IT is about time people took to the streets once more to protest about the iniquitous Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is making a misery for people on benefits whether they are unemployed or disabled the length and breadth of the British Isles.

There are many reasons why it is so appalling. First and foremost is the fact that poor and disabled people with no savings have to wait between four to six weeks to get any money. Given that Christmas is just round the corner, what a bleak festive period these people face –lack of food, lack of heating and lack of rent money. For people on the edge this is bad news. There is some help available but many people will not be aware of what they need to do to get this help.

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Once the Universal Credit is rolled out, money goes to the head of the household to distribute same. This is not good news for women and children, especially if the husband has additional problems such as alcoholism.

Then there is the question of paying rent. If the private landlord is not paid direct then evictions will inevitably follow. Nor will they now be inclined to accept tenancies from those on benefit. Councils too will find that their budgets will be affected both by delays in rent payment as defaults will be higher as the rent money will no longer be automatically deducted for the first six months.

If these problems are not enough, there is a question of everything being done online. That is a major challenge, especially if people do not have a computer and you have to go to a library to do it.This is extremely challenging.

It is time for everybody to condemn this totally unjust assault on the poor and disabled. The cause of scrapping Universal Credit must be taken up by everybody including politicians, clerics of all faiths and trade unions. It must be consigned to the dustbin of history.

Ed Archer,

18 Hope Street, Lanark.

THE tax rise of an average of £213 for 507,000 Scottish taxpayers earning over £43,000 per annum is hardly a bombshell ("Tax rise bombshell for half a million under SNP policy", The Herald, November 14). The amount is fairly insignificant and most people in Scotland earning more than £45,000 should be able to afford the extra £400 payable as a result of the change. Indeed the tax should already have been collected under PAYE tax arrangements and I have not heard of any outcry from those affected. As for the indignation expressed by the Scottish Conservative spokesman I have to remind him that George Osborne changed the method of collecting tax on dividends and as a result anyone with investment income in excess of £5,000 will actually have to physically pay over income tax to HMRC by January 31 of next year, rather than have the tax treated as having been paid by tax credits.

Sandy Gemmill,

40 Warriston Gardens,


I WAS interested in Marianne Taylor's suggestion that the Government in Holyrood should encourage people to come and live in Scotland to increase the number of people in work to pay for our rising pension, health and care home costs (“Davidson must put country before party on immigration”, The Herald, November 13). Perhaps she could explain how her advice tallies with the Scottish National Party's plan to make Scotland the most highly-taxed part of the UK.

Anne Kegg,

12 Holmwood Avenue, Uddingston.

IT'S a sad reflection in this enlightened age that with child poverty increasing and food banks labouring under austerity the charity Shelter has launched an urgent appeal, as homelessness in Scotland has affected a staggering 28,297 households. In the Scottish working population new research has revealed that nearly one in five Scots are still earning below the real living wage in this richly endowed nation. In stark contrast, the £120 billion lost to the UK Exchequer in tax avoidance and evasion is utterly obscene.

The shocking revelations about the UK's tax avoidance schemes for the rich and powerful, through offshore bank accounts, none of which are apparently illegal are fully compliant with this Tory government. And since the majority of press and media are owned by the UK establishment the hegemony of the corrupt ruling classes is assured irrespective of austerity, Westminster sleaze, tax-avoidance, low wages and the rest.

When it comes to tax dodging on a grand scale, contrary to Gordon Brown's recent utterances, both Labour and Conservative administrations have been complicit in looking the other way – a political system that punishes honesty and innocence and rewards greed and avarice must not survive.

As this leaderless minority Tory Government disintegrates it is vital that democracy is rescued and a firm stance taken against moral corruption. Since Scotland is being dragged out of Europe against the express democratic will of its people by a disastrous British far right Brexit ideology, its only logical option is to vote for complete independence, leaving proud England to find its own way in a post imperial world.

Grant Frazer,

Cruachan, Newtonmore.

SNP MP Martyn Day’s introduction to the Westminster Hall petitions debate on a Scottish independence referendum rerun, rather summed up the tunnel vision of the SNP’s approach to democracy ("Support against a new poll wins out", The Herald, November 14).

He and his colleagues are determined to ignore the majority opinion in Scotland that does not want another referendum and supports remaining in the UK. So even though Mr Day opened the debate on behalf of the Petitions Committee, he chose to completely ignore the support for the heavily supported pro-UK petition and instead used his 25 minutes to spin the SNP’s determination to only accept a referendum result, whether for Scotland or the UK as a whole, if the SNP gets the result it wants.

His desperate attempts to try to justify this position required the tortuous misrepresentation of the Scottish element of the UK-wide EU referendum result to justify the SNP holding a second independence referendum if it does not get its way on Brexit. He and his colleagues knowingly take the Remain votes of all those who also want to stay in the UK, and act as if the SNP has the right to speak on their behalf. The next time we get a chance to vote, those voters will no doubt ensure the SNP find out what we all think of that.

Keith Howell,

White Moss, West Linton, Peeblesshire.