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Readers’ letters: Funding for new football stadium, climate change and how to survive the cost-of-living crisis

New Dons stadium, bus travel and Rishi Sunak
The proposed Aberdeen FC beach stadium. Picture by Aberdeen City Council

Sir, – RE the article in the EE, Friday August 26, on the beach area development. I would be shocked if any taxpayers’ money went to help build a new stadium for a private club.

They can spend their own cash on it or do up the one they already have to fulfil their needs.

People are extremely concerned about the current cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy bills, if you haven’t noticed, never mind a new football club.

All these marvellous ideas of “new this” and “new that”.

Get a grip, we are in the middle of a global crisis. Just get on with what you haven’t yet finished!

Grannie Annie.

Learn from the past to survive the cost-of-living

Sir, – Oh yes, we face a big energy crisis. How did we manage when I was at school all those years ago?

We had no electricity, no gas, just a little paraffin and some coal.

We children wore a liberty bodice to keep warm and hand-me-down pullovers sometimes reknitted to get rid of the holes.

We complained about the cold bedroom and bed. The wallpaper was falling off because of the dampness. Our mother said: “Get into bed and lie still then you will soon be warm.” No duvet but an eiderdown and a blanket on the bed.

The kettle was boiled on the open fire and sometimes there was enough hot water for a bath. That was scheduled for once a week and the warm water was topped up from the “hot tap” for the next user.

No such thing as a shower, and the water wasn’t really hot.

I am 86 now and survived all of that.

Only use the lights you need and go to bed early. Dry the laundry outside on a dry day or on a clothes horse indoors if it is raining. Don’t watch TV so much and read a book to occupy the time.

Avoid heating water that is not needed. Wear clothes several times before washing them. Warm up by going for a brisk walk.

Walk to the shops if you can manage without the car. Eat less food and keep your weight down. Uncooked fruit and vegetables are good for you and involves no energy usage.

We will survive.

Ivor Lockie. Burnbank, Cults.

Who would bankroll the SNP?

Sir, – I am totally shocked and confused why anyone would want to strike here in Scotland when the SNP want to be independent.

The FM of Holyrood states that Westminster needs to get its cash out and assist the strikers in their plea for a pay rise. Sadly, the cost of living is affecting many people and I feel it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

What I would now want to know, as well as the many non-independence Scots who want to stay with the UK, is who would bankroll the SNP? Being a pensioner, I cannot strike but will that come next?

Gavin Elder. Prunier Drive, Peterhead.

Tory candidates disrespect Scots

Sir, – While the leaderless UK slips into debt and recession, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, in their long Tory leadership campaign, have shown their ignorance and disrespect for Scotland. Truss would simply ignore the democratically elected first minister, while Sunak would systematically undermine the devolution settlement.

In abandoning “Four Nations” Conservatism, along with devolution, in favour of a central, insular British Brexit state, this will hasten an independent Scotland and Wales, Irish re-unification and the final break-up of the post-imperial United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Grant Frazer. Cruachan, Newtonmore.

Falling for the GERS myths

Sir, – Myths still seem to accompany the annual publication of the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures, and your correspondent Graham Bell (Letters, August 25) appears to have fallen victim to one of the most persistent and pernicious of these, ie that it is a propaganda exercise.

The Scottish Government’s website, which could not be clearer on the subject, tells us that: “The GERS figures are compiled by statisticians and economists in the Office of the Chief Economic Adviser to the Scottish Government. The Scottish Government’s Chief Statistician takes responsibility for these figures and they are designated as National Statistics.”

According to the Scottish Government, this means that the figures are “produced independently of Scottish ministers and have been assessed by the UK Statistics Authority as being produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

“This means that the statistics have been… produced free of political interference”.

It is not credible to suggest that the Scottish Government engages in a propaganda exercise with the aim of undermining its own economic case for independence.

It is also worth bearing in mind that “Scotland’s Future”, the Scottish Government’s 2013 white paper published in advance of the 2014 referendum, said at page 65 that: “GERS is the authoritative publication on Scotland’s public finances.”

Finally, I would be grateful to Mr Bell if he could explain via your letters page how he came to the conclusion that, in 2019, GERS allocated 60% of the UK’s debt to Scotland.

I am curious because supporting table 3.1 to GERS 2021/22 (available on the Scottish Government’s website) shows debt interest allocated to Scotland of £4.527bn.

According to the UK Government public spending statistics 2021/22, total debt interest was £69.9bn.

This would suggest that the proportion of UK debt interest (and presumably, therefore, debt) allocated to Scotland in GERS 2021/22 was 6.48%.

Ewan Black. Inverugie Wynd, Ellon.

What difference can UK make?

Sir, – Lesley Ellis in her attack on Charles Wardrop says: “Climate deniers’ science is so wrong.” (Letters, August 29.)

As the managing trustee of the charity Cromar Future Group, she is obviously a very sincere person, but her letter says that climate deniers must get their information from “the wackiest of internet misinformation sites”.

I would respectfully suggest that The Global Warming Policy Foundation and Net Zero Watch and many thousands of non-aligned scientists do not fall into that category.

Let us, however, assume that Ms Ellis is correct.

