We face a clear choice on our approach towards the elderly

by Shelton on May 16th, 2014

filed under Personal Funding

ILC highlights the various ways to meet the demographic challenges, including improving health. Although this is the right thing to do, the gap between healthy life expectancy and overall life expectancy may not change as people will also live longer, so improving adult health may have limited effect on funding services. ILC also mentions economic growth and taxation. The expansion of crucial health and care services will also depend on the availability of a substantially larger workforce. Increasing both the health and care workforce (and the Scottish tax base) will require retaining young people in Scotland in a way which has not happened for more than 100 years, and increasing Scottish immigration to match the performance of the rest of the UK over the last 50 years.

Many people have said that increasing public services to meet these needs is unsustainable. It is a future in which older people are neglected and in worsening living conditions, which is unthinkable.

The reality is that we must make a choice between having health and care services, funded publicly and provided universally across our communities with the requisite workforce, or having the extra costs met by individuals through personal funding or private health/care insurance against a reduced workforce. The evidence of the last three decades suggests that the UK will increasingly follow a route to means-tested and selective public services given to fewer and fewer older people alongside insurance-funded private provision, and a more restrictive immigration policy. The evidence of the last 15 years of devolved Scottish government is that an independent Scotland would choose publicly-funded services to support older people, provided on the basis of their needs rather than their financial means, and supported by an increased working population. The referendum will provide a choice between those two futures.

Andrew Reid,

Armadale, Shore Road, Cove.

I MUST take issue with the assertion by many in the No campaign that Scotland will have a higher proportion of pensioners in its population than the rUK within two to three decades, making the provision of services less affordable here. They claim this to be a fact. It is not a fact; it is a projection.

If we do nothing over the coming decades, then that projection will be validated. However, who is to say nothing will change?

In the late 1990s, it was projected that Scotlands population would fall far below five million. This was considered unavoidable, but things changed with the coming of devolution and instead of falling it has risen by around 300,000. By claiming the projection concerning pensioners is unavoidable fact, the No campaign is effectively telling us it will do nothing to remedy the situation in the event of a No vote but not to worry, the English taxpayer will see us alright.

That is unacceptable. If devolution can help turn around a dwindling population, independence offers us the opportunity to build on that success and make decisions in our own best interests to address the challenge of an ageing population. Scotland has the wealth and expertise to do this despite what No campaigners would have us believe.

Stuart Allan,

8 Nelson Street,


LIKE Judith Gillespie (Letters, May 1), I attended the meeting in Edinburgh with Kenny MacAskill speaking. While she refers in her letter only to her specific question, I found the minister covered a wide range of topics in his address and likewise in his answers to later questions. As can be seen from her letter, Ms Gillespies question covered a host of financial implications to which Mr MacAskill, pictured, would not have had detailed answers, but he used the analogy in referring to paintings in Washington that Scotland already owned a share in many of the joint assets she was asking about, so costs and benefits would be negotiated. This point seems to have been missed by Ms Gillespie.

Also, it may have been a courtesy to present in advance a note that she was to ask about a complex issue; he may have been able to research and prepare the answer in the depth that she wanted. In addition to the 12-page document handed out, covering numerous topics, there was a note on which questions could be asked. This could have been used. Asking him cold was a bit like an ambush.

I found that a Government minister coming to meet the general public and answer questions on its policies quite refreshing and cant recall it being done before by any minister, Westminster or Holyrood. It appears that this no-show policy will continue with Westminster and the No campaign refusing to come to public debate, as can be seen from the list of refused invites to a debate in Glasgow last week and continuing refusals by David Cameron, Alistair Darling and so on.

As to Ms Gillespies comment about independence leading to continuous football on TV and how this will lose the Yes campaign womens votes, I find this gender-offensive. As can be seen from match terracings, many women attend football matches and the womens game is highly popular.

Mr MacAskill should be thanked for his appearance with the request for more of the same from all sides.

Willie Gregory,

31 Meadowbank Crescent,


IAIN Macwhirter rightly said that Scotland is in the throes of change irrespective of the referendum result, and that England is too (Yes or No, road to referendum will lead us to a new Scotland. The Herald, May 1). However, the sad economic position of the UK as a whole (pound;1500bn debt but with nearly equal-value assets) and of Scotland if separate (pound;12bn notional fiscal deficit with no collateral backing and the possibility of having to take on some UK debt on top) leaves the paths of change uncertain and a tad scary.

It is not scaremongering to spell out these facts: rather a wake-up call for those in power to get on with identifying and getting to work on restoring our financial standing.

