LETTERS: Scotland Bill is no help to Holyrood tax powers

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Ian Murray is deluded if he thinks that the Scotland Bill will give the Scottish Parliament powers to create a fairer society (Evening News, January 14).

Other than limited income tax powers, the five main taxes that can restructure and grow our economy or make decent welfare provision will remain firmly in London.

Of course, Labour can raise income tax to such high levels that the wealthy will shift their income sources outside Scotland, thus damaging the Scottish economy. But, like Kezia Dugdale, he fails to point out that under the Westminster settlement those on the lowest income tax band rates will also have to pay more.

By promising better-off first-time buyers a free handout that will only increase house prices, Labour has learnt nothing from their housing bubble that led to the 2008 banking crash.

The main problem is the lack of affordable housing – and the SNP plans to build 50,000 new homes by 2020, in sharp contrast to Labour’s six council houses between 2003-7.

Progress is being made in education, as since 2008 the number of students from the most deprived areas of Scotland obtaining at least one Higher or equivalent has doubled and the SNP has committed £100 million in the Attainment Scotland Fund over the next four years to drive forward improvements for our poorest children.

The council tax freeze has been fully funded and an extra £500 million is being provided to fund our hard-pressed social care services.

These are fully costed policies, unlike Kezia Dugdale’s magic money election bribes – four times spending a nonexistent £125 million by not cutting a tax that doesn’t come to Holyrood until 2018. First on education, second restoring tax credit cuts, then helping first time buyers and now giving care workers a living wage.

This is not credible and does not stand up to scrutiny, as the next Scottish Government is facing a real term cut of £1 in every £8 by 2020 from the time when the Tories came to power in 2010.

Yet as recently as July, Ian Murray merely abstained rather than vote against Tory austerity measures.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

20mph zone is council revenge on drivers

I read with surprise that Isobel Leckie supports Ms Lesley Hinds and her council cronies bringing in 20mph zones (Letters, January 14). I think Isobel will be on her own there.

First, this council wasted money on the trams; looks like they are now going to be wasting more of our money with their ludicrous 20mph speed limit on 80 per cent of city roads.

Most drivers are careful. They know when to slow down, especially near schools and in built-up areas. I know also that there are some idiotic drivers about.

It seems Edinburgh city council is anti-car. It is their way of getting back at the citizens for voting against the congestion charge. That’s why we didn’t get a referendum on the building of the trams because the council knew it wouldn’t have won public support.

They just want to make it harder for the motorist to come into the city centre. They have made it harder and expensive to park.

What happens if through this stupid 20mph idea, there are worse traffic jams? They could delay emergency vehicles getting to where they are needed.

People using taxis could also find themselves paying more because the driver can only do 20mph. Public transport, which is what I use, could be delayed. What is this council trying to do, bring the city to a standstill?

It is about time we had a new council, one which gets its priorities right.

Stephanie Wint, Holyrood Court, Edinburgh

Living together better than punishment

Elaine Walker writes that cyclists should be compelled by law to wear helmets, and high-visibility clothing (Letters, January 13).

As a country we are far better at passing laws to make new criminal offences than at considering whether we have – or are happy to pay for – enough police officers, lawyers and judges to enforce them all.

There are better ways of learning how to live together than demanding that folk who do not do as we wish should be punished.

But all that aside, the British Medial Journal has reported that you are more likely to suffer a head injury when standing or walking on your own two feet, than when you are cycling

Michael Upton, South-East Circus Place, Edinburgh

Lesley can’t see the trees for the leaves

I was interested in your article about Cllr Lesley Hinds chastising private landowners for not spotting or dealing with diseased elm trees (News, January 11).

We have elms in our area on council land. I am assured that an official drives past and decides they look healthy. However, the main problem with these enormous trees is their leaves, causing a hazard at the pavement and bus stop that they overshadow. Slippery leaves have caused numerous falls.

The council took months to trim one tree. Maybe it could be pointed out that the tree just grows again, but there is no sign of that rare beast, a council official among the foliage.

Lesley Hinds and the council would do well to climb down from their moral high ground and put their own house in order.

Doris MH Duff, Belmont Gardens, Edinburgh