SNP must respond to Osborne Budget

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George Osborne’s Budget will leave many people in the UK better off (your report, 9 July). As someone who lives in a household with well over double the national average income, I am one of them.

The problem is that the £250 gain my wife and I will receive has been taken from the very poorest people in our society.

While our gain will have a negligible impact on our household finances, every pound of its loss will be felt acutely by someone in the UK. Perhaps less fruit on the table or no new shoes for school.

There has been commentary from Nationalists about the impact of the Budget on Scottish families specifically.

Some went as far to say: “I told you so” and claim that this hurt could have been avoided if Scotland had voted Yes in 2014 to the SNP’s low tax and high public spending nirvana.

This position is rather disingenuous when one remembers that the SNP then and now go to great lengths to avoid saying how they would deal with Scotland’s deficit – it is almost double that of the rest of the UK.

Indeed, no independent analysis has shown that Scotland would be better off under either independence or full fiscal autonomy.

The challenge for Scotland’s SNP government must be to explain how it will use Holyrood’s existing and new tax and welfare powers to mitigate the impact of Mr Osborne’s Budget.

The challenge should not simply be to reverse welfare cuts, but to put in place a package of measures to help unemployed Scots back into work or education. Only by doing this can we tackle inequality and low productivity in Scotland.

(Dr) Scott Arthur

Buckstone Gardens

Edinburgh

Anyone who paid attention to George Osborne’s budget, and the mainstream analysis that followed, could be forgiven for thinking the Chancellor had used it to boost businesses, secure growth, increase wages, reward savers, create more homeowners, lift more low-paid workers out of tax, tackle the debt and deficit, get more of the unemployed off benefits and into work, reduce our bloated welfare bill, and squeeze more money from those at the top.

But enter one of the many online echo chambers frequented by much of Scotland’s nationalist socialist movement and you will be told, over and over, that millions of us are in “poverty”; “the most vulnerable” are under attack; public services are being “slashed”; “the poorest in society” are being “robbed” and forced to pay for everything.

You will hear that there are “austerity cuts” and “zero-hours contracts” everywhere you look; “inequality” and “poverty pay” are a given; “food banks” are (somehow) different from any other charity; more benefits are the answer to everything; nothing is “fair”; and “the Tories”/ “the elite”/”the establishment” are all out to get us.

Nothing recognisable as evidence or reasoned argument is offered to try and justify any of this drivel, just a frenetic rearranging of the buzz words and sound-bites, their furious repetition, and an almighty sharing of ignorance.

I am almost tempted to recommend these web-pages as they really have to be seen to be believed and ultimately explain the chanting, nodding-dog, placard-waving demos that frequently plague our major cities as well as the (suspiciously well-financed) propaganda routinely touted around our universities.

Keith Gilmour

Netherton Gate

Glasgow

On Budget day the boss of Barclays was sacked. He received £2 million to ease his pain. The Chancellor is telling businesses to give their workers a living wage. Some of the affected companies, such as some well-known supermarkets, are shouting foul as their share prices drop.

Maybe they should all stop and think. Their staff are on the lowest pay so they can pay shareholders and bosses dividends. These men and women are surely worth a salary they can actually live on.

The business communities reaction certainly showed them in their true colours. Workers make them but they are of no value. Shame on them.

D Duff

Belmont Gardens

Edinburgh

Liz Cameron (9 July) comments that the introduction of higher minimum/living wage levels needs to be managed carefully and the success may depend on smaller businesses’ customers being prepared to pay more.

What about the other side of the equation in that less profit is an equally valid solution?

The current Budget proposal is long overdue to get wage levels up. Let’s pay the real price for what we consume.

The main downside of the latest Budget, though, is that businesses will look to employ under-25s so they don’t have to pay the “living” wage.

I cannot see how a 24-year-old needs less to live on than a 25-year-old.

Derek Sharp

Blinkbonny Road

Edinburgh

George Osborne’s intention is clear: to change our country from a socialist tendency of enslavement to the state to a Conservative desire of self-reliance for all. And this is the first step to freeing the shackles from a culture of dependency.

As predictable as ever, our socialist SNP Scottish Government brays like a forlorn donkey as the Conservatives strive to diminish the role of welfare in our land. The idea that we should forever expect most citizens to be recipients of some form of welfare payout is demeaning and destructive.

There was a time when self-reliance was our watchword but the country’s dependence culture accelerated into the fast lane when Gordon Brown introduced tax credits at an initial cost of just over £1 billion, now estimated to be around £31bn.

Gordon Brown introduced the ill-conceived working tax credit when the economy was powering ahead so, as you’d expect, the muddled idea was taken advantage of by many businesses throughout the UK to supplement wages, and when the downturn came the benefit bill ballooned.

As with all socialists, the ex-chancellor’s utopian dream was to have everyone state-reliant, a way of life which this SNP government clearly supports, even down to having an appointed guardian for every child in Scotland.

Stan Hogarth

Palmerston Place

Edinburgh

The decision to end tax deductions for buy-to-let mortgages is a shocking decision which unfairly discriminates against landlords who provide valuable housing across Scotland.

In other businesses, tax is applied on profit, which is as it should be. Although we welcome other measures in the Budget, such as reforms to the Rent A Room scheme, which will increase supply of affordable rented accommodation, the decision on buy-to-let mortgages means landlords will essentially be taxed for investing in their businesses, something utterly unthinkable in any other sector.

As a result of this increased cost and risk to landlords, you may see some feeling they are forced to increase their rent levels which would obviously have a huge negative impact on tenants.

The Scottish Association of Landlords has been working constructively with both Shelter and the Scottish Government to find ways of increasing supply to drive down rent levels in hot-spots across Scotland but this decision by the Chancellor potentially takes the legs away from that valuable partnership working.

We will be consulting our members, Scottish MPs and MSPs, as well as the Scottish Government and the third sector to find ways of trying to overturn this decision or, at the very least, to mitigate the damage this could cause to our business and to our customers in Scotland.

John Blackwood

Scottish Association of Landlords