THE Scottish Government brought forward progressive taxation policies in 2018/19 and the country was warned by the Conservatives at Holyrood that all those affected would leave the country. Yet your article "Scots paid £750m more income tax after changes", The Herald, January 8) contradicts that scaremongering: those policies of the Scottish Government have paid dividends in the form of £750 million into our public services.

This figure was raised and came about partly as a result of a record employment rate for Scotland reached in 2019, people living and working in Scotland despite the scaremongering of the Conservatives; figures that clearly demonstrate that the fiscal policies of the Scottish Government are indeed paying dividends. But your article went on to the very pressing issue of the timetable announced for the next Westminster Budget – March 11,, a date that clearly indicates the contempt the Conservative Government has for the devolved parliaments of the UK ("Scots ministers accuse UK counterparts of ‘disrespect’ over Budget date", The Herald, January 8). There is absolutely no consideration for the fiscal timetables that those parliaments must meet and the knock-on consequences for our local authorities and in turn our public services of late settlements. Those public services on which we all depend on – our precious NHS, education, police, social services and many more could suffer and local authorities may well have to call on their reserves to meet ongoing daily costs, a totally unacceptable position to be put in. Westminster once again riding roughshod over Scotland.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

ALTHOUGH the number of Scottish Tory MPs was halved at the General Election, they could have found a much better Secretary of State than Alister Jack, whose performance at Scottish Questions on Wednesday was abysmal and he even blurted out that Scotland voted to leave the EU ("Commons storm as PM repeats his opposition to Indyref2", The Herald, January 9).

This is supposed to be an opportunity to hold the London government to account, yet Labour's Ian Murray used his first question to attack the SNP whilst not knowing that Croatia joined the EU with a deficit of five per cent of GDP. His contribution was cheered by Tory MPs and I am sure that voters in Labour’s deputy leader contest would rather see someone standing up for Scotland over Boris Johnson’s sweeping Henry VIII powers under the EU Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which allows London to remove powers from the Scottish Parliament or on the unjustified four-month delay in setting a budget date for March 11 while ignoring concerns expressed by the Scottish Government, local authorities and other public bodies who need to plan well ahead of the new financial year in April.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh EH9.

ACCESSION to the EU depends on meeting the EU’s criteria, so David Miller’s observation (Letters, January 9) of five current “candidate” countries for admission to the EU is quite irrelevant. In 2004 twice that number joined, and as part of a member state for the last 45 years, perhaps Guy Verhofstadt’s opinion that there is “no big obstacle” to Scotland’s accession reflects reality.

The remainder of Mr Miller's letter is a classic example of “damned if they do and condemned if they don’t”.

He cites the “lengthy period” (actually the report’s five-10 years, though the SNP conference said “as soon as practicable” ) and the six “stringent tests” set out in the Growth Commission report, to be applied before launching a Scottish currency for his lack of “confidence”. What would Mr Miller prefer? Just going ahead with a new currency without any thought, consideration or planning at all? Meantime, having left the EU, what does he think might have happened to the value of sterling? He clearly values certainty, but however much we all do, it is not available for either option. As the management theorist, Peter Drucker, said, “The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different”.

Mr Miller is though correct that the Growth Commission does indeed not understate the work necessary for Scotland to begin to achieve its economic potential. Once again though, what is the alternative? Is it the economic decline we have become used to within the UK, but shortly outside the EU and in thrall to America? Moreover, why is this work necessary? Who has been running the Scottish economy for the last 313 years? As Frank Sonnenberg wrote, “We can’t do anything to improve our past, but we can learn from it to improve our future.”

Lastly, it is ironic that Mr Miller takes the view that “making oil revenues central to the case for independence in 2014 was a mistake” when the Growth Commission makes clear North Sea oil revenues should be treated as windfall and certainly not used for “recurring annual commitments” which is exactly what the UK Government has done for the last 40 years. By doing so, as the Report points out, we could “reap the long-term benefits for many years to come if they are stewarded sensibly”.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Read more: What on earth has extra tax cash been spent on?