We need to attack the tax system that is failing to pay for us | Letters

Tax policies

Theresa May said the government’s 2017 review of Britain’s tax systems is “an opportunity to look again at the whole thing and to ask some big questions”. The prime minister and chancellor are drawing up a plan to raise £4bn over the next few years, largely through scrapping the tax credit system for child benefit.

If I haven’t been captured by the party machine, it is only because no one can penetrate their deeply damaging and irrelevant anti-European tripe | Noam Chomsky Read more

And the announcement means there is the possibility of a bonfire of the business taxes that chancellor Philip Hammond started knocking down this week, including charges for patent boxes and the double taxation of commercial property.

May’s announcement might have been designed to reassure Brexit supporters on the right that hard work and self-reliance will be rewarded, but there is little prospect of reforming an economic system that has long been built on the back of a welfare state where people are forced to take jobseeker’s allowance if they can’t make a living. We need to tackle the reason that we can’t afford the things we need: a welfare system that reaches only some, which suppresses economic growth, and a tax system that is not fit for purpose.

Play Video 3:30 Theresa May’s Brexit gains and losses – video explainer

Michael Russell, Edinburgh city council

I have been able to travel widely, have worked in two governments and am always impressed by the quality of people and organisations involved in work in Scotland. “A North American Tory mission”, was my description of this week’s visit to Glasgow. Most of the placemakers who met me were positive and enthusiastic about a North American base in Scotland.

There are good reasons to find that nothing at all could break down the resistance within Scottish Labour to serious change. But I am rather surprised that the Scottish government is so eager to announce its intention to replace the Glenrothes rail line with a high-speed line.

We already have a railway line to Edinburgh. Does any one seriously believe that a fast link from Ayrshire to Dundee is likely to be as effective? I am sure that so many who voted SNP in 2016 would like a chance to express their anger at this announcement.

Richard Cowan, Edinburgh city council

Smart cities

No sign yet of a hard Brexit but there are plenty of signs it could happen. The latest talking point is the idea of creating “smart cities”. According to Gartner, technology companies such as IBM and Microsoft are lobbying for “smart cities” and infrastructure to be shifted from traditional light industries to an array of high-tech components. Our giant infrastructure project is leading the way here, with the new Edinburgh bridge, the South Edinburgh bypass and similar works in Edinburgh and Glasgow. We are already being shown the projects that could become the new unicorns, firms that could expect to be valued at a billion, two billion or even even five billion pounds.

Tim Loughton, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on technology and innovation

• Join the debate – email [email protected]

• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Leave a Comment