AN email just received from our energy supplier includes good and bad news. The good news: its tariff for electricity has reduced by a fraction of a penny, which will reduce our bill by a princely £8 over the next year. The bad news: its daily standing charge has increased by more than 15 per cent to 59p per day, which means it will now cost us £215 a year for the privilege of paying it for its expensive electricity.

Our supplier states: “All our fixed tariffs are backed by 100% zero carbon nuclear electricity.” The cost of producing that electricity can’t have been changed by the war in Ukraine, nor can the cost of supplying that power to a home. So why have tariffs and standing charges doubled in little over a year?

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In fact the full extent of the increase is even worse, because the UK Government is subsidising the power companies with our taxes to stop them from putting up prices still more. Capitalism works, but only when it’s regulated firmly. The UK Government’s laissez-faire approach has allowed the power companies to take advantage of the spike in oil and gas prices to enrich themselves and their shareholders at the expense of the public.

It’s particularly iniquitous that those who reduce their energy use, whether because of poverty or concern for the environment, are still stung with fixed charges of more than £300 a year simply for being connected to the gas and electricity grids. The UK Government should stop standing on the sidelines, wringing its hands and claiming it can’t do much about prices; the Scottish Government should deliver on the pledge it made in 2017 to set up a publicly-owned, not-for-profit energy company.

Doug Maughan, Dunblane.

Read more: Our fishing industry is very well managed. Why all the antipathy?


LEAH Gunn Barrett (Letters, March 24) avers that the water in Scottish waterways is far healthier and cleaner due to Scottish Water investing a record amount in infrastructure.

However, a lack of investment in infrastructure probably explains why our local water treatment works in Kinross and Milnathort have recently been unable to cope with the volumes of combined sewage and rainwater, forcing Scottish Water to divert untreated sewage directly into Loch Leven.

Much housebuilding has taken place over recent years, raising the question whether Scottish Water should have invested more in its infrastructure to prevent sewage being dumped into a loch which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA), a RAMSAR site (Wetland of International Importance)and a National Nature Reserve (NNR).

Public ownership doesn't necessarily best serve the people's interest. Train and ferry users may agree.

Brian Bell, Kinross.


SO Scottish Environment Minister Mairi McAllan plans to introduce some new legislation to curb the worst elements of shooting estate management ("New Bill will ban glue traps for mice", The Herald, March 23). She also quotes the myth that “shooting contributes to the rural economy”, which is nonsense; it contributes to shooting estates only – £30,000 for one day's gun hire on some estates.

The licensing of shooting estates is long overdue and curbing their excesses in artificially boosting grouse numbers through wildlife crime is what is required. Millionaires and billionaires are buying up Scottish shooting estates that come on the market and seem immune to fines or indeed legislation that would force them to cease their destructive activities. Hence the need for licensing, first and foremost.

The true contributors to rural economies are the many thousands of wildlife and bird watchers who spend their money in local cafes, shops and hotels merely to catch sight of the species they wish to observe. No gunfire, no blood, no guilt in support of the extermination of other wildlife. And no incineration of insects, moths, reptiles or small mammals through-so called “management” by muirburn.

B Zonfrillo, Glasgow.

Read more: Government publishes new grouse moor licensing legislation


I VERY much enjoyed Kevin McKenna's interview with the wonderful Scottish actor David Hayman ("I’d rather do Shakespeare for Glaswegians than for US tourists in Stratford", The Herald, March 24). Four of Mr Hayman's roles mentioned, I attended – Hamlet, Lady Macbeth, Jimmy Boyle and King Lear, all in Glasgow. I have always been interested in theatre, and at the beginning of the 1960s, I joined the Junior Citizens' Theatre Society, and every two weeks or so I attended a production at the Citz, including the then-controversial production of Hamlet. I even remember seeing my first Pygmalion at the Citz on the very night we learned of the news of the assassination of President Kennedy.

When seeing Mr Hayman performing, be it live onstage or on the television, I am always impressed that as far as I am concerned, he never appears to be "acting" – surely one of the most important attributes for which an actor or actress should strive when creating a character.

I also was very lucky to be able to travel down to the wonderful Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford on several occasions, learning so much about Shakespeare, the theatre, directing, how a theatre worked and came to life and gave to everyone the magic of this wonderful world of live performance. Mr Hayman's comments in the interview are sadly so true re the demise and change in Glasgow re theatres – but as we know, not just here but all over the UK and beyond. However, I was so disappointed to read that he turned down playing the title role in Hamlet for the RSC, asking "Why would I want to go and play Hamlet to an audience of Japanese and American tourists?" You would want to, Mr Hayman, because the greatest Shakespeare company in the world had recognised your talent, they do not play to audiences comprising solely tourists as you describe, and your immense talent would have been instantly recognised by a huge and new demographic base. I am sure that Mr Hayman hasn't checked out the background countries of everyone who attends the Glasgow Citz.

Mr Hayman, if you get an offer like that again, grasp it with both hands – actors do not grow old, they just gain more experience, which you already have in abundance; continue sharing it with your audiences from wherever they come. They shouldn't be deprived of your wonderful talent.

Walter Paul, Glasgow.