Readers' letters: Scotland needs a new direction of travel

The £1.5billion coming to Scotland next year for health and education doesn’t cover UK inflation removing £1.7bn from Scotland’s fixed budget this year.

As analysis by the Health Foundation found, the UK has underfunded the NHS by £40bn a year over the past decade compared to the EU average meaning £4bn a year less for Scotland’s NHS compared to our EU neighbours. That is why the NHS is struggling UK wide.

Jeremy Hunt’s budget revealed that between 2022 and 2028 the UK is expected to raise £20bn a year from Scotland’s oil and gas that we were told in 2014 was running out within five years.

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Due to increases in the bank rate, banks are making big windfall profits on the massive £950bn of reserves held at the UK’s Bank of England, yet Jeremy Hunt is handing the banks a £123bn rebate.

An independent Scotland is entitled to a population share of Bank of England reserves which would be enough to cover our central bank and Scottish currency.

Brexit has meant increased food prices and the UK faces the sharpest decline in economic growth in Europe by some margin. Yet neither Tories nor Labour mentions Brexit or failed energy policy as a major factor in the UK facing years of recession. Only independence will change this direction of travel.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh.

EV owners should pay their fair share

Electric vehicle owners will soon have to pay to use the roads. From 2025 cars will be liable for £165 a year, vans £290 but cars costing over £40,000 will pay £500.

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There are over 590,000 on UK roads so that would bring in, at say an average £300 a vehicle, £177 million every year. EV owners got a substantial government grant and can charge their vehicles for free at council provided charging points at council taxpayers' expense.

This free electricity must stop. We now need cyclists and e-scooter owners to pay to use the roads and, illegally, the pavements.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow.

Mindlessness on the buses is a worry

I offer total support for the bus drivers and sensible customers in Edinburgh after reading of spitting and abuse by thugs (News, Novermber 21).

My son and friends witnessed terrible attack on their bus travelling home from college a few weeks back when two hooded early teens threw a massive rock at the back window which hurt one customer on the head and terrified all the customers who then had to get off while the driver called police.

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Injury could also have been much worse - what is going on with this mindlessness?

Julia Main, Edinburgh.

Are Greens ready to back budget APD?

At the upcoming Scottish budget will Green Ministers ensure that Airport Passenger Duty is finally raised now that it has been devolved to Holyrood?

It is the most environmentally friendly tax and can stop the SNP raising income taxes even higher than they already are.

Davie Watson, Leith.

Private health spending query

Interesting that some NHS leaders in Scotland are kicking around fresh ideas for the service, including a suggestion that some may have to pay for treatment.

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If some are thinking outside the box, well and good. However, can you imagine what the SNP would be saying if this had come under a Tory government on their watch?

William Ballantine, Bo’ness.

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