I HAVE never been one of those who thought we should have the guillotines ready for the rich. But perhaps I was wrong. The whining to which we have been subjected by sections of the very well-off in Scotland at the prospect of not getting a tax cut is enough to harden even the most tender hearts.

I can't decide whether it is the greed or the vanity of those leading the propaganda charge which has been worse. Depriving them of a bit of a top-up to their already very comfortable incomes is supposed to lead to an outflow of "talent" from Scotland.

Are we supposed to worry if some top lawyers, bankers, property developers, land-owners, business managers, senior civil servants and local government officials leave? This would give opportunities for many younger talented people to move up the ladder rather than being stuck for years well down the food chain. So, far from losing out, Scotland could gain from losing a conservative elite in too many parts of society.

Should we feel worried about inadequate resources in our health and care services, in education, in affordable housing, in transport infrastructure, in retro-fitting homes, in malnourished children? Most certainly.

When you can't get your rubbish collected, you can't get a hospital bed, you can't find a home you can afford, you learn who in our society are indispensible.
Isobel Lindsay, Biggar

Jack is not facing reality

COULD you please ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, Alister Jack, to pass on the recipe for whatever confection he is on? It is clearly an ideal cure for facing reality.

His article ("Growth plan will rebuild economy", The Herald, September 27) would be funny if it were not so tragically, even cynically, myopic.

I suppose being a multi-millionaire must ease the burden a bit and as we head down the economic drain it’s nice to think we are all in this together.
Forbes Dunlop, Glasgow

The Kwarteng pyramid scheme

THE economy is tanking, the country is on edge, the lower middle classes and working classes have been affected and the golden rule in politics to not cost people more money has completely been ignored. The despicable duo of Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng have created a legal pyramid scheme termed "trickle-down economics" that in reality is anything but.

Like the pyramid scheme the people at the top, or rather the highest earners, get the most reward, while further down in the bottom tier of the pyramid the workers chase their tails trying to make ends meet with the least financial reward for their efforts. And like the pyramid scheme the money isn’t reinvested into the company; that tier of top earners will either bank the cash, possibly in a offshore account, or invest in cheaper overseas businesses to make the maximum profit. Even if the money were invested in Britain in a new company as a start-up, with the rising prices and time it takes to get a business going, the company’s assets depreciate over that time and even if the business succeeds it will take time to build up staff, open new positions, etc.

Due to the national self-harm that is Brexit the money that is supposed to trickle down doesn’t. We’re now in a closed system of economics due to trashing our relationship with the EU, so now those ports of financial transactions are no longer open and those opportunities for money to flow into safe investments and thus pick up profit is no longer there.

Hitting people in the pocket will not win you friends or influence people. Liz Truss hadn’t the sense to start with positive steps for a poll bounce. She said she is a hard leader who will make unpopular decisions; she is reaping the consequence of that.
Paul Delaney, Bellshill

UK repeating Scots' mistakes

HAVING experienced the results of grossly under-experienced student politics in power in Scotland for more than a decade, and witnessed the catastrophic results it can bring, I can appreciate the reaction across UK to the plummeting pound in world markets and questions about the new Chancellor’s initial decision-making.

When we needed long and careful economic consideration and the following of expert advice in Scotland we got instead entirely politically-motivated, rushed and ill-thought-through decisions from new and politically immature ministers, promoted miles beyond their ability and trying to satisfy those who backed them.

It is true that the UK is infinitely larger but exactly the same principles hold.
Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

The case for universal benefits

JANE Lax (Letters, September 27) is desperately clutching at straws to suggest that the UK’s Chancellor’s tax changes are the same as universal benefits in Scotland. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In cutting the higher rate of tax it is clear that the Chancellor’s intention has been to give advantage to the wealthiest in society.

In complete contrast, Scotland’s universal benefits are available to all irrespective of level of income. It seems to me that if one is broadly in agreement with the concept of the NHS – that it is free at the point of delivery – then prescriptions free at the point of delivery is simply an extension of that system, and a welcome one at that.

Making prescriptions (for example) free also removes a whole lot of bureaucracy. We do not need an army of civil servants employed just to decide who are and who are not eligible for free prescriptions. If “rich people” choose free bus travel then good luck to them, why shouldn’t they, many will not. Free bus travel for over-60s has to a great extent been instrumental in keeping rural bus routes open.

Universal benefits are a good thing. It is much more civilised than having people filling in mountains of complicated paperwork or online forms to “claim” what is rightfully theirs.
David Clark, Tarbolton

• IN response to the criticism of Nicola Sturgeon’s provision of baby boxes, free early years education and free university tuition, I would remind critics that the Scottish Government is investing in the young. Young people are the future of our society and our planet. Look after citizens from birth, and it will save the NHS having to spend money on health problems in the future. Short-term thinking is proven not to be a good idea.

As for saying that these sensible measures are merely vote-catching freebies, that is exactly what Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-Budget is: a ploy to buy enough votes to win the next General Election. The Conservatives think Scottish voters’ heids button up the back. They will have a nasty surprise long before the election.
Margaret Forbes, Blanefield

Labour and its double standards

SO Labour won’t do a “deal” with the SNP, because, apparently, they are “nationalists” ("Labour leaders vow ‘we won’t do deal with SNP’", The Herald, September 27). Yet in Scotland Labour is happy to work with an Anglo-British nationalist party (the Tories) in local government. Labour has for decades aligned itself with Irish nationalists (the SDLP). Labour has a co-operation deal with Plaid Cymru in Wales, so it seems the only mainstream political party it will not work with happens to be Scottish.

However, while the SNP would certainly vote Labour into Downing Street, without broad SNP support Labour will not be “in power”. Anas Sarwar asserts Labour will win many seats from the SNP, but this appears to rest entirely on wishful thinking rather than evidence.
GR Weir, Ochiltree

How we could cut energy bills

THERE is a very simple answer to George Rennie’s question on how an independent Scotland could lower electricity prices (Letters, September 27) and that is through a Scottish energy regulator uncoupling Ofgem’s outdated policy of linking electricity prices to global oil prices.

Contrary to Mr Rennie’s assertions, an energy-rich Scotland will continue to be a net exporter of electricity, oil and gas, and our vast renewable resources through offshore wind, tidal and green hydrogen will produce much cheaper electricity without the need for expensive nuclear power and all its clean-up costs.

An independent Scotland will need to store renewable power for those infrequent times when the wind isn’t blowing somewhere. The Scottish Government has already tried to encourage more pumped hydro storage. All it has been able to do is to grant planning permission, but the market needs contracts to make a difference with a guaranteed floor and ceiling price for the electricity it produces in order to invest and that has not been forthcoming from the UK.

We will still need our oil and gas for several decades to come and an independent Scottish government could earn a financial bonanza by taxing the producers at Norwegian levels, rather than using the benign UK taxation model, and thus wipe out the notional GERS deficit at a stroke.
Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Read more letters: Don't let them fool you: energy will not be an indy bonanza


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