Can I ask her what difference the UK can make to global warming by spending £3 trillion, which we do not have and must borrow, on achieving net zero by 2050 whilst other nations ignore the promises they made as recently as COP26?

The UK is only responsible for 1.15% of global emissions, whereas China, Russia, India, The Arab Emirates, other oil and gas nations and now coal nations, responsible for over 70%, laugh at our puny efforts as they safeguard and grow their economies by burning fossil fuels.

Clark Cross. Springfield Road, Linlithgow.

Why don’t we embrace nuclear?

Sir, – Lesley Ellis (Letters, August 29) writes well on the reasons for climate change.

What baffles those who may be prepared to accept the concept is that nuclear power provides an emission-free solution to greenhouse gases but is rejected by those who predict the end of the world.

Logic says that they should adopt it and then – if waste is the problem – will have time to concoct a plan to deal with that waste.

France, with its 58 reactors, seems to have coped with that since 1980. Big problem becomes smaller problem.

Dr Wardrop, whom she mentions, also sensibly asks why Britain alone should decarbonise before having a working alternative in place. He also questions the advisability of setting an example to the rest of an industrialised world that clearly has no intention of following suit.

Also, we faff around with mad inventions – subsidised, of course – that are not viable solutions.

Climate is clearly a world problem, and not to be solved by Britain alone, whose own emissions are so small as to be unnoticeable in a world context.

Malcolm Parkin. Kinnesswood, Kinross.

Is the reality worse than GERS?

Sir, – We now have the 21/22 GERS figures for a devolved Scotland showing a deficit for the year of £23.7 billion. This calculation has been done for 30 years by Scottish experts but not independently audited.

Some commentators have called GERS figures wrong. If these experts knew how to work out Scot GERS figures for 30 years, why were they not asked to use that experience and produce Scot REAL figures at the same time?

They would include the state pension and the inflation-included government employee pensions and the cost of borrowing and national security and all other income and expenditure.

Would it be that our secretive and centralising SNP/Green Scot Gov with 111 quangos and nine foreign offices, has already produced Scot REAL figures but have not made them public because they show a similar or worse outcome than the Scot GERS figures?

Such a revelation would kill off their obsession with separation from Westminster and independence, especially given the very serious present and ongoing cost of living and business downturns that we are seeing now.

Sandy Neish. Cobbans Lane, Inverurie.

Weakening the strong won’t help

Sir, – Your letters page of Friday August 26 carried a contribution from a Dr Don Carney regarding Stephen Leckie of Crieff Hydro Hotels, which, in my opinion, put forward a view which was both unfortunate and inappropriate.

I don’t know Stephen Leckie personally, although I have enjoyed his hospitality on several occasions, He does a good job. Nevertheless, the doctor is entitled to his opinion.

Although I have no idea if he is a medical doctor, I assume he prefaced his name with the Dr bit to maybe convey the message “trust me, I’m a doctor”.

However, I would suggest that before trying to put across a lecture on business economics, he should have considered the advice contained in the Digby Brown advertisement: “You wouldn’t expect a nurse to cut you out of a wrecked car, or a fireman to examine your X-rays.”

His focus on three items relating to Crieff Hydro’s business puts across a distinctly distorted picture, which could have unfortunate after-effects in the current climate.

A profit of £3.1m would usually result in a substantial tax contribution to the Treasury, going towards public services.

Grant assistance of £1m would probably have enabled Mr Leckie to furlough staff during the pandemic, rather than casting them adrift on the unemployment register.

And to criticise him for investing £3m for the future, which probably came in part from that profit, is just plain daft.

Please note, Dr Carney, that it was a Labour MSP, Michael Marra, who advised a Holyrood committee that economic output, industry, has three main effects. As he put it: “It puts wages in pockets, food on tables and generates taxes which pay for public services.”

Rather than denigrating those who take risks in pursuit of these three laudable goals, an appreciation of their effort would not go amiss.

Finally, it is also important to remember that you do not help the weak by weakening the strong.

James Johnston. Yardie, Buckie.

Hands off our beach

Wake up, people of Aberdeen! I cannot believe the madness of Aberdeen City Council regarding the plans for the city’s beach area.

There will be absolutely no access by any vehicles to any part of the beach area, which includes all the shops at the beach, the cafes, the leisure centre, the Extreme building, ice skating and the businesses in the area.

All traffic will be forced onto King Street which will be at a standstill from morning until night. The fuel emissions will be all on the residential area along King Street. Buses will be unable to adhere to any timetable and we will be back to the horrendous queueing of traffic along the whole of Ellon Road and beyond.

How could we let this happen as we look at the total fiasco of Union Terrace Gardens?

If the beach promenade is closed for one day for any reason the traffic is horrendous. Why would this even be considered at this time with the financial situation as it is? Every penny needs to be accounted for at the present time.

With regard to Pittodrie, as per previous letters in the Evening Express, why on earth would the council have anything to do with the funding of the stadium?

Who is benefiting from this? Apart from anything else, where is the parking supposed to be for this stadium because at the moment the prom has been the area for parking for many years.

The people of Aberdeen need to stand up and be counted and not let this be forced upon us as the beach just needs to be kept tidy and clean, so leave well alone, please.

DP.

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