IN the 1970s and 80s the well-known radical theatre group 7:84 was named after the measure of inequality that indicated that 7% of the population owned 84% of the wealth. During the intervening years the 7% has shrunk while the 84% has grown. According to the Equality Trust, the wealthiest 100 of our population currently own as much money as the poorest 18 million.

While the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, Michael Fry makes no apology for resisting wealth redistribution (Why tax havens should not necessarily be dismissed as bad, Jul 19). Does he really expect us to believe the libertarian myth of “the capitalist system ... completely independent of government ... working for the good of all”?

READ MORE: Michael Fry: Why tax havens should not necessarily be dismissed as bad

The notion of trickle-down economics that is the basis of Mr Fry’s claim is a lie. For the trickle to start, the glass into which the wealth of the wealthy is poured must be full to the point of overflowing. However, before it reaches that point the wealthy just get themselves a bigger glass. Mr Fry’s promotion of tax avoidance to “safeguard success” (I would use the word surplus in place of success) demonstrates this point perfectly.

The protestant ethic that spawned the spirit of capitalism (for the good of all) is long gone, leaving capitalism devoid of ethics of any kind.

Ni Holmes
St Andrews

I THANK my old friend Michael Fry for his sparkling but slightly perverse column about tax havens (though it’s not 80 I am approaching, as he suggests, but – in a year or so – 90). I agree with him on one huge matter: that Scotland should be independent. The relationship with the UK has now become finally unworkable and increasingly damaging.

I disagree with Michael’s optimism about the impact of uncontrolled capitalism, especially on smaller countries. Only a fraction of the billions pouring into tax havens represents – as he hopefully suggests – healthy money enjoying a breather on its way to productive investment somewhere else.

Come on, Michael! You know most of it is simply tax-dodging by wealthy individuals who are unwilling to pay for what they owe in services they have enjoyed in their countries of origin. Services which helped them to make profits in the first place. Yes, those tax-haven denizens are just highwaymen, diverting capital on its way to – perhaps – doing something productive.

Neal Ascherson
via email

THE point of a tax haven is to allow those who have the resources to take advantage of a way of avoiding tax. This means they are failing to contribute fully and fairly to the economics of the country where that income is generated.

While squirrelling away vast fortunes is in itself not the problem, it is the fact that it is explicitly done where tax regimes are the most beneficial that is so objectionable. Money retained offshore only benefits the wealthy, while money circulating in our economy benefits everyone – including the rich.

Tax havens are a symptom of the malaise of greed, and unconstrained capitalism. Nobody likes paying more tax than they need to, but levelling up means everyone paying a fair contribution based on excess of income over expenditure. Michael Fry continues to look at capitalism through his rosy tinted and blinkered spectacles while failing to look to the sides and seeing it for what it is. Structuring tax systems such that only a few can benefit is morally indefensible.

Nick Cole
Meigle, Perthshire

I’M sure there are benefits for the individuals who use tax havens, however society as a whole loses out. No problem if you are a greedy or sociopathic person, but a major one for the vast majority.

Jon Musgrave

I DO not normally comment on what your columnist Stephen Paton discusses, but I feel that today I must make an exception, because they touch on a matter that I feel is relevant to all National readers.

In the article on GB News, around three columns in, they state: “Now the channel can either tack further to the right to maintain its dwindling audience, contributing further to our country’s already fractured realities created by social media’s curated news feeds, or it can crumble into obscurity having found its intellectual foundations to have been built on sand” (This is why GB News was always destined for failure, July 19).

READ MORE: Stephen Paton: This is why GB News was always destined for failure

The phrase I take issue with is “our country”. In the context of the article this clearly refers to the UK (or possibly GB), but neither of these is a country. The UK is a union (the clue’s in the title) of four nations which reside respectively in three countries (Wales was recognised as such by the International Standards Organisation in 2011), and six counties of a province. This might seem pedantic, but language matters. When Boris Johnston refers to “this country” he deliberately assigns that label to the UK and denies it to the member nations.

David Simpson