In a letter to the East Lothian Courier, Association Chairman Tim Jackson says it's time that George Kerevan MP and his SNP colleagues started concentrating on the day job.
"In his column ‘Time for us to think big’ (East Lothian Courier. 20 Oct), George Kerevan MP asks how more jobs can be created in East Lothian due to the effect of Brexit on the economy.
"Since the SNP came to power, job growth in Scotland has been the lowest in the UK with a rise of just 2.6%. This is half that in Northern Ireland, Wales and most of England. Its' employment rate is also lower than the rest of Great Britain. Admittedly, there has been a recent fall in Scottish unemployment but, unlike the rest of the UK, overall levels of employment in Scotland have fallen and economic inactivity is rising, as has the number of those claiming benefits.
"Moreover, whilst there has been some improvement in Scotland’s economic growth over the past three months, Scotland continues to lag behind the rest of the UK, i.e. 0.4% compared to 0.7%. and, for the past year, Scotland’s economy grew at just a third of the rate of the UK’s, i.e. 0.7 % compared to 2.1%.
"Brexit can not be blamed as all the pre-Brexit figures have shown that Scotland is lagging behind the UK in every single year since the SNP came to power. Also, the uncertainty of Brexit is not solved by piling on the repeated uncertainty of an Independence Referendum nor when Scotland is now the highest-taxed part of the United Kingdom.
"Disturbingly, the difference between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom will become even worse next year with Scotland’s divergence of Income tax rates, combined with the introduction of the Scottish Government’s proposed centralising discriminatory levy of extra Council tax charges. This is hardly likely to make Scotland a place where companies or individuals, with such a choice, will want to invest, to provide jobs or to work.
"So the answer to George Kerevan is that vital investment and jobs will only be delivered to East Lothian, not least for those who will be living in the 10,500 new houses earmarked for East Lothian by the SNP Government, when the uncertainty surrounding a further Independence Referendum and its high tax regime, compared to the rest of the UK, is removed.
"For the good of East Lothian, he and his SNP colleagues should therefore start concentrating on the day job rather than their divisive obsession with independence."