Readers' Letters: Truss may pay for playing fast and loose with economy

Back in 1972, the then Conservative chancellor, Anthony Barber, undertook record tax cuts in an attempt to stimulate an ailing economy in advance of the 1974 election.

Instead, despite a short boom, the economy soon tanked due to stagflation and a wage price spiral; the election was consequently lost.

Fifty years on and also two years before an expected election we are in a similar position. This weekend sterling continued its freefall, facing parity with the dollar, as the markets signal they have little confidence in the Government’s ability to generate sufficient economic growth to repay the extra borrowing to fund tax cuts primarily for the richest in society.

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While this gamble has given away the greatest proportion of taxation since the failed Barber Boom, it has also stretched the growing chasm between rich and poor. We should not be surprised as Liz Truss had already signalled that previous Tory and Labour governments, including that of her predecessor, stifled growth and disadvantaged the rich. Playing fast and loose with the economy might please her core vote but it will alienate the electorate in Red Wall seats that gave her predecessor the majority she now enjoys.

Will new Prime Minister Liz Truss's tax cuts help build UK economy? (Picture: Dylan Martinez/Getty)Will new Prime Minister Liz Truss's tax cuts help build UK economy? (Picture: Dylan Martinez/Getty)
Will new Prime Minister Liz Truss's tax cuts help build UK economy? (Picture: Dylan Martinez/Getty)

The rich, however, are less likely to spend tax cuts on UK goods so there will be little multiplier effect here from stimulating the circular flow of income. They will instead invest abroad in tax-sheltered countries, buy luxury foreign cars and yachts, stimulating the economies of our competitors. Few expect a trickle down effect from rich to poor and Britain faces passing debt down the generations.

While some political commentators see this budget as a massive risk many will also see it as the day Britain widened the gulf between rich and poor and became greedy again. Welcome back to the loadsamoney society.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Own goal?

The media and opposition parties have gone mad over the decrease in top earners' tax. Rich businessmen and bankers have really been pilloried. They, at least, usually create other jobs, sometimes in the hundreds. Oddly enough, or perhaps not so unexpectedly, football players have escaped mention. There are quite a few whose weekly wage is equal to that of the combined total of about 500 NHS nurses. Sir Keir Starmer will be mentioning this at the Labour Party conference – won't he?

(Dr) A McCormick, Terregles, Dumfries & Galloway

Not Nessie-sarily

The Scotsman asked, “Will the mystery [of Nessie] ever be solved?” (22 September). The tourist industry certainly hopes not and so it did not welcome my explanation 36 years ago in my book The Loch Ness Monster: The Evidence (1986).

Reports of a monster are mostly misperceptions, with some hoaxes. There is no evidence of any monstrous inhabitant which, in any case, was always extremely unlikely. The modern myth began in 1933, probably the result of an unusual wake effect. Sometimes large vessels on Loch Ness create a large wake which can be seen and misunderstood in calm weather.

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

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Law of jungle

Listening to Nicola Surgeon attempting to deflect her NHS problems reminds me of when I attended a funeral in Nigeria. It was inland and it was a traditional ceremony. Included were rain doctors who were casting a spell to prevent the rain. Of course, come the day and it was pouring down. When I asked one of them what went wrong he pointed into the jungle and said “It’s much heavier over there”. There is a job for him in Holyrood.

Lewis Finnie, Edinburgh

A real education

After wanting to be judged on education and then not, Nicola Sturgeon has tasked her education secretary to review the whole system whilst still insisting the basics are right.

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The Curriculum for Excellence has generally had a bad press, and deservedly so. The mere fact that the SNP are now seeking to change it while not admitting to any real failure is a tacit admission all is not right, but this is not really being “transparent”, is it?

After 15 years of SNP rule, are any of its policies working well in Scotland? The NHS certainly isn't.

Gerald Edwards, Glasgow

NHS thanks

I found your headline “Public know who is to blame for failing NHS” unfair and upsetting (Letters, 24 September).

I have spent the last year accompanying my husband to firstly A&E, then to many outpatient, X-ray, scan and chemotherapy appointments, and treatments and have only ever witnessed the most efficient, speedy and excellent care imaginable.

