Readers' letters: Liz Truss's comments on US trade deal alarming

Comments by Prime Minister Liz Truss that it will take years for the UK to establish a free trade deal with the US are both confusing and alarming.

Liz Truss says the free trade deal with the US has been shelved
Liz Truss says the free trade deal with the US has been shelved

In 2019, the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, noted that a UK-US post-Brexit trade deal was imminent and the UK was at the “front of the queue”. Three years later, Ms Truss tells us the deal has been shelved for at least the “short to medium term”.

It transpires that there aren’t currently even any negotiations taking place, despite a pledge by Brexiteers that this was one of the major economic benefits of leaving the EU.

What we have witnessed since Brexit is a series of trade deals that mirror what the UK already had as members of the EU, or are even worse. This was most recently demonstrated by the free trade deal with New Zealand, which will see much higher quantities of produce come into the UK tariff-free. It means a lack of a level playing field between British and New Zealand farmers, who can benefit from economies of scale. This is in stark contrast to the EU’s agreement with New Zealand, which secured the same market access for its exports but with better safeguards for its domestic producers.

While the UK Government is celebrating the fact that leaving the EU gives the UK the benefit of making trade agreements, these do not seem to be forthcoming, and where they do they frequently put the UK in a worse position than previous EU membership provided.

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Alex Orr, Edinburgh

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Outdated monarchy

I’ve waited until after Queen Elizabeth's funeral to attempt to have my views on the monarchy aired in the popular press, A, out of consideration for her grieving family and B, because mainstream newspapers have been relentless in suppressing any dissenting comments.

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When the news broke from Balmoral, I received a text saying “Not a big royalist, but still sad about the Queen”. I replied: It’s alright to feel sorry for her but, if you are a democrat it is equally alright not to support unelected monarchy that puts religion before secularism and Protestantism before Catholicism.

In the main, I believe that republicans, while finding it difficult to understand the rather unnatural outpouring of public grief, have been very considerate towards grieving royals and those who support them.

Jack Fraser, Edinburgh

Budget burden

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Susan Dalgety (News, 19 September) fails to mention that the SNP is increasing the Scottish Child Payment to £25 per child in November and will be extended to children under 16. This should give the children of those on benefits a better start in life which will then be reflected in educational attainment.

This is despite Scotland’s budget declining in value by £1.7bn since it was published in December 2021 due to the impact of Tory inflation. The Scottish Government can’t use tax powers to tackle the cost-of-living crisis as the Scotland Act only permits tax rates to be set once for the whole year.

The £20m for a referendum will be money well spent if we can use the proceeds of an energy-rich Scotland to emulate independent Ireland where, according to a Financial Times analysis, the standard of living of the poorest Irish is 63 per cent higher than the poorest in the UK.

Energy costs for households and businesses in Scotland, as part of the UK, are twice that of the EU which Labour and the Lib Dems have given up on rejoining. Scotland is a net exporter of energy and many will regret falling for the misinformation peddled by the No side eight years ago.

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Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

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