Letters: Inquiry must focus on the origins of the tram fiasco

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Any inquiry being set up has to ask the question, “Why did the trams project start in the first place?” especially as the business case does not stack up.

Who promoted the project and who exactly produced the business case to convince others on the merits of having a tram?

The follow-on to these questions must be an in-depth inquiry into the competence of officials at TIE not forgetting our politicians at local and national level!

We are in danger of focusing on the incompetence element rather than why it all started in the first place. There is an obligation to do so to avoid any repeat.

The project when operational has been linked to Lothian Buses, with the company to act as a bail-out vehicle for the annual losses.

I suggest that to counteract some of this cost we claim back through the legal system the amounts of cash paid out to those who ran away and left us all in this position.

Peter Sargent, former employee director, Lothian Buses

Throwing money at bankers is mad

THE latest £75 billion of quantitative easing will yet again see money put into the coffers of banks and do little to boost the economy, in fact it will only serve to further weaken it.

The last round of quantitative easing, amounting to £200bn, didn’t work, with the banks hoarding the money, resulting in inflation increasing to five per cent which eroded savings, pensions and salaries.

This in turn has led to the UK having one of the lowest growth rates in the OECD and one of the highest fiscal deficits.

Throwing more money at those very bankers responsible for the crisis is folly, and instead of paying money to the banks, putting it in the pockets of those on lower incomes through VAT rebates, interest free loans, home improvement loans and the like will see money get into the system and boost economic activity.

We should also look at nationalising the banks completely, using them to set up smaller, more responsible banks, with a remit to lend to industry rather than speculate on the markets.

The UK Government may be looking to help the economy, but its actions are only serving to further damage it.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Plenty of gas left for the future

JENNY Mollison may be right about the SNP’s green credentials (Interactive, October 8) but she is wrong in several respects about the proposed replacement of Cockenzie power station.

All fossil fuels are theoretically finite, but gas reserves are very large and unlikely to be exhausted in the foreseeable future. The advantage of burning gas is that it contains only about half the CO2 of coal with the same energy content.

So switching to gas at Cockenzie will reduce Scotland’s CO2 emissions. Also, gas can be burned more efficiently than coal, especially in gas turbines where energy is also extracted from the exhaust gases.

Steuart Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Lower wage, but not a lesser job

WE write to express our disappointment at the article “The minimum wage conceals a lot of dirt” (News, October 3).

NHS Lothian was one of the first health boards in Scotland to introduce its own minimum wage for employees which was actually higher than the rate set by the government.

Not only that but we were the first health board to put the Living Wage in place to the extent that agency staff who work for us through private contractors are also on a Living Wage. Not all organisations in Scotland can claim to have been so proactive in ensuring a proper wage for their employees.

Helen Martin’s insinuation that “agency staff or cleaners on the minimum wage” do a lesser job than somebody paid more money is insulting.

If Ms Martin is suggesting that staff paid at the lower end of the scale do not put in the effort she does not know many NHS Lothian employees.

Alan Boyter, director of human resources; Eddie Egan, employee director, NHS Lothian