Readers' Letters: Harsher Covid restrictions harming Scotland

The latest ONS figures show the impact that the harsher Covid restrictions are having on Scotland compared to the rest of the UK. While employment rates across the whole of the UK increased by 0.9 per cent, employment in Scotland fell by 0.8 per cent in the last quarter of 2021.
The country's toughest level of coronavirus restrictions have hurt businesses (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)The country's toughest level of coronavirus restrictions have hurt businesses (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The country's toughest level of coronavirus restrictions have hurt businesses (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Richard Lochhead, the SNP Employment Minister, may claim that they are doing all they can to build an economy of secure, sustainable and satisfying jobs, but the reality looks a whole lot different. The hospitality industry has been decimated by the restrictions that were not lifted until after Christmas. Hotels, pubs and restaurants will have ditched suppliers, cancelled security staff for Christmas events and may well have had to lay off staff. I doubt there are many office parties taking place now that the restrictions have eased.

Not only can the SNP not build a boat, they missed the boat on giving hospitality the lifeline they needed to keep staff in post.

Jane Lax, Aberlour

Green, unpleasant

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Having heard Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie ramble on about Scotland needing extra bike lanes, I got angry. The reason was the supposedly temporary Covid “spaces for people”, lanes and bollards and massive road changes, especially in Edinburgh’s Braids area where it feels like the designer has been on some trip – and it was not on a bike or in a car.

The Green madness should be reduced to slow-burning introduction not dictator-style railroading – we will be in a complete mess and become uncompetitive, with reliance on so-called wind power, which has been proven to be average, while our economy will be shredded as oil production screeches to a halt in the North Sea. We need 30 more years of stability with oil production and nuclear production in smaller unit sites in cities and towns.

On my 40-minute drive to Loanhead in the morning I see zero bikes and, following that trip, I drive into Tollcross and see five bikes, maximum, in the rush hour.

The non-tax and non-insurance paying bike riders have had millions of pounds spent on poorly used lanes and road diversions while other home owners' parking spaces have been obliterated.

Edinburgh is a city of hills and possibly only one in 20 16-40 year-olds are fit enough to cycle on these routes, on a good day. In the recent poor weather, no cyclists were seen in the lanes as I drove between office and home, which says a lot.

Scotland is being controlled by two Green MSPs and we are being led to the ruin of Scotland.

George Hardy, Dunbar, East Lothian

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Bin bunting

Nineteenth century prime minister Benjamin Disraeli famously warned against putting too much store in statistics, and the latest growth figures are a perfect example of why he was right.

On the face of it, 2021 was an absolutely fabulous year for the economy. Britain has had some boom years in the postwar period, but the 7.5 per cent growth last year was the fastest of the lot.

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Yet 2021 can’t be seen in isolation. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are correct when they say the UK had the fastest growth in the G7 last year, yet what they curiously omit to add is that it came after the UK had the biggest contraction of any G7 nation a year earlier. The real story is that the economy collapsed by almost 10 per cent in 2020 and then recovered most of the lost ground last year. Indeed, while the economies of the likes of the US, China and the eurozone have recovered to pre-pandemic levels, the UK still lags behind.

Before we get the bunting out, as the cost-of-living crisis hits this doesn’t herald a rosy outlook, and this year the UK economy’s growth will inevitably slow to its poor post Brexit level.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Printing error

I have just received a newsletter from the so called “Scottish” Labour Party. It is very vocal in its support for Edinburgh.

Why, therefore, was it printed in England, when in Edinburgh there are more than a few printers?

Robert M Dunn, Edinburgh

Norway knowhow

I read with interest the letter from Mary Thomas (February 15) regarding the generous pensions paid out in Norway and comparing them to that paid to our own pensioners. It is obvious that Ms Thomas has never visited Norway or she would be aware of the very high cost of living in that country. I suspect that if one were to compare the buying power of each countries' pension payments there would be little difference.

