Letters: Small Scottish tax rise can banish food banks

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Have your say

RUSSELL McLARTY (Letters, 28 April), deplores the growing need for food banks.

As someone who is supporting a local food bank through our local church, I also deplore the growing need for food banks.

Clearly we do need to get our national debt under control, but we should not allow the poor to pay a disproportionate share of the cost.

In Scotland we could raise extra finance to remove the need for these food banks.

Holyrood currently has the power to raise income tax by 3%, but has made no use of this power.

Better still, we could increase the number of bands, beyond the top band, used to calculate council tax. The extra tax collected from the wealthy could be used to help the poor and disadvantaged.

There is clearly no need for separation in order to help the poor and needy.

John Higinbotham, Bruntsfield Gardens, Edinburgh

English politicians deserve more respect

I was heartened to read the words of your columnist, Brian Monteith, in his excellent piece ‘Hypocrisy leaves real bitter taste’ (News, 25 April).

As an Englishman living north of Hadrian’s Wall I find myself shocked daily by the lack of respect shown to English politicians by the Scots.

Mr Monteith is quite correct that George Osborne or David Cameron should have no reservation about visiting Edinburgh any time they choose. Indeed, I only wish they did so more often.

These are the highest ranking officials in the land, democratically elected by the people of this great country. Their opinions and indeed those of any members of the cabinet, outweigh any of those uttered by the cut-rate politicians of Holyrood, who would struggle to run a county council let alone an independent country. The very idea is laughable.

The sooner the separatists are defeated in this referendum the better. Such a defeat should also see an end to the ridiculous failed experiment of the Scottish Parliament and measures to ensure that the security and unity of the Britain will never again be threatened in such a manner.

Thank you again, Mr Monteith, for standing up to the ugly side of the Scottish character. I only wish there were more like you.

Edward Billingham, Bruntsfield, Edinburgh

Friendship comes with conditions for Salmond

ALEX Salmond recently visited Carlisle to tell the English and presumably the rest of the United Kingdom, that an SNP-led independent Scotland would be their best buddies.

Would that depend on them agreeing, for instance, to remove Trident immediately; buying Scotland’s expensive electricity; continuing to place defence contracts in Scotland; delivering HSR2 from Manchester to Carlisle; Scotland being allowed to keep the Pound and the Queen?

Or else the alternative will be, “We’ll no be speaking to you”.

George Wanless, Gracefield Court, Musselburgh

Drivers should not be assumed guilty party

WITH reference to the recent issue of making drivers automatically responsible for any accident involving cyclists until they prove otherwise, this is entirely wrong.

It is the practice in the UK that you are innocent until proven guilty. The suggested approach to any incident involving cyclists is flawed. Cyclists MUST take responsibility for their own safety by obeying the rules and laws of the road; by recognising that red lights mean stop; that it is very dangerous to weave in and out of traffic; that the pavements are for pedestrians, unless otherwise indicated.

Not all disabilities are obvious, members of my family are hearing impaired and if a cyclist rides on the pavement, people with this disability cannot hear them. And lights are a requirement, not an option.

I admit that all drivers are not saints, but they are licensed, pay tax for their cars and fuel, and must have insurance and an MOT if the car is older than three years.

Cyclists do not need to meet these standards; perhaps they should, then they can complain!

William Greig Whyte, Piersfield Grove, Edinburgh

Indicate precisely what you mean to say

Why is it that many car drivers when stationary at traffic lights only activate their indicator when the lights change?

Indicators are an advance warning of intention, not a confirmation of an action. This habit is not in the best interests of other road users.

Colin C Maclean, Hillpark Avenue, Edinburgh

Rickshaws are accident waiting to happen

On Saturday evening I was driving on the Grassmarket when I was confronted by the chaotic sight of at least eight rickshaws coming in the opposite direction, full of drunks and weaving about in the middle of the road, with some nutters running in the road behind them.

As we have had a person die and another seriously injured while travelling in them, I am assuming, now that we are in hen and stag season, that there will be another fatality or serious injury. If drivers behaved in that fashion the police would have them off the road right away.

After the lad died a couple of years ago, I assumed action would be taken to curb this menace on the road but it now seems to be business as usual for them. If we have to have them, then they should be off the streets by 6pm.

Tom McKearney, Edinburgh, by email