AS the dust begins to settle after the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, all that glitters in the way of much-heralded tax cuts by Mr Hunt is not gold.

While the Chancellor announced a cut in National Insurance (NI) rates, he opted to leave NI and income tax thresholds untouched, meaning they remain frozen until 2028.

Through what is known as fiscal drag, with pay increases to ease the cost-of-living crisis this has pulled more people into paying a larger amount of tax on their personal income.

According to official figures, some 2.2 million more workers now pay the basic rate income tax of 20% compared with three years ago, while 1.6 million more people now find themselves in the 40% tax bracket over the same period.

Through a clear case of smoke and mirrors, it has been estimated that by 2029 almost four million more people will be paying income tax, and three million will move into the higher tax bracket.

The amount of extra income tax the Treasury is getting from fiscal drag from 2022 to 2028 is the equivalent to a 6p increase in the basic rate of income tax. This dwarfs the National Insurance cut, and means that this is set to be the biggest tax-raising parliament in modern times.

Alex Orr


THE Conservatives have been on the “reduce immigration” bandwagon since 2010. Some people voted for Brexit as they believed the lies that we can stop it by leaving the EU, get rid of them and save jobs.

What actually has happened is that most EU immigrants have left to be replaced by non-EU people, mainly from India and the Far East.

In the 12 years before 2017, the average net migration was 240,000 people per year, mostly from Europe. Then due to Brexit millions of EU nationals left quickly over two years.

In the last two years the total net migration into the UK is a staggering 1.8 million. If you look at just the last full calendar year, 2022, there has been 1.13 million approved visa applications by Westminster to work in care services and farms and go to UK universities. Ukraine migrants are included. It is a myth that migration is out of control. Visas have been issued. What is happening is that the government is replacing the millions of EU people that left due to Brexit. Without this new immigration our care and health services will collapse, particularly in England.

Where prior to Brexit we received immigrants over nearly two decades at a steady pace, suddenly many left over two years and many are quickly replacing them at the same rate. No steady stream over time.

The government in London is using immigration as a deflection to hide their economic disaster and extremely poor governance of the UK.

The talk about the boat people is also a deflection. The average number of people crossing the Channel since 2017 is 19,500/year. The issue here is firstly that the government has been totally incapable of managing this due to incompetence. Secondly, prior to Brexit crossings were negligible. This is because the EU allowed us to send people back and worked with us on the issue. Due to Brexit we now do not have this cooperation, and we must process all refugees and migrants coming this way. They know we cannot legally send them back, hence the increase in crossings.

Recently some Conservatives have been talking to the media about getting rid of migrants to keep British values. What they have done is cause huge numbers of EU people home who historically have the same European Christian culture as us to leave. This is the fault of Conservative policies. Sadly Labour is now talking the same lies and disinformation.

It is about time our Unionist colonial masters were truthful with us and told the truth that nearly all migration is approved via visas and that the ensuing management chaos is caused by their muddled chaotic policies. The are lying to us with right-wing rhetoric to hide incompetence.

Robert Anderson


BEFORE The National was launched around half of the population of Scotland had to endure reading articles and letters across all of our national newspapers that lacked political balance and constitutional impartiality.

Today, news stories conveyed via nearly all of our newspapers and television channels, including our so-called public broadcaster the BBC, are still heavily slanted to denigrate self-determination and to emphasise the rapidly dwindling merits of Scotland remaining in a now highly dysfunctional Union. It was therefore greatly disappointing to read the latest contribution of Glenda Burns to The National’s letters pages (Nov 29).

We can all appreciate her seeming personal frustration with the SNP and the Scottish Government not meeting all of their commitments while taxpayer funds have not always been spent wisely. However, to provide no objective context given the massive financial constraints imposed and the gross incompetence (never mind cronyism and corruption) of our lords and masters at Westminster, and perhaps more significantly, no positive or constructive comments in support of independence, suggests that self-determination for Scotland’s people is not Glenda’s preoccupation.

Stan Grodynski

Longniddry, East Lothian