‘Impertinence’ of Cameron’s bribes

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I am astonished by the impertinence of David Cameron and his opportunism in announcing his “investment” of £500 million in Glasgow’s economy over the next 20 years, and his invitation to the Scottish Government to produce a matching figure (your report, 4 July).

His contention that there is nothing in Scottish policy which comes close to the potential of the UK scheme is preposterous.

He must know the economy is a matter reserved to Westminster, and without adequate powers over all taxation and the other levers necessary, such as borrowing, to indulge in this way, we are powerless to act.

Furthermore, should the venture succeed in the way Mr Cameron claims it will. then the bulk of the tax proceeds, VAT etc would accrue to the UK Exchequer, and on top of that Westminster would pocket the resulting savings in unemployment benefits, which we in Scotland have paid the tax to provide for.

And, by the way, what cuts in domestic services does he envisage the Scottish Government should make to produce its £500m “share” – in any event, such expenditure could be outwith the powers delegated under the devolution settlement?

The “initiative” effectively dangled a bait for the Scottish Government which has refused to be caught in the trap by agreeing to put up its share – imagine the rhetoric if they had refused.

We send all of our tax proceeds to Westminster, so Mr Cameron’s share must have come from these resources too. The paradox is that while he demands powers back from Europe which dominates what the UK can spend in so many areas, he denies the necessary powers for Scotland.

Had we access to all of our own money, we could have, and would have, adopted the work now being flouted as some sort of Westminster grace and favour exercise.

Alternatively, English taxpayers may be subsidising the venture; if so, they need not be told about it – it’s what they think anyway.

Douglas R Mayer

Thomson Crescent

Currie

So the UK Government is donating £500 million to 
invest in Glasgow infrastructure, which sounds a lot until you look behind the headline figure.

The headline figure is deliberately misleading as the money is to be spread over 20 years (and subject to a “review” after five years).

So in reality it is offering about £25m per year “guaranteed” for five years – a total of £125m. The Deputy First Minister has pointed out that the total offered by Westminster is dwarfed by the Scottish Government’s investment in Glasgow’s infrastructure – £2.8 billion since 2008.

Unlike the UK Government, the Scottish Government will ensure all of Scotland’s cities can benefit as well.

The real issue is that Westminster is giving with one hand and taking away a lot more with the other. Scotland’s contribution to building the new aircraft carrier, which is a white elephant even before it hits the water, is approximately £250m.

The current UK Government’s planned cuts to the welfare budget (which Labour has promised to cut even further if elected in 2015), will cost Glasgow approximately £270m a year – roughly ten times the annual spending pledged by David Cameron on Thursday. Those same cuts will cost the rest of Scotland about £1.4bn.

George S Gordon

Belmont Road

Edinburgh

Rarely has Scotland been so bombarded: love-bombed by celebrities, bomb-bombed by Armed Forces Day and the naming of a warship. And now money-bombed with the announcement of the UK Government’s £500 million pledge to invest in Glasgow.

Is there a referendum on? If anything, such announcements are a reminder of just how little attention Scotland usually receives in the day-to-day existence of the Union, this so-called partnership of nations.

A flurry of passion, promises and pound notes in the months preceding a referendum is a cheap and cynical tactic.

Our choice in September is straightforward: do we prefer a government that thinks about Scotland all of the time, or one that thinks about Scotland only when it has to?

C Hegarty

Glenorchy Road

North Berwick

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