Scotland cannot afford to ignore its deficit | Letters

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Bob Floyd suspects that Nicola Sturgeon does not actually want an independence referendum at the moment, but has another intention. Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Like George Monbiot (Opinion, 15 March), I was distressed when the leave vote was announced last June. His understanding of Scotland is, however, defective. Perhaps he is unaware that Scotland now has the highest deficit of all the OECD countries. If an iScotland applied to join the EU and was accepted – a big if – it would be required to reduce its 9.5% deficit to something approaching the EU’s rule of 3%. What this would mean in terms of slashing Scotland’s generous public spending levels does not bear thinking about. As things stand, Scotland’s deficit is mitigated by a fiscal transfer from the UK, which allocates £1,700 extra funding per person per year in Scotland, compared with the rest of the UK. That is a union dividend for Scots. Scotland’s trade with the EU is, by value, a quarter of its trade with rUK, and its trade with the EU is flatlining, compared with its trade with both rUK and the rest of the world. Which partner offers more to Scotland?

Certainly, Brexit will bring disadvantages. But Monbiot is irresponsibly urging Scots to choose a pig in a poke. Fortunately, enough Scots are aware that the SNP has no economic case at all. They are also aware of the dishonest and manipulative nature of its operation.
Jill Stephenson
Edinburgh

• I have noticed that the Guardian has printed many times the fallacy that Scotland will be able to choose its own currency if it joins the EU. The euro convergence criteria (also known as the Maastricht criteria) is the criteria which EU member states are required to meet to enter the third stage of the economic and monetary union and they must adopt the euro as their currency. There will be no choice in this matter.
Ian Garner
Keighley, West Yorkshire

• Would it be overly cynical to suggest that Nicola Sturgeon does not actually want an independence referendum at the moment, and what she wants is to have Theresa May block a referendum?
Bob Floyd
Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute

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