Readers' letters: Labour policies are no help to Scotland

Ian Murray again misses the mark (News, May 5). Labour’s northern branch is controlled by Keir Starmer’s centre-right Labour Party and as such will do nothing to help Scots reeling from rocketing energy and food prices.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 9th May 2022, 7:00 am
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer's policies won't help, Scotland
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer's policies won't help, Scotland

Since 2013/14, Scottish council funding rose 22.9 per cent, despite the SNP cleaning up Labour’s mess over the Glasgow equal pay scandal, where for years the Labour council significantly underpaid women. In Labour-controlled Wales, council funding rose just 7.3 per cent.

Murray claims Labour will alleviate the living cost crisis, but Starmer’s Labour would leave energy companies in private hands.

Last week BP revealed its highest first-quarter earnings in a decade and Shell’s quarterly profits soared above £7bn. Most will flow to shareholders and share buy-backs while consumers bear the brunt.

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France, Germany, Spain and Italy recently raised taxes on energy companies to help their citizens.

Norway, which owns its energy company, imposes a 78 per cent tax on oil and gas operators that goes directly to the nation’s $1.3 trillion wealth fund. By contrast, the UK Government cut petrol taxes to zero in 2015.

Westminster policies are hammering Scotland. Renewables producers are forced to pay ten times what English providers do for grid connection; Scots pay more in standing charges than England and are charged an £80 nuclear tax for English plants that Scotland doesn’t need; renewables investments are held back by Ofgem policies which force Scots to pay expensive gas prices when they are surrounded by renewables. Then there’s Brexit supported by Labour.

Scotland will never prosper under Westminster rule, but that is exactly what Labour is proposing we continue to endure.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

Brexit bounce is flatlining for Tories

While the local election results in the UK don't give a conclusive picture of an electoral earthquake in favour of opposition parties, the interesting picture is that many Conservative voters stayed at home in various constituencies up and down the country.

One reason for this is that the bounce Boris once got from getting Brexit done is just about flat lining. The Tories had proudly claimed that Brexit has not done anything like as much damage as Remainers predicted. For this reason many no longer see Brexit as a factor undermining the Conservatives but it is the elephant in the room.

First the much vaunted levelling up claim is no longer mentioned in every ministerial conversation. After the Gove white paper the Chancellor and the Conservative right offered no money for the task.

Meanwhile farmers, vets and port authorities are furious about the abandonment of import duties from the EU countries that were due to come in soon. Millions have been wasted in preparation and British food security is undermined.

The IMF seem to think that 80 per cent of inflationary pressures in the UK is Brexit related. No wonder Jacob Rees Mogg was desperate to abandon the import duties schedule. But a big influence on inflation apparently is our loss of migrant workers which has forced many hard-pressed employers to raise wages, thus driving up prices. So Brexit is one factor in the inflationary spiral which may lead to recession later.

There are many reasons for the Conservatives doing badly but Brexit problems in the UK and Ulster are omens which point to further decline in the red wall seats. And the Tories' complacent response to the cost of living crisis reminds one of Marie Antoinette: 'If bread is a problem let them 'have their Brexit cake and eat it.'

Andrew Vass, Edinburgh.

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