THE nationalist tribe is out in force (Letters, March 12) because I have pointed out some truths. I quoted the current figure for the annual fiscal transfer to Scotland, which most people would consider reasonable. Not Alasdair Galloway, who regards the use of "current data" as "opportunistic", nor David McEwan Hill, who regards the current figure as "carefully chosen". Most people would consider "current data" as relevant, more so than the desperate use of alleged historical figures to justify current policy, in which Mr Galloway and GR Weir indulge.

Quite why we should base current policy on figures from 1980 to 2011, as Mr Galloway prefers, is easy to see: he thinks they support a case for leaving the UK whereas, as we all know, post-2011 figures do not. It is a surprise to see anyone mention oil when the global price is now around $33-37 per barrel. Scarcely the $113 per barrel on which the SNP based its 2014 campaign – and Andrew Wilson, its growth guru has admitted that that was the case. Currently – if I am allowed to use current data – it is costing more to extract North Sea oil than the oil brings in income to oil companies. This is similar to the position in 2015-17 when oil brought in no revenue to the public purse. Imagine if Scotland had voted Yes in 2014 and the price of oil had then collapsed? It does not bear thinking about.

It is a fact, acknowledged by Ms Sturgeon and others in the SNP hierarchy, that Scotland has a deficit that is too large. We retain our current favourable standard of living because of the fiscal transfer from HM Treasury. People like Mr Hill may wriggle about that, but rather than "destroying any case for the Union", as he claims, it underscores the vital importance of Scotland remaining in the Union in which our prosperity has been generated. He may not mind if his standard of living plummets. I doubt I am alone in minding that very much.

Jill Stephenson, Edinburgh EH14.

JILL Stephenson (Letters, March 11) is wrong when she states that Scotland receives almost £2,000 per head of population subsidy over the UK average. In fact the figure is closer to £1,663. What she did not say is there are good demographic reasons for this given the sparse population and the need to provide essential public services over a wide rural area. Another factor which muddies her comparison is the fact that Scottish Water is not privatised (surely very welcome) and therefore contributes to the anomaly. What she also fails to mention is that Wales and London are similar to Scotland at £10,656 and £10,425 respectively above the UK average of £9,584. Northern Ireland at £11,590 is £2,006 above the U.K. average. All of these figures for 2018/19 can be checked via the House of Commons Library.

Some people of a Unionist persuasion will do anything to talk Scotland down in an attempt to undermine the case for Scottish independence. Scotland is big enough, smart enough and rich enough to take our place in the family of nations as opposed to the debt-ridden UK which is about to plunge into even more debt over the next four or five years.

Alec Oattes, Ayr.

JILL Stephenson would like to know "what benefits devolved rule has brought to Scotland". How about the following?

Free bus travel for the elderly – offering freedom of movement for some hard-up friends and neighbours.

The Gaelic Language Act, 2005 – pointless if you don’t value Gaelic, but a boon to grateful learners like me.

Minimum pricing of alcohol. On its own, it won’t solve our strong drink problem, but at least it’s a start.

Proportional representation in national and local elections, which makes my vote count, while at UK level I still suffer the capricious curse of "first past the post".

Ministers in a government elected by the people and not – as was the case in the old Scottish Office days – nominated by whatever party happened to win power in London.

John Coutts, Stirling.

ALEXANDER McKay constantly questions the Scottish Government's abilities (Letters, March 10). Proof of its competence lies in the 91,000 affordable homes and 63,000 homes for social rent built since 2007, delivered by the Scottish Government. Eighteen more are currently under construction in Kilbarchan!

Colin Campbell, Kilbarchan.