Readers' Letters: Here's why Ireland's economy flourished

SNP Finance Secretary Kate Forbes’ comment on independence that “If Ireland can do it, Scotland can do it” (Perspective, 13 April) begs the question of just how they did it.

Kate Forbes, Scottish Finance Secretary, at Holyrood (Picture: Getty)

Basically, by having a 12.5 per cent corporation tax compared to around 20 per cent in the UK and a higher rate of income tax of just 40 per cent.

I seem to recall one Alex Salmond proposing lower corporation tax for Scotland a few years back, but he was shouted down as immoral and racing to the “bottom”It’s not just Apple that Ireland has attracted – every time a purchase here is made in Lidl or Aldi, the receipt indicates you are paying their head offices in Eire, in the same way we pay Amazon EU SARL in Luxembourg. Without their revenues, both countries would be really struggling. Luxembourg also relies on selling cheap booze (whisky was about £5 last time I was there), fags, diesel and petrol to neighbouring EU citizens.It’s an old truth that often the lower the tax rate (within reason), the greater the revenues you accrue. This goes against a certain puritanical Scottish abhorrence of low taxes, but the lesson from Ireland is clear – it is exactly how they “did it”, but I don’t think Kate Forbes is proposing that, even though it is virtually the only key to their success.John Scarlett, Kirkhill Gardens, Gorebridge, Midlothian

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Taxi for Philip

The British monarchy has never been a major factor in my life, but I always believed it is a vital underpinning of our democracy, and the Queen's memorable participation in the James Bond scene at the opening if the London Olympics was an uplifting reminder and confirmation of my belief in Great Britain.

The Duke of Edinburgh was rarely uppermost in my mind but I read so many good things about him in the last few days, that Joni Mitchell's immortal line “don't always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone” is especially relevant given his groundbreaking work on conservation.

Faux environmentalist Patrick Harvie might have used these lines in his contribution to Monday's Holyrood session. And reflected on his own perversion of democracy whereby his party won six list seats in 2012 with only 13,174 votes, enabling him to sustain that other seditious entity, the SNP, in their can-kicking Indyref2 agenda and trashing of all that is good in Scotland .

Let's just hope that true “green” voters examine his woeful record on anti-pollution and green job creation and decide their vote is safer with, say, the Lib Dems, who got 150,000 votes in 2016 but only five seats.

Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven

Blown away

It is -5 degrees outside this morning, yet the entire wind industry carpeting our finest landscapes and seascapes, costing the poorest bill-payers countless billions in “green” taxes, is currently supplying the National Grid with a big fat zero amount of energy! (0.49 per cent, to be precise).

The giant Beatrice Offshore windfarm alone gobbled up a staggering £281,000,000 subsidy last year. Will we get a refund for poor or non-existent service?

George Herraghty, Lothlorien, Lhanbryde, Moray

Spinning around

The Green Party want to upgrade existing wind farms and relax planning restrictions to make it easier to install windfarms. Have they asked Scottish rural communities for their opinion?

Insensitively sited wind farms are objected to in droves by local people, and councils as well as Statutory Consultees such as RSPB and Nature Scot, but the Scottish Government barges ahead, overturning these democratically made decisions and there is no right of appeal for third parties other than by Judicial Review, which is financially dangerous and out of reach of the average person. Rather than adjusting planning procedures to allow for easier consent, applications should undergo greater scrutiny to account for the increased negative impact these upgraded, much larger turbines will have on people, wildlife and the environment.

Campaign group Scotland Against Spin has lodged a public petition in Parliament calling on the Scottish Government to “increase the ability of communities to influence planning decisions for onshore windfarms”. For the sake of rural communities throughout this country, I pray it is successful.

