THERE is a cost to not treating NHS patients both promptly, and minimising the early deaths of those who cannot enter the NHS system at an early date. It may well be that when these national off-balance-sheet costs are considered, that the baseload costs of a functional National Care Service (NCS) will essentially pay for itself in a Scotland plc context.

The NCS is required because of changing demographics, Brexit austerity, staffing and cost rises, long-term variable piecemeal underfunding, Covid-19, general UK underfunding, and variable council fund rationing management.

That there will be private, social enterprise, and publicly run facilities in any overall NCS mix seems unavoidable, and as such – and inclusive of general improvement – there will need to be a public funding level determination, which currently looks like being of the order of £1500 per week per individual resident/patient.

READ MORE: Vultures are distorting the debate about care home costs

It is quite clear that the potential costs to the individual, even averaging twice the average annual wage pre-care, will be unaffordable by a factor of two, even if they are paying in an extra 8% to National Insurance/pension costs, and buying extra years of state pension etc.

And, by doing this, they are not spending into the economy especially now, or in the post-work/pre-care period.

Further breaking this cost down to allow for the resident/patient:staff member ratio improvements places the overall cost largely into raising wages to an adequate level, and resultant expenditure into the very local economy.

That the level of pre-care income is used in its near entirety for future care costs is a given, but the issue of inheritance and assets is somewhat of a dead cat, realising a means-test mentality that eschews universal service provision.

READ MORE: NHS founding principles 'not up for discussion', says Nicola Sturgeon

ConDemSlab are all beholden to means-testing and privatisation to different degrees, but they all see the NCS as somewhat of a fear remover for the current No voter and are simply desperate to retain the simple silo thinking of Brexit austerity, which they are now all signed up to.

So, inheritance and its taxation are really a matter best dealt with separately, with any taxation going into the general pot of funding, as required by Scotland as an independent EU nation state.

Stephen Tingle
Greater Glasgow

THERE is a simple answer to John Jamieson’s letter “Remember Holyrood’s budget must always be balanced” (Letters, Nov 22).

The Scottish Government should use the powers it has in the Scotland Act to abolish all existing Scottish taxes and set a zero rate for income tax on earned income. It can raise all public funding through Annual Ground Floor and Roof Rent (AGFRR). The rent would be paid direct to Revenue Scotland so the Scottish Government would have a regular monthly income without borrowing or HMRC intervention.

The block grant and Barnett consequentials can be ignored so the “ no detriment” issue can be laid to rest.

As all landowners will have to pay AGFRR, this will include public- and private-sector owners of dilapidated and vacant land who currently make no contribution to public funds.

Almost everyone will be substantially better off. Funding for our public services will be secured. The infrastructure is in place. AGFRR can’t be avoided. All it needs is the political will.

Graeme McCormick
Arden, by Loch Lomond

AS I read Steph Paton’s Monday offering on the trans altar, I was sure we’d got away with till I got to the part about “a loud minority … backed by the right-wing press and extremist organisations”. And that we are “privileged” and “conspiracy-driven” (Why there can be no retreat in fight for trans rights, Nov 21).

It got me thinking. Which extremist organisations do I belong to? And what about my privilege and love of conspiracies? Well, I belong to two political parties, the Independence for Scotland Party and Plaid Cymru – both left-wing, social democratic, broadly speaking, so it can’t be that. Then I sussed it. It must be my membership of that hotbed of extremist ideology, the ... Church of Scotland. I mean, the church is not known for being overly supportive of bolshie women, but there they are actually harbouring us.

But how did Steph know? Are there moles in the church or spies watching us staid, middle-aged/elderly women turning up for church dressed demurely and pretending to sing hymns. We thought we had kept secret our transformation into ninja warriors behind closed doors, replete with purple-and-green tartan scarves and pearls. Manoeuvres in the vestry are no longer a secret. Well, you don’t know when the call will come for the GC brigade (gender-critical for the uninitiated) to step up for service in Scotland’s Great Gender Debacle.

Now on to privilege. Is my privilege being white, Welsh, Christian, female, heterosexual or working-class? Or a mix of several or all of the above? At least I do not need any conspiracy theories while Steph is around. All I need to do is to let Steph speak.

Julia Pannell
Friockheim, Tayside