What happened to the SNP's promise on Scotland's 'Celtic Lion' economy?

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I read with regret of the Scottish economy's failure predicted by Professor Brian Ashcroft (Debate & Opinion, 19 June) – that it would slow to under 2 per cent and still be nearly 1 per cent behind the UK average in 2011. This is the date when the SNP promised, modestly, to reach average UK growth rates as part of Alex Salmond's less modest promise to produce a "Celtic Lion" economy matching Ireland's Celtic Tiger (which has managed a long-term growth rate of

While Gordon Brown may claim economic failure owes much to world conditions and high oil prices, Mr Salmond can use neither excuse to say why we continue to do worse than England.

The real tragedy is not that the SNP cannot do anything but that they seem no more prepared than their predecessors to do the things they know can be done. If corporation tax cannot yet be cut for constitutional reasons they can make equivalent cuts in business rates which should have similar effects. So far they have made only a minor cut in rates and even had to be pushed into that by the Conservatives. Our economy remains mired in rules and quangocracy.

Even Labour and the Tories have belatedly recognised that we will not have an economy if the lights go out, yet the SNP continue to pretend that if they talk enthusiastically enough about windmillery it will work.

The promise they made could, without great difficulty, be fulfilled, yet while they talk the talk they are abjectly failing to walk the walk.

NEIL CRAIG

Woodlands Road

Glasgow

I was intrigued by your focus, and that of unionist politicians, on Scotland having a budget deficit of 2.7 billion last year as an argument against Scottish independence (Debate & Opinion, 21 June). This figure, which equates to 2.1 per cent of GDP, shows Scotland in a substantially stronger position than the UK as a whole, which has budget deficit of 2.3 per cent of GDP.

Scotland's deficit equates to the OECD average and, according to the argument used by unionist politicians, the UK is not viable as an independent state. Scotland also enjoyed a budget surplus of more than 800 million last year – in the context of a UK deficit of more than 4 billion and a flow of resources from Scotland to the rest of the UK of 1.2 billion. With dramatically rising oil prices, Scotland's surplus would now be even larger.

Scotland is on a firm financial footing. Independence holds the prospect of a flourishing and economically successful nation.

ALEX ORR

Bryson Road

Edinburgh

Thanks for Bill Jamieson's excellent assessment of past years' contributions to the present economic concerns (Debate & Opinion, 20 June).

Messrs Brown and Blair stepped away from their positions at an opportune time and left a problematic financial legacy to the questionable experience of Alistair Darling.

The calibre of this government and its policies over the years has a lot to answer for, and change is long overdue. We need professional business people who know their subject from an economic aspect, and to stop wasting finance on an assortment of public projects without efficient control.

It is also long overdue for this government to start directing its attention to the concerns of the UK citizen, rather than continually being involved in contributions to the EU, expensive wars and futile attempts at ending world poverty.

HARRY LAWRIE

Abbots Mill

Kirkcaldy, Fife