Sir, – I notice that more people are speaking about a Universal Basic Income.
The most persistent criticism of this is the cost.
The cost of such a system would depend on the level of payment to each individual.
Systems for payment are already in place, for example through HMRC.
Additional costs would be mitigated by simplifying the bureaucracy surrounding the current benefits system.
This may reduce the opportunity for fraud while ensuring people receive money to which they are entitled.
Many organisations have done a lot of work on this subject.
Different models of a Universal Basic Income need to be examined.
We can learn from other countries which have, or which are, conducting trials.
There are benefits to such a scheme.
To increase people’s purchasing power is key to stimulating the economy as well as enhancing their wellbeing.
Taking forward trials in the form of pilots is a sensible way of evaluating social policy.
The current crisis caused by the coronavirus should provide the impetus for change and gives government the opportunity to be innovative .
A Universal Basic Income could lead the way in providing a more fair and equitable society.
4 Old Brechin Road,
Covid deaths are relatively small
Sir, – As an apprentice chartered accountant in 1951 I had to attend Dundee School of Economics, a division of St Andrews University, for two terms to achieve a pass certificate in statistics and economics.
This does not make me expert in either subject, but when a lecturer said he could produce statistics to prove men of a certain age were safer at the frontline of World War Two rather than in Dundee I had doubts about the value of statistics.
However, I have calculated the number of deaths due to Covid-19 in England and Scotland is respectively 0.0008% and 0.0004% of the population.
Similar figures indicate that non Covid-19 deaths in England and Scotland were higher.
A A Bullions.
6 Glencairn Crescent,
Denying people their birthright
Sir, – In the midst of the continuing independence debate, I consider two questions remain unanswered and unresolved.
Will Scottish-born UK passport holders and British citizens living in Scotland be deprived of those rights post-independence?
And will English-born, but happily settled UK citizens living their lives in Scotland be deprived of their rights to retain their UK citizenship and passport and be forced to accept a Scottish version if they wish to remain living here?
It is neither democratic nor fair to deprive so many of their birthright.
If independence supporters – SNP or otherwise – wish to secede from the UK they may well be entitled to do so, but they do not have the right to make others secede against their will and they might display some social democratic principles by acknowledging and answering the above.
Recognition for a local hero
Sir, – I was delighted to see the very well deserved tribute to Irfan Asghar, the owner of the Falkland post office, and his team (Fife post office team hailed for heroic efforts, Courier, July 8).
Since he took over some years ago he has been an extremely valuable source of support to the community and the current lockdown has brought this to prominence.
His very efficient and tireless management has helped countless needy individuals and his quiet good humour is a tonic to his customers.
It is only sad that the circumstances have meant that we have not seen his charming wife and three delightful children in the shop, helping him in his tasks.
Truly he is a local hero and it is good to see this recognised.
Bordering on the ridiculous
Sir, – I refer to the letter in today’s Courier from former Conservative councillor Mac Roberts (Quarantine conundrums, Courier, July 7).
He states the Scottish Government are contemplating closing the border if they feel that there is a danger of the virus spreading north at an increased rate.
This is incorrect and, as per usual with Mr Roberts, nothing more than scaremongering.
At no time has anyone representing the Scottish Government made such a suggestion.
What was clearly stated was that such a move could not be ruled out.
Perhaps Mr Roberts would give us the benefit of his wisdom by telling us what he would do in such circumstances.
Mr Roberts then goes into fantasy mode by describing lorry parks having to accommodate vast numbers of lorries on a daily basis.
He then asks if we are to starve.
One would have thought that even Mr Roberts would know that lorry drivers are classed as essential workers and as such would not be held up at the border if and when such measures were deemed to be necessary.