YOUR VIEWS: TV licence fee, tax cut questions, Christmas turkey ethics, A96 and A9 dualling and tributes for former Inverness footballer
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A wide range of issues have made it to our letters pages this week.
TV licence does not provide value for money
With reluctance I have recently paid my TV licence.
I say reluctantly because even at 43p per day it is not value for money.
There are numerous media platforms that I do pay for, but the difference is I have a choice.
I do use the BBC for the six o’clock news and of course the main topic is at present the Israeli-Gaza conflict. My intention not to pay – we are in our 80s – was over-ridden by my wife who did not relish travelling to see me in the local jail. Besides, she said, the beds will be too hard. I pointed out that the average prisoner is better treated than us old age pensioners.
But back to the BBC. Last week I was hopping up and down and asking my wife why there were two highly paid studio reporters, Clive Myrie and Reeta Chakrabarti, fronting the six o’clock news from within Israel.
I had to explain that the airfares and hotel accommodation (even if they had travelled tourist and stayed in four-star hotels) for them and the team was considerable, but she said it is an important subject. To which I said, with today’s modern communication they could equally do it from our front room. Besides, they already have top reporters out there.
No, I can only see this as a jolly and if have to pay then I certainly don’t want my £159 being spent on jollies.
Finlay G Mackintosh
Tax ‘cuts’ are not all they seem to be
As the dust begins to settle after the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, all that glitters in the way of much-heralded tax cuts by Mr Hunt is not gold.
While the Chancellor announced a cut in National Insurance (NI) rates, he opted to leave NI and income tax thresholds untouched, meaning they remain frozen until 2028.
Through what is known as fiscal drag, with pay increases to ease the cost-of-living crisis this has pulled more people into paying a larger amount of tax on their personal income.
According to official figures, some 2.2 million more workers now pay the basic rate income tax of 20 per cent compared with three years ago, while 1.6 million more people now find themselves in the 40 per cent tax bracket over the same period.
Through a clear case of smoke and mirrors, it has been estimated that by 2029 almost four million more people will be paying income tax, and three million will move into the higher tax bracket.
The amount of extra income tax the Treasury is getting from fiscal drag from 2022 to 2028 is the equivalent to a 6p increase in the basic rate of income tax. This dwarfs the national insurance cut, and means that this is set to be the biggest tax raising parliament in modern times.
Turkey cruelty is not in the Christmas spirit
Christmas is promoted as the time of “peace and goodwill to all”, but we often neglect to extend this sentiment to all animals.
It is estimated that around 10 million turkeys are killed in Britain for Christmas dinners every year. Animal Aid investigations have revealed horrific suffering on British turkey farms, including those considered “free-range” or “high welfare”.
Our investigators witnessed shocking cruelty: turkeys with untreated wounds, sick birds left to suffer, and turkeys forced to live amongst birds who were dead or dying – their lifeless bodies strewn across barn floors.
The good news is that you can enjoy a plant-based festive feast instead.
Vegan options are now widely available in supermarkets and shops, including from most independent retailers.
So, you can still enjoy all your favourite Christmas foods, without the animal cruelty. Even better – many plant-based dishes are cheaper than “meaty” versions.
Animal Aid is here to help; you can get a free copy of our Have a Very Vegan Christmas booklet, which contains all the information you need to have a cruelty-free celebration, including recipes, shopping tips, gift ideas, and more.
The booklet can be found at www.animalaid.org.uk/VeganChristmas.
This festive season, spare a thought for all the animals and have a compassionate Christmas.
MSP keeps up pressure on dualling
Inverness and Nairn MSP Fergus Ewing was maintaining pressure on the Scottish Government over dualling of both the A9 and the A96 by presenting what amounted to a new baseline set of demands in the form of a motion to the Scottish Parliament.
“Although the dualling of the A9 may help the Highlands, Mr Ewing should consider the fact that there may be some things that should be put first, such as schools. The deaths on the A9 are not due to the road not being dualled, they are due to people not driving appropriately for the road.” – James Collier, Invergordon
Tributes to former Highland footballer
Tributes were paid after legendary Ross County and Inverness goalscorer of the 1960s, Tommy ‘Tucker’ Thomson, passed away at the age of 83, with the Courier carrying an account of his career. He is remembered for his skills in bamboozling a Rangers and Scotland international great in a famous cup tie back in 1966.
“Thank you so very much for this wonderful tribute to my brother Tommy ‘Tucker’ Thomson, it was so great to read that he was held in such esteem.Tommy’s family will take great comfort from this tribute in such a difficult time for us all.” – Lennie Thomson, Ardersier
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