'Pack up the bunting celebrating Rishi Sunak's Budget' - Readers' Letters

With the Office of Budgetary Responsibility predicting that inflation will rise by four per cent in the coming year, Ken Currie (Letters, 29 October) needs to press the pause button on getting out the Union Jack bunting to celebrate the Chancellor’s apparent ‘gift’ of an extra £4.6 billion for Scotland over three years (i.e., approximately £1.5bn annually) as inflation will soak up most of this.

By Readers' Letters
Monday, 1st November 2021, 7:00 am
One reader is not convinced by Rish Sunak’s ‘gift’ to Scotland
One reader is not convinced by Rish Sunak’s ‘gift’ to Scotland

It is of course our own money he is allowing us to receive back, not UK largesse. Those who support Scotland’s vassal status in the UK should note that Scotland receives back in the block grant approximately 60 per cent of the taxation raised in Scotland, and this year, with oil prices set to reach 100 dollars a barrel, oil revenues from Scotland will assist the Treasury even more. The reality is that Scotland’s day-to-day budget will shrink by 7.1 per cent in real terms next year and capital spending by 9.7 per cent.

And given the damage that the British government has forced onto Scotland through Brexit and its incompetent handling of the covid pandemic, this increase is an insult.

Rishi Sunak’s budget was branded by the Institute of Fiscal Studies as ‘actually awful. More years of real incomes barely growing, high inflation, higher taxes, poor growth, keeping living standards virtually stagnant for another half-decade’. That’s your union dividend!

Mairianna Clyde, Edinburgh

Smoke and mirrors

Ken Currie has obviously fallen for Tory PR smoke and mirrors over the Budget proposals as we in Scotland pay our share of UK taxes and the reality is that in cash terms, the OBR forecasts UK borrowing will be £183 billion next year plus inflation of up to five per cent will eat into any promised £4.6bn. Also, Scotland’s resource budget is being slashed by seven per cent compared to last year.

Boris Johnson’s disastrous Covid decisions caused the need to borrow so much and although Scotland voted overwhelmingly against Brexit, we are continuing to pay a heavy price with the UK’s GDP predicted to fall by four per cent. No trade deal with New Zealand can make up for the loss of 27 European single markets.

The direct financing from Westminster for Scottish communities and councils is a deliberate attack on the powers of Holyrood and comes from the Internal Market and Shared Prosperity funds, designed to replace cash from EU schemes that supported various projects. The Scottish government administered the EU schemes. If London distributes this cash directly to Scottish councils, it is squeezing out the democratically elected Scottish government and yet another Westminster power grab.

Unionists may think this is a wizard wheeze but those of a Labour or Lib Dem persuasion should ask themselves if they consider that would be acceptable if their party was elected by us to be in power in Scotland.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Assisted dying

It seems that the appointed bishop’s bench in The House of Lords (the so-called Lords Spiritual) has united to oppose the choice of assisted dying for terminally ill people.

Martin Warner, the bishop of Chichester, said "God does not inflict evil on people".

What esoteric and empty concepts to bring to an important and nuanced moral debate!

Individuals of course may have religious belief inform their own views but not give them seats in government.

There can be no clearer example of the need to end the unelected power of Anglican clerics in UK legislature.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society

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