Letters: Parliament’s false freebies simply storing up trouble

The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood
The Scottish Parliament, Holyrood
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Have your say

Like many others I believe that the introduction of trams in Edinburgh is a complete waste of money.

But a far greater waste of money is the Scottish Parliament. Not just the cost of the actual building but the cost of its day-to-day running. And for what benefit?

One may argue that the Scottish Parliament has given us new schools and hospitals, the freezing of the council tax, free prescriptions and the ban on smoking in public places. I would say it is a very expensive layer of bureaucracy that is not necessary.

It is all very well having new schools and hospitals but one has to remember that they still have to be paid for.

The freezing of the council tax was not a wise decision. All it achieved was a cut in services.

As for the free prescriptions, yes it is great not having to hand over money to the chemist but the cost of the medicine has to be paid for from somewhere. At the moment it just adds to our increasing debt.

The one good piece of legislation that the parliament has introduced was the smoking ban, but not everyone would agree. Some believe that it was the cause of many business closures.

David McDonald, Redhall Drive, Edinburgh

Volunteers can put tram on track

Edinburgh council’s grudging decision to build the trams to St Andrew Square does not go far enough. Having suffered so much disruption, the people of Leith are entitled to see the whole scheme built.

Serious consideration should now be given to building the rest of the line using voluntary labour. After all, many miles of so called “preserved” railways, not to mention the Crich Tramway Museum, have had their lines laid or re-laid by volunteers and Leith Walk could soon resound to hordes of tram enthusiasts happily clinking away in their leisure hours with picks and shovels.

The community councils in Leith have amongst their members many persons of skill, including retired civil engineers who I feel sure would be happy to contribute by supervising the project. It could also be an opportunity for persons subject to Community Service Orders to assist their community.

Judging from the previous progress made by the professionals, if a start was to be made before Christmas, the St Andrew Square to Leith section could be in service long before the portion running to the airport.

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh

Who will cover this extra cost?

In Saturday’s Evening News I found it of interest that the Labour councillors called for an immediate inquiry into the trams project.

Councillor Andrew Burns is quoted saying it should start right away and the Scottish Government should do it.

So who should pay for such an inquiry?

Would it be the political parties who support the trams only? Or will these councillors raise a fund to do it from their own private resources?

Political pundits and Edinburgh councillors are again seeking approval for a scheme without public backing.

It’s a beautiful example of passing the buck.

Edward Mangan, Musselburgh

Make NHS saving sums public

Martin Egan, NHS Lothian’s head of eHealth, states that the stopping of overtime pay to switchboard operators (News, September 6) is part of a cost-effective drive for an annual saving of £50 million – very desirable.

In order that we, the general public, can better understand the financial maths involved perhaps he will state what percentage of that £50 million will be met by the savings resulting from the non-payment of overtime rates to the switchboard operators.

Rough figures will do; one-tenth of one per cent of £50m is £50,000. May we, the public, know by how much the proposed annual savings will exceed £50,000?

Robert M Dunn, Oxcars Court, Edinburgh