THERESA May said in her government’s response to the Taylor Report that it would aim to ensure that, “the interests of employees on traditional contracts, the self-employed and those people in the ‘gig’ economy are all protected” Campaigners say jobs review changes nothing, The National, July 12). Isn’t the truth somewhat different?

I worked on a zero-hours contract with a pseudo-chauffeur car service, in reality operating as unlicensed private hire. I regularly worked 35-50 hours per week, easily justifying an employed contract.

I could be stood down at a moment’s notice. I had to provide the mobile phone I could not have conducted the job without. Holidays and sickness were unpaid.

There were no pension benefits, not even the stakeholder version all employees must be enrolled in by law. The company paid no national insurance contributions, I was deemed to be self-employed.

My hourly rate was 10p above the national minimum wage, but when you take into account for my own provision of the missing benefits, I was effectively paid well below the national minimum wage.

The appalling pay level resulted in drivers working longer hours than was sensible or safe.

The response of the company was that once the jobs are dispatched, safety is the responsibility of the self-employed drivers, not the company. To my knowledge no drivers held personal liability insurance, they couldn’t afford it.

Clearly this poverty pay level is sanctioned by government which, as we’ve seen with May, refuses to properly address the issue, because subjecting people to these draconian conditions parks them in pseudo employment and off the unemployment figures, reducing benefits liability.

The council was advised of what was happening and took no action. The company was operating in a legislation loophole and, appallingly, there are no working hour restrictions when driving the public in taxi, private hire or chauffeur services.

I drew HMRC’s attention to this and in eight months, apart from an initial call in January, it appears to have taken no action.

As it is an agent of government, perhaps the power of lower unemployment figures and benefits is more important.

So what if a company evades employment liabilities?

But here’s the rub. Because the gig economy allows employers to avoid their liabilities under employment law, they are making no national contributions. Invariably, being self-employed, even where the few do declare their employment, I suspect none are paying any tax contributions.

This means money that should be available to fund hard-pressed public services is lost, and the burden shifted on to those who already pay their taxes to make up the deficit.

Employers and government pay less, taxpayers pay more – harsher austerity their reward.

The reality of the gig economy is company profits funded by poverty pay and evading employment liability, the government lowering unemployment figures and paying fewer benefits, and local authorities failing to discharge even the most basic of their responsibilities – ensuring public safety.

Hardly surprising, then, that in a nation rotten to the core with vested interests and privilege, this Tory government proposes to obscure the detail of the Taylor Report and shunt it into the sidings?

Meanwhile, the increasing number of those who are desperate enough to work in Dickensian conditions will just have to lump it. After all, there are food banks, aren’t there?

Jim Taylor, Edinburgh

IN your report on the Scottish CND blockade of the Coulport Trident base you reference the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty (NWBT) passed by the United Nations General Assembly last Friday (Five arrested after staging blockade at Trident base, The National, July 12). It is ironic indeed for citizens to be arrested for highlighting what is now international law.

You also report on the behaviour of the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).

It is often overlooked that Nato is a very active in areas of diplomacy as well as in wars, invariably in less stable “out of area” parts of the world – though in truth the instability tends to appear and or worsen when Nato intervenes.

However, Nato conducted a diplomatic rather than military campaign of resistance in various United Nations over a number of years in an attempt to defeat the NWBT. Nato’s diplomatic campaign of resistance against the NWBT, like its military campaigns, have ended in defeat.

The behaviour of the nuclear-armed Nato states wars predictable while the behaviour of the non nuclear-armed Nato states was despicable. It’s true that the Netherlands at least turned up and voted against the treaty, but they were only there because the current political balance in the Dutch parliament forced them to. The myth that the non-nuclear member states were against the bomb has been blown away by their behaviour in New York.

Those who support current SNP pro-Nato policy have to explain why non-Nato Sweden and Finland are not international diplomatic pariahs while an independent Scotland with a similar attitude to Nato as Sweden and Finland would be.

SNP branches have what is left of July to submit motions for consideration at this years SNP conference to take place from Sunday to Tuesday, October 8 to10. A good starting point might be something like “Conference endorses the terms of the 2017 Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on July 7”, and “Conference also resolves that it will put aside any prospect of in independent Scotland joining the Nato until an independent sovereign state fully complies with the NWBT”.

Bill Ramsay, Convener, SNP CND

I AM surprised that some advocates of independence appear to be supporting the anti-Scottish independence leader of the Labour Party on some peculiar pretext that so doing will not affect the vote for independence. This, of course, is nonsense. It is already damaging our support. He does not personally support Trident but leads a party that does. Well, I’m sorry but I could not in honesty lead a party that supports Trident and I wonder what other principles might be just a flexible as he tries to win support.   What is rather more concerning is that the establishment has wakened up to the fact the Tories alone cannot save the Union and we will see more supportive Corbyn stuff (assisted by dafties, some of whom are supposed to be with us) in the coming months.

Dave McEwan Hill, Argyll

YOU carried an interesting article on St Columba (Carbon dating breakthrough links St Columba to sixth-century monk’s cell on Iona, The National, July 11) but as I read it, I almost expected to come across the usual fallacy, and I duly did.

Gregor Young wrote: “St Columba is widely revered as a key figure in western Christianity and brought the religion to Scotland from Ireland, landing on Iona in the year 563.”

All my life I have believed it was my namesake who brought Christianity to Scotland’s shores. Can some expert in Scottish religious matters confirm this?

Ninian Fergus, Linlithgow

THE UK Government has announced it will hold an inquiry into the tainted blood scandal, in which thousands of people across the UK contracted hepatitis C, and in some cases also HIV, after being given infected transfusions.

With their typical disregard for anything that has happened north of Hadrian’s Wall, a number of English newspapers had reports on this story without mentioning the Penrose Report, an exhaustive six-year inquiry conducted at the behest of the Scottish Government into the extent of any culpability by the medical profession in Scotland.

Alexandra MacRae, Letham