LETTERS : Lost Tories

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The Independent Online
YOUR article "Can Essex man be tempted north of the border?" (22 January) misses the real reason why middle-class Scottish suburbs return Labour MPs. Scotland's greatest export is its people. For decades, hundreds of thousands of our ambitious ha ve leftto seek prosperity abroad and thus a hefty slice of natural Tory support is denied Scotland.

Scotland is over-represented in Westminster by a third, and disproportionately benefits from regional funding by over 20 per cent, which helps support the highest salary levels outside the South-east. Combined with modestly priced housing it results in the UK's highest levels of disposable income. No wonder my canny compatriots somehow balk at every opportunity to increase autonomy.

Ian Maclean Kew, Surrey