Letters: Opportunity to rebuild our economy has been missed

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In presenting the UK Budget for 2012, it is highly regrettable that the Chancellor chose to ignore the Scottish Government’s plea to release funding for £300 million worth of shovel-ready infrastructure projects here in Scotland.

The Scottish Government’s own estimate suggests that this investment could have supported more than 4000 jobs across the Scottish economy.

The value of construction output from infrastructure projects last year was around £1.3 billion or 12 per cent of total industry output.

Subject to how quickly these projects could be rolled out, our own analysis suggests this additional funding could potentially have boosted direct employment in the construction industry alone by up to almost 5000 jobs.

Scottish Ministers clearly understand that boosting investment in major infrastructure projects needs to be at the very heart of any credible plan for building an economic recovery.

Besides supporting a key sector of the Scottish economy, it will deliver the high-quality infrastructure businesses need to compete, and create the jobs and training opportunities a growing number of young unemployed are looking for.

By ignoring the Scottish Government’s plea to get shovel-ready projects off the ground, the Chancellor has missed a crucial opportunity to accelerate our economic recovery.

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

Act now to halt march in its tracks

I WAS disturbed to read of the racist attack suffered by the 12-year-old girl(News, March 20). I welcome the comments from Councillor Gary Peacock when he said “this sort of racist act has no place in Edinburgh”.

Edinburgh City Council needs to make a clear statement of how it intends to address this problem. It should start by banning the application to march through Edinburgh on May 26 by the Scottish Defence League.

Luke Henderson, Unite Against Fascism, Edinburgh

New handcuffs of independence

THE First Minister has confirmed that an independent Scotland would retain the pound, meaning that our exchange rate and currency value would be set in London ... and he calls that independence?

Control of your own currency goes to the heart of independence; no-one would argue that Germany, Italy, France and Greece are independent now that their currency is controlled from Brussels.

In the Dear Leader’s brave new world even our head of state will live in a different country, and, if we want an open border with England, Westminster will dictate our immigration policy ... and 80 per cent of the country will still be owned by absentee, titled land-owners, or off-shore investment funds.

Alex is offering to put us in a different set of handcuffs, and calling it “independence”. Lobbying for this pretendy-independence has to stop, before we become ashamed of the real SNP I once admired so much.

David Fiddimore, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Life-giver that we take for granted

TODAY is UN World Water Day. We may not always appreciate our Scottish climate, but we are fortunate to live in a country which is rich in a vital resource which is also clean and safe.

Across the world there are 783 million people who live every day with no access to safe drinking water. They have no choice but to drink water that they know may kill them and their children.

Lack of safe water and sanitation is the biggest killer of children under five in Africa.

As supporters of WaterAid, we share its vision of a world where everyone has access to clean water and sanitation.

Edinburgh WaterAid group