Letter: Scottish Labour can't afford this largesse

It was interesting to read of Scottish Labour's new spending policies, promising another £90 million on top of several other policies, such as a new Glasgow Airport Rail Link (your report, 1 November) which will add £1.7 billion to proposed Labour spending if it forms a Scottish Government after the Holyrood elections next summer.

All this is against a straitened British economy and 1.2bn being reduced from the Scottish block grant.

The other parties at Holyrood are right to question whether a new Scottish Labour administration really could afford this relative largesse at this time.

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In any event, these proposals will doubtless find favour with Labour activists and trade union leaders in Scotland and may well also accord with diverse Scottish bodies such as the Scottish Trades Union Congress and even the Law Society of Scotland, all of which seem to be hitching their wagons to the notion that there will be a change of regime as a result of next year's Scottish Parliamentary elections.

One doubts if the financing of these various Labour schemes will be possible, even in power.

Angus S Logan

York Road

North Berwick

Your report and editorial ("Labour faces questions over spending pledges", 1 November) about the cost of introducing a Scottish version of the Future Jobs Fund to tackle growing youth unemployment missed an important point.

As much as half of the modest cost of the recently axed programme was recovered through reduced benefit claims and the tax and national insurance payments which were made by individuals who found a job on the scheme.

As one of the principal sponsors of the programme in Scotland, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) can attest to the real value it brought to many individuals and the communities they served. In fact, the SCVO-led consortium of more than 200 voluntary organisations will be placing its 2,000th young person into work this month.

Unfortunately, with a Scottish Government-run version, the savings would accrue to the UK Exchequer. There is surely a case here for a simple reimbursement to the Scottish budget so that the full benefit of investment in a new Future Jobs Fund can be realised.

Martin Sime

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

Mansfield Place


It's a well known fact that the new year sales get earlier every year but we already have the Labour Party offering us 5 per cent off Iain Grey (you report, 1 November).

Vote for us, they say, and we'll give you the cheapest First Minister around.

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Perhaps they got the idea from supermarkets, which regularly run what they call "loss leaders" - items sold cheaply to entice you through the doors and which you feel good about buying until you reach the checkout and realise the high cost of everything else in your basket.

Maybe I'm being unfair on Iain Grey and there is no trickery involved.Given his performance at Holyrood, where he ineptly pursues his party's single policy of saying the opposite of anything the SNP says, it might be an honest admission that he is not worth the full First Minister's salary.

Scotland can't afford a bargain basement leader.

Iain Simpson

Charlotte Gardens


I note that the present leader of the Scottish Labour Party has indicated that if he becomes First Minister next year he would reduce his salary by 5 per cent and considers that the MSPs of his party would also perhaps take similar action.

If the gentleman considers this an impressive incentive for the public to increase votes for his party he is sadly misinformed. This petty gesture is not exactly impressive in relation to the ongoing significant problems in the public and private sector.

He should be highlighting whether the overall yearly financial outlay of the Scottish Parliament has been fully justified based on what has actually been achieved by any of the parties during a decade of questionable devolution versus the overall expenditure.


Abbots Mill

Kirkcaldy, Fife