I REFER to your Wednesday article “Call to charge second home owners in Scotland four times normal council tax” (Jul 12). Why not just place legal obligations on councils to build and rent to meet housing needs, and give them the powers, including long-term financial borrowing powers, to do so?

In other words, a return to large-scale municipal housing for rent, but with quality controls to drive standards in creating good environments for people to live in, sustainability, and energy-saving net zero targets.

READ MORE: Scottish Government launches consultation on ‘fairer’ council tax

Such a large-scale project would transform the housing situation, drive down house prices for those who wish to buy, create many jobs and develop skills, and pump money into the economy all over Scotland.

Most second homes are either rented privately or used as holiday lets, so a 300% rise in the council tax surcharge would simply be passed on to renters and holidaymakers ... creating substantial negatives along with any positives from increased housing availability.

We should also be looking to scrap the council tax and replace it with a mix of local taxation based on a) income that goes to local services (a Scottish service tax) and b) a land valuation/speculation tax that redistributes wealth (and ultimately power) from large-scale property owners to the Scottish majority. This would both be much fairer AND raise more money for local infrastructure and services.

READ MORE: Rhoda Meek: Second homes debate in Scotland has no place for manners. Here's why

However, we seem to have somehow created a breed of modern politician that is risk-averse, and likes to tinker at the edges in a way that can sound radical but is in fact counter-productive in the long term.

If we REALLY want to increase housing availability we need to to think big, and take the process out of the upward price spiralling of a profit-driven capitalist market, and deliver and build through a long-term, large-scale public-sector project that meets social and human need.

Steve Arnott

I COMPLETELY agree with the sentiments in Alan Magnus-Bennett’s letter on July 11. I have read and reread the brilliant book Scotland the Brief by Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, available from Business for Scotland. The facts and figures provide adequate proof that Scotland could be a successful independent nation.

I have bought several copies of this book and given them to friends to read and pass on if they wish. When they have read the book, the usual comment is “why didn’t I know about these figures before?”

READ MORE: ‘Scotland United’ is likely to set back the campaign for independence

I cannot understand why the SNP haven’t made use of this information. It is all very well preaching to the converted, but if more use was made of the financial figures contained in this book it would go a long way in persuading the doubters and undecideds to make a more informed decision on independence.

We need to start blowing our own trumpet and ensure everyone knows it is not the case that we are not “too small” and unable to afford being independent. We have been subservient to Westminster for too long, enough is enough.

Gordon Walker

GERRY Hassan’s article on Sunday (The lessons of 2014, Jul 9) gave me what could be called a “lightbulb moment”.

I was not Gerry’s typically excellent analysis that caused it, but his reference to something Lesley Riddoch had written.

As an independence supporter my main thinking was always on the importance of activism, which of course is still essential.

Lesley has stated before what Gerry includes in his piece, but I had not realised how crucial it was to our struggle.

It is the matter of the building of confidence amongst our citizens in order to instil in them the possibilities of self-determination.

The question is, how is that confidence achieved?

It is by the decentralisation of governance (in our case Holyrood) and giving greater powers and authorities to local government and civic organisation.

When people realise and become aware of their own competencies and abilities, and the freeing of their ideas rather having these handed down to them without any real involvement, that is when the idea of self-determination becomes patent and the choice of self-determination is positively considered.

Bobby Brennan

I WRITE in reply to John Baird’s letter in Wednesday’s National. The point I was making in my earlier letter was that there are often cost overruns on new technologies. I believe the engines aren’t the same as the Isle of Man ferry, the ones Ferguson are building are dual-fuel liquefied petroleum gas or diesel, the Isle of Man ferry is diesel or electric. Yes, both supplied by Wartsila, but not the same. I’m not denying there are problems with the build, but many changes to the design hasn’t helped.

Norman Robertson
via email