Readers' letters: Why we are facing a winter of discontent

Just when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse, the feckless Tories deliver another disaster.

Thursday, 23rd September 2021, 7:00 am

Despite the UK being Europe’s second largest gas producer, 62 per cent of it from Scottish waters, UK businesses and consumers are being hammered by enormous price increases for gas and electricity just as winter looms. And these increases are far higher than in the rest of Europe.

In its infinite wisdom, the UK government sold off state energy suppliers British Gas and British Petroleum and we are now saddled with a deregulated energy market with many small suppliers going to the wall unless the government, ie the taxpayer, bails them out, so consumers are in for a massive shock. Most other European nations kept their energy companies in state hands, limiting price rises.

The SNP conference called for a national energy company to keep our abundant energy resources in our own hands and to provide affordable energy, a basic human right, to its citizens. But that can only happen once we are free of the UK.

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In the meantime, fuel poverty will increase given the UK’s miserly winter fuel allowance. Add to that a hard Brexit, food and labour shortages, rising prices, Universal Credit cuts and a continued bungled Covid response and we’re in for a winter of discontent, to put it mildly.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

Scotland’s problems predate Sturgeon

Drip, drip attacks on Nicola Sturgeon, apart from being misguided, are more and more unhelpful.

Problems with our NHS came when the Tories, pre-Tony Blair, introduced the market into our NHS and care system.

On the eve of his election victory in 1997 Mr Blair told voters they had just 24 hours to save the NHS.

For the first two years in office, Labour, now New Labour, stuck to Tory spending plans before extending the privatisation started by the Tories.

This agenda was influenced by an American big business-led plan of worldwide marketisation of public services, pushed by the G8 to regulate money supplies to countries as a method of controlling their economies, compelling the opening up of public services to the market.

Some Americans can afford private healthcare, but many others cannot. We have been heading towards a similar model of health care in Britain.

Replacing Sturgeon with Douglas Ross is certainly not the answer for Scotland.

Jack Fraser, Musselburgh.

Flu vaccine fears for the housebound

I am 86 and my wife and I are both housebound, unable to travel. I contacted my surgery to establish whether we would be getting our flu vaccine at home as usual. I was advised that surgeries are not doing this, referring me to the NHS letter everyone should have received.

I noted the flu vaccine centre is at Ingliston. I called the centre, said my wife and I were housebound and asked about alternative arrangements. I was advised that at this time, there was nothing in place to meet these circumstances, but to call back in a couple of weeks, adding they had no information regarding a Covid-19 booster jab.

What, then, can the housebound and care homes do to address this problem?

This a terrible situation we are in now. Due to the grossly inconvenient location of the vaccine centre, I predict a very low take up of the jab, so brace ourselves for a huge Influenza outbreak and a possible Covid-19 spike come this winter, that could cause the collapse of our hospital services.

Mr Frank Ferri, Edinburgh.