The British national debt now stands at £2.3 trillion, which equates to around 96.1% of gross domestic product (GDP). These numbers should be a wake-up call to Nicola Sturgeon and others who continue to want to borrow money to cover the costs of virus restrictions without a second thought on the burden it is placing on the taxpayers and future generations who will have to pay back this debt. As harsher restrictions have been introduced by the Scottish Government which are not replicated elsewhere it should be up to them to support businesses. They might not have borrowing capacity like the UK Treasury but they can get funds from elsewhere. Firstly Audit Scotland identified a £580 million underspend by the Scottish Government in fiscal year 2020-202L Where did this underspend go? If the money has not been spent then it should be given immediately to businesses. Could the Scottish Government put a pause on the endless “freebies” such as baby boxes, free school meals, free prescriptions etc and this money could be diverted to support the impacts of Covid. Do we need to spend £349.5m in the coming financial year on constitutional matters, again this money could be used to support long-term business recovery. Rather than place more burden on the taxpayer wouldn’t it be so much better for the Scottish Government to utilise one of these options or others rather than claim there is very little they can do and continue to blame the UK Treasury for its lack of support to Scottish businesses. Mhairi E Rennie.
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Joyce McMillan (Perspective, 24 December) describes the UK Government as “fiercely nationalistic”. Just how, pray, would she describe the SNP Government at Holyrood? WILLIAM BALLANTINE, Bo’ness, West Lothian
It must be quite refreshing for the SNP administration to have a new excuse for their inabilities. Up to now, it has been the Tories who have been blamed for all their incompetence. Now we have the Omicron variant – which we had not heard of until a month ago — being blamed for John Swinney not being able to submit a new complaints procedure to a Holyrood committee this year. I’m not sure how this could have impacted so severely on the creation of a procedure that was announced in March of this year. Jane Lax, by email.