TALK of leasing or selling off some of the trams Edinburgh has bought and paid for (News, October 24) is to add permanent injury to the insults already suffered by the city as it has sought to re-introduce trams. .
No-one expects that the line between the airport and St Andrew Square will be all that is ever built. The council and the Scottish Government are all now on record as stating that this truncated line will be added to in the coming years.
To lease or sell off a batch of trams currently not needed will thus most likely lead to the city having eventually to either refurbish trams which have been significantly altered for use elsewhere or else having to order a new batch of trams which, fewer in number, will undoubtedly prove more expensive than those now being delivered to us.
The Capital Rail Action Group calls upon the Scottish Government to ensure that the city council is forbidden from leasing or selling our trams in some ill-advised fire sale.
The depot at Gogar can hold them all. These trams should rather be run in rotation in the coming years until such time as further track is laid and they can all fully be used to provide enhanced public transport for Edinburgh.
Lawrence Marshall, Chair, Capital Rail Action Group, King’s Road, Portobello
Fleet delivery is part of contract
THE cost of delivering the tram fleet is already included in the cost agreed with the supplier. Whether we take delivery of one tram or 27, the cost remains the same. There will be no additional cost of £110,000.
Indeed, transporting the entire fleet now will save the project money.
Dave Anderson, Director of City Development, Edinburgh City Council
Clearing up mess left by Labour
AS a city councillor at the time, Sheila Gilmore (Who is set to clean up by going private, News, October 24) has obviously ignored the large print contained in the £20 million council budget deficit left by her party in 2007 and ignores Alistair Darling’s cuts which he predicted would be deeper than Mrs Thatcher’s and warned of ‘two parliaments of pain’ with spending slashed by 25 per cent to repair the black hole in Labour’s UK finances.
It was against this background that the city council prudently considered ways, including outsourcing, of maintaining frontline services when drastic cuts from successive London governments to the Scottish fixed budget were coming down the line.
Also, contrary to what Mrs Gilmore claims, to date the council tax freeze, which Labour supported at the Scottish elections in May, has been fully funded by the Scottish Government and this was agreed to by all Labour councils.
Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh
Gaelic tuition is costing no extra
GINA Davidson’s article on the proposal to establish a Gaelic school at Bonnington verged on the hysterical with claims of “ethnic engineering” (News, October 20). Edinburgh City Council’s plan to establish a Gaelic school is welcome and is a good news story.
Tollcross is full. With increasing numbers attending Gaelic pre-school groups across Edinburgh, primary pupil numbers are set to soar; a long-term solution needs to be found.
This is not about public funding being found for Gaelic. Children have to be educated and the language of their instruction matters little in cost terms. Gaelic class sizes in Tollcross are larger than the average primary class size across Edinburgh so Gaelic education presently costs less, per pupil, than English language education.
Additional costs have been incurred due to the poor state, as a result of vandalism, of the Bonnington building which the council would have to make good as part of the maintenance of its estate.
Having dealt with councillors on this issue over the past 18 months, I have been encouraged by the willingness of members from all parties to engage and to understand why a Gaelic school in Scotland’s capital city is a good idea.
Arthur Cormack, chair, Bòrd na Gàidhlig