I’VE just suffered a shock. I am living below poverty level! At least according to your article (More renters in Poverty, The National, August 16)

OK money has always been a bit tight. I can’t afford to go to the bingo, cinema or theatre, but I’ve got my wee car. That gets me to and from the shops, and maybe a very occasional run into the country. My car is a necessity and not a luxury because of the almost non-existent public transport in this area.

A trip to the shops and back takes three hours by bus, mainly due to waiting time. This would mean several trips per week to get in the shopping as it’s only really possible to manage two carrier bags of groceries on and off the bus. Using the car, I can do it all in one go.

And Yes, I do buy most of my clothes second hand from the charity shops. But I dress reasonably well, and I do maintain a pretty good diet. Certainly, I am always on the look-out for cheaper items to help cut food costs but I don’t really skimp on what I eat. So, I’ve always felt as if I have enough. Admittedly it is usually just enough and on the odd occasion not quite enough. So, sometimes, something has to be foregone. Maybe I’ll do without The National on the odd occasion, or maybe do without a sweet after my dinner. Sometimes I’ll just have a sandwich instead of a full meal. But I never feel that I am starving myself.

Still, when I saw that article I decided to look up the “UK median income”. I found that the Office of National Statistics gives the median national income for 2017 as £27,300. The total amount I receive in the form of my state pension, pension credits, a very small annuity that I have, winter fuel allowance, rent rebate and council tax rebate adds up to £13,298.

Your article states that anything less than 60% is relative poverty. So, it seems that Westminster is prepared to pay all British pensioners who are on state pension only, at a rate that’s well below their recognised poverty level. Is that not a terrible condemnation of the way they treat us? Boris Johnson felt he had to take a second job because he couldn’t manage on his government salary of £166,000, yet he expects pensioners to get by on less than one-twelfth that!

Sorry, but it seems to me that something is wrong and is terribly unequal in this society in which we exist. I use that word after careful thought because on what pensioners receive, we don’t “live” we just “exist”. It’s time we did something about it. Let’s start with independence!
Charlie Kerr

AN issue such as this one matters far more to me than the endless blather on Brexit. This is the reality of an inadequate supply of social housing: exploitation of the poor by the rich, and growing poverty. Private landlords are engaged in a massive nationwide heist of wealth.

Yes, the SNP administration builds more social housing than the rest of the UK, but the figures are still woefully low compared to the number of people on the waiting lists for social/council housing.

A truly radical initiative would be some scheme whereby, after having occupied a private rental for a certain period, the rent paid begins to convert into a gradual build-up of equity in the property. If private landlords are genuinely denied the power to evict tenants on a no cause basis, they would be unable to respond to such a scheme by ensuring that tenants do not stay in a property long enough to reach the period when the rent paid begin to convert to a build up of equity.

And why, when private tenants were granted some small degree of tenure protection by the SNP’s most recent legislation, was it not retrospective? Thousands of private renters, whose contracts were signed before April 2018, are not covered by the legislation. They should be.
Robert Dewar
via thenational.scot