WHILE it is undoubtedly welcome for many families, I believe the announcement of additional funding for childcare has a sting in the tail. This benefit will only be available to families where both parents are working.

Does this indicate that it is not considered “work” if a parent feels it is right to provide daytime care at home, rather than leave it to a paid stranger to be the person feeding, entertaining and in particular setting the standards of behaviour during the majority of the child’s waking hours?

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Surely the parent works just as hard as the carer and at the same time forms a much closer bond with the child, who learns that this is the person to whom they can turn with any problems, whether a broken toy or a quarrel with a playmate. Is this not a valuable bond that will establish confidence and security as the child grows up?

From the parent’s point of view, not only do they have the stigma of being considered workshy by this condition, but also lose the income they would have had from paid employment, as well as not qualifying for the benefit.

Is guiding a child’s development and behaviour only considered work when provided by someone outwith the family, but not by a parent? Or does increasing the workforce nowadays take precedence over cultivating a well-balanced, confident future citizen?

P Davidson

OUT of touch and could have done much more – my thoughts on Jeremy Hunt’s first Budget!

Conspicuously there was no mention of the current disruptive public-sector strikes in England. No mention of wage settlements in this Budget!

However, energy prices affecting us all got a mention, albeit a sticking plaster! The Energy Price Guarantee has been given a three-month extension till the end of June 2023, but to have any meaningful effect and long-term benefit to households, the Chancellor needed to reduce it permanently, because what happens at the end of June going into autumn and winter? Will households receive a massive rise to household energy costs? Only the Chancellor has the answer.

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Turning to pensions, something many are struggling to save for as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, the Chancellor announced the annual tax-free yearly allowance into one’s pension pot is to rise from £40,000 to £60,000 – a move that will benefit those who are clearly not suffering from the cost-of-living crisis. But the Chancellor went further by removing the ceiling of £1.07 million in lifetime savings into one’s pension pot, a move that will assist the wealthiest in society.

The Chancellor was scarce with his use of the word Brexit, yet Brexit has so much to answer for economically. I am sure Mr Hunt is fully aware of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s analysis of the impact of Brexit since 2016 on business investment in the UK – stalled.

To sum up, this Budget demonstrated an out-of-touch Chancellor serving in an out-of-touch government, something the majority in the country have already recognised.

Catriona C Clark

LIAM Bryce’s article on Monday (March 13) on the possible reorganising senior Scottish football aptly describes the challenges facing football’s administrators in Scotland.

He rightly highlights the distrust felt by smaller clubs towards the “Big Two” from Glasgow, with their “B” teams. The introduction of other Premier teams with “B” sides will do nothing to dispel their fears.

More than 50-plus years ago, when I was a young man, it was common for the “Big Two” to have large reserve pools with many youngsters amongst them. Very few of these youngsters ever saw the light of day in the first team.

The common perception was that these youngsters were merely signed to prevent them playing for potential opponents, rather than for career development. Most were released after a couple of years and rarely heard of in senior Scottish football again.

Similar concerns are held today about the “B” teams playing in the Highland and Lowland leagues. More so as the “B” teams, unlike most others in these leagues, will effectively be full-time players. Without the “B” teams many of the players would probably be playing for League 1 or League 2 sides.

Sixty years on, the suspicion remains that the aims of the “Big Two”, with their “B” sides remains the same@ to weaken potential opponents.

Drew Reid

WHY don’t the SPFL start a B league outwith the pyramid and fund clubs to participate? It’s basically to give young talent a platform. It would help if the two cheeks stopped hoovering up and stockpiling promising kids.

Jeanette Doyle
via thenational.scot