THE Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has been accused of giving away billions of pounds to the super-rich while workers struggle to heat their homes and feed their children. This accentuates the class gulf that the Tories have created. He tried to claim “credit” for inflation running at 4.6%, but prices are going up at a quicker pace than the government thinks they should be. It is difficult to fathom why Hunt thinks this is an “achievement”.

The government is supporting so-called freeports for at least a decade. These are super-exploitative on-shore tax havens that allow the super-rich to avoid tax, which worsens a problem that is already off the scale.

READ MORE: George Kerevan: Solutions exist to fix Broken Britain but Tories and Labour won’t use them

Hunt has given tax cuts worth upwards of £4 billion to retail and licensed premises, and billions of pounds to the war profiteering industries. He bragged about meeting the 2% spending on “defence” that is required by Nato members. Other big businesses received £11bn from Hunt. He actually boasted about the “largest business tax cut in modern British history”.

The Office for Budget Responsibility shows that taxes under the Tories are still going up. They will reach a post-war record high of 37.7% by 2028/29. Due to Tory incompetence, workers will suffer a slump in real living standards that is without precedent.

Those with an impairment who are unemployed will be made to look for work. If this is unsuccessful, they will be forced to take part in compulsory workfare. If they do not, cases will be closed and benefits cut off, as will medicines and the right to legal aid. The so-called “hostile environment” that the Tories introduced for refugees is being extended to the UK population.

Alan Hinnrichs

WHY is the BBC’s Reporting Scotland not reporting the revelations arising from the UK Covid Inquiry of the gross incompetence and poor decision-making of the UK Government which may have had devastating consequences for many of Scotland’s people?

Instead of informing the Scottish public of the evidence provided by the UK’s chief medical and scientific advisers, BBC Scotland has focused on apparently deleted WhatsApp messages of Scottish ministers (that may have no bearing in assessing significant decisions made) and on the recent travails of the current Health Secretary around his iPad use, along with accounts at the Scottish Covid Inquiry from some of those tragically bereaved.

READ MORE: Covid inquiry: Michael Gove says UK was ‘not well enough prepared’

Surely our public broadcaster should at least be reporting these revelations in its news bulletins, if not providing extensive analysis of how decisions made at Westminster may have led to the premature passing of many of Scotland’s citizens. Who seriously thinks that if the situation was reversed and it appeared that thousands of people may have died in England due to poor decisions made at Holyrood that this “news” would not have been thoroughly reported by the BBC in “regional news programmes” throughout England as well as comprehensively in that country’s primary news programme?

It has now been confirmed by the UK Government’s chief advisers that if the first “Covid lockdown” had been imposed earlier, in their opinions many lives would probably have been saved. However, it appears that the bosses at BBC Scotland, who seem keen to have every possible avoidable death within NHS Scotland (for which the Scottish Government could perhaps be partially responsible) fully and often repeatedly reported, have directed that decisions leading to the catastrophic loss of more than 18,000 Scots for which the UK Government may be partially responsible should not be given comparable exposure. Why not?

Stan Grodynski
Longniddry, East Lothian

THE Scottish Government recently announced what were described as “exceptionally difficult budget cuts” that amount to around £680 million.

For example, £10.5m is to be cut from the Future Transport Fund, in addition to £30m from the Energy Industries Capital Programme, £3m from Marine Scotland, £6m from Forestry and Land Scotland, and £28m from agricultural budgets. Finance Secretary Shona Robison has also said that Scotland’s public-sector workforce will have to shrink due to funding pressures, and said that staffing would have to be reduced due to tight budgets and inflation-driven pay deals.

READ MORE: Scottish minister writes to DWP over 'concerning' benefits rules change

The 2021 SNP manifesto pledged a laptop computer for every school child. More than two years later it seems that promise has just been broken as part of this package of budget cuts. In March of 2021 John Swinney said: “If we are re-elected in May, the SNP will roll out a new programme to deliver into the hands of every school child in Scotland a laptop, Chromebook or tablet to use in school and at home. It will come with a free internet connection and full technical support. It will be updated when necessary, replaced when needed and upgraded as technology improves. Just as in my day, the teacher handed out a jotter to all, so in this internet age, we will hand each child the device they need to learn and prosper.”

The irony of that situation, when considered in conjunction with Mr Matheson’s recent £11,000 computer difficulties, is hard to ignore.

Spending plans to replace CalMac’s ageing fleet of small ferries have also been cut, saving another £41m. Shona Robison advised MSPs the small vessels replacement plan had been “re-profiled” as had harbour improvements at Ardrossan and Gourock. She blamed “Westminster austerity” for the cuts and said the Scottish Government was doing all it could “within the limited powers we have”.

Rather than blame the Westminster Tory government, perhaps this time we should instead be looking towards the almost £500m (and counting) overspent on two ferries still in a Port Glasgow shipyard. It would appear our school weans in particular and the rest of us in general are to suffer £680m of cuts to help pay for that situation presided over by our very own Scottish Government, CalMac and Fergusons.

Glenda Burns