LIKE many readers I was pleased to see that Scotland’s population, overall, is showing a modest increase over the past ten years since the last census in 2011, now recorded at 5,436,600.

Of more concern was the statement that “Scotland has an ageing population”, with more than one million of our people now over the age of 65.

Your report also highlighted that this was in stark contrast to young people under the age of 15, who only accounted for 832,300 of our citizens in 2022.

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This was further emphasised by comparison with equivalent figures from 1971, when that younger age group was twice that of the over-65s.

Now, it is good news that we are all living longer. As someone in the over-65 age group myself, what is not to like about living longer and healthier?

Nothing at all, however we do need to be concerned. This younger age group, the under-15s, is the age group of independence, the citizens to whom we hope to bequeath a better future in an independent state. Hopefully this can be addressed by the excellent initiative of Shirley-Anne Somerville to further increase the Scottish Child Payment beyond the current level of £25 per child per week.

We certainly need to encourage larger and healthier families for the new Scotland we aspire to create. These statistics strengthen her case.

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Looking to the other end of the spectrum, that of the over-65 age group, there is a critical factor that is never mentioned, never mind addressed.

I live in the Isle of Skye, and my wife sold new-build houses here over many years until her retirement. 90% percent of the purchasers were retirees from England. Indeed, the population of Skye today is considered as in excess of 30% English migrants, almost all retirees.

One could say they are “escaping England” and certainly welcome the benefits provided by the Scottish Government.

In 1971 I was living in the equally beautiful south-west Scotland, Galloway and Dumfries-shire.

I still have contacts in that region and they tell me it is exactly the same there.

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I have no issue with this migration, it is understandable, and they have disposable wealth which provides many jobs.

It would be welcome if more of these arrivals were inclined to support Scottish independence, indeed logic would expect them to do so – after all, why leave England unless you see a better life for yourself in Scotland under an SNP Scottish Government?

This of course wasn’t the case in 2014 when, according to research published by the Daily Record on March 26 2015, 72% of people from elsewhere in the UK voted for the Union and against the majority of Scots who voted for Yes.

Let’s hope we can change that dismal lack of endorsement before the next vote, however that is defined.

I know English Scots for Independence did a great job in 2014 and I fondly remember joining their stall in Leith Walk.

Propaganda alert – with these latest figures we can now all look forward to Unionists, individuals and particularly the media, first and foremost BBC Scotland, presenting this “demographic timebomb” as a uniquely Scottish problem, one that implies we are ever more needing to hold out a begging bowl to London to meet the healthcare and associated costs of our “ageing population”.

The point is it is not “our” ageing population as such.

Perhaps we should consider a levy on the UK whereby the Barnett Formula has a compensating addition of funding to be added for each retiree moving into Scotland. Or is this a very “un-British” idea?

Ian Stewart
Uig, Isle of Skye