Sir, – Mike Donachie’s opinion piece (Covid-19 tax reprieve for private schools is ridiculous, Courier, May 21) raises a broader question, namely out of whose pocket will the Westminster Government’s extensive Covid-19 borrowing eventually come?
The easy answer, for the government, is out of general taxation – income tax, VAT, corporation tax and the like – but any such strategy will simply exacerbate what is already a dire situation for many people and businesses and thrust us deeper into the impending recession.
A new approach to taxation is now desperately needed.
The abolition of income tax and national insurance would be a start.
This would immediately remove many of the loopholes and devices which enable the already wealthy to become even wealthier.
VAT could be restructured to create different rates across essential, desirable and luxury goods and services.
The technology already exists to enable this to happen.
Regulations could be changed to ensure that goods and services bought, sold or provided in this country are taxed in this country, preventing tax-free personal payments into offshore accounts, or preventing businesses funnelling payments into countries where favourable corporation tax arrangements have been negotiated.
A tax on all banking transactions could be introduced; the banks already have technology which could enable this.
Additionally, this would do much to help reduce the black economy, estimated at £223,000,000,000 in 2016 and thus increase tax revenues substantially.
Or a wealth tax could be levied on gross asset values!
But of course we know that none of this will happen.
The government – and I’m talking Westminster here because it controls taxation policy and legislation – comprises rich people and the principal parties are heavily funded by rich people who expect the government to make them richer.
Britain’s hard-working families will continue to shoulder the burden of debt repayment, ensuring the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
In the meantime, I’ll sit and dream.
Doubled up Arbroath ‘Flyer’
Sir, – At this time, of what can only be described as mass hysteria evinced by this quite severe bout of Chinese Flu, there are several notable anomalies.
We live near the main east coast rail line in Carnoustie.
Can anyone tell me why there are up to 35 (I lost count) empty trains using this line each day?
Some of them are goods trains which do perform a vital service.
But in some cases the Arbroath ‘Flyer’ has had to be doubled up to four carriages due to lack of custom. The other noticeable thing is the Barry Buddon firing ranges.
It is now 20.45 and they have been banging away since 09.00 this morning.
In normal times I am fully supportive of military exercises, but in this time of essential activities only, is wasting taxpayers’ hard earned money on target practice an essential activity?
I am obviously delighted that we can soon get back to golf, but I am unable to ascertain if we can return to church any time soon, or have I missed something?
4 Waterside View,
No tolerance for trolling Scotland
Sir, – Jenny Hjul (Old politics after lockdown, Courier, May 20) either fails to grasp the concept of devolution or is manipulating the slight divergence from England in order to politically attack the Scottish nationalists during the present health crisis.
Her previous output suggests the latter.
Ms Hjul’s mantra of London knows best would be more credible if the English Tory government’s response to Covid-19 hadn’t been one of serial incompetence.
She also uses her column to claim that Great Britain alone is economically supporting us in a time of need.
Something apparently an independent Scotland would fail to do.
Once again she ignored the reality of Scotland-sized countries doing just that.
BBC4 is currently broadcasting the Norwegian drama, A State Of Happiness, which explores the country’s path to prosperity after its discovery of oil.
In Norwegian folklore a “troll” is a creature used to frighten children at bedtime.
In modern parlance, “trolling” is the act of making random comments with the intent to engage in a fight or argument.
The BBC are just one of the conduits used by the British state to convince Scots of our historical penury, yet see no contradiction in bringing this series to our living rooms.
How long Scots will continue to tolerate being trolled will soon be tested by another independence referendum, with taking back control the only positive outcome.
c/o 15 Thorter Way,
Let them bring the harvest in
Sir, – Much publicity is being given to the need for students and others to help with seasonal work on our farms.
We are informed of the danger of fruit and other crops rotting in the fields because of a desperate shortage of temporary workers.
From the perspective of my granddaughter, a student about to enter university this year, the reality presents a different and frustrating picture which is also experienced by many of her friends.
In March she applied for work in several fruit farms in Angus.
Only one farm replied, offering her work with a starting date in May.
That date has arrived, but no response had been made by the farm to her calls for the further details that were promised.
A final call today resulted in her being told to re-submit her application. The farm manager indicated he could not be expected to reply to all inquiries as over 3,000 had applied.
All of this is very dispiriting to those seeking work.
While it is understandable that farmers might wish to give preference to experienced fruit-pickers from abroad who have been regular workers, and who will occupy otherwise empty accommodation on the farms, it is nevertheless hugely irritating to read constant reports about a shortage of labour while job applicants from the local area appear to be both numerous and ignored.
If in fact there is a shortage of workers, then our young people should be given the chance to show they can respond to the challenge laid down by Prince Charles and the government to “bring the harvest in”.
6 Shepherd’s Road,
New landlord charter is wrong
Sir, – I see that the SNP and Scottish Conservatives voted down a proposal that would have given private tenants some protection.
Instead they put in place a Landlord’s Charter. One would have expected this from Tories, but the SNP?
How could they?
Surely they cannot blindly support such a blatant attack on some of the least well off in our society?