IT is not often I find myself in agreement with Michael Fry (Mackay finally gets it right on growth with latest business scheme, January 15) but on this occasion his support for Derek Mackay is justified. The Scottish Growth Scheme and the encouragement of small businesses is vital to securing a sound future for Scotland.

However, there are flaws in the overall approach which should be recognised. Most local authorities encourage small businesses by providing rates rebates or relief, but in recent years the Scottish Government has decided to impose metered water charges which effectively cancel the rebate – giving with one hand and taking away with the other. Roseanna Cunningham excuses this by claiming that, without these charges on small businesses, the large (often global) firms would have to pay more towards the cost of maintaining and improving our water network. This is a timid approach.

Small businesses often work on very tight margins and charges of this kind can make the difference between profit an loss. It is time to review and reverse this policy.

Besides, many of the water firms operate south of the Border and payments are therefore a leakage from the Scottish economy.

Willie Orr

READ MORE: Derek Mackay gets it right with Scottish Government Scottish Growth Scheme​

I WAS astounded to read Robert P Ingram’s remark referencing “the lack of a realistic currency policy” (Long Letter, January 12). I read that again. In fact four of the world’s most eminent economic experts had supplied our White Paper with four eminently realistic currency policies. The Governor of the Bank of England later conceded that the one we had chosen to promote (which included a generous offer to share the UK’s national debt) would have immediately been agreed by rUK as to do otherwise would have seriously weakened sterling.

Therein lies the story. Better Together lied. Whatever currency option we had chosen they would have lied. With control of much of the media they can lie about any position we take on anything. So we got tied up and lost critical momentum arguing about a lie that we had allowed them the opportunity to use. I hope we have learned.

The answer the currency question, part of the scaremongering campaign against us (which may not have come up at all if we hadn’t presented it) was: “There are numerous currency options available to an independent Scotland. Look around the world at the 195 other countries using different options. Are you implying that Scotland is the only country that can’t make a sensible decision on this issue?”

Like lots of other details that so much of our support thinks we have to decide now, this just provides our opponents opportunity to involve us in argument and division.

Do we yet understand that we will win independence by establishing (by comparison with other similar countries, doing more for their people with less) that we are economically viable and painting the picture of a better nation that his allows us to achieve?

The only way they can beat us on that platform is to tell us we are stupid.

Dave McEwan Hill

READ MORE: A Scottish constitution is only worthwhile if we all participate​

AS many people know, the current population of Scotland is around 5.3 million, but the number of people in the world with the surname MacDonald is six million!

I find this statistic staggering. Allowing for the fact that many people – like Ray Croc, the founder of the McDonald’s restaurant chain – have taken on the name for commercial purposes, it is almost unbelievable that the diaspora has exploded to this extent.

Certainly in the late 1940s and 50s more than 40,000 Scots per annum of our fittest and finest, were leaving for Canada, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, but clearly this exodus must have been going on for centuries, and is the most striking confirmation of the disaster of the Treaty of Union. Not many of those who’ve left have returned to the wonderful UK.

How many Camerons, Campbells, MacFarlanes, MacGregors, MacLeods, Grahams, Grants, Bruces and Wallaces have added to the flood?

Surely the people will at last see sense and give Scotland the freedom it deserves, and the chance to rebuild a country bled white of its youth for so long.

Joseph G Miller

LISTENING to the Attorney General for an hour yesterday, my concentration was continually distracted by Scottish Tory MP Andrew Bowie.

He could not have been paying attention but he certainly got on with his work, sending texts and talking over her shoulder to the Prime Minister.

That may not be what he was elected to do at this critical time for Scotland, but it can’t be bad for personal promotion.

Robert Johnston