SIMPLY cannot believe Labour in Scotland. We have Richard Leonard wanting an increase in pay for care staff – this from the party who took the women of Glasgow through the courts rather than give them equal pay.

There is no doubt staff in care homes should be paid more, and let us hope after this we will all appreciate and remunerate many different people and occupations that were regarded by some as non-skilled.

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Then we have Neil Findlay using his own mother to try to suggest the Scottish Government is not doing everything possible to try and avoid deaths in care homes. He should know the regimes in place regarding testing when people leave hospital to go the a care home, and the kind of barrier nursing required in these homes, and if he does not then he should be ashamed. If he knows of somewhere where this is not happening he should be letting the government know and working to rectify it.

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Unless you tested every resident and every member of staff every day and only allowed those with negative results into care homes, you cannot avoid spread, just as you cannot avoid spread among the population if people do not stick to the distancing and hygiene rules.

Just when you think Labour cannot sink any lower they prove us wrong yet again.

Winifred McCartney

PERHAPS instead of obsessively looking for faults in the Scottish NHS it is now time for BBC Scotland to emulate their seemingly more open-minded colleagues at Panorama by objectively investigating the preparedness of private care homes for the coronavirus pandemic.

A good place to start might be the chain of Renaissance Care run by executive chairman Robert Kilgour who, via receptive mainstream media organisations, has been an outspoken critic of the Scottish Government in spite of Renaissance Care being a private commercial entity and Robert Kilgour being a wealthy individual with a number of other directorship/roles including that of CEO of Dow Investments Plc based in London.

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No doubt faults will still be found with the Scottish Government in relation to its top-up support for private care homes, as well as with the UK Government, which was the “prime mover” in running down the NHS throughout the UK during the last decade and which ignored reports calling for a number of actions in preparation for the future inevitable pandemic.

However, there is also a suspicion that Mr Kilgour – founder of political think-tank Think Scotland and SBUK – like many in the Conservative Party who also would support a campaign to prevent a second Scottish independence referendum, has been motivated in his criticism by an anti-Scottish government agenda that, if confirmed, should be exposed.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

IT is difficult to retain a calm demeanour in these times of social restriction and harrowing news about care homes and deaths of essential workers.

I am not complaining for myself, with enough supplies, home space and a garden to keep the blues at bay. But I feel myself beginning to rage at the thought of the many people who are not so fortunate. On Monday a few elements brought a touch of calm and optimism.

Jackie Kay, our Makar, brings a sense of poetic vision in her latest lament for the essential workers we have lost. Thank goodness we have people like Jackie who can articulate our anger and loss with a kind of grace that suggests this will come to an end and we will make things better.

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It has been very encouraging to read about the growth in support for a Universal Basic Income. In a time of national crisis change can happen very quickly. It would make much sense for us to adopt this approach when Covid-19 has diminished in intensity. It would ensure a decent income spread across society and would give the economy a tremendous boost, with people able to buy necessities, and encourage the growth of manufacturing.

The coverage in The National of Common Weal’s plan for green housing built with money from the Scottish Investment Bank is exactly the kind of development we need to address homelessness and provide well-made, well-maintained social housing. This would provide another boost to the Scottish economy, create jobs and address urgent social need in our society.

Many people are becoming very frustrated on the independence front. This is exacerbated by our current social restrictions. But we must not forget that the leadership shown by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, has won admiration from those who are hostile to independence – and these are exactly the people we need to establish a solid majority.

Maggie Chetty

VARIOUS banks have been advertising or writing articles to say how well they are treating their customers during the crisis, by postponing repayments or granting extensions or providing new loans.

But the unspoken fact is that for every business loan or overdraft already extended, the bank will hold a security in the form of a personal guarantee from the owner, such as the title deeds to property, including that of the owner’s home.

So first of all, any concessions extended due to Covid-19 will have to be repaid after lockdown is lifted, and then if a business fails the bank can realise its security, and the business owner may lose the family home. But the bank will – as always – come out ahead. So how many more deaths will there be in the years of despair and hardship that lie ahead in our post-Covid damaged economy?

Malcolm Parkin