SNP was foolish to base its argument for an independent Scotland on oil prices

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THE NEWS that Scotland has run up a £15 billion budget deficit (The Scotsman, 10 March), mainly because of the collapse in the oil price, is another nail in the coffin of the SNP’s independence policy.

Alex Salmond had planned that “Independence Day” would be two weeks hence, 24 March. Had the independence campaign succeeded, Scots would now be facing huge tax increases on their incomes, on petrol and whisky.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon blames the fall in the oil oil price and, yet again, on the actions of the UK Government, this time for not saving the money received from oil over the last 30 years. She does not mention that she had intended to spend the money received from oil, not save it, nor that she had misled voters in the run-up to the independence referendum.

It is clear that Scots will be better off financially staying part of the UK.

It was foolish in the extreme for the SNP to base the case for independence on the price of oil, which has always been subject to price rises and falls, while the one certainty is that the reserves will one day definitely run out.

Lucy Grig

Roseneath Street, Edinburgh

Once again we have the GERS statistics and the usual conclusion drawn from them regarding the finances of a putative independent Scotland,but are such conclusions soundly based?

London is so dominant that without considerable adjustment a rather skewed picture is presented. For instance, many companies which trade throughout the UK account for their corporation tax in London. Is any addition made to the Scottish tax take for this? Again, the bulk of civil service posts are in London. Is a portion of the costs included in Scottish expenditure?

Without knowing how such factors are dealt with in arriving at the figures, can soundly based conclusions be drawn from them?

The big unknown,of course, is how future governments might act. A decision to permit fracking, for instance, could alter the picture.

In the present context, what strikes me as most important is the continuing deficit for the UK as a whole. What happens if/when interest rates rise or if the financial services on which we are told everything depends are enticed elsewhere?

S Beck

Craigleith Drive, Edinburgh

So after three centuries of Westminster rule it seems Scotland is a fiscal basket case dependant on the charitable English taxpayers to feed, clothe and shelter us.

Dear oh dear. I’m somewhat confused, however, as to how this is a good argument for another three centuries of Westminster rule? The Unionists’ obvious glee at the Scottish predicament hints that they’ve no plans or intentions to change things.

Surely independence has never been so necessary and urgent so we can help ourselves to help ourself?

David Flett

Cooperage Quay, Stirling

After watching Nicola Sturgeon at First Minister’s Questions I felt embarrassed to be a Scot.

Lewis Finnie

Larkfield Gardens, Edinburgh

I was amused by the letter from Dennis Forbes Grattan, (Letters, 11 March) on Nicola Sturgeon’s piscine tendencies, comparing her to “a slippery fish”, because when Salmond and Sturgeon were doing their double act my pet name for them both was The Fish People! Nothing changes – I still can’t think of them as anything else!

Helene Scott

Lanark Road West, Currie