I NOTE that the Prime Minister and his obtuse Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey, have announced what they term as a new and exciting policy of a right to buy for benefit claimants, doubtless under their disingenuous levelling-up agenda.

The idea is a shamelessly rehashed Thatcherite policy from the 1980s that claims those on Universal Credit will have the option to buy their own homes in future and “turn benefits into bricks.” Aside from the fact that many people currently on Universal Credit may well be experiencing a hand-to-mouth existence due to the escalating prices of fuel, food and utilities, it is transparently clear why the Westminster government have used this apparently progressive and solicitous approach to the hardest-pressed citizens of the UK at this time.

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High-profile announcements of such policies under Boris Johnson always come with a health warning, and only the gullible or the Conservative party faithful will accept this at face value. Banks and mortgage providers along with the housing associations are not on board with the scheme and view it with suspicion and real scepticism. Financial forecasters predict that, should a person on Universal Credit wish to purchase their own home, then under current house prices they may be facing a shortfall of approximately £300 per month in paying for their mortgage – an obvious non-starter.

The stark reality is that this faux concern for those in the low income bracket is a useful distraction from the Prime Minister’s current political predicament wherein he has lost the support of 75% of his back benchers and the majority of people in the UK believe he must resign. Mr Johnson has no issue with cutting £20 per week from Universal Credit claimants whilst simultaneously showboating a policy announcement lacking in detail, planning or hope for those unfortunate enough to still have any faith in this congenital and habitual liar. He hopes declarations like this will obfuscate his multiple failings and inadequacies, and nodding-donkey ministers like the pugnacious Ms Coffey are only too pleased to aid and abet him using her insulting empty rhetoric as yet another red herring to try and save his political skin.

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The right-to-buy policy will join a long list of ill-conceived and transient Johnsonian wizard wheezes such as the bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland and the Garden Bridge (from his time as London Mayor). Both of these ridiculous projects have cost approximately £60 million to the taxpayer but will concern the narcissistic Prime Minister not a solitary jot. An independent Scotland can do better, much better than this.

Owen Kelly

GLENDA Burns (Letters, June 11) presents a false dichotomy in criticising the rebalancing of travel spending from roads to active travel (why was the phrase in inverted commas?) by linking this to the trunk roads A9, A96 and A75 and reductions in health and social care budget, especially as she lives in Glasgow and travels “about 20 miles per day by car”.

Most active travel takes place in the cities and towns or the urban parts of Scotland where more than 80% of the population lives. The bulk of the car journeys in these places are of five miles or less and in many cases with a single occupant. Many of these journeys could be done on foot, by bike, by scooter, by bus, train or subway. Undoubtedly, we need improved local public transport to facilitate this and to make the roads less congested. And if roads are less congested, the ambience encourages people to walk, cycle and scoot and those who need to use motorised transport have clearer carriageways. Making active travel provision in urban areas is cheaper than road building.

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However, large parts of Scotland are sparsely populated due to topology and to historic economic and political decisions, and more people need to use vehicular transport than in urban areas. So the roads Ms Burns mentions would, in my view, be capital spending that would be retained and is feasible within the reduced allocation. We do need investment in rural public transport. Why has she introduced the health and social care budget into this transport argument, when all budgets have had to be reduced?

I fear she is seeking to stoke the hatred which some drivers feel towards cyclists in particular, and is using the health budget as a red herring in this regard.

Alasdair Macdonald

YOUR correspondent Glenda Burns rightly complains about the lack of funding being made available to the Scottish Government by Westminster.

Last week, on the day that Boris was the subject of a no-confidence vote, the government quietly scrapped plans to build a new £3 billion rail link between HS2 and the West Coast Main Line. The link was seen as essential to improving rail connections to the north-west of England and Scotland, but inconveniently it just happened to run through the constituencies of certain Tory MPs whose electorate did not wish this in their backyard.

We now have a Westminster government with a spare £3bn. Perhaps they could provide us with a reasonable share, and that would go a long way to improving transport infrastructure within Scotland. Part of it could even go to improving links between Carlisle and Stranraer, which might help to appease Boris’s friends in Northern Ireland.

Ian Lawson

DUNOON Grammar School is in the running for best school in the world, the only one in the UK for its category of rural education, yet Unionist parties continue to berate standards in Scottish education. Do these Philistines not realise the amount of abuse they heap on the children and others in the community whose efforts have led to this accolade?

M Ross