It is time to stop this anti-Scottish Government political blame game and acknowledge that we Scots have wonderful people working as hard as they can for us in the NHS, from the cleaners to the consultants and in the Scottish Parliament.

Fiona Bell, Edinburgh

Good health

All health services throughout the UK are struggling due to increased demand, continued staff absences due to Covid and staff shortages made worse by Brexit, and this applies to NHS England run by Tories and in Labour run Wales. Perhaps that's why Richard Allison (Letters, 24 September) doesn’t like NHS comparisons with the rest of the UK, but it helps to put things into some perspective, not least as the UK government determines overall health funding, after which a proportion is passed on to the Scottish Government.

Well over 600 beds in Scottish hospitals are still utilised for Covid patients and discharges are proving more difficult due to staff shortages in care settings since leaving the EU. NHS Scotland’s A&E departments see around 300,000 patients in a year and some five per cent wait more than 12 hours because after triage they have been found to be not at serious risk. As an MP, Douglas Ross should know that the reported consistent higher A&E waiting times in England are greatly underestimated as it is measured from the time that a clinical decision to admit is made, while in Scotland it is from the time they checked in at the hospital.

The Scottish Government is recruiting many more nurses than in England and since the SNP came to power there are 25,000 additional NHS staff with more doctors, nurses and beds per head of population than elsewhere, and it remains the best-performing NHS in the UK. Also, the previous Labour/Lib Dem executive was set on closing hospitals whereas the SNP has built numerous new hospitals throughout Scotland.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Coal war

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Dr Richard Dixon, in his latest green sermon, attacks commercial shipping because there is no sign of this sector reducing emissions before 2030. (“Troubled waters for shipping”, 22 September).

He must be struggling to find new sources for his weekly articles so he could write about the millions of tonnes of emissions created by the Russia/Ukraine war. There are the emissions created in manufacturing weapons, transporting them and firing them, while the destruction caused requires rebuilding, creating yet more greenhouse gases. Coal power is seeing a global resurgence because of the energy crisis in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Countries are scrambling to get their hands on as much coal as possible and are building 1,800 new coal-fired plants; there will soon be 8,500 worldwide.

The UK has coal reserves of 114 years and the world has coal reserves of 2,900 years. Russia is supplying China with 100 million tonnes of coal and India with 40 million tonnes. The UK is spending £3 trillion, or £108,000 per household, on Net Zero by 2050. Can Dr Dixon afford that for his green beliefs? Will the world ever hit Net Zero, Dr Dixon?

Clark Cross, Linlithgow

Blame ourselves

Mary Thomas claims that “without independence Scotland cannot prosper” and tiresomely blames Scotland’s ills on the UK Government (Letters, 24 September). Shouldn't she look closer to home?

Scots should take responsibility for their own lives and make the most of all opportunities living in a liberal democracy with a free-market economy has to offer. Shouldn't they be proud of their country? Alas, a large minority behave as if they hated Scotland.

Consider the way that many Scots treat Scotland, their fellow Scots and themselves.

In urban areas nearly every bus shelter is opaque with scrawled graffiti. Public buildings, shop fronts and wheelie bins are also defaced. School janitors walk school grounds after lunchtime picking up sackfuls of rubbish, while teachers have to put up with atrocious behaviour.

In the countryside farm gateways are dumping grounds for discarded mattresses and white goods. In what were once pristine wildscapes, drunken campers trash beauty spots, then burn the ground with bonfires and leave rubbish behind. In April the Scottish Government revealed violent crime had reached its highest level in a decade, with 9,842 crimes recorded. Drug deaths are by far and away the highest in Europe.

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All this has nothing to do with Westminster but everything to do with Scots themselves.

William Loneskie, Oxton, Berwickshire

Spring forth

I refer to the excellent obituary on Tom Springfield by Brian Pendreigh (24 September).He stated that the origin of the name was a mystery but I recall from the Sixties Dusty saying her brother wanted an American name for them and Tom discovered that Springfield was the second most commonplace name in USA.

The rest, as they say, is history

Scott Miller, Joppa, Edinburgh

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