Scotland on Sunday readers' letters: Way must be found to curb escalating energy bills

A state of emergency has been declared in Kazakhstan amid violent protests over soaring gas prices.
Many families could be forced to choose between 'eating or heating', says reader Clark Cross. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)Many families could be forced to choose between 'eating or heating', says reader Clark Cross. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Many families could be forced to choose between 'eating or heating', says reader Clark Cross. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

France is allowing electricity producers to burn more coal over possible power shortages. Millions of British families will have to choose between eating and heating as they face huge energy bills increases this year.

Already around four million homes in the UK are classed as fuel poor and this could rise to six million. The cleverly concealed 15 per cent green taxes plus VAT of five per cent on gas and electric bills, totalling £10 billion a year, must be cancelled.

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Those earning over £100,000 should be taxed at 60 per cent not 40/45 per cent and the extra put into a ‘fuel poverty fund’. This ineffectual government must find ways of curbing escalating energy bills.

Clark Cross, Linlithgow

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No earthly reason

In another bizarre and acrobatic twist of reasoning, Pope Francis has suggested people who choose to have pets over children are acting selfishly, adding it "is a denial of fatherhood and motherhood and diminishes us, takes away our humanity”.

So the very humanity Catholic doctrine denies its clerics then?

Reminding ourselves that The Vatican regularly “blesses” Fido but absolutely not the love of a same sex couple, we must again ask why this religious sub-group gets taxpayers’ money to run schools?

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society

Hidden costs

Mary Thomas grossly underestimates the cost of the unnecessary, duplicate, pretend embassies which the SNP Government has created in many countries around the world (Scotland on Sunday letters, January 9).

She says they only cost £6 million per year. In fact the figure given in the Budget report is £31m. The source of her mistake lies in the way the costs are presented on the Scottish Government website because there are two separate entries, one as Scottish International Offices and the other as Scottish Development International.

If you do not read both you get the impression, as Mary Thomas has, that there are only six offices, whereas the real total is 31. Why these costs are kept separate is not clear, but it is clear that people like Mary Thomas are being misled.

It is important to grasp the value of the funds which are being squandered. We could employ an extra 1,250 teachers with that £31m. Then Scotland might start climbing back up the PISA ratings, instead of continuing with the steady decline which we have seen while the SNP have been in charge. Under the SNP, funding for local government has been cut by 2.14 per cent according to COSLA, the representative body, and those cuts have affected all the public services for which local councils are responsible, including education. In keeping with its separatist ideology the SNP Government has put the creation of pretend embassies ahead of the education and life opportunities of our young.

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It is also important to remember that all the money which Government squanders on unnecessary salaries and offices has to be raised through taxes. Companies and their employees pay the taxes. Burdening companies with too much tax makes them uncompetitive and may drive them to the wall. So Governments should spend carefully and effectively and not lavishly on vanity projects. You have to sell an awful lot of Tunnock's biscuits to pay £1m of tax. We do not want Tunnock's to go the same way as McVitie's!

Les Reid, Edinburgh

Tax dodge

The old adage that the only things that are guaranteed in life are ‘death and taxes’ will prove to be very accurate for those living in Scotland in 2022 as the brakes are now off on council tax increases which combined with the highest taxation rates in the UK makes Scotland the most expensive devolved part of the UK. The SNP have very cleverly reduced real funding for local authorities by ring fencing the funding to support SNP policies whilst allowing unlimited increases in council tax.

This will divert Scottish taxpayers’ focus to blame the local authorities for increased local taxation whilst the real problem is being created by the Scottish Government by total mismanagement of Scottish finances.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Bucksburn, Aberdeen

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