Proposals by the Scottish Government for substantially more powers for the Scottish Parliament are to be welcomed and are very much in tune with Scottish public opinion.
This will see our Parliament having full fiscal responsibility, with policy responsibility for all taxes unless there is a specific reason for a continued reservation. This would include income tax, national insurance, corporation tax, capital gains tax, fuel duty, air passenger duty and inheritance tax.
The Scottish Parliament would also have responsiblity for all domestic expenditure – including welfare – with payments made to the UK government for reserved services.
It is only this situation that will ensure that the high expectations of the people of Scotland are met, with opinion polling consistently indicating that around two-thirds think the Scottish Parliament should have control of all areas of government policy except for defence and foreign affairs.
When it comes to the powers proposed by the Unionist parties, the Scottish public’s desire for maximum powers is way ahead of what these parties are offering.
Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
Turning the clock back is UKIP’s path to victory
I could be persuaded to tolerate UKIP’s nuttier policies, like withdrawing from the EU, and might even turn a blind eye to Nigel Farage’s conspicuous consumption of real ale and cigarettes, which gives regretable support to the evil alcohol and tobacco industries, if UKIP made it a pre-condition of any coalition that we dump metric measurement in favour of the traditional Imperial system and return £SD to our pockets and tills.
Adopting these policies would greatly increase UKIP’s support among pensioners like myself.
John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh
Don’t let trade deal tie our hands
People in this country are rightly proud of the NHS and many are angry at the creeping privatisation now being introduced. The service will be further threatened if a trade deal currently being negotiated with the US goes ahead.
The EU-US trade deal aims to open both health care and education up to competition by American companies. Under the deal, a future UK government could also find itself being sued for billions of pounds if it attempts to reverse NHS privatisation measures. The government of Slovakia has already been sued for reversing the privatisation of its own health system.
Public health and education are essential for a fair society and we must not let the government sign away our rights to these services.
There is a growing campaign against the deal, organised by a variety of groups including the World Development Movement, and I hope readers will join me in supporting it.
Hamish Campbell, Elm Row, Edinburgh
Austerity is the real problem facing us all
So the matter of ‘constitutional change’ is now to be the focus of government (and opposition and the media) for some time - probably decades. The only certain result of this navel-gazing by politicians, government departments and, no doubt, consultants, will be enormous resources spent and at the end more politicians and more political institutions, national regional and local.
While some constitutional reform is necessary and inevitable, the fact is that many of the increasing problems within British society are caused by the imposition of the dogma of austerity.
Austerity is presented as the cure when it is, in fact, the problem. Some straightforward changes to the tax system would help with these issues. A progressive taxation system, properly administered and enforced, which collected a fair tax from all individuals and organisations, without permitting the level of avoidance which appears to exist, could surely be devised.
This could result in the establishment of a realistic minimum wage, reduce the divisive income gap, allow appropriate wage rises for all, properly fund the NHS, education, welfare, infrastructure, housing etc. etc. This would generate additional spending power for and to the benefit of all.
These are the real issues on which government should be concentrating, but I fear that they will not be addressed - it is always easier to reorganise than to do something useful.
David Tomlinson, Fernoch Crescent, Lochgilphead
Referendum Yes voters need to move on
Regarding Mike Stevenson’s comment (‘Go west for a city to be proud to call our capital’, News, October 7), it really is getting more and more wearisome every day, with the ‘Yes’ voters’ continual sniping and moaning.
What is it that you are failing to understand about the result of the referendum? Mr Stevenson informs readers that Glasgow “should be re-designated as our Capital” because of the way Glasgow voted in the referendum. Glasgow did not vote 100% for independence, the result was ‘Yes’ 53.49% ‘No’ 46.51%.
Because the ‘Yes’ votes won in Glasgow, Mr Stevenson now believes that that fine city has “assumed the mantle of leadership” and he bases this on the fact that the Yes votes won by roughly 35,000, deary me!
He further states that “Glasgow is the real capital, the beating heart, the engine room, the people’s capital”. Well, I am one of those ‘people’ and Glasgow is certainly not my capital. Like you I was born here, but unlike you I am still proud to call Edinburgh my home and Capital of Scotland.
You lost the referendum, get over it.
Jim Taylor, Essendean Place, Edinburgh