Letters: It’s value for money that matters most to taxpayers

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Have your say

Do you agree that the privatisation of council services is necessary if it is the cheapest option?

I’ve just read Unison’s John Stevenson’s impassioned letter on the privatisation of waste collection (Interactive, November 10).

You should always remember that his first duty is to look after the interests of his members [the current council employees who collect our refuse], as opposed to the interests of Edinburgh council tax payers.

In principle I have no issues with council employees doing this work, however as an Edinburgh resident, what I am looking for is that my bins be consistently collected as per the published timetable and, as a council tax payer, I obviously have an interest in this costing as little as possible.

Over the last couple of years I have experienced disruption due to industrial action of the council’s employees, so my personal objective hasn’t always been achieved.

And, so far as I am aware, no-one is disputing that privatisation will certainly cost less, meaning that privatisation would achieve my council tax objective.

In short, it shouldn’t matter who empties the bins, so long as the job is done, and then done as cheaply as possible.

Ian Caldwell, Edinburgh

Build foundations to create new jobs

REPORTS that unemployment amongst young people is rising throughout Scotland give serious cause for concern.

One contributing factor is weak performance in the construction industry, which has traditionally employed up to ten per cent of the Scottish workforce.

Scottish construction employment fell by 10,000 during the second quarter of this year.

While the number of individuals successfully completing a modern apprenticeship across all sectors in Scotland increased by 84 per cent over the past year, a recent survey of Scottish Building Federation members shows the number of construction firms recruiting apprentices continues to decline.

The industry’s performance remains shaky for now but the longer-term outlook is very positive, with major opportunities opening up in areas such as renewable energy.

Indeed, without action, we could face a significant skills shortage in the building industry in future years that risks hampering growth in the wider economy.

One key measure for bolstering construction apprentice numbers must be to prioritise additional funding for capital investment to build schools, homes and other infrastructure.

That will give more building firms the confidence to recruit additional apprentices, secure in the knowledge they have work to offer them, and the longer-term prospects of a rewarding career.

Michael Levack, chief executive, Scottish Building Federation, Crichton’s Close, Holyrood

Policy is let city people have say

I DO welcome Gina Davidson’s early interest in next year’s local elections (News, November 10) and hope that the Evening News will continue to focus on the upcoming poll, which is now less than 25 weeks away.

I also fully accept the point that Gina makes about the draft manifesto document we launched last week, entitled Moving Edinburgh Forward, when she argues that it needs more “flesh on the bone”.

The document is, after all, a draft for consultation and, yes, we’ve published it a full six months out from next May in a genuine attempt to generate a debate about the core principles within the draft.

But within the document we’ve also been very explicit that we want to hear what the Edinburgh public thinks of these ideas and whether there are other ideas that residents feel should be included in our final manifesto.

Andrew Burns, leader, Labour group, Edinburgh City Council

Family must pay for its wedding

SO, it cost £400,000 to police Zara Phillips’ wedding. Correct me if I’m wrong, but were we not told that this was a private family affair?

This was not a Scottish royal wedding, so the couple’s parents should foot the policing bill, not the Scottish public.

Mary Coombs, Edinburgh