Scotland survives despite UK ‘help’ - your views

" Since 2010, Scotland has suffered from Tory austerity and the resultant cuts to the Scottish budget”

Monday, 19th April 2021, 7:00 am

Scotland survives despite UK ‘help’

Ian Murray (Opinion 15 April) knows that over the past year Nicola Sturgeon has been focused on tackling the Covid pandemic and Scotland’s economic recovery.

Thanks to our much better resourced NHS and her measured leadership, Scotland has a superior Covid record than that of England and Labour-run Wales.

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During the last Labour UK government, the gap between the richest and poorest widened under the fiscal policies of Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor Alastair Darling.

Since 2010, Scotland has suffered from Tory austerity and the resultant cuts to the Scottish budget by Westminster.

On 21 July 2015 now Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Ian Murray merely abstained in a vote on the Tory government's £12 billion cuts to welfare spending, which meant the Scottish government had to use scarce resources mitigating the worst aspects of the draconian Tory polices that increased child poverty, which is the main cause of the lack of attainment in education.

That won’t bother Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, as he chose to send his kids to an expensive, fee-paying school rather than to a school run by the then Labour council in Glasgow.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh.

SNP mandate must be more decisive

In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election the SNP and Greens got 45% of the constituency votes and 69 seats, enough to form a government and spend the next five years arguing for referendum which they never got, because, with a 55% turnout that means only 1.3m out of Scotland's 4.3m registered voters voted for the parties who want independence.

This year they are predicted to get 53% of the votes and 81 seats between them, and if Alex Salmond's Alba party succeeds, they could get 70% of the seats, 90 MSPs and a "Supermajority". But if the turnout is the same that means only three in every ten voters has voted for them.

How can that be a mandate for a referendum to break up the UK and the most successful economic, political, cultural and secure union in history?

All it is, is an excuse to keep banging in about something that people don't want and waste five more years not fixing Scotland's problems.

Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Nicola’s manifesto relies on UK cash

So Nicola Sturgeon, if the SNP manifesto is to be believed, intends to increase NHS spending by many additional billions of pounds over the next few years - yet while freezing income tax.

Those in Scotland, who don't believe Ms Sturgeon walks on water, could surely be forgiven for asking how this miracle will be performed?

We learnt recently from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that spending on public services in Scotland is 30% higher than in England, largely as a consequence of the vagaries of Westminster's Barnett formula.

Of course, if Westminster increases NHS spending in England, as it promises to do, then Scotland will benefit, again via the Barnett formula.

However, the nationalist leader intends to secure independence over the coming years. So no longer will we benefit from the generosity of the Barnett formula - and thus surely no growing and much-needed additional post-pandemic NHS expenditure.

That is, and despite Ms Sturgeon's assurances, unless Scotland’s 2.5 million taxpayers have very deep pockets.

Martin Redfern, Melrose.