Letters: Little charitable about elitist private schools

Edinburgh Academy. ''Pic: Neil Hanna
Edinburgh Academy. ''Pic: Neil Hanna
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I REFER to the story identifying the severe disrepair of council schools with little funding to remedy the situation (News, October 15). On the same page was a contrasting story about the 
£16 million bequest to one independent school, which is apparently a registered charity gaining tax benefit gift aid on donations such as this.

While I have nothing against anyone paying to send their children to a private school, there is no public need for anyone to be dependent on charity for their child’s education.

Green councillor and cyclist Gavin Corbett pictured at Haymarket, Edinburgh. Pic: Ian Rutherford

Green councillor and cyclist Gavin Corbett pictured at Haymarket, Edinburgh. Pic: Ian Rutherford

The state has a legal obligation to provide (through taxation) education for children. Therefore there is no public need for charity to fulfil this purpose for a few. The charity gains 80 per cent rates relief, exemption from corporation tax and government gift aid tax benefits.

The private schools therefore gain many times more by being a registered charity than they give to a few bursary-winning pupils.

There cannot be many charities that receive many times more in financial benefit than they give. They are by any measure not very charitable at all.

Kenneth M Baird, Brighouse Park Cross, Edinburgh

Salmond must exploit the shale beneath us

Everyone in Grangemouth, Scotland and the UK breathed a sigh of relief that the Ineos petrochemical plant now has a long-term future.

Ineos will now go ahead with a £350 million investment in new infrastructure facilities which will allow Grangemouth to import cheap shale gas from the US.

This is essential since a shortage of ethane from the North Sea means that the Grangemouth plant’s two ethylene “crackers” are running below capacity and losing £10m a month.

The shale gas basins in the world are enormous.

The EU Energy Commissioner says Europe should abandon expensive climate policy and develop shale gas thus reducing dependence on volatile foreign energy supplies.

Numerous EU countries are urgently exploring for shale gas.

In a rare moment of sanity, David Cameron promised to introduce simplified regulations to allow fracking and stated this technology would cut energy bills and create thousands of jobs.

So why is Alex Salmond not exploiting this wealth beneath our feet for the benefit of Scotland?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Bosses have the staff over an oil barrel

i BELIEVE the new employment contract which has been forced on the Grangemouth workers is full of restrictive clauses. Any future negotiations will certainly be on a restrictive basis and this may well put the union representatives at a disadvantage.

The management have already made demands for a wage freeze, a general change to working conditions, pension rights and the right to withdraw labour.

As the workers and the union are facing a hostile management, which is not good for industrial relations, the bosses could already be reviewing the future of the workers and the plant.

It looks very much like the bosses have the workers over the proverbial oil barrel.

Chas Dennis, Niddrie Marischal Road, Edinburgh

Accident lawyers will be rubbing hands

Compensation lawyers will be delighted if strict liability is introduced in favour of cyclists.

However, remember you will be paying for it through increased motor insurance, and giving cyclists an unfair advantage when it comes to seeking compensation will do nothing to make wayward cyclists stop going through red lights, cycling on pavements and indeed going out cycling in plainly wet and dangerous city driving conditions.

That such proposed legislation has got this far may indicate to some how powerful the compensation lobby and compensation culture in Scotland have now become. The public will be paying for any such scheme while no win, no fee lawyers rub their hands.

Gus Logan, York Road, North Berwick

Big funds are coming from outside country

I HAVE some sympathy with Jeremy Lewis’ objections (letters, October 29) to exiled actor Alan Cumming buying a flat in Polwarth in order to vote in the referendum.

By the same token, would it be safe to assume that Mr Lewis finds it even more objectionable that the Better Together anti-independence campaign is bankrolled to the tune of £500,000 by a highly controversial oil tycoon who, like Mr Cumming, prefers to live outside Scotland?

C Hegarty, Glenorchy Road

North Berwick

Scotland needs long term innovation plan

I WELCOME the announcement from Finance Secretary John Swinney that Scotland is to have its own dedicated internet exchange point.

The new “IXP” will improve internet access for business and individuals throughout Scotland. This is another step in the right direction. However, what is now needed is political and business leaders coming together to develop a long-term strategy aimed at making Scotland a global leader in innovation.

New industries such as life sciences and gaming are already having a significant positive impact on our national economy.

By investing in new technology, Scotland could witness long-term sustainable growth.

Neil McInnes, head of technology Scotland, Grant Thornton UK