sight. It is no wonder that the authorities of the eastern nations, China, India and many more non-compliant in decarbonisation are laughing at us.
(Dr) Charles Wardrop, Perth

Care home report was too harsh

I REFER to the article "Elderly left ‘bored and bedridden’ at £2,000 a week home" (The Herald, September 20) and would make some comments as a resident of the home in question, Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home.

I was surprised to read the latest negative inspection by the Care Inspectorate (CI).

In evaluations reported between 2018 and 2021, the home scored 19 "good" marks and six "adequate" marks. In 2022, it scored four "adequate" and 10 "weak" marks.

In my time living at the home, I can see no drastic decline in standard indicated by these evaluations.

Staffing pressures may have increased, but there have been greater problems in the past. Perhaps the Care Inspectorate (CI) has altered its evaluation standards or perhaps the inspectors were misled and applied the CI criteria with exceptional rigour.

The report's exceptional rigour is also demonstrated by its clear implication that residents are not treated with respect and that there is no meaningful interaction between staff and residents.

Earlier reports dealt with how staff related to residents and visitors on an informal level. They made it clear all was pleasant, bright and friendly with a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The message to conscientious and hard-working staff appears to be that their contribution is not worth the inspectors' attention.

The report contains gaps and unclear passages.

In conclusion, I would submit that the CI report for 2022 does not adequately reflect the good quality of care.
Gordon Dilworth, Balhousie Pitlochry Care Home, Pitlochry

Here's the beef

WELL said, Alan Simpson, who doesn't mince his words ("A sex ban for men who eat meat? Peta plan is nonsense", The Herald, September 23). What a load of tripe Peta's report was. “Moo” to that.
R Russell Smith, Largs


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