THE UK economy is in recession. Taxes are at their highest in 70 years. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility, living standards are going to drop by 7% – the biggest rate ever recorded.

They will go back to what they were in 2013. Effectively a lost decade. This is entirely down to the fathomless, illiterate Tory Unionist economic incompetence and greed.

Two months ago the previous Tory chancellor Kwasi Kwartang announced record tax cuts for the wealthiest. This was hailed by the far-right, oligarch-owned media as a “true Tory Budget”.

Now Jeremy Hunt has announced £55 billion in tax rises and cuts. However, he has not actually announced any cuts. Taking voters for fools (which they are), he has delayed the pain until after the next election. Tax as a share of GDP is at a post-war high.

The situation has undoubtedly been made far worse by Brexit.

Some deluded headbangers on the “left” cling to the illusion that Brexit could have been done differently. This is claptrap. The sanity of anyone clinging to this notion should be questioned.

READ MORE: Edinburgh Labour councillor in stinging attack on party

The “Scottish” Unionist party liars can no longer blame “independence”, as this is an entirely hypothetical proposition. The scale of the Tory misery is way beyond anything envisaged should Scotland become independent.

If a referendum is ever called, Unionists will return to familiar themes. It will be extreme far-right candidates, anti-Russia venom, foaming-at-the-mouth Unionism, anti-refugee prejudice, demented denunciations of independence supporters, fascistic law-and-order proclamations, and endless waving of the Union flag.

Fear-mongering is all that Unionist Uncle Tams have to offer. There is no “positive case” for the Union. Staying in the Union means pay is slashed, taxes increased and public services decimated.

Alan Hinnrichs


THE Chancellor got off to a poor start in presenting his Autumn Statement! A poor start inasmuch as it should have started with an apology to the country for the economic catastrophe his party has inflicted on so many families and businesses.

The catastrophe that was presented by the previous chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng saw Conservative benches applaud and calls for the Scottish Government to adopt the same economic polices! They should hang their heads in shame at what the country is suffering.

This Autumn Statement took Jeremy Hunt an hour to present, during which the word Brexit did not feature, yet his party inflicted a very hard and economically damaging Brexit on the country.

It was with some trepidation that I welcomed the announcement of increases to state pensions and benefits, with both to rise in line with inflation at 10.1%. However, we must reflect on the broken manifesto commitment in 2022 to maintain the triple lock on state pensions.

READ MORE: UK urged to ditch Energy Charter Treaty hated by Scots

The same could be said about welfare benefits, which increased by 3.1% in 2022, when inflation was running towards 10%. In spite of 2022 increases to state pensions and benefits, those in receipt are still suffering and playing catch up, something I feel the Chancellor did not address on Thursday.

Turning to Scotland, the bright-eyed Chancellor informed the House that as a result of Barnett consequentials, the Scottish budget will receive an increase of

£1.5 billion. Sounds encouraging until you realise that £1.7bn has been wiped off the Scottish budget as result of inflation caused by the Conservatives at Westminster.

Catriona C Clark


England is being warned by the BBC, among others, that well over 200,000 English properties may have to be abandoned or are in danger of isolation from rising waters, reliably reported as a result of governments failing to control CO2 emissions. That failure continues

The number of Scottish communities that will become isolated is not mentioned, planned for or cared about in London but it is really important to us.

May I propose part of a solution in the form of an M898 extension, starting on the north side of the Clyde at the Erskine Bridge, and taking the shortest “bridgeable” route over the Lochs Fyne and Awe, to the hills above Oban?

This would reduce the journey time from Glasgow to Oban to around 40 minutes, down from 3.5 hours. It would reduce the costs too, and be above the water line for the foreseeable future.

READ MORE: Unison president Andrea Egan expelled from Labour Party

Currently, 90% of the area’s victuals or more come on roads that will all too soon be submerged.

This new road, a backbone of a new system above the impending waters, could of course be continued northwards towards Fort William – it’s often forgotten that it is subjected to the same tides, sitting at the end of Loch Linnhe as it does – and to the south west to accommodate new Irish ferry routes to ease their predicament and enhance our own continental ferries.

It would also be Argyll’s first experience of a motorway, pulling it into the 21st century (we are already one-quarter of the way through it, almost.)

That new road would service parts of Scotland fairly well ignored up until now, and would be the start of resolving the rising tide situation, on the west coast anyway.

It’s easy to forget about all the loch-side towns that will be cut off, or abandoned, but this core “west-bound” motorway would be the vital link to survival for these communities, including Helensburgh, Faslane, Lochgilphead, Cairndow, Inveraray, Melfort, Oban, Connel and many more, which rely on the coastal roads for everything.

The imponderable and slow creep of governmental awareness, let alone action, means that the problem will be upon us if we don’t act now.

We know there are lots of pressing matters, but this one presages catastrophe if ignored.

The cost of doing it MUST be weighed against the cost of not doing it. Time is short.

Christopher Bruce