Letters: EU membership is crucial for businesses

Whisky is one many important Scottish exports. Picture: PA
Whisky is one many important Scottish exports. Picture: PA
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I noticed with concern the comments by Graeme Macdonald, chief executive officer of JCB, that quitting the EU would not make any difference to the UK’s trade with the rest of Europe.

The EU is the largest single market in the world with a population of 500 million and its economy is seven times the size of the UK economy.

For Scotland, where trade accounts for a larger proportion of the economy than is the case for the UK as a whole, our continued membership of the European Union clearly provides the easiest access to markets.

Indeed, just under half of our international exports are destined for countries within the European Union, with an estimated value of £12.9 billion.

It is more than likely that outwith the EU companies such as JCB would continue to sell their products worldwide. However, the UK’s ability to access international markets as a result of trade agreements made at EU level, as well as bilateral agreements, would be substantially reduced and our companies would potentially face tariffs over which they would have limited influence.

The UK is more successful being part of a larger trading block, with the ability to directly influence the direction of travel and as a home for inward investment than outside the tent with a fraction of the ability to influence key economic decisions.

Dan Macdonald, Founder, N-56, George Street, Edinburgh

Hearts must not abandon heritage

Hearts should not move from Tynecastle, with more than 120 years of club history spent there. Even the idea of demolishing the old 1914 stand is saddening.

That stand is one of the last intact football buildings of Archibald Leitch, the famous Scottish football architect who designed football stadia throughout these islands. It is a listed building and if possible should be retained in some way.

If Hearts leave Tynecastle or demolish the old stand, they will be throwing away some part of their heritage.

Gus Logan, York Road, North Berwick

Is Faslane security scare a red herring?

Whenever a new president of America is elected, Russia or China fabricate a crisis to test his mettle.

Pardon my cynicism, but on the eve of members taking their seats at Westminster we have the story breaking of the hazards of the nuclear base at Faslane.

It couldn’t have been timed better for the SNP. I do hope there will be a forensic examination of the so-called whistleblower’s leanings, so that the true issues behind this affair will be revealed.

Donald Lewis, Gifford, East Lothian

Non-Profit Distributing system is still private

In a recent letter to the News, (May 15) Jim Hill blamed Labour for the PFI project at the Royal Infirmary.

This was, of course, a project set up by the Conservatives and was a very poor early version of PFI. When Labour came to power it started using the Public Private Partnership method that delivered more controls over the profits made when building schools and hospitals.

The SNP then introduced the NPD method – but this too uses private companies to build public facilities akin to a mortgage. So please, Mr Hill, try not to believe all the SNP propaganda you hear.

Michelle Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh

Nicola is clear on indy referendum message

Everyone is entitled to express their views in writing, but is it really necessary to invent facts? Mrs Muir (letters, May 18) accuses Nicola Sturgeon of keeping on about ‘having another referendum’ which is diametrically opposite to the truth.

Throughout the recent election campaign Ms Sturgeon repeated on radio, television and in the press almost ad-infinitum that she had no plans for a further referendum.

It was probably this fact which made the Scottish people vote for her party in overwhelming and unprecedented numbers.

D McBain, address supplied

SNP leads the way on anti-austerity fight

With the Labour party south of the Border leaderless and Jim Murphy in Scotland set to stand down next month, it is clear that it will be the SNP and its 56-strong group of MPs who have the moral imperative to provide robust and effective opposition to the Tories, not only in Scotland but across the UK.

Labour has failed to develop a strong alternative to the Tory agenda in a range of areas – including austerity, the economy, the welfare state and Europe, the issues that look set to be at the forefront of business in the new House of Commons.

The SNP, by contrast, has a powerful manifesto mandate to oppose austerity, propose investment in job-creation, speak out against cuts in benefits for disabled people and insist that the UK cannot leave the European Union unless all four of its constituent parts agree.

Effective SNP opposition to the Tories will not only be good for Scotland, but leading this progressive alternative will also be to the benefit of people throughout the UK. And that first test will come with scandalous Tory proposals to replace the Human Rights Act with a Bill of Rights.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh