The Herald

Scots are fully entitled to their benefits

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THE Work and Pensions Secretary, James Purnell, does not seem to realise that he is compromise­d whether he accepts the argument for Scotland having access to benefits towards helping the less well-off with their local authority tax payments, or if he rejects it – he undermines the Unionist cause either way, because the only beneficiar­ies are the SNP and the Scottish people. (The Herald, March 3).

In the weekend press report that your columnist Iain Macwhirter referred to, Mr Purnell actually declared that Alex Salmond wanted the English taxpayer to subsidise Scotland on the issue.

Strange, isn’t it, that every penny we spend is on the back of the English – as if we pay no tax whatsoever.

The problem for Mr Purnell is that if Scotland pays tax and social security contributi­ons to cover the local authority “tax-related” benefits, and we are denied that, then we are entitled to a reduction in the tax we pay to cover the costs – at £400m, just over 1p off income tax. Otherwise, it is the Scottish taxpayer who subsidises the English, and not the other way round. D R Mayer, 76 Thomson Crescent, Currie. MAY I take issue with Iain Macwhirter on one point in an otherwise excellent article (The Herald, March 3)?

Being a “hard-working” family does not absolve it from paying its fair share of tax, and I cannot for the life of me understand why a pensioner on a small fixed income or a struggling-to-work single mum should be expected to pay almost the same amount in council tax as a family of two or three wage-earners next door just because they live in the same size of house.

All wage-earners should pay for a share of the services they all use; this is not achieved through the unfair and illogical council tax. At the moment, we have a very large number of well-paid people paying nothing at all to the council tax. This is unsupporta­ble and Scots, even those who presently benefit from it, know it. David McEwan Hill, 1 Tom Nan Ragh, Dalinlonga­rt, Argyll.

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