Sir, – In her letter of January 3, Maaike Cook complains shops were selling Easter eggs just before Christmas, suggesting this was a recent practice.
In a Christmas edition of the Basil Brush Show back in the 1970s, he quipped “you can tell it’s nearly Christmas, the Easter eggs are coming into the shops”.
I’m afraid Christmas Easter eggs are nothing new.
Jane Ann Liston. Whitehill Terrace, Largo Road, St Andrews.
Tories are not the party of low taxation
Sir, – The revelation Scots pay less in taxes than elsewhere in the UK should not come as a surprise and is something I have highlighted for some time.
The latest available figures for income tax, council tax, water bills, medical charges and tuition fees show that in comparison to England, Scots pay an average of £840 a year less.
Compared with Wales, people in Scotland pay almost £500 less and if university tuition fees are included the figure balloons to £10,000.
As an example, in Scotland the average B and D council tax band is £590 lower than England and £423 lower than Wales, while the average household water bill in Scotland is £33 lower than in England and Wales.
At a time when Brexit is exacerbating the UK’s cost of living crisis, more impending tax increases by this Tory government on national insurance simply add to this costly burden. They portray themselves as the party of low taxation – they’re anything but.
Alex Orr. Marchmont Road, Edinburgh.
Increase in fatalities is hardly surprising
Sir, – The National Records of Scotland’s quarterly figures were most recently updated on December 14 2021.
At 15,145, the number of deaths in that quarter were 15.3% higher than the average for 2015-19. Of these, 789 were declared as having an underlying cause of Covid-19. That is just 5% and it must be remembered the vast majority of those who succumbed to this virus had other, pre-existing conditions.
The increase mostly consists of cancer, coronary heart disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Excess deaths in Scotland were notable throughout 2021 and, again, cannot be attributed to Covid-19.
With hospital visits discouraged by our hapless health secretary and 33% of those polled expressing a reluctance to consult GPs for any illness, perhaps this increase in fatalities is not a surprise.
The time has come to ask more pressing questions of those who crave the media spotlight, and if they offer vaccine passports as a solution again then their suitability for public office should be robustly challenged.
Hamish Hossick. Strathern Road, Broughty Ferry.
Miley so much more than a cycling track
Sir, – I was greatly disappointed that the article on the Dundee to Newtyle railway in The Courier, described The Miley as a cycle track.
It is much more than that, as our group of dedicated volunteers can attest to.
It is the Scottish Wildlife Trust Miley Urban Wildlife Reserve which our group looks after. We have a litter-picking rota where volunteers go out each week to keep the path litter free.
Each year, pre-Covid, we had a big clean-up when places were cleared of rubbish not seen from the path, and also a leaf-clearing day. As soon as it’s feasible, we will start again.
Members attend events like the council flower show where we raise money to improve The Miley. Nursery children are taken on walks and taught about the wildlife.
Kingspark School makes use of The Miley using a gate we raised money to have installed.
St John’s School and Our Lady’s Primary both use the site for learning.
Each year, we are assessed by It’s Your Neighbourhood, part of the Horticultural Society, on how we are doing and we receive a certificate. Some of your reporters have visited us and written articles about some of the things we have done.
Mary Harwood. Volunteer and Secretary, Miley Group.