I FULLY understand that Kate Forbes and the Scottish Government will sadly not have the capital funding they need to meet all their public commitments to major infrastructure projects.

Westminster has control of the purse strings and that is the price we currently have to pay for remaining in the Union.

However, we do have control of the priorities of the limited capital funding. I am concerned that spending on infrastructure such as roads faces delay or cancellation under plans currently being drawn up and that funding for major projects running to the end of the decade is no longer being confirmed.

It appears that capital spending on “support for active travel”, such as cycle lanes and walking, is more than doubling from £114 million this year to £259m in both 2024-25 and 2025-26.

At the same time, the motorways and trunk roads capital budget is falling from £411m this year to £377m in 2025-26. That could have an impact on the upgrading of the A9 between Inverness and Perth, the A96 between Aberdeen and Inverness, and the A75 linking Dumfries with Stranraer.

What really concerns me is that health and social care capital spending is also budgeted to fall from £554m this year to £443m next year, remaining at the lower level for three years. Ms Forbes says Scotland must “reset” public services. I do not remember mention of this very specific “reset” in the SNP’s Holyrood manifesto.

While I appreciate that both walking and cycling are “good for you”, not all of us can manage either in great quantities. I try to walk when I can. The only practical method I have of earning a basic living relies on the use (about 20 miles a day) of a motor car. Many roads have already been restricted in width by the introduction of cycle lanes. They are in the main unused. Even on a rare warm and sunny Sunday they remain so. As I write this, the west-of-Scotland weather in mid-June has reverted to heavy rain. I saw not one cyclist using the cycle lanes today.

As I approach retirement, the cuts to the health and social care capital budget in order to increase the allocation to “support for active travel” concern me greatly. I appreciate that these budget spending priorities are a price the SNP pay for the support of the Greens, but I think the price is now becoming just too high.
Glenda Burns

IT was announced recently in The National that Kate Forbes is warning of testing times ahead for Scotland’s public finances, and this is backed up by the Institute for Fiscal Studies warning that ministers face “tough decisions”

on axing key policy priorities or increasing taxes to plug an estimated £3.5 billion budget gap by 2026/27.

While we can naturally expect such warnings from a London-based think tank, some people seem to have forgotten that Scotland will be holding an independence referendum in 2023, and while it may be wishful thinking on my part, we could very well be independent long before 2026/27 and in complete control of all our income streams that are currently misappropriated and squandered by London, and that will amount to many billions of extra pounds worth of revenue per year.

Scotland is a wealthy country. Let’s make it so – by voting for the dissolution of what Sir Walter Scott termed this bastard Union.
Bruce Moglia
via email

BORIS Johnson is now trying to achieve the Thatcher bounce with suggestions that people on benefits should be able to buy their own homes from housing associations.

The Thatcher right to buy has raised problems in tenement buildings because having bought the flat with a large discount, the running and maintenance costs have proved too much for many, and as a result some buildings are falling into disrepair for everyone in the building.

It has also produced a raft of private landlords who buy out people in difficulties, resulting in them becoming homeless. So, as usual, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

The idea of replacing every house sold is just not attainable. While owning your own home is a very good thing, it is just not possible for those on short-term contracts, very low wages and insecure working conditions who find it difficult to even raise the deposit. What is needed is lots more really good social housing with good infrastructure and transport.
Winifred McCartney

FOLLOWING on from those apposite comments of Nicola Roy and Kieron Achara: What’s Scotland got?

It’s got the lot But London takes what Scotland’s got So indy2 must stop the rot.

A slogan for independence: “The Winner Takes it All!”
James Stevenson

INTERESTING input from George Gunn on the disgraceful statue to the foul Duke of Sutherland (Stone arrogance, June 4).

The National: Mannie

If that monstrosity had been erected in Ireland it would have been gone in recent times ... and witness the more enlightened of our friends south of the Border who toppled the slave trader’s statue.

Something is far wrong in our country when a statue celebrating a tyrant is allowed to remain.

But I suppose in a country which was content to stand and sing God Save The Queen (and plenty Scots still do) despite the line about “crushing” us, we shouldn’t be too surprised.

It’s high time the Scottish Government made a compulsory purchase of the land it sits on and have it demolished immediately.
Jim Butchart
via email