The Advertiser has invited the General Election candidates standing to represent Argyll, Bute and South Lochaber to share their views on key topics to the area.

In our latest contribution, Independent candidate Tommy Macpherson writes about the economy.

THE combination of high taxes and increases in rent and interest rates is squeezing people and businesses across Argyll and Bute.

Continued price hikes for day to day living costs are forcing individuals and families to live in overdrafts, rack up credit-card debt and defaulting on loan repayments.

I am no economist nor mathematical wizard. As it was told to me at one of my public surgeries November 2022, "there is no change in my pocket, no coins on the dresser' which brings real meaning to 'cashless society".

Inflation figures may slow, even drop but they do not return to the numbers of previous years. Goods and services are up, on average by 20%, on this time two years ago. Are wages up by the same figure?

Fuel duty must be lowered, scrap environmental levies impacting on businesses and remove VAT on all household energy bills. Both the Tourist Tax and proposed Visitor Levy must be abolished. Basic income tax must be raised.

Working households do not focus on Capital Gains Tax, Corporate Tax nor Inheritance Tax. Housing, heating, food and fuel costs remain working individuals primary concerns.

It's what is left in our pocket, purse and wallet by which we count the cost of living.

If you are like me, you will be tired of politicians of all parties waving manifestos listing their policies and pledges of little consequence.

As I said, I'm no mathematician, it's just basic common sense.