Letters: Lazarowicz must get his priorities on right track

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Mark Lazarowicz MP is wrong when he claims that an early start to HS2 will benefit Scotland (Letters, March 21).

On the contrary the best thing to do is to cancel the whole project.

Estimates of HS2’s cost range from the UK Government’s £43 billion to the well-respected Institute of Economic Affairs’ £80 billion.

Every penny of that huge sum will have to be borrowed by a country that is already deep in debt and living beyond its means.

The first phase of HS2 is only to Birmingham, and the second phase is planned to go as far as Manchester and Leeds. It will never get near to Scotland.

Suggestions that it will re-balance the British economy are nonsense. London is one of the world’s three main financial centres. Faster trains might simply enhance London’s economic advantages.

Furthermore, we already have a high-speed rail network with trains between London and Edinburgh running at up to 140 mph. If you want more speed take a plane.

The best test of a large project like this is: Would the private-sector be willing to borrow the money to build it? The Edinburgh trams would never have passed that test, nor would HS2.

Mr Lazarowicz should spend his time as an MP stopping the squandering of taxpayers’ money rather than acting as a cheerleader for gargantuan waste.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

‘Green zealots’ are shuddering with fear

The Chancellor has introduced a package of measures to help boost British manufacturing (News, March 20).

Carbon taxes will be capped, thus keeping manufacturing jobs in the UK which otherwise would go abroad to those countries which have lower energy prices.

British industry pays 50 per cent more for their electricity than industries in France.

The great green monster is shuddering to a stop as governments across Europe are regretting the over-generous deals doled out to the renewable energy sector and are unilaterally rewriting contracts.

In Italy, an additional tax of 10.5 per cent has been levied on renewable energy producers. In Belgium, subsidies were slashed by 79 per cent. In France, ‘guaranteed’ subsidies were cut by 20 per cent. In Spain, the solar and wind industry lost 80,000 jobs because of dramatic reductions in subsidies.

A shudder of fear is running up green zealots spines as economic survival take precedence over dubious green mantras.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

All road users should face stringent tests

Car and motorcycle drivers have to pass a theory and a practical test before being allowed to drive a vehicle on the road, while HGV drivers and PSV drivers have to pass a further test and now a CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) test before being allowed on the road.

On the UK roads, we have other vehicles operating for hire and reward which do not have to pass a special theory and driving test before being allowed on the roads. These vehicles are black cabs, private hire cars and vans.

I think there should be test for drivers of these vehicles. I am also of the opinion that cyclists before being allowed to use the road, should have to pass a theory and a test similar to a motorcyclists test.

A Peat, East Craigs, Edinburgh

SNP should focus on what matters

While independence might seem like a good idea on paper, in reality it might be just a pipe dream and instead of spending huge amounts on a campaign that may bear no fruit, the SNP government should be tackling things such as child poverty, the need for food banks, an economy that continues to teeter on the brink and various other social problems which blight the country.

If, or perhaps when, the people of Scotland say an emphatic ‘No’ to independence, will that be the end of the matter once and for all, or if the SNP remain in power will vital funds and resources continue to be squandered on something which may descend into an ego trip?

Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh

Big thanks for meningitis funds

I wish to thank everyone in the Edinburgh area for uniting behind Meningitis Now’s Beat it Now! campaign to get the UK’s first lifesaving Meningitis B vaccine free to all babies on the NHS, subject to price negotiations.

Beat it Now! shows how people uniting can create a strong voice to urge change and this reversal will save thousands of lives from death or disabilities such as limb loss, brain damage and epilepsy.

Meningitis B is the most common form of bacterial meningitis in the UK and after years of fighting, we are a step closer to a future without the deadly disease.

The decision is the most monumental news in the 31 years I’ve battled to eradicate meningitis after losing my baby Spencer to Meningitis B.

But we cannot become complacent, there are many strains without vaccines and this one will wipe out the majority of Meningitis B but not all.

So we must strive for new and better vaccines and ensure we continue to reach the millions of people needing our support.

Please keep supporting Meningitis Now. Call us on 01453 768000 or visit www.MeningitisNow.org.

Steve Dayman MBE, Founder, Meningitis Now