Letters: Made in Scotland, from foreign girders?

So much for the Scottish government’s claims about the economic benefits that the Forth Road Bridge would bring to Scotland – the supposedly “Plan McB” economic stimulus.

It is unbelievable that the steel for the construction of the new bridge will be imported from China, Poland and Spain, resulting in the biggest ever engineering project undertaken in Scotland generating a domestic benefit doubtful to be more than 5% of the total value of the materials and labour.

Scotland and the UK are in the worst economic recession for decades and we still can’t get our procurement process right.

This has to be about more than money – we need the jobs! This project should be a beacon for Scottish and UK manufacturing and a real boost to the Scottish economy. It is estimated that for every steel job, another seven jobs are created through the UK supply chain – some of which could come from Dumfries and Galloway.

This Scottish government has had four years to work out how to structure this contract in such a way that it complies with European regulations but at the same time brings community benefit to Scotland. Why is our procurement process not working to our benefit? Can you imagine this farce happening in any other country? Not likely.

Scottish steelworkers won’t forget or forgive – or does the First Minister plan to give the Chinese, Polish and Spanish steelworkers a vote in his referendum.

Heather Meldrum

Labour candidate

Local Government Council Election 2012

Stellock, Monreith.

When referring to the economic mess in the UK and beyond, politicians tell us “we are all in it together”. This implies the consequences are shared equally among us all.

Generally, those who are worst off financially are suffering more than those more comfortably off. Is there a fair way of redressing this imbalance?

One solution that has worked with similar crises is to “spend our way out”. To fund this extra spending requires more borrowing which increases the problem, while more austerity and cuts lead to more unemployment, inhibited growth, and lower tax revenues. Such measures, can lead to social instability and unrest.

The problem is how to fund extra spending without making the debt mountain bigger.

Paradoxically, there is plenty of money in the UK, but it is mostly dormant, earning low interest for those who are financially fortunate.

If sufficient money could be set free, it is suggested this would provide the required billions to prime the pump of economic growth and get money circulating again.

Barclay’s Wealth Map 2011 finds that there are 619,000 millionaires in the UK. If each donated one percent of the first £1 million of their free assets (ie, £10,000), this should produce over £6 billion. This is equivalent to a man with only £100 donating £1.

If this concept were considered reasonable as a one-off payment, it would fund additional spending without increasing debt. If this results in economic growth and circulation of money, would we not all benefit in the longer term?

Baird Matthews,

Marchbank,

Newton Stewart.

JOAN McAlpine MSP (Letters, The Galloway Gazette, February 3), campaigning for an independent Scotland, raises the large question of foreign policy.

While demanding that other nations recognise Scotland as a separate state, she does not apply the same standard to one of our own neighbours; small, yes, but proud; not part of the United Kingdom but maintaining friendly relations with it.

She looks forward to an independent Scotland living in harmony with England, Ireland and Wales: what has she got against the Isle of Man?

Dr G A Warren,

10 North Crescent,

Garlieston, Newton Stewart.