THE report from the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance makes it clear that there is no sensible case for Scottish independence, or at least no realistic economic case ("Independence could leave Scots £2,800 a year worse off, claims report", The Herald, February 3). This report is just the latest in a series, including the SNP's own Inclusive Growth Report, showing a huge hit to our prosperity were we foolish enough to leave the UK.

The LSE report shows that Brexit is bad for trade but Scottish independence is worse. The Inclusive Growth Commission revealed uncertainties over currency, central bank and foreign reserves, presaging at least 10 years of super-austerity, tax rises and service cuts and an extended period before even attempting to qualify for EU membership. The Scottish Government's annual GERS figures show a huge £15 billion hole in the Scottish Government's annual budget. These findings are not surprising: while it is always possible to find an economist or two to support the nationalist cause, the vast majority of respected economic opinion holds that independence would be a disaster.

Independence is a low priority for Scots, ranking below health, education, poverty, the cost of living and the economy in recent polls. Isn't it time to abandon independence and concentrate our political energies on addressing the people's real priorities rather than pursuing a course which would, on all the facts and evidence, make us so much poorer and undermine our ability to improve society in the ways that the of Scotland people really want?

Alex Gallagher, Labour Councillor, Largs.


THE LSE report claiming Scots will be £2.8k poorer per capita after independence is not credible.

First, the Covid crisis means no longer-term economic forecast is reliable, so what data was used? Did the authors account for the city of London’s shrinking tax base and the slower growth resulting from the Brexit own goal?

Second, it only looks at trade and assumes a loss for Scotland. But why should we be the only country rUK would refuse to trade freely with? For starters, it will desperately need our energy and water, not to mention our high-quality food and drink.

Third, the report admits there is no actual income loss, only differential growth rates, meaning the bankers and Charlotte Square investment trusts would see a decline in their wealth, not a bad thing. Real incomes in the UK have been flat for decades, a reason Scotland needs independence so it can control the economic levers and craft tax and spending policies to attract investment, grow and share prosperity more widely.

Fourth, Scottish economic growth as part of the UK has been half that of similarly-sized EU countries. More than 10 EU countries with smaller populations than Scotland have higher incomes, pensions, life expectancy and less poverty and inequality than the UK, but none has our abundance of natural wealth.

Finally, if Scotland is so poor, rUK should want us gone. But we are far too valuable, which is why the Downing Street Union Unit is working overtime.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh EH10.


I HAD to chuckle when reading today's Letters Pages that, with near-perfect timing, the morning after Neil Mackay’s article ("Sturgeon blew it siding with bully Brussels", The Herald, February 2) in which he was discussing that “nuance in politics is dying: tribalism triumphant” we were presented with a perfect example in Willie Maclean’s letter (February 3).

Putting aside any underlying reasons why the vaccination per head of population may be trailing slightly behind that in England, to answer his question “are we expected to conclude that this in some way has a bearing on the case for independence?”, no I really don’t think we are. Assuming this is Mr Maclean’s view, I wonder what he sees as the purpose of opposition in parliament, or is any questioning of the Government's performance deemed to be a slight on the intelligence of the nation?

Kevin Murphy, Kilwinning.


I WOULD like to clarify the points raised by Harry Monaghan (Letters, February 2) regarding the provision of ferry services in Scotland.

Contracts to run these lifeline links are advertised on the open market and are available for any operator to bid for as part of a fair and transparent process. Whoever presents the most ideal bid is awarded the contract, which contains specified standards set by Transport Scotland which must be met by the successful operator.

CalMac is a private limited company, and besides payment to run the west coast ferry service, we do not receive any subsidy or support from the Scottish Government.

CalMac is well regarded by customers and staff alike, and we are committed to playing our part in supporting and developing the economic and social wellbeing of the communities we are privileged to serve.

Robbie Drummond, Managing Director of CalMac, Gourock.


THE Herald, February 3. Two headlines. First, "Glasgow mother in interior design contest with knobs on". Second, "Top honour for professor and former council chief". Notice the difference? The professor was a man, but was he a father?

John Palfreyman, Coupar Angus.


I NOTE the letter from Steve Barnet (February 3) on the subject of congestion on the roads. Maybe they're testing their eyesight? And who would blame them?

Margaret Forbes, Kilmacolm.