Aileen Jackson, Knockglass, Uplawmoor

Energy to argue

Henryk Belda (Letters, 13 April) makes bizarre claims to promote hydrogen as an energy source, I'd like to know the sources of his information. Besides that, the idea of either producing hydrogen or powering the country from wind is a no-go, as wind is providing a miniscule 0.6 per cent of UK electricity as I write, despite there being 11,000 wind turbines. The source of my data is a climate alarmist website.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

Life cycle

It was with some bemusement at the lack of forward thinking that I read the article in Tuesday’s Scotsman about “Doctors’ call for free gym membership” to be given to the young.With some out-of-the-box thinking, may I draw a parallel to “Give a man a fish...“ and suggest that for not much more than the cost of one, or at the most two, years’ gym membership, they could be supplied with free bicycles giving them not only exercise, but free transport for maybe ten years. This would enable them to do so much more than simply visit the gym, it would open up other opportunities and activities including job searching or voluntary work and socialising, all carried out in a socially distanced outdoor setting and which would have major benefits, particularly in less affluent rural areas where the help is still needed but gyms are less likely to exist.With some of the funding the councils could then set up bike repair workshops in community hubs or centres to carry out low-cost maintenance, providing some much needed employment or life skills to some of the same young people, I believe this is what is referred to as a win-win solution.Such schemes do already exist around Scotland and seem to be very successful wherever they have been set up.

Neil Robertson, Gracemount Road, Liberton

The Chinese way

It won't do for Gill Turner (Letters, 13 April) to blame the Holyrood opposition for the care home Covid scandal because of concerns it raised about pressures on the NHS, any more than it should be given the credit for creating new space for the expected influx of patients by building the Louisa Jordan Hospital. Responsibility for care home testing policies and their deficiencies rest 100 per cent with the Scottish Government, which has always been keen to extol its micromanagement of the pandemic. However, it might be reasonable to blame the Chinese for the Louisa Jordan, which copied their successful fangcang hospitals in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic. Vaccination has been a joined-up UK enterprise.

Hugh Pennington, Carlton Place, Aberdeen

Figure it out

Why are England, Wales and Northern Ireland conducting a census and Scotland’s has been postponed till next year?Covid can’t be the excuse if everyone else is managing, and we aren’t too wee, poor, or stupid, so there must be another reason. What is the Gaelic for “Vive la difference” anyway?

Andrew Kemp, Mossbank, Rosyth, Fife

Safe spaces

Kenny MacAskill’s article (Perspective, 8 April) demonstrates his sincere concern for the safety of women by advocating the protection of single-sex spaces and services. If Mr MacAskill genuinely wants to make society safer for women, he can acknowledge women have the right to feel safe everywhere, every day. He has, instead, robustly defended the actions of Alex Salmond who, while not guilty of any crime, has admitted to inappropriate, “touchy-feely” behaviour, and whose own lawyer has referred to him as a “sex pest”. Not only that, Mr MacAskill dismissed the complaints of the women in the case as “bunkum” and “flimsy”.As long as we live in a society that continues to allow misogyny, harassment and ‘high jinks’ (a phrase used by Mr Salmond in his own defence), then women will continue to need safe spaces. Mr MacAskill can help to create a world where safe spaces are not necessary by finally acknowledging that Mr Salmond’s behaviour has been inexcusable. If he refuses to do so, but continues to claim that he advocates safety for women, then he is a hypocrite.

Vicky Cole, Tweeddale Crescent, Gifford

Control freaks

The real reason for referring Scottish Parliament legislation to the Supreme Court, on two uncontroversial pieces of legislation that received unanimous support at Holyrood is Westminster’s post-Brexit taking back control agenda. The only previous occasion of Scotland’s law-making powers being referred to the Supreme Court was on the continuity of EU law after Brexit and a reminder that Cyrus and Malta had more say over Boris Johnson’s flawed Brexit deal than Scotland.

The Scottish Government has done more to give our children the best start in life than anywhere else in the UK thanks to the Baby Box, doubling the provision of nursery education and the Scottish Child Payment, which the Joseph Rowntree Foundation described as “a beacon of progressive policy for the rest of the UK”. These are the kind of policies the UK government is attacking when it challenges the incorporation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law. And what exactly is wrong with Scotland adopting the European Charter of Local Self-Government other than it goes against Westminster’s centralising instincts?

Mary Thomas, Watson Crescent, Edinburgh

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