Sir, – The number of people claiming Universal Credit has hit historically unprecedented levels.
There were 1.5 million claims made in the first month of lockdown. That’s six times the rate for the same period last year.
The figure would have been much higher but for the UK Government furlough scheme.
This, however, will end in October and it remains to be seen how many of those jobs will be retained. This could be as high as 9 million jobs going.
The persistence of such shocking numbers shows the UK economy is crumbling. This current crisis could be on a scale bigger and more prolonged than the Great Depression of the 1930s.
This may well be on a par with the South Sea Bubble crash of 1720.
Redundancies have spread well beyond the industries initially impacted by the pandemic.
Distress for those out of work has been compounded due to delays of up to six weeks for the first payment of Universal Credit.
The economic incompetence of the Conservatives has led to this Covid-19 induced crisis.
Beginning in the 1980s they off-shored all the high-skilled manufacturing jobs. These were allowed to go to China and India. Wages were suppressed in order to support a bloated financial sector. State assets were given away.
The financial sector then collapsed in 2008 and required a bailout.
This meant the UK economy would be vulnerable to an unexpected pandemic.
In their desire to get the UK economy going again the Tories have shown utter disregard for public safety and the health consequences from the coronavirus infection.
The current economic depression shows there is a deep structural crisis occurring within the capitalist system.
Covid-19 was the trigger. Governments around the world have responded by propping up financial markets with unlimited taxpayer cash.
Capitalism offers no way out of the current crisis.
2 Gillespie Terrace,
Scale of problem is being masked
Sir, – The World Health Organisation reports that Sunday past saw the largest rise in Covid infections, with the top three being Brazil (56,771), US (36,617) and India (15,400).
This shows that in some countries Covid is just getting going.
India with its high population density will struggle to contain the virus with physical distancing, Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo with its favelas may also be a virus paradise.
The USA is second in the list and, according to Mr Trump, “it’s because they are testing more people than other countries”.
Using data complied by the Covid Tracker of John Hopkins University and comparing countries with population sizes above 40 million, the country with the highest testing ratio per million is Russia with 116,241 tests per million, next is the UK with 114,250 per million, then Spain.
The USA is behind with 86,090 tests per million population and 122,000 deaths so far.
One of the early estimates for the USA was 150,000 deaths but this looks sadly to be an underestimate. Yet, Mr Trump suggests they should test less.
Heads on a plate over education
Sir, – If ever there was a moving feast, the plan for return to school amidst the pandemic must be on the menu.
Who knows where we will be by August 11.
But you can be sure that with the first minister’s cautious approach, we will be as near to controlling the virus as possible while allowing our youngsters the best possible opportunity to return to normal schooling.
Shame on the opposition parties, past first minister Jack McConnel, other critics and the unionist media that they can’t wait to bin the feast before it’s on the table.
West Park, Braco.
No to increased funding for arts
Sir, – The country’s top actors, playwrights and producers have urged the government to help save the arts sectors.
They say UK theatre is on the “brink of ruin” and has been brought to its knees by the coronavirus pandemic.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sir Tom Stoppard, Juliet Stevenson and James McAvoy are among 100 names calling on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to provide government investment.
What they are really saying is that they want the arts sectors to be given taxpayers’ money.
Why should taxpayers fund them?
The people who signed this letter are all very rich from being in this line of work, so why do they not put their hands in their deep pockets?
Different time, different views
Sir, – The letter from Allan MacDougall (Empire was not rosy and justice will prevail, Courier, June 20) is a clear example of the one-sided thinking that typifies the Scottish Nationalists’ argument.
Mr MacDougall utterly fails to grasp the fact that creation of the British Empire happened at a time in our past, when very different views prevailed on social and political correctness, than are prevalent today.
Hindsight is a great option for unjustified criticism of historical perspective.
The old argument of the necessity for full fiscal powers for Scotland to successfully run an independent economy, is risible given the fact that the SNP has never again dared to publish its view on economic independence, since its disastrous White Paper of 2014.
The reality of life is that we live in an increasingly interconnected and competitive world economy, in which advantage is sought by fair means and foul and where modern slavery is an endemic way of life in the so-called “third world”.
Like it or not, the United Kingdom is recognised universally for democracy, fairness, tolerance and rule of law.
Scotland is part of that recognition, and benefits from it.
Washington was a slave owner
Sir, – I hope the Americans pulling down the statues of old presidents remember that their great hero, George Washington was also a slave owner.
93 Whyterose Terrace,
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