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An independent Scotland would struggle with its credit rating

FINANCE Secretary John Swinney has asserted in regard to the reduction of the UK's triple-A rating that an independent Scotland would do much better.

It has to be said that ultimately the independence vote will be won or lost on the economic arguments, national and personal.

I am one of the 50% of employed Scots who are state employees, and whose salary is paid by the state from tax receipts. If one assumes that all tax receipts up until the date of independence pass to the Westminster Treasury, from where will a new independent Scottish Treasury get the money to pay my first monthly salary after Independence Day (ID)? If ID falls in March as the SNP hopes, and the present tax payment days continue to be July 31 and January 31, the new Scottish Government will have little income for three to six months, and will have to seek credit from before ID just to pay the salaries of 50% of the working population, together with the welfare payments to another 25%.

Given the expectation that a residual UK Government will pass £11bn of the present UK national debt on to the new Scotland, that is likely to mean an initial independent Scottish debt of perhaps £13-£14billion, perhaps 40% of Scottish GDP. No fire sale of legacy UK assets in Scotland will match that.

What would an independent Scottish Government credit rating be; AAA or CCC, or junk?

Finally, would I be paid at the end of March 2016? These are the real questions the SNP needs to answer.

Gavin R Tait,

37 Fairlie,

East Kilbride.

GOVERNMENT borrowing is to rise and Britain's credit rating has been downgraded. I would say the last of the Tory credibility was gone if I thought it had any left before this happened. The point of austerity was supposedly to "sort out the nation's finances". Yet this downgrade combined with the announcement that borrowing is to rise proves this is a failure. Perhaps supporters of austerity should come clean about what they really want and admit that this is just a cover for removing social protection.

The Government has demonstrated that it is not competent and has no ability to improve the economy. Its policies do not work, yet it is refusing to change them. It is time for it to go.

Iain Paterson,

2F Killermont View,

Glasgow.

ROSs Martin's article ("Putting the public back at heart of public services" , The Herald, February 23) carried the highlighted phrase "gone are the days of centralised command and control". That may be the case where Mr Martin lives, but it's not a general truth in SNP-controlled Scotland where we have an unheralded centralised police force and fire service answerable to Holyrood Ministers and, in the council tax freeze, the centralisation of economic control over local government budgets in the hands of the Scottish Government.

Furthermore, the Scottish Government's emphasis on Community Planning Partnerships (CPP), which are designed to bring more efficient management to the delivery of public services, does so at the cost of local democratic control and accountability.

Far from centralised control melting away, the Scottish Government controls the budgets of all 33 local authorities and the management structures of our police force, including the numbers of policemen on our streets. It also, fearful that the wrong decisions may be taken locally, dictates the numbers of teachers in our schools. Thanks to the policies of the Nationalists, local authorities across Scotland have just completed budgets with cuts to vital social, housing and education services with no ability to vary their income in compensation.

The return of a few village halls to the control of local committees may be desirable in cementing an appearance, and perhaps even the reality, of a type of localism. But it is no substitute for real local democracy delivering the vital services the public needs with the support of central government. The extreme centralising tendencies of the SNP at Holyrood are a hindrance, not a help, to the realisation of active and effective local democracy and they do not, whatever the opinion of Ross Martin, deliver the death of centralised command and control: quite the opposite.

Alex Gallagher,

Labour councillor, North Ayrshire Council,

12 Phillips Avenue,

Largs.

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