Letters: Housing crisis means every empty home is a waste

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You give Edinburgh City Council far too much credit on empty homes (leader, February 29).

Four years ago the council passed a motion from me requiring it to report annually on private empty homes and to take action as a result.

Over that period we have seen from the council utter complacency and indifference to the problem. The number of long-term empty homes has grown by a shocking 64 per cent.

The council is one of only a handful of local authorities not to sign up to the national Report Empty Homes website, which allows members of the public to alert the council to properties lying vacant.

Only now is the council saying it will use council tax records to write to empty home owners, wrongly claiming it needed legal permission.

Added to this is the problem of developments such as Springside at Fountainbridge, which avoids liability for council tax as it has been left just short of completion.

Every single empty home is waste in a city with such a housing crisis. Empty property can attract vandalism, arson and bring down entire neighbourhoods. The council’s record is shameful and it needs to get serious about it.

Cllr Steve Burgess, Green Group of Councillors

Global warming comes from Clegg

BRITAIN produces only two per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide, yet Nick Clegg wants us to be the leaders in carbon reduction because of his deep concern over global warming.

Thanks to the lovely, roasting weather we don’t get here in Britain, the only hot air that we are going to be suffering from any time soon is the tripe that never stops coming out of Nick Clegg’s mouth every time he speaks.

Alan Lough, Dunbar, East Lothian

More needs done with child care

GINA Davidson’s article (Don’t punish us for having kids, News, March 1) laid out the stark reality for so many parents across Edinburgh struggling to pay for child care.

She is also correct to point out that many others are forced to give up or turn down work, such is the crippling cost of child care in Edinburgh.

It’s an issue that deserves to be a political priority, and I very much agree with the Daycare Trust that the Scottish Government could be doing more.

Cllr Paul Godzik, Labour spokesperson for education, children & families

Barriers exist only in the mind

IT was bemusing to read the bizarre comments of Otto Inglis that with different policies operating on issues, such as alcohol pricing, there would be a need for border controls (Letters, February 29).

As Scotland and England have different legal systems, we already have a raft of different policies on issues.

The smoking ban was introduced in Scotland in 2006, followed by England.

There was no requirement for border controls on an issue such as this. The Scottish Government is looking to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol, and this will hardly come unstuck without border controls.

Mr Inglis seems fixated on putting up borders, despite the fact that Scotland and England already function with different legislative frameworks, and one can travel across most of Europe, whose nations in some instances operate dramatically different policies on matters, without being subject to border controls.

The only barriers being put up are those by Mr Inglis in his mind. The world has moved on from the brand of narrow nationalism he advocates.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Where does truth lie over appeal?

KENNY MacAskill says that he didn’t urge the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing to drop his appeal to smooth the way for his compassionate release whilst Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi says that he did. They can’t both be telling the truth.

Bearing in mind that one of them is a dying man wrongly convicted of mass murder and the other is a respected Scottish politician and upstanding member of the legal profession which secured his conviction, I know who I believe!

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh