Letters: Small traders make it their business to keep city going

Business rates pay for uplift of rubbish
Business rates pay for uplift of rubbish
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I would like to extend my heartfelt greetings to all this Christmas but especially to the many small businesses who maintain a presence in Edinburgh.

We live in a wonderful city that educates our children; tries to keep us safe from fire and crime; and manages to empty our bins as well, and fund social care too.

These businesses pay millions of pounds of business rates no online retailer will ever feel the need to.

Whether they are family firms generations old or a franchisee of Subway, these ratepayers ensure we all have the services we need. They pay these rates whether or not they are making a profit. Many will be worried their businesses won’t see next Christmas.

This year has been another lean one for many and, in addition to my thanks, I wish all of them the best of luck and success in the coming year. We do know it’s been hard for them.

Jon Stanley, Clearburn Crescent, Edinburgh

No reminder from the city council

I WOULD like to pass on a warning to small-business and self-employed people whose livelihoods depend on licences issued by the city council.

Unlike in previous years the council’s licensing department is not issuing reminders or renewal application forms.

So if you are waiting for the renewal form, wait no longer, as the applications have to be in by Hogmanay. Fortunately, the forms are available online.

For future years, I hope the council will think again. How difficult can it be to send out e-mail reminders to the great majority of business people who are online?

And shouldn’t the council make an effort to cater for older people who don’t have an e-mail address by sending out paper renewal forms?

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

Unionists must provide a vision

The proposal that a second referendum on Scottish independence be held if independence is narrowly rejected in 2014, and the SNP goes on to win the second Scottish elections in 2016, should be given no credibility as this should be viewed as a “once-in-a-generation” event.

That said, it does put a clear moral onus on those in the pro-Union camp to put forward a vision for constitutional change should independence be rejected, especially if done so narrowly.

It is a vision which has been sadly lacking to date but which the Scottish public deserve to have outlined to them. Maybe 2013 will prove to be the year that all will be revealed.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Salmond silent during art row

It IS now time for Alex Salmond to speak out over the issue of his fellow nationalists’ calls on the issue of the English working in the arts in Scotland.

Mr Salmond shared a stage at the launch of the referendum campaign with Kevin Williamson who called for a “social audit”. Mr Salmond often quotes Alasdair Gray who spoke of “colonists”.

Mr Salmond must respond to James Kelman’s claims of “imperialist” English. And he must dismiss the calls of Alan Bissett with whom he also shared the stage at the referendum launch who says we must nurture the sense of “grievance”.

A real leader would be like President Obama who spoke out when his pastor made anti-American calls during the 2008 election.

Mr Salmond is not normally shy of giving his own opinion – his silence on this matter speaks volumes for the man.

M Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh

Protests against state, not people

Your paper reported on the “toxic atmosphere” experienced by Jewish students at Edinburgh University (News, December 15).

The actions of the Israeli state towards Palestine and those who desire Justice for the Palestinian people are those of the playground bully. Because it is bigger and stronger, it thinks it can get away with murder. However when its victim or any others on its behalf, strike back, it assumes the role of victim itself.

Demonstrations in the Capital have been against official representatives of Israel, such as the Israeli Ambassador and Batsheva dance troupe. No individual has been attacked for being Jewish.

Lynn Paterson, Midlothian