Letters: Independent Scotland would face VAT on food

A vendor weighs tomatoes. Pic: Comp
A vendor weighs tomatoes. Pic: Comp
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The SNP White Paper says on page 117 regarding VAT, “Monetary unions allow for significant differences in fiscal and economic policies. For example, Luxembourg and Belgium have been in currency union for decades but have substantial variations in tax policies. VAT is 15 per cent in Luxembourg and 21 in Belgium.”

The monetary union reference is not the point, as it has been made clear by the UK government that there isn’t going to be one. The important issue is VAT within the EU.

What the White Paper is silent on is that Belgium, in common with all other member states, also charges VAT on food. The Belgian rate on food is 6%. Any new member state, which Scotland would be, has to set a base rate of VAT of at least 15 per cent. It is then allowed two areas on which it may choose a lower rate, each of which must be at least five per cent.

This would mean Scotland would have to charge VAT on food of at least five per cent.

At present, because of the UK agreement, from day one we have zero per cent VAT on food, books, new houses and children’s clothes. These would not be inherited by an independent Scotland because they were a UK concession and Scotland would no longer be in the UK.

Any concessions would have to be unanimously agreed by all other member states. It is hard to believe they would all vote to give Scotland something which they can’t have themselves, so VAT on the aforementioned items seems to be a certainty in a separate Scotland.

Would anyone who may write in reply to disagree please come up with something other than the all too predictable accusation of scaremongering.

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian

Time to upgrade our road transport links

comments that 60-tonne trucks are not appropriate for Scotland’s roads are nonsense. It is basically our archaic road system in Scotland that is not fit for mega trucks.

Most main roads classed as major are Third World compared to England.

The fault lies with weak politicians who listen to environmentalists, which has held up or scrapped many road improvement schemes.

As a truck and bus driver who travels all over Britain, I see the difference between England and Scotland.

Some objectors may like to see us returning to the era of the horse and cart; then we could all be up to our ankles in horse manure. Would that be green enough for them?

V Radzynski, Colinton Mains Drive, Edinburgh

Care for the elderly is just not good enough

the second part of the BBC documentary Protecting Our Parents shown last week revealed the inadequacy of all-round care provision for the elderly.

All the staff involved were caring, but handicapped by having to work within existing rules and tight funding.

A disturbing feature was the ‘test’ by a psychologist to determine the patient’s capacity to make decisions, with questions such as ‘What day is it?’

I would imagine most people would hesitate before answering after being in hospital for a few weeks.

Their answers led to a decision being made on the patient’s capacity and the ‘test’ came across as inadequate.

Provision of care in all forms, from building NHS hospitals for the elderly, to ensuring home care is greatly expanded, if necessary up to 24 hours, all run by fully qualified staff, would be a start in showing we do care about protecting our parents.

Mr A Delahoy, Silverknowes Gardens, Edinburgh

Pedestrians in danger of falling road signs

I AM concerned at the number of road signs which have fallen over and are left lying on the pavements.

They represent a hazard for the pedestrian, especially at night, and it was just over a year ago that I tripped over one near Canonmills.

I quite severely bruised my face and wrist and could not leave the house for eight days due to concussion.

I have tried to claim compensation, but so far no-one is prepared to accept responsibility for the road signs.

There are so many left lying around that there must be others who have suffered injury due to road work negligence.

Mr A Anderson, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Edinburgh’s drains need a spring clean

Anyone who has recently walked along Princes Street will have noticed that the very long drain on the north pavement is completely blocked as are most of the drains in Edinburgh.

Come on Ms Hinds, give the city a much-needed spring clean with some TLC and then report to the voters that you have done the job, dressed in your boiler suit and rubber gloves .

CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

Royal Mail can offer us an extra uplift service

We all use the email service on our computers, but wouldn’t it be good if the postie uplifted post as well as delivering? An extra charge would be acceptable. In the Highlands and other remote places this is done without charge. Perhaps we would all use the Royal Mail a lot more if such a service was available.

James Fraser, Cockburn Street, Edinburgh