IN A BBC interview this weekend, Ruth Davidson made two important points; to maintain or lower taxes we need to earn this, and that “Something’s got to change” in Scotland.
Regarding taxes, she meant economic growth providing more revenue from a bigger, more skilled, workforce and business community.
One fundamental obstacle in achieving this, as one newspaper correspondent wrote, is our “outrageous sense of entitlement and hordes of unemployables”. Too many children are not made to appreciate a good education and behave, their parents are part of the shameful statistics that put Scotland second only to the USA in obesity, and these factors contribute to added costs of healthcare, education, welfare and social services.
The SNP know this. Ten years ago a future SNP minister told me “the biggest problem Scotland has is the NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training)”. They were the symptom, not the cause, or the full extent of the problem.
The SNP’s named person initiative could have been a laudable attempt at the social engineering that could turn around this juggernaut of decline but instead of targeting the – mostly – known families they include us all, because that way you don’t alienate a lot of your core vote.
At least until the May elections.
Willow Row, Stonehaven
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson must be better informed about Holyrood’s financing than her remarks on income tax and the NHS in the Holyrood context indicate (“Ruth Davidson rules out cutting Scottish taxes below rest of UK”, The Scotsman, 5 March).
A tax reduction would necessitate identifying consequential savings elsewhere, or the generation of additional tax revenue, but we are a million miles away from that. In any event, our funding is constrained by the infamous Barnett formula: the year-on-year enhancement is determined by what England receives, but we get only a straight 10 per cent population ratio of that, so that does not cover the higher level of spending we have.
So, far from affording a tax cut, we need every penny to alleviate the Barnett squeeze across the programmes.
Furthermore, her English Conservative MP colleagues at Westminster miss no opportunity at Scottish Questions to challenge our excess, which they consider is on the back of their taxpayers, on the basis we cannot be self-supporting.
That militates also against Scotland increasing our rate of income tax to further increase spending over that of England.
Douglas R Mayer
Thomson Crescent, Currie