SNP Employment Minister Richard Lochhead claims that the Shared Prosperity Fund (SPF) would deliver £212 million to projects north of the Border over the next three years compared to £549m that would be due from EU structural funds ("Brexit fund has left Scotland £300m worse off, claims SNP", The Herald, December 30). What Mr Lochhead conveniently forgets is that, if we had listened to him and voted Yes in 2014, Scotland would have ceased to be a member of the EU in March 2016, meaning we would have got nothing from either fund over the last six years.

It seems strange that a Scottish Government minister should complain about the UK Government forcing him to accept hundreds of millions of pounds he never wanted in the first place. Unless, of course, Mr Lockhart's real aim is to create discord and false grievance with the Westminster Government. It certainly wouldn't be the first time SNP ministers have indulged in such behaviour.

Alex Gallagher, Largs.


ERIC Melvin (Letters, December 30) finds much to criticise in the UK’s situation, some of it justifiably. But many countries, including in the EU, are suffering from a “failing economy”, “soaring cost of living” and “high inflation” (some worse than ours), with their “much-vaunted public services under the cosh”; and by strikes, including among health workers, nurses, doctors and teachers. I believe Mr Melvin was a teacher – does he agree with their striking, straight after senior pupils at a critical point in their schooling have suffered two years of disruption?

He refers to the “punishing costs of Brexit” – which it is too early to quantify, and to date are partly due to the EU imposing far more checks on GB trade, including to Northern Ireland, than on its other external borders (as their officials clearly stated that “Northern Ireland is the price the UK will pay for Brexit”), and its refusal to continue the sensible border negotiations by Ireland’s government under Enda Kenny after Leo Varadkar replaced him in June 2017.

The Brexit vote was caused or greatly influenced by (a) Angela Merkel’s and François Hollande’s “thin gruel” offerings to David Cameron, despite clear evidence of large swathes of the EU population wanting serious reforms, as the Dutch premier Mark Rutte outlined, albeit belatedly, in a speech in early June 2016 just before the referendum; and (b) Angela Merkel’s unilateral overnight invitation into the EU to more than a million Middle East immigrants in 2015. Nor was Brexit only about economics.

Anent the UK’s 2,000-plus food banks, only a few years ago Germany also had 2,000 (that number seems to have halved, but maybe is defined differently or is covered by other benefits) – but for decades Germany has depended on the UK and the US for its defence, and Mrs Merkel refused to meet Nato’s policy of 2% of GDP “until the 2030s”, despite its being the prime cause of the West’s defence needs by its actions from 1914-45 and particularly 1917.

Finally, nowhere in his condemnation does he even mention either the effects of Covid (for which his SNP would have locked down more and for longer than Westminster, thus exacerbating our economy’s woes further) or Putin’s war (for which his favoured EU and primarily Germany bear much of the blame).

John Birkett, St Andrews.


CATRIONA Stewart rightly points out that Rishi Sunak is a millionaire, heading up a political party that has caused the economic environment within which the service users in many cases find themselves destitute. So, how exactly can one defend this party leader and even worse Prime Minister ("Rishi Sunak’s soup kitchen small talk ‘gaffe’ was spot on", The Herald, December 30)?

The PM, on being confronted by the user of the homeless shelter, Dean, had the opportunity to reflect and should have been asking himself some very pertinent questions regarding his Government’s policies, policies that merely add to the agony of homelessness. It is all very well to recognise that the PM is out of touch, but no amount of defending, chatting or criticism will give Dean and thousands like him what they need urgently, a home.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


IN the absence of other explanations it’s hard not to conclude that the current/recent crop of absolutely useless UK politicians is the result of a simple sense of entitlement.

Talentless and with an evident aversion to hard work or intellectual engagement, we seem to be left with the toddler attitude of "I want a go".

Examples include from a then Brexit minister (Dominic Raab) who at the time didn’t know the importance of the Dover to Calais trade route to Boris Johnson who screwed up being Foreign Secretary but then felt – and convinced others – that he’d be a suitable PM to the vile Therese Coffey, who seemed to care not one jot for health and social care when she was Health Secretary and who is now – bizarrely and inexplicably – Secretary of State for the Environment...

Liz Truss may have been the pinnacle of this phenomenon but now we have Rishi Sunak, the non-Prime Minister. He fought so hard for the job, clearly felt "entitled" but now he’s in post it's very hard to see why.

More importantly, it’s also difficult to avoid the impression that if you asked Mr Sunak why he is PM, what his vision is, what he actually has to offer Britain, he’d be hard pushed to give a convincing argument.

Amanda Baker, Edinburgh.


MARK Smith ("Beware of the next big trend: Scremorse ", The Herald, December 30) places great significance on the effect Brexit and "Bregret" are having on support for Scottish independence. In his opinion the desire for independence is increasing because of anger at the Supreme Court ruling on referenda, anger that will fade, and thus presumably once Scots have forgotten their anger their desire for independence will also fade.

May I point out that the SNP was founded in the early part of the 20th century to regain the independence that we lost in the 18th century. Its raison d’etre has always been independence. It has never hidden its goal, it has been upfront since its inception about what it wanted. All the actions of the Leave voters, the Supreme Court decision, the unionists will not change the aim of the party, or those who wish to regain the independence that was removed when the Scottish population did not have the ability to vote for what they wanted.

The Westminster Government has never had Scotland’s interests at heart. Imagine Scotland “takes back control” as Mr Smith puts it, and faces the same multi-crises of Brexit: Westminster making life as difficult as possible, new barriers to trading with the biggest market on our doorstep, open borders that aren’t really open. Well, surprise, surprise, these are all the problems Scots have had since we were joined at the hip, against our will, in the 18th century, to the English empire. Maybe we are coming to realise that things will never get better unless we seize the power to change our own destiny.

I write as a feartie who voted against independence in 2014.

Margaret Forbes, Blanefield.


RECENT comments by Ross Greer that landlords are hoarding properties for profit and not contributing anything useful to society is a clear example of our representatives speaking on a subject they know nothing about ("Landlords not ‘contributing anything useful to society’, says Green MSP", The Herald, December 30).

As the Government is unable to provide the housing he describes a "fundamental human right", to whom does he expect those in need to turn?

He questions how the housing rental stock is diminished when a landlord sells up. The answer is simple: that property is no longer available to those who need to rent.

Mr Greer has a very generous £17,300 MSP housing allowance. So unless he is using this allowance to speculate on a second home purchase in Edinburgh he will be renting privately himself, depriving someone of a much-needed rental property.

There is well-documented evidence that the introduction of the rent controls Mr Greer advocates actually reduces the rental stock, but why would he bother with the facts? He's a politician after all.

Robert Aitken, Glasgow.

• I NOTE that Ross Greer considers landlords are not contributing anything useful to society. I’d be interested to hear what he considers he is contributing; nothing that I can see.

Michael Watson, Glasgow.