Readers' letters: Brexit is proving an act of self-harm

Next year is going to be a tough year for the UK economy, sleepwalking into recession and delivering the worst economic performance of all G7 countries, with Brexit a fundamental cause of this.

Further evidence, if any were needed, of the damaging impact of Brexit, is the recent research by the Centre for Business Prosperity at Aston University.

This has found that withdrawal from the European Union (EU) and the introduction of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement has resulted in a 22.9 per cent slump in UK exports.

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According to this research, the UK has also experienced a significant contraction in the variety of goods being exported to the EU, with an estimated loss of 42 per cent of product varieties.

This considerable contraction of the UK trade capacity, combined with an increased concentration of export values to fewer products, signifies some serious long-term concerns about the UK’s future exporting and productivity.

It is yet another example, to add to the growing list, of Brexit being one of the greatest acts of economic self-harm by a nation and is a perfect case of where turkeys have indeed voted for Christmas.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

Murray’s cpmplaints are anti-Scottish

A staggering one in five people in Wales are on an NHS waiting list but I don’t hear Ian Murray calling for Labour’s health secretary Eluned Morgan to resign (News, 1 December).

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She presides over a far worse situation than in Scotland where we have the best performing health service in the UK with more GPs per head and shorter waiting times than in England or Wales.

Increased demand and Covid backlogs have contributed to NHS problems throughout the UK and this is not helped by staff shortages in all care settings and recruitment problems due to Brexit.

Labour supports Brexit, while Sir Keir Starmer thinks there are too many foreigners in our health service and has committed to the use of private provision for the NHS in England.

The NHS has been underfunded by the Tories at Westminster which impacts on Scotland’s block grant and while the NHS has to modernise this needs extra taxation.

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In November the Health Foundation published data showing that per head the UK spent on average £40 billion a year less on health than the EU average.

This is the equivalent of £4 billion a year less for Scotland’s NHS as part of the UK when, rather than facing recession, with independence we could match the economic growth of Norway, Denmark and Ireland with the bonus of an even better health service.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh

Blackford still has Sturgeon’s backing

As Ian Blackford resigns as SNP Westminster leader, we learn he's been offered and accepted a new role at the centre of the SNP's independence campaign - an appointment surely made by Nicola Sturgeon or with her blessing.

Blackford was, of course, at the centre of the scandal surrounding SNP MP Patrick Grady, suspended for sexual misconduct and yet who Blackford insisted SNP MPs must give 'absolute full support'.

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At the time Sturgeon claimed she believed Blackford's call for support was 'unacceptable'. Yet Blackford is now going to be front and centre of SNP efforts to separate Scotland from the rest of the UK - a mission that Sturgeon admits for her 'transcends everything'.

Martin Redfern, Melrose

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