Scotland on Sunday readers' letters: Debate on finance of public services desperately needed

I was delighted to read Euan McColm’s article in Scotland on Sunday. We desperately need a debate about how Scotland’s public services are financed.

Council services like refuse collection are critical to the health and well-being of communities.
Council services like refuse collection are critical to the health and well-being of communities.

Council Tax raises over £2 billion per annum. If you assumed a three per cent annual increase the nine year tax freeze lost some £600 million from councils’ overall resources. This money has been lost forever, and the impact has been detrimental to ongoing council finances. Whilst councils were compensated in the early years for the loss of income this was quickly replaced by a threatened penalty if councils didn’t comply.What is often ignored is the fact that lower income families can receive a council tax reduction so a council tax benefit means absolutely nothing as they don’t pay all or a proportion of the tax anyway.

So it is those most able to pay that benefit the most. Uniform benefits for all cannot be sustained in the current financial environment and increasing financial resources cannot continue to be targeted at the NHS (however deserved) without a major negative impact on council services.

Council services, be it housing, education, social care, leisure are all critical to health and well-being, and ultimately will prevent many of the adverse impacts on the NHS that we now see.Derek Yule, via email

Greenwashing

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COP26 has got to go down in history as the greatest greenwashing gathering of all time with lots of promises made, and target dates set, the world can now enjoy the prospect of some success in climate control measures.

Sadly the truth is that these promises have only been made by a few, and all target dates made in previous gatherings have not been achieved. At the risk of being called a cynic I predict COP26 will follow the same failure profile of the others.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn, Aberdeen

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What are the goals of COP26? Purpose of Glasgow climate change conference - and ...

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Net zero flop

COP26 will go down in history as FLOP26. The energy crisis has revealed the Net Zero policy as futile. China has increased coal imports from North Korea despite this breaking UN imposed sanctions.

Scott Morrison, the Prime Minister of Australia, says he will put Australia's interests first and resist attempts to phase out coal production and coal-powered electricity generation. Vietnam will double its coal-fired generation. Norway will continue to explore for oil and gas and will "develop, not dismantle" the industry.

EU nations such as Germany still rely heavily on coal and Russia has suspended the gas pipeline into Germany. The UK's mega-expensive Net Zero crusade is futile without China and other countries making legally-binding emission reduction targets. China, India and other developing countries say the Net Zero agenda is "unjust" and sceptics are saying that they are only turning up at COP26 to demand their slice of the $100 billion Climate Cake.

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Clark Cross, Linlithgow

Banging the drum

Yet again, Nicola Sturgeon demeans the Office of First Minister by placing an advert in newspapers expressing her own political party’s grievance, this has reduced Scotland to the same level as those painted placard waving activists of every perceived injustice in George Square.

Yet again, her photo opportunity with wee Greta shows her cynical exploitation of anyone and everyone to what really matters to her, banging her indy drum, when everyone else and his dug is here to save the planet. Her only thoughts of Green are the Scottish Electorate.

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Allan Thompson, Bearsden, Glasgow

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