Letters: Tenants should not be made to pay for greed of others

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THE Government is proposing to penalise council tenants who have a spare room or rooms who are receiving housing benefit.

Two or more spare rooms will lose up to 13 per cent of housing benefit. For two or more spare rooms, the punishment could be as much as 23 per cent.

The purpose of this act is to encourage tenants to “down-size” and release more accommodation. The fact which has escaped our rulers is that council tenants are not allowed to sub-let rooms in their own homes – to do so could mean eviction.

The nonsense of forcing people to downsize, as if this was remotely possible in the present shortage of council housing, is indicative of the ignorance of the people who come up with these ideas.

Our MPs have no interest in downsizing. What they want is more money from those who have the least amount – obviously convinced this will release vast amounts of money to help pay their expenses.

If this act is enforced, what happens if the tenant refuses to rent out his/her spare room? If they are unable to find this money, will they be evicted?

What provisions will be made for the increased demands of these newly created homeless people? Bed and breakfast accommodation used to be the answer to this problem, whole families living in one room, like it used to be when the Tories ruled in the 19th century. What will that cost our councils?

It’s not council tenants that are bringing this country to its knees, it’s the Government, the greedy bankers and our financial sector who have made millions trading illegally and who are now secure in their tax havens.

Rozanne Baxter, Morrison Street, Edinburgh

Do cuts go with expenses claims?

GEORGE Osborne said there will be cuts, cuts and more cuts for us for years to come. I take it this is so that the coalitiion government can put aside more money for expenses claims?

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar

New school must be top priority

Careful reading of the Report to Full Council on November 22 indicates a new high school can be delivered at Baileyfield by July 2017. This is a straightforward project that can easily be delivered.

However, the report does not propose this – it outlines an alternative which may or may not deliver a school on Portobello Park.

If the option for a school on the park is not confirmed by February 2014 then the council will abandon that option and start to progress an alternative with a longer timescale.

The arguments for this approach are hard to follow and suggest that building on Portobello Park is more important to the council than delivering the school which Portobello needs.

Archie Burns, Portobello

Dredge decisions depend on issues

REGARDING the letter titled ‘Another flood ready to happen’ (News, November 27), SEPA does not discount, or prevent, dredging and sediment management in all cases. Indeed, there may be overriding circumstances which require it, including the alleviation of flooding.

Under the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011, (known as CAR regulations), SEPA regulates activities to manage their impacts on the flows and stability of Scotland’s watercourses. Higher risk activities, such as substantial dredging in larger rivers, will require a licence with associated conditions but some low risk activities will not.

When deciding if a watercourse can and should be dredged, a number of issues are taken into consideration. Each application is judged individually and potential benefits are weighed up against adverse consequences such as loss of habitat or river channel instability which might be caused.

Richard Brown, head of hydrology, SEPA

Treat us as adults if you don’t mind

I DISAGREE that four new alcohol licences for stores are a “major blow” in the battle on Scotland’s affair with the bottle (News, November 27).

This will offer greater choice to the majority of drinkers, who can take it or leave it. And no-one is forcing anything upon problem drinkers. It’s time the public were treated as adults.

D Hunter, Northfield