Letters: Carrier bag charge can boost charities

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Have your say

Edinburgh’s firms need to get ready for bag levy change when the Carrier Bag Charge (Scotland) Regulations 2014 come into force on October 20.

Small businesses in Edinburgh will have to charge at least 5p for ‘single-use’ bags they give to customers – no matter if the bag is made from paper, plastic or any other material.

Anecdote suggests that some businesses that sell hot food (eg chip shops or takeaways) and high street shops (eg fashion retailers or hardware stores) aren’t as prepared as they should be for the change.

Until recently, all eyes have been on Scotland’s constitutional future and the Federation of Small Businesses are urging those in charge of enforcing the new laws to show some leniency to time-pressed small enterprises.

However, local business owners should get themselves prepared by visiting: www.carrierbagchargescotland.org.uk.

Meanwhile, the Government is encouraging retailers to donate all takings from this charge to charityand Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) is urging retailers in your area to consider their life-saving service as a worthy recipient.

SCAA - Scotland’s first and only charity-funded helicopter air ambulance - has been working steadily since launch last year, flying more than 400 rapid responses to emergencies all across the country.

The highly trained and dedicated crew provide fast and expert emergency care at scene and rapid transfer thereafter to hospitals throughout Scotland for those most in need.

SCAA relies totally on public donations to keep their life-saving service in the air.

Retailers can help us in our vital work by ‘bagging’ some funds through the new levy.

Please consider SCAA when you nominate your charity and help us be there for your customers, your colleagues, your community.

Gordon Henderson, Senior Development Manager, Scotland; Federation of Small Businesses And Fiona Dennis, Community Fundraiser, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

Scots are more pro-Europe than rest of UK

While I agree wholeheartedly with the view of former Brussels official, John Edwards, that an In/Out referendum on UK membership of the EU is inevitable, his view that Scotland is no more pro-European than the rest of the UK is simply not borne out by the facts. Polling evidence consistently shows that when asked the question on UK membership of the EU those in Scotland are more in favour of our continued membership. Over half of those in Scotland want the UK to remain part of the EU according to polls while for the UK as a whole this figure is around a third.

This is further reinforced by the European Parliamentary elections this year which saw UKIP top the polls in the UK with 28% of the vote returning 24 MEPs. In Scotland UKIP came fourth with just over 10% of the vote.

The challenge that we in Scotland face is being dragged out of the European Union against our will in the proposed 2017 referendum due to votes for withdrawal from the rest of the UK. Should such a situation arise, the issue of another referendum on Scottish independence may rear its head.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Church money is here for worthy causes

The financial legacy from the sale of the Adelphi Mission Church/Hall in Portobello is still lying untouched. Portobello Churches Together are custodians of a sum nearing £28,000.

So many years have passed and only one serious attempt to use the money fruitfully. Ecumenically we have one recently rebuilt church in an area which would benefit from our financial input. Hopefully these thoughts will ignite a positive and potentially fruitful response from our community. Ideas?

Bert McCall, John Street, Edinburgh

Holyrood should have less power, not more

There should be fewer powers for Holyrood not more. Respect for politicians is low and the general belief is that they are all in it for personal gain and that they are all the same anyway.

Politicians should not be fooled by the high turnout at the referendum. The voters realised that their votes actually counted on that occasion, which was a feeling not experienced for decades.

I believe a return to something like we had with town and county councils should be aimed for. Councillors were not paid and received only strictly controlled expenses. They stood for election to serve their communities and officials were definitely under the control of and carried out the wishes of the councillors.

The present councils are called local but few know the names of any of the councillors who are supposed to represent them.

There were good side effects with that system as people took the trouble to vote locally, so developed an interest in politics which was carried through to general elections.

Another complaint widely reported in the press is that we now have mainly professional politicians who have never had a proper job and so have no experience of life in the real world and the day to day problems faced by the general public.

This could be solved by preventing anybody under 30 years of age standing at an election as a prospective candidate.

More powers for Holyrood will only put more power into the hands of an elite group and will be no benefit to the rest of us.

William W Scott, St Baldred’s Road, North Berwick,