THE Budget attitude to the Acorn Project says it all about the Westminster attitude to Scotland – take, take and take again.

Scotland invented the process of carbon capture a decade ago, was the only place in the world with the knowledge and skills to run a pilot, but was blocked by Westminster refusing a few million that would have been too little to build even one mile of Crossrail. The backing of the major oil companies ensured infrastructure was already there in the form of disused pipelines to undersea storage.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: 'Disappointing' no funding for Acorn Project in Budget

At that time, this technology and these skills could not only have made a big contribution to reducing Scotland’s carbon footprint, but could also have been sold to other countries – such as China with its massive reliance on coal-fired power stations – and reduced their carbon emissions too. Westminster apparently was either too blind to see that this world-leading project would bring in more tax, as well as benefiting Scotland, or preventing Scotland from profiting was more important.

Now other countries have caught on and are developing carbon capture, and the Budget will support the process only in England – where infrastructure will require to be built, making it more expensive, while Acorn is ignored, again. So we invent something, get it to pilot stage and then we are not allowed to use it, but it becomes a great opportunity for England to cash in on Scottish research and expertise, simultaneously preventing Scotland from being a world leader.

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This only confirms my view that empire is on a par with slavery, and we are regarded as the last colony. Use superior strength to take over another country, impose your will and culture and as far as possible destroy theirs, become rich on their assets, and only give it all up under duress, once it has been satisfactorily impoverished. The only difference in Scotland now is that it is being done more surreptitiously.

While they benefit from our research, we pay to send them 40% of our renewable energy (helping Rishi Sunak to heat his new swimming pool), put up with exorbitant energy bills and much higher standing charges than in the south-east, and plans are still ongoing for us to contribute to infrastructure to take our fresh water south. No wonder they are desperate to keep us. There are resources still to be stolen.

L McGregor

YOUR report of the study that “suggests” 156 deaths per year “on average” “may” have been prevented due to the “pricing policy on alcohol” must surely be the most incredible survey results to be published in The Lancet and ever seized on by a government pushing its agenda against the poorest section of society (Mar 21).

How on earth could any professional study credibly claim that a single policy like minimum unit pricing (MUP) could have its stated effect over just four short years for a condition that is many years in the making? What analysis exists to offer alternative explanations, or as I suspect were these not even included in this “research”?”

READ MORE: Minimum unit pricing saving 'significantly more lives than expected'

“Suggests” “Linked to”. “Slightly offset”. “Increase in alcohol poisoning ... not statistically important”. “Limitations to the study”. “May have reduced spending on food”. This study is full of holes and “suggests” it was conducted with a prejudiced premise from the outset. It beggars belief that the drinks industry is supposed to be “thriving” but MUP works? Only for the poor, not the wealthy. Anyone visiting a supermarket can see the price reductions of higher-priced brands that the poor can’t afford. And where in the report is there any consideration of home brewing consumption, cross-border alcohol trade or any links to to the levels of recreational drugs consumption?

MUP remains an unfair “tax” on only the poorest section of society and a poor response to society’s education and life-aspiration failures. It is biased against home consumption to protect on-sales against off-sales. And it’s a political distortion depending on “surveys” like this to justify itself. As for policies around marketing of alcohol brands, which surveys like this are clearly aimed to influence, if a product is allowed to be sold in a “free” market to the general public, then why shouldn’t that product be allowed to be marketed? If products are injurious to health, should they be removed from sale to the public?

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon says minimum unit pricing 'one of her proudest achievements'

Isn’t this the duplicity of government? It rails against products it’s quite happy to tax to the hilt. However, shouldn’t such price burden apply equally across the whole estate of a product type, not just to those who can least afford it? And shouldn’t such taxation be used directly to ameliorate any individual problems with product use/abuse which MUP singularly is incapable of doing? It’s simply additional profit going to retailers and not government.

MUP is a half-assed policy by a government without the power to do the job properly. Only with independence can real solutions be applied to try to solve particular problems. And aren’t those solutions to be found in a better society where education and social aspirations obviate the need to use financial punishment and the desire for alcohol to mask social and personal problems in the first place?

Jim Taylor