WITH COP26 descending on Glasgow, what an opportunity the Chancellor Rishi Sunak had to showcase the country’s green vision in an attempt to play our part in tackling climate change. But sadly the Budget left me with the question, does Rishi Sunak know the road to Glasgow and COP26?

No home insulation investment, no bold vision of transition from gas and oil to renewables, no investment in green training and skills. So what was the message of the Budget?

No cut in VAT for household fuel bills as families are struggling and have serious choices to make – heating or eating – something this Budget did not address! No attack on poverty levels, especially child poverty. No payback to pensioners for the £6 billion the Chancellor has gained by scrapping a manifesto commitment to keep the triple lock!

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak cuts flight taxes to 'strengthen the Union' ... days before COP26

However, things momentarily changed, and this is worth a mention. A massive £2 billion bonus for Universal Credit claimants through work allowance, reducing the take-back from 63p in every pound earned to 55p! Contrast that with the £8bn claw-back from Universal Credit claimants through the scrapping of the £20/week uplift.

Why did the Chancellor not take a leaf from the Scottish Government’s game-changing introduction of the Scottish Child Payment in an effort to tackle child poverty? Why did he not do as the Scottish Government has done by giving carers the recognition they deserve by increasing their allowance?

Ian Blackford in his reply laid the Budget on a plate, and I quote, “capital spending tomorrow, with austerity today”, austerity and hardship for so many hard-working households!

Catriona C Clark

MICHAEL Fry’s accurate analysis of the prospects facing Scottish farming and a food-consuming public sums up the developing drama we face as a result of a Tory Westminster bowing before the clandestine manipulations of the international money boys (How I discovered my talent for lying when I was in the Scottish Tory Party, Oct 26).

Afraid the EU would interfere with the City’s ability to the handle hot money passing through London, their idea behind Brexit was to safeguard that facility. A despicable trick, sadly now helped by Covid. Apply a financiers’ standard procedure of share shorting, crash the UK economy and pick up sterling at the bottom. Farmers, heavily in debt to the banks, will be amongst the fall guys as the main security held by agriculture is owner-occupied land. Cut subsidies, import cheap, inferior food, put pressure on farming’s banking debt and bring more land on the market. Buy up a rising asset, what better safe haven for their fluid cash?

READ MORE: Kirsty Strickland: Masks hide Tory MPs' blushes during Sunak's insincere speech

During the 1970s, on behalf of SNFU I was involved in EU politics. Our team, with help from MEP Winnie Ewing at the Strasburg Parliament, secured £30 million development programme for the Highlands and islands. It did much to help crofters and small farms remain solvent. I believe the same helpful attitude towards Scotland exists in Europe today, The effects of Brexit are already kicking in. My message to Holyrood: get your act together, independence tomorrow. Meanwhile, it is vital not on any account to allow the direction of Scottish farming to fall into Westminster’s hands. Farmers’ livelihoods, the environment and public health would suffer. More of Scotland’s land would fall into the hands of those who see it as a safe haven for their takings.

Iain R Thomson

“I ENJOYED the plots to destroy leading figures on our own side when our particular faction disapproved of them. Of myself I found I had a talent for looking somebody I knew well straight in the eye, and then lying to them without blink or blush.” All of this said by a once true blue Tory Michael Fry. I commend him for his honesty, but anyone with any intelligence or integrity knows that the Tories are only interested in enriching their own class, of the rich and powerful and for that to happen they keep the working class in poverty and destitution.

WATCH: Ian Blackford's reaction to UK Government announcement

Angela Rayner recently labelled the Tories recently as “scum” and historically Aneurin Bevan, the great Labour Minister of Health who created our National Health Service, said in a speech he never apologised for in 1948: “No attempt at ethical or social seduction can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are lower than vermin.” This was his truth to the rich and powerful. If he said the above today he would be condemned by the elite in politics and the media.

We live in a disunited kingdom where inequality and poverty have never been worse, with the small uplift of £20 a week in Universal Credit for the poorest and most vulnerable being stolen away from them. The preceding 10 years of austerity destroyed incomes and public services of the sick, disabled, unemployed, homeless, and all the other destitute people in our disunited kingdom. The Covid-19 pandemic has stripped away all the veneer of illusion and laid the truth before us of a Tory party in power which has shown greed, avarice, brutality and cruel indifference to people in a class war to further impoverish them. If this is not motivation for us to achieve a socially just independent Scotland, nothing ever will be.

Sean Clerkin
Campaign Coordinator, Scottish Tenants Organisation