Readers' Letters: Enough woolliness over cost of Independence

One thing most will agree on is that Scottish Independence should be decided by the Scottish people. I voted for Independence in 2014, the majority voted for the continuation of the Union, that is democracy. Similarly, on Brexit I voted to Remain but the majority across the Union voted to leave, again, democracy. However, politicians believe in democracy and the outcome of a vote when it suits their own cause, if not, let’s have another vote.

If Norway is to be a model for Scotland after independence, the maths must be watertight

So to Independence. In a similar way to Brexit, what are the knowns and unknowns? Does Scotland have the talents and resources to govern its own affairs, I would assume we do, but what are the facts of transition and have politicians honestly laid these before the voting public? This information is needed, not the smoke and mirrors of Brexit.

The Sustainable Growth Commission Scotland outlined their thoughts in their May 2018 report “ Scotland – the new case for optimism” – we should aspire to emulate the most successful similarly sized countries in the world, such as Denmark and Norway. The First Minister and other SNP ministers, including the Finance Minister, have raised this aspiration. The above report suggests such a transition would take approximately 25 years. Also, the Scottish Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is around £150 billion, Denmark’s is around £250bn and Norway’s is around £290bn. We need, as Sir Tom Hunter has said, an imaginative approach to increasing our GDP. Similarly, tax levels in Scotland are 33.3 per cent where Denmark’s and Norway’s are 46.3 and 39.9 per cent respectively. Lastly, Denmark and Norway have budget deficits of 42 and 46 per cent of GDP while the UK’s is nearer 100 per cent.

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Who knows in reality what would pass to an Independent Scotland? However, it has to be paid for and the EU set limits on a country’s deficits when joining them.

The information is there, you don’t need to be an economist, believe Westminster figures or delve into Institute of Fiscal Studies reports. Scotland is facing the economic fallout from Brexit and Covid, these are indisputable facts. Likewise, the Scottish public deserve to know that Independence and the transition to emulate the improved living standards enjoyed by Denmark and Norway will mean higher taxes and public sector spending cuts. They can then decide how they wish to vote. The aspiration may be worth it, so I request honesty from Scotland’s politicians before they let Scotland decide.

Hugh Carswell, Lochwinnoch

Ferry frustrating

Hardly a day goes by without some new report on Scottish ferry services breaking down and going out of service, leaving those who live in the Scottish Highlands & Islands high and dry without adequate ferry services.

Having to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic is bad enough when you live on a Scottish island, but adding in the misery of cancelled services without supplies is completely intolerable and is doing irreparable damage to the Scottish Islands economy.

The Scottish Government seem to have run out of excuses as to why they have made such a mess of our ferry services, a situation made worse by the fiasco of the two half-built ferries lying at Ferguson Shipyards; we now have the wrong ferries on the wrong services to the islands.

This, of course, could be blamed on Westminster, but even silver-tongued SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is struggling to blame MPs for these Scottish failures.

Dennis Forbes Grattan, Mugiemoss Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen

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