Perhaps she should check such things before making such sweeping statements?

K Hastilow, Cupar, Fife

Energy betrayal?

There can be no doubt that fuel poverty is the most pressing issue facing people in Scotland today.

For this reason volunteers from the Scottish Socialist Party can be found on the streets of Scotland every week with our petition to Holyrood and Westminster calling on both governments to address the problem immediately.

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The response to this has been overwhelming, with people often queuing in the cold to add their names and give us their own testimony on how the profiteering of the energy companies has affected them.

To those who say that energy is a reserved issue we point out that in 2017 Nicola Sturgeon promised a National Energy Company “with no shareholders or corporate bonuses to consider”.

Instead the SNP/Green coalition has handed over North Sea Renewable potential to multinational polluters.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter of households in Scotland are officially in Fuel Poverty and Westminster's raising of the Price Cap to nearly £700 is set to exacerbate the problem come April.

The Scottish Socialist Party are not on the streets just to carp about the problems. We demand solutions, such as bringing energy back into public ownership, building 100,000 homes for public rent built to the highest environmental standards and making public funds available to retrofit homes with efficient insulation.

Energy is a vital resource and must be used and controlled for the public good, not for private profit.

Michael Davidson, Scottish Socialist Party member, Edinburgh

Make war no more

If Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary, had kept improving his historical knowledge, and was genuinely concerned with the avoidance of war with Russia, he would surely have drawn lessons not from the failed “appeasement” attempt of Munich in the 1930s but from the so-called “Cuban” Missile Crisis of the 1960s, when President Kennedy secretly but quickly withdrew from Turkey American missiles that Russia understandably recognised as a threat that they had to confront him about.In responding to Germany, the then UK Government had before it Hitler’s public demand for Lebensraum beyond its borders. As regards the understandable alarm at Putin’s dangerous and unpredictable public demonstration of Russia’s military might, surely the American and British Governments – whose countries have never suffered invasion and devastation as Russia has, time and again over the centuries – would be wise to take Russia’s fears much more fully into account, and thus help make it clear that it is peace-making we are really about.For 40-odd years as a Church of Scotland Minister, at the annual November Remembrance Service, I voiced in the Call to Worship the determination of packed congregations that insofar as within us lies, the evil of war shall not be again.

(Rev) Jack Kellet, Innerleithen, Scottish Borders

Twisting Darcys

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Amidst the gloom of Scotland's defeat at Cardiff on Saturday, it was amusing, and somewhat cathartic, to hear one of the commentators, for the second weekend running, getting their Darcys in a twist.

I assume that the presence of Finn Russell has confused matters, because our dancing winger, Darcy Graham, has twice been referred to as “Darcy Russell”, a name not a million miles away from the legendary ballet dancer and Strictly Come Dancing judge, Darcey Bussell.

Perhaps Darcy and Finn could enter Strictly together?

Yours, in terpsichorean harmony,

Brian Bannatyne-Scott, Edinburgh

Border problems

Dr Alison Smith describes a report on the border issues that would arise if an Independent Scotland were in the EU as “impeccably researched” and “focused on practicalities” (Perspective, February 15).I beg to disagree. Three options are proposed to overcome the problems of a hard England /Scotland border and access to the continent:

A) “Expanding” direct ferry links. There is no service to expand, it ceased in 2018 when the last operator was unable to replace the ship following a fire. A convenient get out perhaps given that they had already “lost all hope on turning around losses”.B) Sealed trucks to cross an English land bridge. That would be return trips, of course, and would certainly involve English checks for illegal immigrants both ways.C) An Irish land bridge involving road travel through Ireland and two ferries. I’m no transport expert but this this seems ludicrously costly and time consuming to me.

Andrew Kemp, Rosyth

Two by two

I was recently reading some biblical literature on Noah and his ark, thinking, just as well he didn't send the contract out to Ferguson Marine – he might still be waiting!

William Ballantine, Bo'ness, West Lothian

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