Readers' letters: Prospects gloomy for Scottish pensioners

John McLellan (Evening News, 10 February) should note that according to the latest GERS figures, Scottish taxpayers paid £11.5 billion in National Insurance payments and the UK paid out £8.5 billion for our state pensions.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 12th February 2022, 7:00 am

An independent Scotland using a Norwegian level of taxation on oil and gas companies would help with energy bills and could pay for a better pension than the UK – as in Iceland, Finland, Luxemburg and Ireland.

In 2015, the Tory govern-ment slashed taxes on oil and gas production but Norway kept tax on oil and gas at 78 per cent. Channel 4 News reported that for each barrel of oil the UK received $1.72 in 2019 while Norway received $21.35.

High taxation didn’t stop investment in the Norwegian half of the North Sea and in 2021 Norway earned almost £25 billion from oil and gas revenues whereas the latest GERS report attributed a notional deficit of £250 million as Scotland’s share of UK petroleum tax.

The UK has the worst state pension in Western Europe and the level of payments is far from guaranteed as, since the 2014 referendum, the Tories have extended the retirement age and Rishi Sunak has failed to keep the “triple lock” promise to increase pensions in line with inflation.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.

We deserve to see facts and figures

Already we have disagree-ment as to whether England would continue to pay state pensions to Scots after independence. Our First Minister says no, this would fall to Scotland; while Ian Blackford MP, her spokesman at Westminster, disagrees.

This is typical of the hundreds of such arguments and uncertainties, and unexpected outcomes, that would slowly unfold as the process of independence proceeded; while Scotland itself – in a state of international commercial uncertainty – would have a hard time financially while trying to get into the EU. The independence argument urgently needs proper facts and figures, or it will be deservedly lost on the electorates well justified fear of the unknown.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

Animal abuse

Allowing Kurt Zouma to continue to play for and otherwise represent West Ham United is a stain on the club’s reputation and sends the worrying message to football fans and the public that it does not take animal abuse seriously.

Fining the multi-millionaire a fortnight’s salary is a pitiful response by the club to the acts of extreme cruelty caught on camera.

By slapping, kicking, and hurling objects at his cat in front of an impressionable child, Zouma has proved himself to be a bully and animal abuser, taking his petty issues out on the most defenceless. Many people look up to footballers as role models and heroes, clearly he is neither.

It’s a relief Zouma’s cats have been rescued so they can be cared for by someone capable of showing them the kindness and empathy that he clearly lacks, but an apology and a fine are not enough. Zouma must face the full consequences of his appalling actions in the courtroom – which, importantly, should include a lifetime ban on keeping animals. In the meantime, West Ham bosses must give him the boot.

Natalie Tambini, PETA, London N1.

Boo Zouma

West Ham fans should continue to boo Kurt Zouma every time he touches the ball in any future matches or better still, boycott any game West Ham select him for unless and until he is booted out of the club.

Sandra Busell, Edinburgh.

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