But never mind, despite the 5,000 nursing vacancies in Scotland and 1,800 senior police officers intending to leave, of the £3.5 billion shortfall, £20m is still ring-fenced to fund an independence referendum.
It seems the whole SNP/Green regime is holding a fiddler’s rally while Scotland burns.
Allan Sutherland, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire
The Scottish administration can pay, and increase the amount of, a Scottish Child Payment, if it wants. That is, however, a mere sticking plaster for the self-inflicted injury that is child poverty in Scotland. At the same time, Shirley-Anne Somerville announces the abandonment of the SNP’s promised attempt to close the poverty-related attainment gap, and now Kate Forbes includes early years learning in her list of areas to have their funds reduced.
The £20 million that Ms Forbes has found for the tired and tedious issue of a referendum could have been spent on improving poor kids’ prospects. They need, from the very start, a solid grounding in literacy and numeracy, from which all other learning and educational achievement flow. The surest way to raise out of poverty those children born into it is by giving them the best education money can buy. This is a lesson the SNP either cannot or will not learn.
Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh
So Kate Forbes’s way out of the mess created by overspend (ferries, hospitals, bridge to name but a few) is to cut local council jobs? The local taxpayers who already pay more to the SNP than if they worked in England will suffer. Perhaps she should try some “blue sky” thinking which would tackle overspend in the Scottish Parliament first.
For example a) get rid of the seven people each being paid £170,000 to come up with a strategy for Indyref 2; b) close all the Scottish “embassies” in Europe; c) cancel the use of chauffeured cars and make MSPs, including cabinet ministers, use public transport; d) get rid of the lawyers who gave advice in the cases involving Alex Salmond, Rangers executives etc as no-one listens to their advice; e) cancel all trips abroad for all MSPs.
With the army of advisers the SNP are paying, perhaps they could also come up with ideas. If not, I am sure my fellow readers could come up with others.
Elizabeth Hands, Armadale, West Lothian
No wonder the SNP employs an army of “consultants” – but for how much longer?
Instead of Kate Forbes being brutally honest and saying posts vacated will not be filled to save money she said she was looking at “effective vacancies and recruitment management”. This spin is so typical of the SNP. It criticises roundly everyone else but when it is its turn for less than positive announcements, the floral language is employed in an effort to disguise the truth. What happened to transparency, much touted by the Scottish Government but with little evidence of its usage.
Trust is eroding rapidly from Nicola Sturgeon‘s record-breaking run as First Minister.
I suspect that Grant Frazer (Letters, 1 June) is probably part of the campaign to deify Nicola Sturgeon, whom he compliments on her “calm and steady leadership” and on being the “longest serving and most successful First Minister of Scotland”. Alex Salmond disagrees and points to her poor record in office. For once, I agree.Her record includes nationalising Prestwick at a cost of over £40 million; not bailing out BiFab to save Scottish jobs; presiding over the ferry disaster, now heading towards £400m in costs; exposing Scots to losses of several hundred million in support of the Lochaber smelter, which hasn’t created hundreds of promised jobs; nationalising ScotRail, which went on strike almost immediately; and now costing around £138 million for a delayed and unsuccessful Census when the rest of the UK’s was on time and in budget. Let’s put the destruction of Scottish landscapes with Chinese-built wind turbines and the tie-in with the economically illiterate Greens to one side for the moment.Nicola Sturgeon has spent around £40m on preparations for a second referendum, but let’s remember what a referendum is for. It is held to decide on an issue. Why bother having it otherwise?
It is not an annual – or even novennial – event. It was a one-off and decided the issue. Ms Sturgeon signed the Edinburgh Agreement, agreeing that the outcome would be “decisive and respected”. Her push for a second referendum is proof that her word cannot be trusted.
Andrew HN Gray, Edinburgh
Ian Blackford MP has been using his Twitter account to let us all know that he is in Cuba for his holidays. I certainly wouldn’t grudge him that – everyone needs a break from the croft sometimes.
However, if he wanted to see a nation with crumbling infrastructure and an inflated public sector ruled by a single party with disastrously socialistic policies led by a long-serving leader who has mismanaged the economy he could have stayed in Scotland. I do hope he is picking up some tips from the Cuban authorities on how to run a world-beating health service.
David Bone, Girvan, South Ayrshire
£12 billion in taxes from North Sea oil from Scotland’s waters, a cool £4.5bn from a windfall tax on the same companies? It makes a mockery of Scotland’s paltry budget deficit. The truth is, Westminster cannot afford for Scotland to be independent and a tight financial leash is their weapon.Oil funded the Thatcher and Blair years, and we are about to see a repeat performance. This time, with Scotland able to produce more than enough electricity to power the country through renewables, it is doubly galling to think that we have no control over our natural resources or the revenues that they produce.
The focus on climate change was airbrushed out after COP26, and this UK Government is making a mockery of its promises. But then, mockery in all areas of life seems to be the only thing at which it excels.
Scotland Office Minister Iain Stewart informs us (Scotsman, 30 May) that the Faroese built their undersea tunnels at a cost of £20 million per kilometre. Why were they not asked to build the Forth Replacement (Queensferry) crossing?
I don’t want to be sent to heaven by a Deliveroo whizzing down the pavement to save journey time.
Now electric scooters and skateboarders have joined bicyclists riding on the pavement despite the enormous increase of bicycle paths to encourage “Green travel”. Cars and vans park on pavements in increasing numbers as well.
Edinburgh pavements are no longer safe for pedestrians and the tourist season puts more people at risk. Leaping aside gets harder with increasing age and is impossible for young children, the disabled or even the unwary tourist who is looking at the sights.
It’s a long time since I have seen any police person patrolling Edinburgh streets and I have never seen one stop a cyclist riding on the pavement. The introduction of electric scooters makes pedestrian safety an even more acute problem.
Don’t let’s wait until a fatality ruins at least two lives. Killing someone just because you enjoy speeding along a pavement leaves a lifelong burden of sorrow and guilt on the perpetrator, their family and the family of the victim.
It is illegal for wheeled traffic to be ridden on pavements, although no one is going to worry about small children on bikes or trikes supervised by adults.
I should like to see Edinburgh’s police lead the way and make our pavements safe to walk on.
Other cities’ police would then follow their lead. Tourists would recommend holidays in Edinburgh and we would walk safely.
Elizabeth Scott, Edinburgh
The new Australia Premier has sent up a department “Assistant Minister for the Republic”. He is well known for his republican views. Will Nicola Sturgeon be on the next plane to Australia to compare notes on how to bring this about?
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