Letters: Independence will cost Scots £300m EU rebate

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The SNP continues to claim that Scotland will enter Europe seamlessly using clause 48 of the Treaty of Union and will automatically inherit the opt-outs and other concessions currently enjoyed by the UK.

Evidence given to a Scottish Select Affairs Committee on independence at Westminster by Professor Armstrong of the Department of European Law at Cambridge University and statements from the president and vice president of the EU strongly contradict this.

Clause 48 is for treaty amendments, not for the accession of a new member state, which Scotland would be. The route would almost certainly be clause 49, which is the accession route for new members.

All 35 chapters of the Treaty would have to be negotiated and unanimously ratified by all other 28 members. Not only would Scotland be most unlikely to negotiate the terms which other members don’t have, but once out of the EU on the day of independence they would not be eligible to receive a share of the rebate.

It is not within the rest of the UK’s gift to pass on a share of the rebate to a country which is either not a member or is a member in its own right. The rebate would be recalculated on the basis of the rest of the UK’s status and constitution.

The rebate is worth about £3.2 billion per annum with Scotland receiving about £300 million.

The UK gets a rebate of 66 per cent of its contributions paid for by the other member states. Not only will Scotland not be able to negotiate a rebate, given the level of animosity there is against the UK’s rebate, it would in fact itself be required to contribute to the UK’s rebate.

Donald Lewis, Beech Hill, Gifford, East Lothian

Hearts boss Gary is a classy commentator

congratulations to Anthony Brown for his sports comment piece on Gary Locke (News, April 29).

May I add an observation which has impressed me beyond Locke’s obvious capabilities as a maturing football coach at Hearts.

Every post-match interview he has fielded has come over on my radio as dignified, thoughtful and courteous.

I’ve been putting my ‘widow’s mite’ into the Foundation of Hearts pot for some months now and want to ‘vote Gary’.

Douglas Bain, Oxgangs Drive, Edinburgh

Mobility scooter tram ban is a big insult

IT is disgraceful that mobility scooters are to be banned from the trams as they are deemed to take up too much space (News, April 28).

Disability campaigners are right to hit out at the ban, labelling it outright discrimination, which is outrageous.

Many disabled people have to use a mobility scooter to help them get around.

To ban them is grossly wrong and unfair to the disabled and tram bosses should be ashamed of themselves for imposing it on the most vulnerable.

Mrs June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh

Still paying a high price for Iraq invasion

A SUICIDE bomb at a rally in the town of Khanaqin in north east Iraq has killed 30 people and injured at least 50 others.

Yes, Mr Blair and Mr Bush, your masterplan has worked a treat hasn’t it?

But at least you get access to the oil supplies, which was the whole point of your invasion in the first place, wasn’t it?

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar

Hammond’s views smack of hypocrisy

YET another Tory public schoolboy arrives in town, spreading doom and gloom to anyone daft enough to listen. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond tells us that thousands of jobs could be lost if Scotland votes for independence.

This scaremongering nonsense, which is all they have to offer, shows the English parties are becoming desperate.

What he did not say was that he awarded South Korean company Daewoo orders for four fuel tankers costing £452 million.

This is the same man who destroyed our Scottish regiments like the Black Watch, the Gordons, the Royal Scots KOSBs and many more.

He is now doing the same to the Navy which is now too small to protect Britain. The Royal Navy has 260 captains for 19 warships.

Paul Warns, East Fettes Avenue, Edinburgh

English do not know what’s best for us

Edward Billingham is being very hypocritical by criticising Scots for showing a lack of respect for English politicians (Letters, May 1) and then does exactly the same thing himself by showing a lack of respect for Scottish politicians by calling them “cut rate” and suggesting that they “would struggle to run a county council let alone an independent country”.

He also describes the parliament as a “ridiculous failed experiment”. That is certainly not the view of the vast majority of Scots, but as he believes that the opinions of the Westminster cabinet outweigh those of Holyrood politicians, perhaps he also thinks that the views of the English outweigh those of the Scots.

John Blyth, Magdalene Avenue, Edinburgh