ON Wednesday (May 20) the Scottish Parliament will consider the Second Coronavirus Bill and when it does it will have a unique opportunity to not only prevent the spreading of problem debt across Scotland, but also provide relief to those who become burdened with it.

Jackie Baillie, with two amendments, is proposing to suspend all interest and charges on people’s debts when they use Scotland’s Statutory Moratorium procedure, and also waive all bankruptcy application fees for those who need to use that remedy to obtain relief from their problem debt.

Both proposals are necessary as we face this financial crisis. Statutory Moratoriums will allow Scotland, in advance of the rest of the UK, to introduce a measure that has been widely consulted on by the UK Government.

In terms of bankruptcy fees, Ms Baillie’s measure goes further than that proposed by the bill and will ensure all those who cannot afford to pay application fees will have access to debt relief. It will also bring that procedure into line with Scotland’s two other formal debt remedies: trust deeds and the Debt Arrangement Scheme. Neither of these remedies has an application fee, which is ironic as both are most suitable for those who have an ability to pay.

Instead, if Ms Baillie’s amendment is adopted, those who can pay will pay towards their bankruptcy by making a contribution each month, which is a far more equitable way of recovering the costs of this solution, as Scottish bankrupts already pay for one more year than anywhere else in the UK.

I urge all MSPs to support these measures. They are widely supported by Scotland’s free money advice sector.

Alan McIntosh, Glasgow G52.


IT was brilliant to read that inmates at Glenochil are contributing to a local foodbank ("Criminals donate to support foodbank", The Herald, May 13). I would imagine that at present prison life is particularly tense and frustrating so good for them. One (at least) in the eye for the "throw away the key" brigade.

Cathy Baird, Dunipace.

Dandelions united

I AGREE with Lesley Mackiggan (Letters, May 18) regarding the abundance of dandelions. Dumbarton Common, and bits of land everywhere else, have been a sea of bright yellow; but the interesting thing is that today, suddenly overnight, the sea of yellow has turned into a sea of white – every dandelion has shed its petals and left the white seed heads ready to be blown away by the next brisk wind. How do the plants know to all act together?

Rose Harvie, Dumbarton.

IN response to Lesley Mackiggan, may I say how much too I have admired this year's crop of dandelion. But – a bonus when I spotted a huge dandelion, at least three inches in diameter, with a stalk almost one inch thick.On research I learned it was a “fasciated” dandelion, and “ruderal” in habit. So a new flower (I have a photo), quite rare and two new words to impress my friends

John Brownlee, Stonehouse.

Had enough?

THE letters on the repeated use of "unprecedented" (May 14 & 15) and of "and" (May 18) reminded me of being challenged by an older cousin when I was around 10, to punctuate a sentence containing the word "had" 11 times consecutively. I've never forgotten. See below:

Jack, when John had had "had", had had "had had". "Had had" had had the teacher's approval.

Ann Bethune, Broadford.

The incomers

GREG Hemphill must be an optimist if he expects to be recognised as a Fifer after living in Elie for six months ("TV star Hemphill still waiting to be called a Fifer", The Herald, May 18). I have lived in Fife for more than 50 years and am still regarded as a West Coaster.

Kenneth Fraser, St Andrews.

Argyll beauts

IAN Sommerville's mention of that fine old Argyll song, Fly Me to Dunoon (Letters, May 18) reminds me of two others: It's a Long Way to Inverary and Connel in the Wind.

Gilbert MacKay, Newton Mearns.