Readers' letters: Energy policy is not working for Scotland

This April, every household in the Irish Republic will receive £150 automatically credited to their domestic electricity accounts, while businesses and domestic consumers in Scotland will be suffering even higher bills than their English counterparts thanks to the UK’s energy policies.

The daily standing charge set by the UK government-influenced body Ofgem is going up by 100 per cent in Scotland to 47p or 48p, while in in London consumers will pay just 31p per day.

Part of the hike will go to fill the hole left by the collapse of energy firms and taxpayers are already on the hook for the £2billion bail out of Bulb energy.

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Scotland’s consumers also suffer from the discriminatory National Grid charges set by Ofgem whereby our renewable industries pay the highest connection charges in Europe at £7.36 per megawatt hour, which is more than double than our nearest competitors in Yorkshire and Humberside that have attracted most of recent investment.

Astonishingly Norway can feed energy into our National Grid at a cost of £1.36 per megawatt hour. France pays 17p per megawatt hour while Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg pay nothing to feed into our grid.

To make matters worse the National Grid sold a 60 per cent stake in Britain’s gas pipeline infrastructure to Australian investment firms for more than £4bn and will be looking to increase profits from UK consumers. As energy is reserved to Westminster, there is little chance of things improving prior to independence.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh.

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Universal Credit cut makes poverty worse

The main cause of poverty in Scotland is due to Westminster slashing Universal Credit by £1040, while hiking VAT and National Insurance and cutting the triple-lock on state pensions.

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A quarter of those living in Edinburgh suffer from fuel poverty, which is not helped by Ofgem allowing energy companies to double the standing charge in Southern Scotland.

According to Eurostat, we have the best educated workforce in Europe and record student enrolment at our universities.

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Our patient safety programme is among the best in the world. Per head of population, there are more nurses and midwives, hospital consultants, GPs and dentists in Scotland than in England, as well as more teachers, police officers and firefighters.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.

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Children in care need The Promise kept

It was pleasing to note the Scottish Government’s 80-point Action Plan to deliver “The Promise”, which seeks to improves the lives of children and young people who are care experienced.

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This group of individuals represent some of the most vulnerable members of our society, experiencing considerably less life chances than their peers.

The ‘Plan’ aims to significantly reduce the number of children in care and the move from crisis intervention to early intervention is to be applauded, with the backing of at least £500m over this Parliamentary term.

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The Scottish Government will also introduce a national allowance for foster and kinship carers and provide a £200 grant each year for 16 to 25-year-olds with care experience. Other commitments include ending the placement of 16 and 17-year-olds in young offender institutions.

As we approach the council elections in May, we must ensure momentum and funding is maintained.

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Kenny Graham, Lynn Bell, Stephen McGhee, Niall Kelly, Scottish Children’s Services Coalition.

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