ONE point missing from your reporting of the Chancellor’s appearance on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg is the fact that all three of the guests on her expert panel, spanning a range of political opinion, expressed the view that the government should modify its fiscal rules to allow more investment in the development of greater productivity. What they were actually saying was that another dose of austerity as part of the Tory electioneering programme is completely incompatible with Sunak’s stated aim of growing the economy.

The wider question of why we actually want to increase growth in order to reduce the so-called tax burden is never actually addressed. The answer lies in the UK’s obsession with maintaining its position as the fifth- or sixth- or seventh-largest economy in the world, whichever position it happens to have slipped to today. Neither the logic nor the sustainability of this approach ever seem to be considered.

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Apart from the aspect of how infinitely increasing output can be accommodated in a world with distinctly finite natural resources, we seldom hear any mainstream politician, or indeed any of the mainstream media, ask why, after decades of striving for growth, we still have criminally unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality. The answer is, of course, that growth does not, and has never, in itself provided a driver to reducing inequality. In fact quite the reverse.

The very expression “trickle down” refers to an analogy with liquid flowing downhill. The fact that increasing the flow rate requires an increase in the gradient never makes it into the discussion. In other words, increasing the flow of wealth from rich to poor, in the model accepted by most politicians, requires an increase in the inequality gradient. While Trussonomics took this to a new level, it is the basic principle accepted by all conservative politicians from Truss to Starmer and beyond, whether they realise it or not! What they fail to see in the model is the array of dykes and ditches put in place by those at the top of the hill to contain as much as possible of the growing pot of wealth for themselves.

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We have to accept that the UK, with its nostalgic addiction to empire, cannot stop itself chasing the “growth” hare round the greyhound track. We can, however, aspire to emulating the more enlightened approach of other small nations not burdened by this historical baggage by taking a more balanced view of what actually makes for a genuinely compassionate and mindful society.

I leave readers to draw their own conclusions on what constitutes the logical first step along that road.

Cameron Crawford

IAN Murray’s English Labour in Name Only (Elino) party promises a “new deal for working people in the first 100 days in office.”

Given Rachel Reeves and Keir Starmer’s self-imposed spending freeze straitjacket, Elino says the funding for the “new deal” will come from scrapping non-dom tax status and a 3% windfall tax hike on private Big Oil to fund English nuclear power plants. To say that’s underwhelming is an understatement.

Meanwhile, Elino won’t commit to saving Scotland’s Grangemouth refinery. It’s scheduled to close next year with a loss of up 500 jobs and will leave Scotland, a major oil producer, without a refinery. Once it closes, emissions will skyrocket since oil will need to be tankered out and then shipped back in. One supertanker guzzles 380 tons of diesel per day.

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Grangemouth’s demise is happening while Scottish North Sea oil revenues soar to £17.2 billion. Yet the UK Government won’t spend the £60-80 million needed to restart the Grangemouth hydrocracker, which would increase refinery profitability threefold. The shutdown will complete the deindustrialisation of the UK’s last colony and increase Scotland’s dependence on English refineries.

Interestingly, the UK Government has managed to find £600m to guarantee Grangemouth owner and tax exile Jim Ratcliffe’s latest scheme, to build Europe’s largest petrochemical plant in Antwerp. The behemoth will churn out plastics on an unprecedented scale and has been dubbed a “carbon bomb” by campaigners.

Murray proclaims “we urgently need change”. But Elino is just one cheek of the same English backside. Both English parties are intent on keeping Scotland trapped in a faux union whose only purpose is to plunder Scottish resources.

The sovereign Scottish people must take their country back. The politicians, if they want to keep their jobs, will have to follow along.

Leah Gunn Barrett

SO former Labour MP Pamela Nash – now chief exec of Scotland in Union – believes that Scotland benefits from being part of the UK because we have a permanent seat (as part of the UK) on the UN Security Council? What a load of rubbish!

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If Scotland’s voice was heard in the UN Security Council it wouldn’t be abstaining on every ceasefire motion against Israel and their attacks on the civilian population of Palestine. The current situation in Palestine simply shows that the UN Security Council – and the UN as a whole – is not fit for purpose, allowing Israel to be supplied by USA and UK with even more weapons to attack a civilian population and continue their war crimes, including collective punishment on the Palestinians. At least if Scotland was independent, Palestinians would have another voice shouting out for them.

Cllr Kenny MacLaren

WELL said, Tom McFadyen of Kirkintilloch (Letters, Mar 1). The description of Alyn Smith’s writing as “vacuous waffle” is more than apt. Never one to use one word when he can use five. Did Mr Smith go to school with Labour’s ex-leader Neil Kinnock, who had a similar talent?

Drew Reid