THE MP for Berwickshire Roxburgh & Selkirk secured a debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday regarding the “devolution of welfare” to the Scottish Parliament. This was a first – not a first for a debate on devolved welfare, but a first for John Lamont MP speaking on welfare.

This was a rather heated debate on a very serious issue affecting millions in Scotland. But perhaps it is worth bearing in mind that only 14% of welfare spend in Scotland is being devolved.

Conservative speaker after speaker made no mention of those dependant on those devolved benefits, or those suffering the consequences of the roll-out of Universal Credit, or the increased use of food banks.Their only aim in this debate was to score political points over the Scottish Government’s delay to introducing the devolved welfare powers.

No Conservative MP mentioned the £37 billion cuts in welfare since 2010, £3.7bn in Scotland, or the current benefit freeze.

Unfortunately for John Lamont MP, his attempt to discredit the Scottish Government’s mitigating measures to Westminster’s welfare cuts heard no mention of the introduction of the Scottish Welfare Fund, a fund which has been accessed by more than 300,000 households in need of crisis loans, or the Scottish Governments increase in Carer’s Allowance (a devolved benefit), putting them on the same level as Jobseeker’s Allowance.

This debate was viewed for what it truly was – an attempt to score political points with absolutely no concern for those dependant on welfare.

Catriona C Clark

I CANNOT agree with Andy Doig and others who say that currency was a weak point in the campaign and possibly the reason why the indy referendum was lost in 2014 (Letters, April 8). Polls about a week prior to the referendum showed Yes on about 55%; this caused panic at Westminster and among desperate Unionists and resulted in the infamous Vow. The promises made were enough to swing back those not fully committed to independence. The currency question was not the reason for failure.

I was very active during the campaign and was comfortable with the shared currency option proposal to start with and sterlingisation as a back-up option; it was clear to me that no matter which of the five currency options given in the White Paper had been proposed it would have been subject to sustained attack by our opponents. Later it was admitted that a shared currency could have worked perfectly well.

My concern is that this continual focus now on the currency issue is simply wallowing in our opponents’ comfort area; they will be happy if the argument never gets beyond this.

The over-arching position that must be made is that “independence is normal” – a very difficult statement to refute. And this is where we must ensure that argument and discussion is always centered – for instance, on currency a simple statement is sufficient that a rich independent Scotland will continue to use the pound until the time is right to move to our own currency (only a minority of voters will be interested in how this is actually implemented). Always bring back the discussion to the normality of independence. Use “independence is normal” on every possible occasion. When this starts to get through – even if subconsciously – to the doubters, the battle is won.

Tom Crozier

I NOTE that Andrew Wilson is reported to have told the BBC that “money doesn’t drop out of a tree”. Well of course most of us know that.

However, perhaps he could tell us about what the American economist Yalman Onaran calls “phantom money” or what Mervyn King calls “alchemy”, which is a process whereby big neo-liberal banks, such as RBS, create money out of nothing – or is Andrew not aware of this?

It is, after all, pretty close to money dropping out of certain trees.

Andy Anderson

I AM no economist, but wouldn’t we be using a new Scots pound AND Sterling for some time post indy? That is that both currencies would run along side each other. Mortgages and pensions are in sterling and I assume any change here would take time. Otherwise would we not use any Scots currency?

Andrew Wilson’s Growth Report suggests six tests before introducing a Scots currency – I would think this would be hard to sell on the doorstep. Economics, like any art form, is a two way process and craft. Scotland would need to build confidence by offering stable policies and strong economic institutions.

On Brexit – surely there is no solution, that’s the real problem here! Some are going to be disappointed, there is no denying, its just a question of who that will be. Its either a fudge Brexit, of neither in or out, or one of reform that changes the structure of this clearly failing United Kingdom. That’s my view.

Confidence helps the economy and we should therefore introduce a Scots pound right away in my view. No voters or those on the fence may well say – what’s the point of indy if there is little change? Why bother. What’s indy really for? Surely Scottish independence and a Scots currency is about having control of our own resources and unique concerns. Any Scots currency is a vital part of this.

Name and address supplied

I’D like to congratulate Craigmount High School, Edinburgh, on their victory in the inter-schools debating competition, beating two of the UK’s most prestigious public schools, Eton and Dulwich college, in the process. Training pupils to analyse arguments, present their case and muster the facts that support it seems alive and well in Scottish schools.

Perhaps the winners should be employed by the BBC to give our politicians a real workout and force them to justify their views, instead of allowing them to hide behind cliched soundbites.

Pete Rowberry

ARCHIE Drummond (Letters, April 10) ought to realise that it is a poor argument in favour of a proposition to state that Christians are against it, just as it is a poor argument against it to say that atheists are for it. Let the argument stand on its own feet.

John Kelly