SIR Peter Mathieson ("University admissions may seem a dark art but the truth is very different", The Herald, May 10) should be listened to and the SNP Government should be obliged to change tack on its failed education policy.

What use is it to the future of Scotland if thousands of our young people who have achieved university entrance qualifications are driven to leave Scotland to get an education unavailable to them here and for which they will pay? This is discrimination of the worst sort and leaves our universities bereft of the very people they were established to educate.

Scots are now very much in the minority in our universities thanks to this disastrous SNP policy of so-called "free" education for some which the SNP is unable to fund properly or afford without depriving the majority.

This totally changes the meaning and culture of our universities. It also leaves our society poorer for generations to come as many of the thousands forced to leave Scotland for their education never return.

We are now 2,000 teachers and hundreds of doctors short, with Scottish education disadvantaged both now and for the foreseeable future.

When can we hope for our universities to become once more accessible for all people in our society whatever their background, both for those who want and can afford to pay and those who cannot?

Elizabeth Marshall, Edinburgh.

Read more: The truth about university admissions

We need full welfare powers

KIRSTY Dorsey's article ("Human toll of soaring cost of food is a 'heart-rending' issue", The Herald, May 10) was very moving. It highlighted the plight of many households which are skipping meals, having to make the decision to eat or heat, and the enormous increase in food bank use, an outrage in 2023.

The UK is one of the richest countries in the world and is the energy capital of Europe, yet more and more evidence of a divided society emerges daily. The amount of billionaires in the UK has grown by more than 20 per cent in the last 30 years, yet 3.9 million children are living in poverty in the UK on a daily basis.

The policies of the Conservative Government at Westminster have exacerbated poverty. We only have to look at the recent Spring Budget when Chancellor Jeremy Hunt gave tax breaks through abolishing the ceiling of £1.07 million in lifetime savings into pension pots – a move that will assist only the wealthiest in society.

The Scottish Government continues to spend enormous sums (£594m) mitigating against Westminster's immoral and callous policies when it comes to tackling poverty. Measures are in place in Scotland to counteract the bedroom tax, the benefits cap, soaring energy costs and much more. Scotland needs full welfare and energy powers, allowing decisions affecting daily life in Scotland to be taken in Scotland.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

It's time for an apology

THE tired line from Humza Yousaf is that he won't make apologies. This needs to change urgently and the first apology to the people of Scotland must be about the near-terminal state of the Scottish NHS.

This service is not on its knees, it is prostrate. Private clinics are popping up to take over from NHS GPs simply because there is no capacity left in the state system for prompt actions by doctors and even slower service from the hospitals when finally referred.

Mr Yousaf has to take a lot of the blame as it has happened on his watch as Health Secretary and he is still ignoring this most critical of services for pointless policies on gender reforms and challenges over Indyref2 plus high taxes that chase away the very professionals needed to fix our NHS.

This Scottish Government is no longer fit for purpose.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow.

Beware the Declaration

I NOTE that the Declaration of Arbroath is soon to go on display at the National Museum of Scotland ("Declaration of Arbroath to go on public view for first time in 18 years", The Herald, May 6). In view of the most famous phrase therein – "For, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule" – a claim to intellectual if not material ownership by the SNP is confidently expected.

However, there is no mark of a single Scottish peasant – representing my forebears – on the document. The signatories and sealants are "eight earls and about 40 barons"; inferred to be mainly of Norman descent, ancestors coming ashore with William the Conqueror in 1066 or soon thereafter, Scottish lands handed out for loyalty to that monarch or descendants and Scottish peasants tied to the land, available for exploitation.

The SNP ought to stay clear of the Declaration of Arbroath, with its underlying message of feudal reward and obedience against a background of posh aristocrats falling out with each other.

William Durward, Bearsden.

Read more: Yousaf: SNP can stop Labour 'lurching to the right' in hung parliament

Will two knights seize the day?

IF the knights of the potential “coalition” – Sir Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davey – think they can deceive the voter they may pay a heavy price. It has become abundantly clear from their recent blustering interviews when failing to answer the question of a potential coalition that this is exactly what they are thinking and likely talking about.

The electorate must consider the recently-adopted views of Sir Keir Starmer who has produced more flip-flops than those found on a Benidorm beach with particular reference to his pledges made during the Labour leadership election – for example, student university fees and the nationalisation of the utility companies. If the next General Election produces a “hung” Parliament, beware the knights coalition.

Richard Allison, Edinburgh.

An offer that is easy to resist

AS First Minister Humza Yousaf and the leader of the SNP in Westminster, Stephen Flynn, champion a future coalition with Labour to give them power in the Westminster government they once again show their naivety and ignorance of matters political.

An unswerving condition of their support would be a commitment of powers to call for an independence referendum to be transferred to Holyrood which, were they to result in an independent Scotland, would condemn Labour to the back benches in Westminster forever.

Now, just how attractive is that?

Peter Wright, West Kilbride.

Monarchy is the worst

SIR Winston Churchill is claimed to have stated that "democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others".

It could be argued that the same could be said of monarchy.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.

We must plan for migrants

ACCORDING to some media commentators, official figures for the nett legal immigration over 2022 will shortly be announced at about 700,000. We can add to that about 40,000 illegal immigrants coming across the Channel, giving a total figure of around 750,000 last year. To put that in perspective, that is about the population of Glasgow.

Bearing in mind the difficulties facing the country's infrastructure already in providing adequate and affordable housing, education and care by the NHS for the present population of about 70 million, what plans are in place to absorb these huge additional numbers of men, women and children not only right now, but into the future as presumably similar if not greater numbers will be added to the problem each year?

The UK has a proud history of welcoming immigrants and undoubtedly benefits greatly from them in many ways. There appears to be overwhelming public support for this to continue, but pragmatically how can it without practical, detailed and, importantly, well-publicised planning for dealing with such large additional numbers properly to avoid sleepwalking into the potential disaster of civil unrest?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

• THE individual who chose the title of the Illegal Migration Bill either had a sense of humour or didn’t recognise the ambiguity.

Cameron Crawford, Rothesay.