THE cost-of-living crisis currently affecting all of us clearly demonstrates the need for effective price controls rather than that shown by the likes of Ofgem in the energy market, which is tokenistic and largely ineffectual.

Inflation is here with a vengeance and is stoked by enormous hikes in the prices of gas, electricity, petrol, food and transport.

Recently the buffoon that is Boris Johnson mentioned a lot of measures which could possibly help, but he omitted the one that would have the biggest and most immediate impact: price controls.

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Without statutory price control, the energy and retail monopolies will continue to make a killing. In the big supermarket chains retail prices are growing at twice the rate of wholesale costs. And it is questionable if last months 5p per litre cut in fuel duty was transferred as intended to motorists.

Oil company profits have almost trebled in just 12 months. The big food producers and retailers are passing their increased costs onto consumers, with added interest, as we have seen with Sainsbury’s profits doubling and Tesco profits trebling. Only last week Tate and Lyle announced a special dividend to shareholders totalling £500 million.

Tinkering around the edges with cuts in excise duties, import tariffs and VAT are meaningless unless they deliver lower prices. Windfall tax revenues can be put to good use but they are also an incentive for companies to raise their prices.

Only statutory price controls on specific strategic and essential products will curb the price increases.

Jim Milligan

IN reply to Sandy Gordon’s letter (Jun 15) asking “what will an independent Scotland be like?”, many of the questions asked will be answered by an independent Scotland as soon as it exists: a government OF the people of Scotland, BY the people of Scotland, FOR the people of Scotland.

An independent Scotland will decide what to do with its own money; what do do with all its own bountiful resources; how to deal with illegal weapons of mass destruction. The people of Scotland will have the self-determination that every other democratic country in the world has, to make life better for everyone by ensuring, by right, the basics – a decent income, a secure and safe place to live, sufficient good food, warmth, water, access to education, a share of the land and waters, and protection and support when things go wrong.

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It will not have everything decided by people who live elsewhere; it will not have resources of any kind – people or treasure or possessions such as sea waters – stolen, removed, drained away from Scotland. It will not have its population reduced from 25% of England’s to 8.2%, as achieved by the “Union”; it will not have all its trading partners removed – as forced by the Treaty of Union and now by Brexit. A Scottish currency would allow escape from the colonial-style actions of the Bank of England.

Pensions will continue to be paid by Westminster to anyone living in an independent Scotland just as they paid (along with winter fuel bonuses) to retirees living in Spain, Portugal or any other country (but they will still be the meanest in Europe, or perhaps the world).

Susan FG Forde

OF course the “PM can’t say why Scotland can’t be independent” (Jun 16). It would cost England dear – that’s why Scotland can’t afford to stay in this unequal union where the English Tory government not only takes the output from Scotland’s natural assets but makes Scottish customers pay to deliver them.

If England chooses to put up trade barriers with Scotland after independence, adding to their post-Brexit supply problems, then so be it as their effect would be reduced by restarting the exports of Scottish goods that halted because of Brexit and the opportunity for Scotland to actually generate income from its natural assets.

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Even this Tory government can’t expect a country like the Netherlands, Germany or Denmark – generators of electricity from their North Sea offshore wind farms – to take Scotland’s place and not only provide England with free electricity but have their own customers pay extra to deliver it to south-east England.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

I STRUGGLE to understand why nobody on the TV ever asks Boris, Dougie, Keir, Anas etc: “Do you regard Scotland as a country, or just a bit of a country”? If they regard England as “a country” (as they most certainly do) then it locks them into the “family of nations” narrative and blows the “one nation” Tory philosophy out of the water.

They can’t have it both ways. Once they accept Scotland is a country, then under the UN Charter we have the right to determine how we’re governed. No “permission” required from anyone. If they try to make the argument that we’re just a region of a country (which we’ve been called for decades) then they’re going to be tripped up by their own Treaty of Union. That’s the one which has had most of its agreements broken by Westminster over the last 300-odd years (some things never change). EU – Welcome to our world. Westminster has been signing things and then doing what suits them for centuries. Enough’s enough – no more brainwash (or greenwash).

Barry Stewart

THE prime liar was continually repeating himself at PMQs on Wednesday that there is now a record number of people in “payrolled” employment. It’s unfortunate that the Labour leader was too slow (as usual) to counter that this is because there’s been a record downturn in self-employment!

Steve Cunningham