Readers' letters: Nicola leaves a proud political record

Contrary to Alastair Murray’s claims (letters, 21 February), Nicola Sturgeon won widespread praise for her calm, effective leader-ship throughout the Covid pandemic and is globally recognised as a leader in tackling climate change.

Her successes as First Minister are far too many to list here but how about the magnificent Queensferry Crossing delivered on time and well under budget?

She saved Prestwick Airport, nationalised ScotRail, scrapped dentistry charges, introduced the small business bonus, set up the Scottish National Investment Bank, narrowed the attainment gap and extended free personal care and child care.

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We benefit from the best performing NHS in the UK, the lowest crime rate in 40 years and the introduction of numerous welfare provisions including the Scottish Child Payment to help those less well-off as a result of Westminster austerity.

Despite economic limitations of devolution, Nicola Sturgeon can be proud of her record in tackling poverty. In 2014, 15 of the 20 most deprived areas in the UK were in Scotland, now all 20 are in England. Scotland has a lower rate of overall poverty at 18 per cent than England’s 22 per cent and 24 per cent in Labour-run Wales. That's some legacy.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Bumper bank profits are grotesque

Profiteering continues apace in this dystopian neoliberal-rigged economy to make the rich even richer.

The five big banks are raking in grotesque profits of £37.4b, the most since the 2008 financial crisis. The Bank of England’s brainless decision to raise interest rates to quell inflation which is due entirely to external shocks and corporate profiteering, has forced households and small businesses to pay more for mortgages and loans. This money is now flooding into already swollen bank coffers.

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On top of this bonanza, the commercial banks are getting an extra £150b from the Bank of England because it is nonsensically paying them interest on the risk-free reserves these banks hold with the central bank. This ongoing robbery is happening in broad daylight.

The Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey, had the temerity to slam workers who are asking for a pay rise merely to survive while backing the lifting of the bankers’ bonus cap.

He’s warm and well-fed on his £500k salary. Rhetorical question: Does he work for the City of London or the people of this so-called United Kingdom?

And then you’ve got the oleaginous Jeremy Hunt unveiling his Edinburgh reforms that will dismantle the meagre post-2008 banking reforms and allow the bankers to return full throttle to the casino table.

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Are there any Scottish politicians willing and able to stand up for the Scottish people?

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Time for a council tax rates revaluation

If Edinburgh Council is really serious about raising its income, it should begin by instituting a new rateable revaluation.

It is truly negligent that there has been no revaluation since 1990, leaving grotesque anomalies.

For example, large New Town properties which sell at over £1million are rated C while small, modern, two bed flats which may sell for £250,000 are rated at F and other three beds which sell for £300,000 have a rateable valuation at G, as though they are country mansions

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This is most inequitable and as a consequence raises far less for the council than if they were to have an up to date rateable valuation that reflects real values.

What is stopping them?

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh

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