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Readers’ letters: ‘Hard Times’ and no ‘Great Expectations’

Budget north east
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak.

Sir, – Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pumped £350 billion into the economy to combat the effects of the pandemic, and £4bn has been claimed fraudulently.

Support measures have been largely successful but they have to be paid for. That duty falls to the taxpayer, and the efficacy and costs of repeated lockdowns will soon be subject to rigorous analysis.

During the first lockdown, I read the family’s Dickens novels, undisturbed for decades. I’m reminded, therefore, of “Hard Times” ahead. Furthermore, fraudsters and tax-dodgers cheat their fellow citizens. They may escape detection for long enough but the moral compass directed in “Little Dorrit” suggests a comeuppance may befall some eventually.

Soaring energy costs are a global issue. The chancellor has attempted to mitigate the huge challenge that many households will soon confront. I have to say that readers should have no “Great Expectations” of a significant fall in energy costs any time soon. So there may be many a “Bleak House” in the UK in years to come.

But “Our Mutual Friend” the chancellor is trying his best although he may be seeking a new job quite soon?

Bill Maxwell, Keith, Banffshire.

SNP and Greens’ transition a bust

Sir, – I’m in Germany. Storm Malik left my son and his family with no power and
I organised for my daughter to get our house keys to him.

She was visiting friends in Braemar, the site of Aberdeenshire Council’s fireplace cull.
People need back-up so I hope Aberdeenshire Council will join the oil and gas industry and groups hit by high energy costs to tell the SNP and Greens to take a hike with their fantasy, uncosted, unworkable “bust” transition.

They have recently rolled back on their schools sex questionnaire and Green Ports dud, so perhaps more lobbying and losses in the May council elections will do the trick.

Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.

Highlands cleared for green agenda

Sir, – It’s the 18th Century and farmers and residents in the Highlands and islands are being cleared from the land for sheep and to remove a problematic highland culture.

Fast forward to the 21st Century and the few people left in these areas are being cleared for wind farms and tree plantations by the present SNP Government, ably assisted by the Green Party who don’t seem to mind the destruction of the very wildlife and scenic beauty they say they are trying to protect.

This government complains of a lack of democracy shown to them by the UK Government, but can’t or don’t want to see that they act in the very same manner – overturning planning decisions made by democratically-elected councillors and against the will of the local people on wind farms.

The most recent of these decisions was at Alness, although this has happened well over 200 times previously by the Scottish planning reporters.

Should they turn down a wind farm planning application, it is immediately overruled by Scottish Government ministers, and all this destruction to feed electricity into the central belt and boost a Green ego.

Large companies with the apparent blessing of the government appear to be buying up farm land to plant trees and applying for grants using taxpayers’ money to offset their carbon emissions – are there no MSPs who will speak out for the people in the Highlands and islands?

I would not be stunned if a government decree similar to that issued in the first Clearances was sent out allowing only those living in the central belt to wear tartan face masks and kilts – so much for the rights of the people that the first minister constantly refers too.

Jim Leitch, Evie, Orkney.

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