I FEEL I must sadly disagree with the campaign headed up by Richard Lochhead MSP which formed your headline on December 24 (Time to stop ‘big delivery fees rip off’).

Given the current cost of fuel, petrol or diesel, especially if purchased north of the central belt, I can see the economic necessity for private companies to charge more to deliver goods over much greater distances. Perhaps we have all grown too used to the universal charging system of the Royal Mail.

As a regular online purchaser living in the central belt of Scotland (Paisley) I have never considered the charges involved to be a “rip off”. If I ever choose to move home to Orkney, Shetland, Inverness or even the likes of Campbeltown I would fully expect to pay more to have my parcels delivered by a private courier company. On top of the fuel costs (the real rip off) the companies have extra staffing costs and overheads for vehicle maintenance and depreciation to recover.

If I was to take a taxi from Paisley to Glasgow, a distance of around seven miles, I would not expect the journey from Paisley to Edinburgh, Inverness or Lerwick to cost the same. If I volunteered to accept delivery of a parcel for Mr Lochhead would he expect me to then deliver it onwards to him in his Moray constituency office in Elgin for free? That would involve me in a round trip of almost 400 miles and take approximately eight hours.

There are many more rip-off situations that Mr Lochhead and the Scottish Government could and should spend their time considering. A rather obvious one which will impact on every single soul from Lerwick to Gretna Green, and all points in between, are the impending massive price increases for gas and electricity. These items are delivered over wires and pipes with little consideration for distance. The £45 million that Mr Lochhead claims is being ripped off for parcel delivery charges will seem small compared to the gas and electricity prices hikes about to hit us all.

Brian Lawson

YOUR article about the outrageous delivery charges for parcel deliveries to some areas made no mention of Royal Mail.

Royal Mail have standard charges for the whole UK, with just the size and weight dictating the cost. If customers ordering items online insisted that delivery must be by Royal Mail, courier providers may be priced out of their discriminatory practices.

Best wishes to everyone at The National for the New Year – when it comes.

Richard Walthew

SURLEY the answer to creating a National Care Service rests with independence? It will not come cheap but the rewards will outweigh the costs.

Working with a devolved budget based on allocations from Westminster doesn’t allow us to create a partner to the NHS unless we cut funding elsewhere. Come independence, we’ll have control of our budget like every other free, independent country. Surely this in itself will bring more to recognise the need for independence. Let’s make this a major plank in our campaigning.

Catriona Grigg

GORDON Brown was interviewed by the brilliant and now retired Jon Snow on Channel 4 News earlier this month ... and I’ve got to admit, Gordon talked absolute sense. I agreed in everything he said.

He is an advocate for health and vaccine equity and wants the wealthier nations to support poorer countries with vaccinations. Just like the greenhouse effect is a global problem and will only be solved by every country working together.

He argues against countries becoming isolated and shut away from the rest of the world. Why then (it’s a hurdle he must overcome) does he argue that Scotland’s future must remain as part of an insular xenophobic British nationalist Brexit mad UK.

Surely he would have more success in his aims if he aligned himself with a progressive outward-looking Scotland that is part of Europe?

Robin MacLean
Fort Augustus

I AGREE strongly with Leon Fields’s letter (December 23) on factory farming. Until we realise the link between different species of sentient beings, such as humans and animals, we will NEVER get rid of illness.

We are told that the viruses are coming from people being crammed together, without social distancing, so we must keep apart. In exactly the same way, in factory farms animals, hundreds of thousands of poultry are kept in overcrowded conditions, without ventilation.

The viruses arise in these so-called farms, and because there is no ventilation, the animal and bird viruses spread to human beings. That is how the 1918 flu epidemic started.

If we want to live a long productive life, we must start considering the welfare of the sentient beings which share our planet. We must realise that we are part of a green chain, a web of life, a big green puzzle, and we therefore need to consider the life of the birds.

Margaret Forbes