What Westminster has done so far seems to have slowed further debt accumulation (and thus slowed Scotlands notional debt build-up), but at the expense of poorer citizens. Westminster and Holyrood need to identify what taxes to increase and/or modify so that internal fiscal deficits can be stemmed without damaging the push to reduce external debt rises by, for example, promoting exports. The minimum wage should be raised considerably to, say, pound;9 per hour; not exactly riches but that would make a lot of difference to the low-paid – and would add to savings and retail spending, even if businesses put up prices to cover the pay increases.

In this context, it would be absurd to pull out of the EU, the UKs biggest customer market. While it is not clear that a separate Scotland could continue straight on with EU membership, membership in the long term seems assured. The rUK will surely never take on lender of last resort if Scotlands financial services got into difficulties. It would still have its own troubles, so we would have to manage our finances better than Holyrood wishes to acknowledge.

Joe Darby,


St Martins Mill,



GIVEN the country-wide frenzy with independence, allied to the revival of (albeit the rather muted) suggestion from the Northern Isles to consider secession from Scotland in the event of a Yes vote, has or was the constitushy;tional position of those isles ever finally and legally decided upon?

As is generally recognised, the Northern Isles first came under the sway of Scotland as part of the dowry arrangements on the marriage of a Norwegian princess to a Scottish king. Their ownership was thereafter vested in the monarch. Despite tenures and grants to various earls, dukes and marquesses, the actual ownership always remained there. Indeed, a subsequent and later Act of 1472 of the (old pre-Union) Scottish Parliament formally re-annexed them for the Crown (and not Scotland) . In the absence of any other legislation or declaration, does not that continue to be the constitutional position, through regnal succession and the Union of the Crowns, right down to the present monarch?

Compare the Channel Isles, which were brought under the English thrones dominion by the Duke of Normandys conquest of England in 1066. They have always been and remain a crown dependency independent of England and thus later The United Kingdom.

Given all sets of islands common thread to the monarchy, and only the monarchy, why do Shetland and Orkney not enjoy the same status as the Channel Isles?

Tim Ryan,

20 Ruston Avenue,



Hoosier house challengers have little campaign cash

by Shelton on May 16th, 2014

filed under Business Loans

WASHINGTON – Six of Indianas nine House members face opponents in the May 6 primary, but none of their challengers have raised much money, according to the latest campaign disclosure reports.

No primary challenger had more than $5,225 in the bank at the end of March.

By contrast, no incumbent facing a primary contest had less than $430,512.

Thats the amount of cash Rep. Marlin Stutzman of Howe reported having on March 31. Stutzman has two GOP challengers, neither of whom has reported raising any money.

That was also the case for the primary challengers to GOP Rep. Todd Rokita of Indianapolis, Democratic Rep. Andre Carson of Indianapolis, and GOP Rep. Todd Young of Bloomington.

Candidates had until midnight Tuesday to file reports electronically or, if they hadnt raised more than $50,000, to mail them to the Federal Election Commission. Reports that were mailed take longer to become publicly available.

Of the primary challengers whose first quarter reports were available, the candidate who has raised the most is Carmel insurance broker David Stockdale, one of two Republicans opposing GOP freshman Rep. Susan Brooks.

Stockdale reported raising $16,740, of which $600 came from his own pocket. He had $5,077 left at the end of March.

Brooks has raised about $920,000 since the 2012 election and had $630,621 in the bank. Like all the GOP incumbents, Brooks has the backing of the party establishment and her recent contributors include past state GOP chairmen.

In southwestern Indiana, sophomore Rep. Larry Bucshon faces GOP challenger Andrew McNeil, a sales manager and tea party activist.

McNeil has raised $13,787 since creating his committee in December, of which $1,012 came from his own pocket. He had $5,225 left at the end of March.

Bucshon has raised $750,314 since his 2012 re-election and had $505,320 left.

The conservative Club for Growth had threatened to target Bucshon in the primary, as it did former Sen. Richard Lugar in 2012, but that did not happen.

The general election challenger who has raised the most money is Joe Bock, a University of Notre Dame official hoping to win the Democratic nomination to challenge freshman Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Jimtown, in the north central 2nd District.

Bock has raised $316,949, including $35,200 hes given or loaned his campaign. He had $208,475 left at the end of March.

Bocks backers include Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House leadership. Hoyer gave Bock the maximum $10,000 contribution from his leadership political action committee and $2,000 from his own campaign committee.

Walorski has raised nearly $1.2 million since narrowly winning the seat in 2012. She had $783,376 left at the end of March.

Indianas 2nd District is the only one of the nine House districts in the state that national political handicappers view as potentially in play at this point.

Neither of Indianas Senate seats is up this year.