Letters: No backing down on referendum promises

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IT was about scare stories before the referendum, and now it seems the fear agenda continues after it.

An economic think tank claims that giving Scotland too much control over tax could mean massive public spending cuts.

With the Smith Commission meeting to start thrashing out a new Holyrood deal, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that we’ve heard all this before in the build-up to the independence vote.

Now, even after the ‘No’ decision, the pro-Union parties are quick to seize on predictions of economic gloom.

It’s as if even the smallest sense of freedom is too much to be granted without a hint that the Scottish parliament is not strong enough to deal with it.

The bottom line is that tax-raising powers were part of the package of panic-induced measures pledged by David Cameron and Co.

It would be the worst kind of betrayal is these promises were not honoured in full.

Jim Hill, Stenhouse Avenue, Edinburgh

We need a national plan for mental health

Local authorities have a remit to prevent both physical and mental health problems in the communities they serve, using their public health budgets.

Millions of pounds are spent every year to prevent people developing physical health problems like obesity, heart disease or cancer. But research by the charity Mind found that local authorities spend far too little on preventing mental health problems and are confused about what they should do to help prevent people becoming mentally unwell.

With around one in four of us experiencing a mental health problem this year, this figure is unacceptably low.

Demand for local NHS mental health services is rising and rising and we have all seen reports that our NHS is struggling to cope.

Prevention is the key to making sure we reduce the impact on the health service in future.

We need the next Government to introduce a national strategy to ensure local authorities know what to do, and use their budgets to prevent mental health problems developing and reduce the number of people becoming unwell.

Bruce Mitchell, Dean Park Mews, Edinburgh

Cobblers to tarmac on Edinburgh streets

IT is ridiculous that historic cobbled streets in the Capital face being smothered in Tarmac under council cost-cutting measures (News, October 25).

Surely all our cobbled streets are worth preserving - they are part of historic Edinburgh’s heritage.

To spoil one of the world’s most beautiful cities would be an awful shame.

Mrs June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh

The Western General menus are excellent

I WOULD just like to defend the quality of the food served to patients as the Western General Hospital.

Having sampled it while I was there earlier this year, there was a lovely choice of menus (small and large) to meet all tastes.

Many thanks to the Western General for the care they give to their patients.

Mrs Jessie Hardwick, Kirklands Park Gardens, Kirkliston, West Lothian

Too much to kill, not enough to cure

ISN’T it ironic and heart-rendingly sad in the midst of the terrifying Ebola crisis that world countries always find enough money to buy armaments to kill and never enough to cure the sick?

It’s an ill-divided world where some have obscene amounts of money and some too little to survive.

We should all send donations to the Ebola crisis appeal.

Mrs Sylvia M De Lucca, Baberton Park, Juniper Green, Edinburgh

Business backs Shelter fair rental campaign

Shelter Scotland’s ‘Make Renting Right’ campaign must be supported. While this comes from the charitable sector, letting agents want the same things.

The private rental market is growing. A downturn in the property market along with limited access to mortgages, particularly for first time buyers, as well as a lack of housing generally have been cited as the catalyst for this expansion. But with the property market now in recovery mode, and the private rented sector (PRS) still growing, these assumptions need to be re-assessed.

House prices are rising again and while this is the case, rental properties will always remain an attractive option. But the mindset is also shifting.

Rentals offer flexible accommodation for today’s mobile professional workforce. They offer families a home they could not otherwise buy, in Edinburgh, in particular.

But, legislation needs to be tightened to weed out cowboys and unscrupulous practitioners.

While the vast majority of this generation of landlords and agents are responsible business people or individual investors who see their properties as long term assets, legislation, with a robust set of regulations and high standards of accreditation is welcomed and encouraged by the majority in order to rid the industry of the rogue operators and raise the status of the profession.

Malcolm Cannon, CEO, Braemore, North Charlotte Street, Edinburgh