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Ms Kate Forbes tried to explain why Scottish businesses are not receiving the same grant support here as they are in England and Wales.
This is despite her having told parliament on March 18 that the Scottish Government would replicate or mirror the UK Chancellor’s package of support. It turns out the Scottish Government never intended to keep those promises.
Her explanation as to why the same level of support is not being provided in Scotland is not plausible. She pointed out Scotland was home to far more smaller businesses eligible for the lower grant of £10,000. ‘As such, there are far more small businesses getting a £10,000 grant in Scotland than they would in either England or Wales,’ she said.
Scotland actually has a much lower ratio of businesses per head of population than the average for the rest of the UK. Scotland has 729 businesses per 10,000 head of population versus the average across the UK of 1,090 businesses per 10,000.
The fact that there are less businesses in Scotland per head of population means that Scotland should have greater funding for businesses than the rest of the UK.
Michael Lumsden, Pure Spa & Beauty
I composed this poem recently to reflect the times we are living in at the moment. I thought it might be something your readers might like.
In such moments of crises, we all come to reflect
that the riches strive for, can have no real effect
Mother-nature rebelling, and our Planet is yelling
“Stop the Greed, Speed, Pollution, and show me Respect”
With good Faith, Deeds and Humanity, we are sure to survive
and to truly appreciate, what a material world can’t provide
So let’s all come together, in our thoughts, and we will cope
No matter how big a crisis, where there’s Life… there’s Hope !”
Brigid Conway, by email.
Scottish curriculum review delayed
So, the Scottish curriculum review is to be delayed because of coronavirus. They may as well abandon it completely.
There is no point repeatedly re-analysing the whole sorry system from the same old “progressive” perspective that infuses the whole Scottish political/educational establishment.
I can tell you what the actions points would be now: more emphasis on wellbeing and mental health, children’s rights, pupil-led learning, and gender equality (ignoring where girls outperform boys), extra resources for poorer areas, better behaviour while dismantling disciplinary systems, and more inclusion, equality, equity, diversity and tolerance lessons.
John Swinney offers no leadership at all: he merely drifts along regurgitating the tired mantras that are causing the decline in standards, thereby earning pats on the head from Education Scotland to GTCS, and from teaching unions to the vast children’s rights industry.
Richard Lucas, Leader of The Scottish Family Party
Supporting vulnerable Air Force veterans
The coronavirus crisis has led to financial hardship for a great many people across the UK.
However, work here at the RAF Benevolent Fund hasn’t stopped. In fact, we have awarded more than £1.5 million in individual grants since lockdown measures were announced on 23 March. These grants help support retired and serving RAF personnel and their families at this challenging and uncertain time.
That’s why we have launched a new online application system to allow members of the RAF Family to access financial assistance more easily than ever before.
But beyond the immediate threat to our nation’s health, the coronavirus pandemic does not pose financial concerns alone. Many older members of the RAF Family struggle with social isolation and loneliness on a daily basis; a problem that is compounded by the necessary social distancing rules.
To tackle this issue, we have introduced a weekly Check and Chat service, and our welfare team are currently contacting vulnerable members of the RAF Family to invite them to use this. We have also expanded our Telephone Friendship Groups service to allow more veterans to join in a weekly chat.
Last year we launched an awareness campaign, Join The Search. Change A Life, aiming to get more veterans and their partners back on our radar. This initiative is more important now than ever before.
I urge your readers to consider their neighbours, their family, and their friends; if they previously served in the RAF, or are the spouse of someone that once served, they are eligible for our support – be it financial, practical, or emotional. To refer someone to the RAF Benevolent Fund, please visit rafbf.org or call 0300 102 1919.
Air Vice-Marshal Chris Elliot
Chef Executive, RAF Benevolent Fund