I CHECKED my bank account direct debit to a local food bank this week, to confirm it was still active. It’s not a huge donation but, to quote a very large retail store, “every little helps” (other large retailers are available). Could other supporters of food banks also check, and re-establish direct debits if they have stopped? These food banks will be needed even more from now onwards through the winter.

The £20 uplift to Universal Credit has stopped, along with furlough, and as a result many will fall into unemployment, causing many of our fellow citizens and their children to be pushed into a state of increased poverty. Some sources say 60,000 families in Scotland will be negatively affected. Generally, they have no savings left. They may have already taken on debt and sold off possessions What a sad, sad situation, they find themselves in, through no fault of their own.

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Staunch UK Government supporters will immediately jump up and shout “they should get off their backsides and get a better job”, or “these folks can go and train as HGV drivers.” These types of comment are not only wrong-headed and disappointing, they are totally unreasonable.

Whilst a very few of those affected could take on this advice from the UK Government supporters, the majority cannot as they are already employed are receiving UC because of “in-work poverty”.

So please sit down and write a letter to the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer asking him to stop this cut of UC uplift until the jobs actually appear in the areas needed and are filled.

A small regular donation as little as £2 per month to a local food bank will not hurt most of us, but it will help those people who are in need over this winter.

Alistair Ballantyne
Birkhill, Angus

I WAS surprised to read of the Unionist abuse being directed specifically against females who write in Scots (Unionist absue of female Scots writers must stop – we need women’s voices, Oct 12). Both Scots and Gaelic have been persecuted for centuries for political reasons. But why is this linked to gender?

It is noticeable that in speech women have generally been further down the road of Anglicisation than men. However, several women poets of the Scottish Renaissance chose to write in Scots, eg Violet Jacob, Marion Angus and Helen B Cruickshank. I myself find it easier to write poetry in Scots than in English, because of the onomatopoeic qualities of Scots.

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In novels, dialogue should always be written as the characters would speak: to do otherwise makes it stilted and unnatural. However it’s only comparatively recently that novels have been written (or perhaps we should say acceptable for publication) where the narrative is also in Scots.

My own book Stirring the Dust, spreading over two centuries in north-east Scotland and the west of Scotland, has narratives in a mixture of English, Glaswegian and Doric. When it was originally published by Argyll there was no glossary: the new Kindle edition brought out by Ringwood has one.

In the past there were arguments against glossaries – some saw them as patronising (since Scots is, after all, our native tongue – the same argument was used against subtitles in Gaelic broadcasting). However there’s an urgent need to widen the use of both languages amongst non-speakers – the alternative is death for both languages.

Mary McCabe

PUIR Emma, wha gart ye greet sae sair. Whit wey div fowk nae unnerstaun yer screivans. Ye’ll hae tae staun up fur yersel lassie. I’m shair ye hae mair gumption than aa they govies pit thegither. An mind, twitter in Scots means a wee shilpit thing.

Ellie McDonald

GEORGE Kerevan’s Monday article provides a near perfect description of the position in the UK, currently in the grip of a power supply crisis with a badly skewed economy built around the City, one of the world’s leading dealers in financial services and the largest network of offshore tax havens of any country in the world, led by a dysfunctional, neoliberalist government that is mired in allegations of dodgy dealing, borrowing money on a titanic scale, foreign money pouring in to buy up UK assets and fines on banks for possible money laundering (Why the crisis in Lebanon is a cautionary tale, October 11).

Although it might not have been George Kerevan’s initial objective, his warning on Lebanon’s fate has presented a watertight case for Scottish independence.

John Jamieson
South Queensferry

I HOPE our policymakers take cognisance from George Kerevan’s article. Britain is already down the road of borrowing large sums to give to greedy capitalists for favours rendered. Please, please, please, Scotland, jump ship and leave this Titanic of corruption to go down before we all drown with it. Step up to the plate, MPs and MSPs, and stop hiding your heads in the sand.

Rosemary Smith
East Kilbride