I HAVE no doubt that, following on from Chancellor Hunt’s plea for those early retired to return to work, they will soon be stigmatised as lazy, selfish, uncaring etc for not answering the call. In actual fact, most would probably have been happy to oblige, were it not for the fact that doing so would damage the pensions to which they contributed throughout their working lives, which have become their normal income.

In the case of most public services, returning to work after retiring and being paid their pension would entail starting to pay National Insurance again and also having a deduction taken from their pension. If that pension at the time they retired represented what was due from the deductions from salary, why would they voluntarily give up some of it? That would be tantamount to saying that these deductions were worth less because they agreed to help out by returning to work.

READ MORE: Tory Chancellor Jeremy Hunt urges early retirees to return to work

Moreover, as we have seen recently with the numbers of police retiring, calculations done on the comparison between pension level expected and additional deductions from extending work life prove that in most cases, the deductions would exceed the additional pension earned. So why stay on, or return?

If this were not sufficient reason, the fact that the Chancellor now intends to tax the lump sum part of such pensions at 20% adds another disincentive.

If the return of early retirees is part of the solution to the skill shortage and desperately needed, the answer is in the Chancellor’s own hands. Remove these disincentives, allow the retirement pension that has been earned to remain untouched and apply the same conditions as would affect any new job to the salary earned from the start date only.

After all, it is the government at Westminster which has been trying to force everyone to save for a pension. What is the point, then, in imposing conditions that take some of it back, just when it becomes due for payment? That simply turns retirees into another government “cash cow”.

P Davidson

I WOULD recommend that all your readers watch episode 61 of Scotonomics, which can be found on YouTube. It was revealed by an eminent economist that for every pound of cuts at HMRC we, the relatively poor, suffer a penalty of £18 in lost taxes. Of course, the only possible reason for the Tories to impose these cuts is to protect the rich.

The tenor of this talk by the CEO of the Tax Justice Network was principally to explain why the very, very rich are paying so little tax. The scandal of Nadhim Zahawi can only be seen as a symptom of the corruption at Westminster. The House of Commons (not to mention the Lords) is run by a cohort of “successful” businessmen. I use the word successful. The word should be greedy or dishonest. No-one gets to be as rich as these people in charge without bending the rules and exhibiting a remorseless lust for more and more money.

READ MORE: Nadhim Zahawi sacked by Rishi Sunak over tax affairs row

Until I saw this programme I hadn’t realised that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is so secretive. Neither did I know that the UN is trying to muscle in to try and stop the OECD protecting the super-rich. All good stuff. There’s even a suggestion that the Scottish Government should provide employment at HMRC in order to furnish Scotland with a significant return on investment.

But nothing would benefit Scotland as much independence, and a complete abandonment of the Westminster cronies.

Tony Kime

IT may well be a little premature, but I would like to commend the UK, Spanish and Gibraltarian officials for taking the steps required to ensure a negotiated settlement to resolve the status of Gibraltar with regards to its neighbour Spain and the EU.

Whilst there could be “many a slip twix cup and lip”, it must be hoped that Gibraltarians and local Spaniards can work to create a wealthier, fairer and happier enclave.

Inclusion in the Schengen Agreement would be beneficial to the area in general.

READ MORE: Angus Robertson: Vote for Scottish independence is vote to rejoin EU​ 

On the horizon, we see that the old guard of UK Westminster MPs , currently focused on the Northern Irish Protocol, seem to have woken up to Gibraltar. Ben Habib is asking if Rishi Sunak is paying attention. He is an ex-MEP and a staunch Brexiteer.

It would be disaster for Gibraltar and the local Spanish area if all of the efforts fall into the same UK Government intransigence summed up by Alister Jack’s supercilious, condescending and patrician discourse of “now is not the time”.

I would ask them to look into any agreement for a Section 35 clause, where UK or Spanish Governments could override the local Gibraltarian aspirations.

Perhaps it should adopt a more ancient name, seeing as England captured and annexed it in 1704, when England was at its zenith. Mount Tarik would be a nod to its Arabic origins.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus