I AGREE most heartily with the excellent letter from Mark Harper of Dysart (November 11).

A few years ago a Christmas ad by The Salvation Army really struck home. It was about the homeless, and I was siting in a centrally heated, coal-fire-burning, cosy place. I donated there and then and have done ever since. I am not physically fit enough to help in other ways.

My other favoured charity is Erskine Hospital, and that favour goes back almost 60 years. In fact, yesterday, watching the ceremony at the Cenotaph, I got really upset and angry. Why have our veterans always been dependent on charities? They fought for us, were injured, gassed, traumatised, broken and then tossed aside.

READ MORE: The poor giving to charity is not the answer to society’s ills

My first encounter with Erskine was at school in Glasgow, when every year there was an afternoon tea/singsong for men from Erskine. This was in the sixties, so they were veterans of the First and Second World Wars. The day was preceded by donations flooding in, of chocolate, cigarettes, cigars and tobacco. Wouldn’t happen now! The tallies were recorded on the pillars in the entrance halls. The girls from fourth to sixth year would serve the teas then put on a show – daft sketches and then a sing-song featuring the old songs (Roll Out The Barrel, Piccadilly). It was a very humbling experience to sit with these men and hear their stories. And heartbreaking.

It’s heartbreaking every year to see more of the same ads, the number of ex-service personnel on the streets, the lack of care for those who have served. It should not be for charity to pick up the pieces. The Cenotaph ceremony makes me furious every year. What cost this pageant, the time, the uniforms, the show? The rows of representatives from our glorious colonial years.

I hold a degree in history from Edinburgh University, a very-self indulgent one, Scottish, European, American, African. You may note, no British, because it intruded into each one anyway!

This country is supposedly one of the richest in the world, so why are our people using food banks, begging on streets, queuing for a bed in some hostel? I was in Dennistoun recently and passed the old Model Lodging House

(ex) on Duke Street. How awful that this far down the line we should still need this sort of accommodation. I taught for many years in some hard parts of the city, and saw every impact of poverty on kids’ lives.

Who can reverse this situation. The Tories? HA. Labour? Maybe. SNP? God, I hope so. We should not need Pudsey, the Sally Army et al to step in to support our own folk, for whatever reason they need help. A good Christian country? Don’t make me laugh.

Use our taxes to help people, not to fund vanity projects, showpiece fripperies in the south-east of England. Help people heat their homes and have nutritious food not as a gift, but a right. Tax these billionaire clowns in the City, who in empire days shafted the world and are now doing the same to their own land.

Wendy Wilson

I SHOULD like to respond to Mark Harper’s excellent letter, and I totally agree with his comments. The Tories have always viewed the poor as an inconvenience at best. Over the decades, especially with Tory governments, the safety nets have been taken away and public services eroded to the marrow.

It has always been the case that the poor have contributed more to charity as a percentage of their income than the rich. The past ten years of Tory austerity, which is their political choice, has done the most damage and now people are suffering. Right-wing Tories, especially the Rees-Mogg types, want us to go back to Victorian “values”, but tragically with that scenario comes Dickensian levels of poverty.

I am also heartily sick and tired of Pudsey and I want to see an end to food banks, second-hand shoe charities etc that just shouldn’t be happening in the UK. We are supposed to be living in the 21st century, not the 19th century. It is time to make the rich pay their fair share towards running our society.

Susan Rowberry

I WRITE to commend Mark Harper’s letter regarding Children in Need. He is absolutely right in his condemnation of this orgy of self-righteousness on the part of “celebrities”.

The vast majority of the money collected will come from those least able to afford, those who know of “need” and have experienced it.

Last year Children In Need raised £50.6 million. A 1p increase in all tax rates would raise £6 billion, more than 100 years’ worth of the charity, and provide the same each and every year. This from just 1p.

How much horror has the Tory obsession with cutting tax and the Labour party’s fear of raising it caused to the children of the UK? In an independent Scotland I shall be voting for the party that puts people before profit.

Tony Williams