WHICH one of the interviewers has or will directly ask the PM, the Cabinet members trotted out, or the Bank of England Governor and members of the Monetary Policy Committee, to spell out exactly how this most recent interest-rate hike will ease the financial suffering of so many?

The majority of us will be either renters, public or private sector, or mortgage-payers. There is no escaping the fact that both groups are suffering and will feel more pain in the future. Heaven help you if you rely on your credit cards, since paying back, and back late, will become more expensive.

READ MORE: Scottish expert casts doubts on PM's claims of reducing energy bills

But fear not, there’s been two good news items. Firstly, we’re told the cost-of-living crisis is abating since “food prices are rising more slowly”. Food banks don’t seem to agree, with greater uptake, fewer donations coming in, and when forced to use their own cash reserves to replenish essential stock, guess what? Money doesn’t buy as much as in the past. And then Mr Sunak said on Wednesday that inflation is not falling as fast as he would like, but that people can “see light at the end of the tunnel”. That’s no light, that’s a tsunami of debt.

The financial future is so dire that immediately after Thursday’s announcement, some “experts” were predicting interest rates will hit 5.75% by November, with any cuts only arriving in the summer of next year. Would that be in time for a General Election, or am I just too cynical? And with that fight looming, neither Labour nor Tory will make any effort to raise taxes. With no rise in tax revenue, families squeezed in all directions, winter approaching and all that entails with heating bills, just who has that extra cash to spend?

READ MORE: SNP issue challenge to Labour over cost of benefit cap to Scots

Being in work isn’t a sign of any form of financial security. We’ll see high streets hit, eating out, entertainment, little “luxuries” all diminishing. The prospect of less spending power translates into less buying power, and that results in business losses if not outright closures, more unemployment, and here’s the merry-go-round catching up again: less tax revenue going into the government’s coffers.

How will the government pay for public services without tax revenue? Will they apply windfall taxes, will they claw back any of the wastage and fraud of the Covid years? We will see the continued use of the vile trope that wage increases have fuelled the financial crisis, resulting in the need for even tighter spending control in the public sector over the coming months.

I can understand why voters across the Border feel the need for change. That need is so strong, they fail to realise they’re caught in the pendulum swing of right, left and back again. But for Scotland to be putting trust in Labour? Their latest about-face is their New Deal being “delayed”. That’s not being prudent. That’s a case of not thinking things through and throwing out headline-grabbing policies hoping they’ll stick with the public. Their candidate for the Scottish by-election appears to take a stance that he knows he can’t keep regarding the child benefit cap, and no-one has yet challenged him on the potential reversal of free prescriptions and tuition fees that Labour will eye up in the future.

Pro-Union parties are almost indistinguishable in their inability to provide answers to the current crises. But in answering my own question: how will any future UK Government pay for public services? Why, from Scotland naturally! Our natural reserves, air, wind, water, gas, oil: all to be maxed out. If we let them, that is. Will we, won’t we?

Selma Rahman

PRINCIPLED Labour Party supporters of the recent past will have the opportunity in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by-election to demonstrate that their votes, and the votes of Scottish voters, must not be taken for granted by Blair’s political disciple Sir Keir Starmer.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour's Ian Murray denies 'disunity' in party amid splits

They will have a choice either to vote for a party that has moved so far to the right that most Tory party supporters in this constituency will happily now vote Labour, or to remain true to their socialist principles and vote for a left-of-centre party that is genuinely committed to egalitarianism and to ending child poverty while also espousing the right of the people of Scotland to determine their own future.

If he were alive today it is obvious for which party Keir Hardie would vote, and it would not be the current Labour Party regardless of the disingenuous soundbites of the ever-smirking Scottish branch manager.

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

FOR the most part I agree with Mike Russell’s article on Alister Jack (Union Jack will always put himself before Scots, Aug 5).

However, I am not fooled by “Union” Jack. Like his predecessor David “mundane” Mundell, Alister Jack has made himself a low-calibre politician who, when it comes to representing Scotland’s interests, consistently fires blanks.

Both Jack and Mundell are puppets, mere UK Government functionaries slavishly adhering to Tory ideology rather than showing ambition in fighting for Scotland’s best interests. The only thing that exercises them is their grubby and craven political careers. Not only do those two “toom tabards” exhibit woeful dereliction of duty in forcefully fighting Scotland’s corner, they see everything through a Tory lens and carry out policies inimical to Scotland.

READ MORE: 'Scared' Alister Jack HIDES from media on trip to Glasgow

The preferred milieu of “Lord Snooty”, aka Alister Jack, is not in Scotland but in the House of Commons, where he rubs shoulders with his peers and those of a similar kind.

The only way that Scotland can rid itself of the dead hand that is the redundant Westminster Cabinet post of Scottish Secretary is by voting for independence.

Sandy Gordon