YOU have previously listed the millions wasted by the Scottish Government, on such as the cost of the long-overdue ferries increasing from £97 million to £277m and rising; the new, long-overdue prison priced at £170m in 2015 now being £400m with no evidence of any start date; refunds needing to be paid out on Lorna Slater’s failed Deposit Return Scheme, and much more.

It is obvious the SNP cannot do sums, so it is no surprise to learn that to help fund this incompetence it intends to raise council tax again in band E to H houses by up to 22.5%.

The justification is that “this shifts the burden to those who can afford to pay their fair share” and “property values have increased substantially therefore it’s the correct course of action”. This ignores the fact that increase in any value is only relevant if you sell and conveniently they ignore the fact that stamp duty in Scotland is 10% of the sale between £350,000 and £750,000 while in England and Northern Ireland it is 5% between £250,000 and £950,000.

How can you possibly judge the income of homeowners based on the house they live in? We bought our home more than 40 years ago. We made sacrifices then to afford the 17% mortgage interest rate and now after 15 years retired on fixed incomes - my car is almost 10 years old - I still don’t posses a mobile phone, but Public Finance Minister Tom Arthur says too much of the council tax burden falls on people in the lower bands. Really? Our street has 17 houses, 11 occupied by pensioners, and anyone with a mortgage, especially those who have bought recently, will have seen mortgage payments rocket.

No wonder opposition parties remind them we are all suffering a global cost of living crisis, which also includes the fastest annual drop in house prices for 14 years with analysts predicting a fall of 12% by 2024.

Responses to the Scottish Government/Cosla consultation on these rises have to be in by September 20. Please make your views known by then, and at the next General Election.

At this rate I could be homeless. Does anyone know where there’s a campervan going cheap?

Margaret Fraser, Paisley.

Read more: Will the SNP ever stop using marches as camouflage?

Old fogies will help deliver indy

WHAT an ill-informed, derogatory letter from Alexander McKay (September 5) in response to Saturday's independence march in Edinburgh. Although Humza Yousaf encouraged SNP members to attend, the event was organised jointly by Believe in Scotland and Yes for EU. It followed the regular marches in Scottish towns and cities in recent years organised by All Under One Banner (AUOB) which have always stressed that independence is a matter of concern for the Scottish nation rather than for politicians or political parties.

The endorsement of Saturday's march by the SNP was a welcome sign that the party has recognised that it is the child, rather than the parent, of the wider independence movement. I was one of the “old fogies” dismissed with such derision by Mr McKay. I was near the front of the march and, on reaching Holyrood, I sat on a wall for more than an hour as the procession filed past. As a Partick Thistle supporter I know what a crowd of 3,000 looks like and it doesn't take an hour to clear Firhill after a game. The number of kilts I spotted during that hour - pipe bands excepted - barely exceeded the number of UK prime ministers in the last 10 years.

Independence is the destination; the SNP is merely one of the vehicles seeking to reach that destination. Mr McKay clearly lacks confidence in our Scottish nation and prefers to live perpetually under governments imposed on us by our southern neighbours. Before he decides to exclude “old fogies” from the franchise he would do well to consider the fact that they were the category whose votes delivered the No result in the 2014 referendum.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

EU would have welcomed us

YOUR Letters Pages today (September 5) led with two correspondents, Alexander McKay and Peter Wright, repeating the usual unionist tropes. Scotland's SNP Government "cannot run things properly" according to Mr McKay. Perhaps he should have a wee look down the road at Westminster. "Mostly old fogies dressed up [...] their kilts and flags newly ironed," he complains. This non-ironed old fogey wasn't there but I do know three much younger people, kiltless but very probably well-ironed, who were.

As for Mr Wright, perhaps he should ponder the fact that the dire economic austerity he claims Scotland would suffer as an independent country is exactly the condition it is suffering now within the Union. As for his claim that an independent Scotland would have been expelled from the EU after a Yes vote in 2014; that's nothing more than speculation.

I will speculate also: Scotland as a current member, well-liked and respected throughout the EU, would have been welcomed with open arms into a union which, by that time, was becoming thoroughly annoyed and despairing of the Little Englander disruptive and corrosive attitude of Westminster.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

Holyrood is helping the poor

KEVIN McKenna’s article ("SNP is out of touch with working-class Scotland today", The Herald, September) showed how out of touch he is himself.

For him to compare the SNP to the cruel Conservatives is really sinking very low. He writes: "The SNP claims to be on the side of the poor, yet does nothing for them." With limited devolved welfare powers the SNP has introduced seven new benefits only available in Scotland. The Scottish Government has also introduced the Scottish Child Payment of £25 per week to eligible families. And carers receive two supplements a year of £270.50 each, again only available in Scotland.

While the Scottish Government has reached out to the poor and vulnerable, the Conservatives at Westminster have inflicted the largest welfare cuts since the Second World War with the removal of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit. And we all remember the Bedroom Tax, but thankfully once again the SNP at Holyrood has put mitigating measures (£84 million) in place for those affected in Scotland, a rise of nearly 50% since 2017.

I could go on, but I am sure many readers will agree that it is Mr McKenna’s accusations that are out of touch and that he should give readers the facts and point out the real implications for Scotland of Conservative policies at Westminster.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

SNP has had enough time

JIM Stamper (Letters, September 5) criticises me because I dared to say (Letters, September 2) that the NHS under SNP control was failing.

Blaming Westminster for every SNP-inflicted wound is a permanent stance. I would remind Mr Stamper that the NHS was devolved to Scotland in 1999 and the SNP came to power in 2007, had a majority from 2011 to 2016 and in the 2021 Scottish elections Nicola Sturgeon hailed the fourth consecutive victory. I would therefore suggest that the 16 years the SNP Government has been in charge was plenty of time and the SNP would have had plenty of money to sort out the NHS if it had not wasted billions on the numerous expensive failures under its watch. CalMac £300 million, £30m on wave energy companies, Lochaber smelter exposure £586m, £500,000 to Alex Salmond, £40m to Rangers, £16 million on Pelamis, a tidal energy failure; the list goes on and on and on.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Read more: How dare the Tories call out anyone for premature deaths?

Schools claim is false

PAGE 4 of today's Herald (September 5) contains the headline "Yousaf admits investigations into collapse-prone concrete 'could take months'". Within the body of the article that follows it is stated: "The Scottish Government confirmed that reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) was found in 35 schools, with local authorities in the process of checking other buildings."

The article also states: "Given the size of the estate we're looking at, not just the NHS but the public sector estate, it will take some months to complete that fully."

Yet Leah Gunn Barrett (Letters, September 5) would have us believe that "Scotland is ahead of the game" and avers that "the Scottish Government knew the number and location of buildings containing RAAC because it, health boards and councils have been assessing the situation for months".

I think most unbiased readers of The Herald's article would conclude the Scottish Government is no further ahead of England in determining exactly the number of buildings in which RAAC is present.

Brian Bell, Kinross.