Labour old school

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The theme of Maria Fyfe’s letter (“Equal treatment for all in exam appeals”, 31 January) is fairness, and as she castigates the SNP government, she invites a similar approach.

It all hinges upon the mess that the last Labour government left in 2010. Their public sector deficit of £160 billion has never been explained – what exactly did they spend the money on? There was also the £8bn proceeds (at 2003 prices – now around £10bn) from the 2p hike in National Insurance Contributions. Furthermore, Labour’s GDP, and its tax take, was fed from cheap credit fuelling high street sales.

So, Labour had 21 parliamentary years (13 at Westminster and eight at Holyrood) with every conceivable power at their disposal, and stacks of money, to reset the whole social fabric. But it was a false prospectus: it was all built on sand, and the borrowed cash, and the interest thereon, has had to be repaid.

It is not rocket science to trace the dire straits of the public purse from the UK Treasury to what is available for Holyrood – not only have we had to sustain the cuts, the Barnett formula has a built-in shortfall on our block grant.

It is surprising that during Labour’s umpteen years in power, the opportunity was not taken to abolish private schools and to transfer the costs to the public sector – imagine what that would have achieved in terms of social justice!

The SNP have simply sought to balance their books, post-cuts, using the inadequate powers they have. It is only fair to point that out.

But what measures does Maria Fyfe suggest as an alternative to those of the SNP – because savings there had to be?

Douglas R Mayer

Thomson Crescent

Edinburgh