I UNDERSTAND the Scottish Government’s revenue budget is approaching £60 billion. The SNP’s proposals to increase the higher council tax bands will have the potential to raise an additional £176 million for local authorities. If my arithmetic is correct, this is 0.293 % of the overall revenue budget. To look at it another way, £176m is possibly around half of the money being overspent on the Calmac ferry project.

Under the proposals, council tax would increase by 7.5%, 12.5%, 17.5% and 22.5% for properties valuation Bands E, F, G and H respectively. The average annual increases, based on 2023-24 council tax rates, range from £139 up to £781 per property and will impact more than a quarter of all properties. The increase will be very unwelcome to those who will have to pay it, and roundly welcomed by Unionist politicians who will cite it as yet another reason not to vote SNP or Green in the 2026 Scottish Parliament elections.

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

Presumably councils will also be able to impose their usual annual increase of around 5% on top of these valuation band increases, taking the potential increases to somewhere over 12% or even over 25%.

This will simply add to the financial burden placed on us by the UK Government’s financial policies. This seems to be a disproportional amount of financial pain for very little electoral gain. Council Tax is simply the offspring of the hated poll tax and should have been replaced many years ago with a land tax or some other method of taxation based on ability to pay.

Iain Wilson

MIKE Small’s article in the Sunday National reveals how the intransigence of the seemingly uncaring UK Government may well cost human lives by forcing Scotland to deal with the highest rate of drugs-related deaths in Europe using the UK’s failed drugs laws (Scotland’s addiction to the Union will lead to more unnecessary deaths, Jul 16).

It is a stark reminder of the contrast between the attitude towards human life of two Tory governments that will both be remembered for their emphasis on stopping people crossing the channel.

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In June 1940, with the people fighting against an austere future brought about by a foreign government, Prime Minister Winston Churchill is remembered for saying: “We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall never surrender”.

Will Prime Minister Rishi Sunak be remembered in 80 years’ time for telling the people fighting against an austere future brought about by their own government: “Today’s offer is final. There will be no more talks on pay. We will not negotiate again on this year’s settlements and no amount of strikes will change our decision”?

The incomprehensible stance of the UK Government in the present round of negotiations over public service pay, with its potential risk to human health and life, is made all the more bizarre by the fact that the Scottish Government appears to have already negotiated mutually acceptable agreements with the these same groups of workers.

The time is overdue for leaving this Union with its abhorrent government behind and returning Scotland to membership of the international community of nations.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

MY partner has been a back-seat member of the SNP for many years. He now tells our friends he is “clinging on to his membership by his fingertips”. Recent SNP policy initiatives including drug decriminalisation, protected fishing zones and gender recognition have, to say the least, not filled him with enthusiasm.

Revelations including the bizarre purchase of a recreational vehicle and the apparent inability to simply account for the infamous £600,000 have left him saddened and disappointed with the party he has supported all his adult life.

READ MORE: Will Scotland's media treat Labour's divisions like SNP's?

He recently received a letter from the party’s acting chief executive asking for money to help finance a by-election campaign in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency. Oddly enough the new First Minister was consigned to a photo in a small box in the bottom right of the appeal letter with the quote “We will be the generation that delivers independence for Scotland.”

In years gone by the donation form would have been filled in and posted back to SNP HQ by the end of the day – often before I could see the amount donated! For more than a week this one was left lying on the dining room table. Today it was finally consigned to the shredder. I saw the sadness in his eyes as he fed it in.

READ MORE: Scottish independence requires more than what SNP and Alba offer

He tells me it is not the party he joined all those years ago. He fears recent death of Winnie Ewing has brought the end of era and that perhaps neither of us will see an independent Scotland in our lifetime.

He is not willing to donate to any further SNP financial appeals when the party is unable or unwilling to explain in clear, simple terms what happened to previous donations.

Sandra West