I LISTENED to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's statement to Parliament today and heard him explain that the devolved nations were only receiving his assistance because we are a United Kingdom. This is an interesting speculation; why does he not include England among the beneficiaries of his largesse? Perhaps he shares the view that "Barnett Consequentials" are a charitable distribution by England rather than a formula to provide an equitable share of UK tax revenues among the four nations.

Without Scotland there would no longer be a United Kingdom since both the Union of the Crowns in 1603 and the Union of the Parliaments in 1707 were enacted between England and Scotland with Wales and Ireland being under English jurisdiction at the time. When I was heading home from a foreign assignment many years ago the parting message from one of my colleagues was "see you back in England". When I replied that I was not going back to England he was shocked.

The notion that Scotland is a mysterious English territory which people are dispatched to when they are written out of the cast of EastEnders is still widely held among our southern neighbours. Teaching of the history and geography of the United Kingdom in English schools is clearly of questionable standard.

Willie Maclean, Milngavie.

JILL Stephenson (Letters, July 8) suggests that the Covid protection money comes simply from the UK Treasury.

She says Nicola Sturgeon is wanting to spend money she isn't generating.

Well I'm no expert, but last I heard all VAT, corporation tax, National Insurance, oil and gas taxation and I think even inheritance tax generated in Scotland ends up in the hands of the UK Government. Scotland will also end up with a share of the costs of the massive debt currently being generated in London. I don't expect to overcome Ms Stephenson's fear of independence, but I can encourage her to stick to the facts and maybe even do a bit of research.

Stuart Chalmers, East Kilbride.

MAY I respond briefly to Ian Lakin's answer (Letters, July 9) to my letter of July 8?

First, we should be very wary of UK Government statistics (including GERS). You can bet your boots they are not designed to make independence look like a good option.

Second, Scotland's exports to Europe up, 4.5 per cent last year, are now at serious risk.

Third, Westminster's determination to trade on WTO terms with the rest of the world will have dreadful implications for all of the UK, not just Scotland.

Fourth, will rUK be buying its "Scotch" from Japan, or its Aberdeen Angus beef from the United States, ready stuffed with hormones and antibiotics. If they do they will be the poorer.

No, Scotland and rUK will continue to trade, probably in the same proportions, it's just that the market in England, outside of the EU, will be rather poorer, which is not a good thing from anyone's point of view.

John Jamieson, Ayr.

ANDY Maciver in defending the United Kingdom (“Have unionists given up or are they just asleep?”, The Herald, July 7) makes the interesting point that “unionism”, as he terms it, has always been “reactive” to any tendency towards independence in Scotland. He goes on to argue that the “right conditions” for the survival of the UK “inevitably involve the proactive creation of a ‘New Unionism’,” but frustratingly gives few details of what form this might take.

The overriding defect of the UK, it seems to me, and that which is almost certain to be its downfall, is its outdated political system, which still effectively centralises power at Westminster, reinforces the pernicious influence of the (English) class system, imposes a falsely monolithic character on the dominant partner England, and has a vested interest in opposing change.

In this the key problem, as well as one of the easiest to put right, is the UK’s archaic and unrepresentative first-past-the-post voting system, which immediately and by its intrinsic nature fails to recognise and accommodate the enormous diversity within these islands. It also perpetuates a destructively adversarial system as opposed to one which is cooperative.

There are distinct advantages in belonging to a community of 60 million rather than one of only five million and we in Scotland should be wary of losing this. But quite apart from strength in numbers there is also the sheer variety of the different regions within Great Britain and Ireland, each with their own unique and individual contribution to the whole, from which we all stand to gain. In this we in Scotland, with our history, geography, scenery and traditions – not least literary, scientific, philosophic and engineering – are well placed to punch above our weight.

Robert Bell, Cambuslang.

IT amuses me how, at her daily TV briefings, Nicola Sturgeon often refers to the Westminster Government as "another government" as though the UK was some distant foreign land she's struggling to recall. Perhaps I can remind her that it's the sovereign nation in which she resides and, since she's a career politician, the government that, for more than 20 years, has ultimately paid her salary.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.

Read more: Letters: It’s not Scotland that can't cope, it’s Westminster