IT is striking to note UK Government proposals to end EU free movement rights as soon as the UK leaves the bloc in 2019. New rules would require EU nationals to seek permission before taking up a job, making employers recruit locally first.

The impact of such a policy on Scotland will be devastating and it is no wonder that a plethora of major organisations have lined up to roundly condemn these proposals.

There is clear evidence that Scotland’s future economic health, key services such as the NHS, the strength of our key institutions such as our universities, and our future public finances depend on the maintenance of the ability of EU nationals to work and study freely in Scotland.

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While the amount of pensioners in Scotland is expected to rise by 28 per cent over the next 25 years, worker numbers are only increasing by one percent. We therefore face an ageing population, but only marginal growth in the working-age population. Scotland needs immigrants to balance this out and these reckless proposals will be absolutely devastating.

In the run-up to the EU referendum senior figures in the Leave campaign, such as Michael Gove, promised increased powers over immigration would come to Scotland should the UK vote to leave the EU. These pledges, like many others that were made in that campaign, have been predictably quickly forgotten.

Scotland desperately need an immigration system that caters to the challenges we as a nation face, not one that shuts the door to much-needed talent.

Alex Orr
Edinburgh

I WAS amazed to read this morning that the EU negotiators are preparing to work on giving Northern Ireland a special deal in the Brexit negotiations. Much as I agree with this sentiment, as it seems the only way that the cross-border shambles can be sorted out, I am disappointed that no mention is given to Scotland and the very special needs that we have as well.

I think Scotland has special needs that are in every respect as important as Northern Ireland, not in a security aspect but, rather, our needs for immigrant movement and labour, not to mention the fact that we voted resoundingly in favour of remaining loyal to the EU and have consistently tried to alter or halt the whole fiasco.

I would have thought this would have counted for something. If it is all about cross-border security and a solution is found, then why can’t they find a place for Scotland to remain in the EU and have special border arrangement with England?

It may be Michel Barnier is setting a precedent which can be used in our favour at a later date to let gullible Davis wander into it. I would hope he will remember who his friends are in this whole shambles. It certainly isn’t Del Boy Davis or any of his posse, as they are devoid of all credibility, and would sell their grandmothers if it suited the Brexit cause.

At this moment in time it is all conjecture, with the EU team trying desperately to get May and Co to focus on the enormity of the task, and it seems that even now, as the Brexit dyke is springing more leaks daily, they hope that there will come a tipping point when the dyke breaks and the rest of the UK public finally wakens up to the fact that in their desire for leaving what is a very secure and productive union, the full horror of the final destination becomes crystal clear and there is a deafening clamour to change the outcome and remain after all. Don’t hold your breath on that one though!

Ade Hegney
Helensburgh

DEVOLVED income-tax-raising powers for the Scottish Government was always going to be a “poisoned chalice”. Increasing income tax on middle earners will undoubtedly convince many in that category to vote Tory at the next election. If the government doesn’t raise taxes it may lead to withdrawal of support by the Greens. This puts the SNP into a lose/lose position.

Mike Underwood
Linlithgow

LOVINA Roe should do a wee bit of research before praising Elizabeth Windsor’s second-generation Scottishness.

Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, her mother, was born in London; besides, there is a sight more to being Scottish than where you were born.

Les Hunter
Lanark