Letters: Call to delay ScotRail franchise retendering

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IAM backing a call by Scottish Labour MPs, MSPs and the rail union, the RMT, for the retendering of the ScotRail and Caledonian sleeper franchises to be postponed in the light of the timetable for the devolution of new powers to the Scottish Parliament, which has now been published.

I AM backing a call by Scottish Labour MPs, MSPs and the rail union, the RMT, for the retendering of the ScotRail and Caledonian sleeper franchises to be postponed in the light of the timetable for the devolution of new powers to the Scottish Parliament, which has now been published.

Gordon Brown has proposed that the new devolved powers should include further devolution of powers over rail transport.

The Government is to publish the proposals of each of the three main UK parties by October 30 and the Scottish people, civil society in Scotland and the Scottish Parliament will then be consulted on them.

But a decision on the company to operate the ScotRail franchise is due to be announced this month, with the franchise to start in April 2015 and to run for the next ten years.

Postponing the retendering would mean that once the powers are devolved, the Scottish Government will be free to decide whether it wishes to run rail services in the public sector rather than continuing with privatisation.

The new powers should enable the Scottish people to make a real choice about the kind of society we are and, on rail as on other issues, the Scottish Government should not make that decision for us before we are able to.

Mark Lazarowicz MP, Edinburgh North and Leith

Campaign to boost Marie Curie funds

On the weekend on the 11 and 12 of October, staff from Superdrug stores across the country will be transforming them into a ghoulie Halloween paradise, in the name of raising money for Marie Curie, Superdrug’s official charity partner.

Staff are encouraging people to come along and support the charity by purchasing exclusive Superdrug daffodil pin badges, popping spare change into collection buckets or buying some special edition Superdrug Marie Curie products as well as getting involved in lots of family fun.

To date, Superdrug staff and customers have raised a phenomenal £600,000 for Marie Curie, with the aim of raising £750,000 by the end of the year. The money raised so far is enough to fund 32 Marie Curie nurses for an entire year.

All the money raised will help Marie Curie care for more people living with terminal illness across the UK, as well as providing essential emotional support for loved ones.

Fabian French, Director of Fundraising, Marie Curie

Tax dodgers should not receive amnesty

Easy for Alex Salmond to announce an amnesty for the Poll Tax dodgers. It doesn’t cost him a penny and won’t interfere with his policy of controlling everything from the centre. As usual, it is the local councils who suffer.

Most of those debtors were perfectly capable of finding the money, so why should they escape when the rest of us, who hated the Poll Tax just as much, paid it because we realised the importance of local services?

Henry L Philip, Grange Loan, Edinburgh

No losers in the independence vote

Were there winners and losers in the recent referendum? To my mind, no one lost. Common sense and pragmatism overcame emotions of the heart.

The Scottish nation as a whole has won, over the arrogance of the privileged politicians at Westminster.

I agree that for centuries Scotland was treated by Westminster not as an equal partner of the union, but more a costly burden to be tolerated.

The referendum result still made history. The union will never be the same, big changes are about to take place for the good of all. Scotland has been give worldwide publicity money couldn’t buy and can only help promote our exports, encourage investment and improve tourism.

Westminster now must dare not to renege on their pledge for maximum devolution, otherwise it would lead to another referendum and a ‘Yes’ vote next time around would be very likely,. The loss of international respect and integrity would be severely damaging to the UK’s image.

I think it was Gordon Brown who swung the vote at the 11th hour. He is to be congratulated for his sterling effort at getting over the message in a genuine and fervent way.

Perhaps the next step in the reformation of how government operates in this country should be a federal system, the dilution of Westminster powers and the cancelling of the London influence.

More local powers should be disbursed to the people in all corners of the UK and issues of national defence and international affairs should be decided collectively at Westminster.

Now let’s sort out what powers we can squeeze from Westminster while the eyes of the world is still upon us, and repair the acrimony this unfortunate political debacle created.

Frank Ferri, Newhaven Main Street, Edinburgh

Scots should join the fight against London

Many Scots object to the dominance of London and its elites. Far from running away from the problem they should join forces with millions of English, Welsh and Irish who think the same.

Various solutions could be considered, a capital rotating between the capitals of each home country or a more centrally located capital.

It would help if road and rail connectivity within Wales, the North and the Midlands were improved.

Plans are being made to improve London’s services and solve its problems. That will only feed its growth.

JF Lambert, Liverpool