Madam, – It has been striking to note key sections of the media and opposition politicians heralding the fact that somehow those paying higher taxes through the Scottish Budget will be packing up their estate cars and heading south.
Let’s however put some perspective on this.
The fact that someone on £45,000 is paying an additional £2.50 more per week than their counterparts south of the border, or even someone on £150,000 is paying an additional £51 a week is, dare I say it, not going to create a mass exodus of middle and higher-rate taxpayers heading to Berwick-upon-Tweed.
The proposals also mean that everyone earning under £27,000 in Scotland – about 55% of taxpayers – will pay less income tax than those on the same salary elsewhere in the UK.
Let us also not forget that those who will pay these moderate tax increases are the same people who enjoy considerable universal benefits, not enjoyed by those south of the border.
These include free prescription charges (£8.80 in England), eye tests (£20-£25 in England), university education (£9,500 per year in England), elderly bus passes and elderly care.
With house prices lower in Scotland and a better quality of living and public services, these limited tax increases for the services obtained provide excellent value for money.
Far from being driven away this progressive budget, delivering better public services, will attract people here.
It is more palatable and attractive to work in a better-funded health and education system than an under-funded one. There is no magic money tree and if we are to deliver a decent society, where the poor are given the chance to prosper, public services are invested in and jobs and infrastructure created, we need to pay for it. The progressive tax system delivered through this Budget does just that.
Flat 3, 2 Marchmont Road,
Labour lacks appetite for fight
Madam, – I write regarding the recent budget passed by Dundee City Council (Unrest looms as council pushes through budget, Courier, February 22).
I think most people would agree these are very challenging times.
However, for the entire lifetime of the current SNP administration in Dundee, Scotland and the UK have been in the grasp of austerity policy from Westminster.
As a former Labour voter I am still confused by their lack of appetite to fight back against the Tories. Surely they must realise their fight is not with the SNP in local areas like Dundee, but with the Conservatives at Westminster and Holyrood.
They have still to realise they are the third party in Scotland and have therefore failed to address the reasons why.
Here in Dundee we have a Labour Party who at the last two local authority elections have failed to stand enough candidates to win.
Despite this, they are still happy to play to the crowd and suggest they would offer a better alternative.
Further to this I was really quite shocked to learn that, Labour’s main proposal was to make Dundee the highest charged area in Scotland for council tax, by increasing it by the maximum of 4.77%.
That is a move which would hit every household in the city.
14 Stevenson Street,
Divorce is never a simple process
Madam, – The appeal of Brexit was its aura of simplification: pruning foreign meddling, recreating a sovereign land, getting rid of the whole European question.
When Remainers pointed out the complexities, their objections were dismissed as “project fear”.
But Brexit is irredeemably complex.
Like all divorces it was never going to be tidy especially if the Tory backwoodsmen got their way and we flounced off without a comprehensive agreement.
Divorce is a process, not a destination.
The high point for Brexiteers was serving the divorce papers through the referendum result.
But Europe will always be there, brazenly existing, finding new lovers and the costs have scarcely begun to arrive.
Rev Dr John Cameron.
10 Howard Place,
New vote to add to uncertainty
Madam, – Those calling for a People’s Vote on Brexit are critically divided among themselves over the question that should be posed, as well as its underlying purpose.
Is it to be Theresa May’s deal or Remain in the EU? Or alternatively, Theresa May’s deal or a no deal exit?
Or indeed, is it to be a repeat of the 2016 question, with a second question clarifying what kind of Brexit is to be pursued if Leave is preferred by the majority?
The aim of a second vote on the EU also varies, from those hoping to overturn the 2016 result, through to those like the SNP who want to undermine the UK, with a completely different end game in mind.
Are those proposing a People’s Vote sure they will not simply compound and extend the uncertainty we are already facing?
Madam, – Following Theresa May’s speech on Tuesday regarding a series of Brexit votes in the Commons, it seems increasingly unlikely there will be a No Deal Brexit.
How disappointed Nicola Sturgeon must be.
She’s long since had her fingers crossed that we’d leave the EU without a deal as she clearly considers it would increase support for her number one objective: Scottish independence.
Anyone who believes she genuinely desires a soft Brexit for the UK is beyond naive.
Angus parking conundrum
Madam, – On February 1, 2019, we had an appointment in Brechin.
It was a frosty morning and the parking machine was covered in frost.
What to do? We asked a young man for help.
He offered simple helpful instruction.
Not only that he had a warm duster to wipe the frost off the machine.
He explained he had paid £130 for a ticket which allowed him to park in any Angus car park for the next six months.
That’s £5 per week to be able to park in any convenient car park and be free of the aggravation of driving around wasting time and burning fuel.
We later received our bank statement and on February 4 2019, £1 had been transferred to Angus Council, so the machine at Church Street wasn’t working properly anyway as we’d requested two hours parking.
Please Angus Council, treat us as adults and have somebody at the machines on certain days and at certain times to instruct us on how to use them.
Where do we apply to get a ticket or pass card that last six months?
Stellar night at Dundee Rep
Madam, – I visited the Rep to see the Arthur Millar play All My Sons and I was on the edge of my seat for the whole play.
I cannot select any single member to praise because each one gave a stellar performance.
Mrs June Reid.
12 Findhorn Street,