MARIE Curie and Hospice UK are disappointed that the Scottish Budget announced on Thursday does not include additional funding to support hospice and palliative care services.

An estimated one in four people do not currently get the care they need and by 2040, an estimated 50,000 people in Scotland will need palliative care.

Hospices in Scotland are under considerable and growing financial pressure driven by the rise in demand, static statutory funding, and a lack of resource and capacity to make the systemic change needed to make care fit for the future.

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Hospices play a vital role in helping the Scottish Government realise its commitment that by 2021, everyone who needs palliative care will be able to get it.

A £5 million boost would improve hospice and palliative care services’ long-term financial viability as well as helping extend the reach of care into communities. This would enable more people to be cared for and die at home, where 61% of Scots said they wanted to be in a recent Marie Curie poll.

Hospice and palliative care providers in England were awarded £25m funding in August last year. We are disappointed that no equivalent funding has been passed on to Scottish hospice and palliative care services despite them facing the same pressures.

Richard Meade, Marie Curie Head of Policy and Public Affairs Scotland and Helen Malo, Hospice UK Policy and Advocacy Manager Scotland

THAT’S it! Conclusive proof that time has caught up with Jim Sillars and he has returned, unequivocally, to his Unionist roots.

This once Labour trade unionist formed his own party because neither the union nor the party were big enough for his ego. It failed because he could not convince fellow Scots that it was anything other than a vehicle for the promotion of Sillars. Even then, whilst a reasonably proficient orator, he never came across as a personable individual: he always had an air of aggressive rectitude, a wee bit like Willie Ross.

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He joined the SNP and became an advocate of independence. At the time I, along with many others, thought his commitment was genuine and honourable, but with the benefit of hindsight it has become clear that his true commitment was still to Jim Sillars.

Now, no longer attractive to the electorate or lauded within the independence movement, he has resorted to running off at the mouth to any Unionist rag which will give him a byline, even those as democratically unprincipled as the Daily Mail, that bastion of historical support for European fascism – surely an act of desperation.

I am totally opposed to the censorship of even the most bizarre and naïve of political opinion. I am also aware of the possibility that The National publishes his pronouncements in the expectation of reaction, but, unless you are prepared to pay me for my particular hobby horses, it is only fair that, in future, Sillars either gets the odd letter in these pages or he appears alongside the cartoons.

Les Hunter

ACCORDING to the present-day Jim Sillars, the post-Brexit era is a “new opportunity for the SNP Westminster group to become relevant” and “to be effective the SNP group has to be listened to by the UK Government.” What planet is he now on?

For a politician whom I respected and listened to in the 1980s and 90s, he seems now to be losing the place. Has he ever watched Parliament Live and seen and heard the abuse, denigration and jeering that our MPs endure whenever they speak? Does he really think that the UK Government would listen to anything they might say, constructive or not? Did they even read the Scottish Government paper submitted in October 2016, outlining the effects of Brexit and how to minimise the impact?

On the day that it was reported how Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain (Johnson’s Bovver Boys) have moved government briefings from the Commons to Number 10 , then attempted to restrict the briefing to “ a handful of favoured representatives” from news and media outlets that support all the aims of the government, this made Jim Sillars’s claims all the more fatuous.

He may support leaving the EU, but whether to leave or rejoin is a matter only for the Scottish people once they are independent, certainly not one to be worked on with, or alongside, the present ultra-right, Trumpian-type government that we are subjected to, led by Johnson and his “bovver boys” who claim they “are welcome to brief whoever we want, whenever we want”. Or maybe Mr Sillars approves of such government tactics!

Paul Gillon
Leven, Fife

I RATHER wonder how long Boris Johnson will be Prime Minister. Months rather than years perhaps. His blustering incoherence is becoming more readily recognised and damaging. He has done the job he was promoted to do and is now no longer of any real use. I suspect he will be discarded. Though of immeasurable benefit to the cause of Scottish independence we may be talking to another English PM fairly soon.

David McEwan Hill
Sandbank, Argyll