QUESTION after question, plea upon plea for those in desperate need as a result of the cost-of-living crisis were heard in the House of Commons at Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday. The SNP’s leader in the Commons Ian Blackford gave the PM some suggestions that his Conservative government may want to adopt, one being the SNP game-changing policy of the “Child Payment”, soon to double to £20/week and to further increase to £25/week by the end of the year.

Mr Blackford gave the PM other suggestions his Westminster government could adopt. The SNP at Holyrood have increased benefits this year by 6%, unlike the 3% those on benefits reserved to Westminster received. A further suggestion followed from Mr Blackford – reintroduce the £20/week Universal Credit uplift.

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The plight of many on pre-paid meters for their energy supply was also highlighted. This amounts to some 4.5 million households around the country. Those households are already paying excess charges compared to those paying by direct debit – exploitation at large. It may be worth considering that some of those households do not have access to a bank account, limiting their choices.

The PM gave no commitment that his government will be reaching out, assisting those who are suffering disproportionately as a result of his government’s policies of austerity and the cost-of -living crisis. Scotland must heed Mr Blackford’s call and send a clear message to Downing Street at the local elections next week, we really must.

Catriona C Clark

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THE more I read about the cost of living in the UK, the more I am convinced that society as a whole has adopted learned helplessness.

Every form of household expense is ballooning: from rent to food to transport to taxes. We are told by Westminster to make do with less, that we are all in this together, to keep calm and carry on and blah blah blah...

Don’t like it? Too bad! The first-past-the-post voting system and the unelected House of Lords mean they can act with near impunity once they are in office. So shut up and eat your cereal.

James Boyle

“TORIES fume at use of Nessie for ‘nationalist brainwashing’ in schools” made an interesting headline on the front page of last Friday’s edition of The National.

Education Scotland explained that the resource the Tories have taken issue with encourages students to debate and analyse bias.

The Tory faux outrage at “politicisation” of Nessie is little more than typical Unionist duplicity. The pro-Union cause has spent all its arguments, used up all of its threats and been found out in its false promises. The truth of this matter is that they want to stifle this resource because what they fear most is free-thinking Scots of any age.

Ni Holmes
St Andrews

DEAR readers, I need advice. I’ve been a member of the SNP for a good while, and although I was born in England I support independence in every way, particularly now that England and Westminster have become so blatantly corrupt and racist. But the SNP is not doing enough for the environment. Now I have no children, and therefore no axe to grind, but the future for the children of this planet is diminished every day. Should I join the Greens and leave the SNP? The Greens support both independence and the environment. I really don’t want to leave the SNP, but I feel I must support the children of this finite Earth more than the estimable Nicola and her colleagues are doing, and I am not allowed to be a member of two parties.

Tony Kime

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THE news that the Church of Scotland presbyteries back conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies demonstrates yet again how the Church is behind the curve on social change.

Now that 21st-century society has made progress in spite of its principles, the Church has decided it has another set of principles which t can now bring into play. As ever, progress has come in spite of “Christian values”, not because of them. It’s a tacit admission that its bible is past its sell-by date. The Kirk is in danger of doing more sets of principles than the leader of the Scottish Conservatives!

Alistair McBay
Methven, Perth

GEORGE Kerevan’s recent article “Why Yes supporters should keep close tabs on May’s Stormont election” (Apr 25) was timely and relevant. However, did he really have to refer to the Northern Irish politician Edwin Poots as a “loopy creationist”, writing off people like myself as plain silly? For the record, I hold the Bible’s narrative of creation to be wholly accurate and that therefore God did indeed bring the cosmos into being in the timespan indicated. But, there again, when have Biblical theists not been lampooned by an unbelieving world?

Rev Douglas Whyte

ANENT Michael Fry article stating that James Watt was unable to progress in his business due to the objections of Glasgow’s merchant guild (Day Watt and Scotland started to change the world, Apr 25). Watts’s dispute was with the trades guilds, who never recognised his apprenticeship. No tradesman could set up shop in Glasgow

unless they served a recognised apprenticeship, became a burgess and joined the appropriate trades guild. It was a closed shop for very good reasons. Watt got around this by working as an instrument maker for the college professors in the precincts of the college, which was beyond the control of the Trades House.

John Meek
via email