Letters: Transport Minister is a long way from healthy travel

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It was heartening to see the Transport Minister, Keith Brown, on his bicycle (Pushing for pedal power, Evening News, January 19).

This cut, less than one per cent of the transport budget, is astonishing. More money spent on active travel would reduce the burden on our health budget and help cut the congestion that costs business a fortune.

While he advised the hundreds who recently gathered outside Government HQ to argue the case for walking and cycling that cuts are unavoidable, it’s notable that the trunk roads budget has received a huge boost. He’s still determined to supply Edinburgh with more pollution and congestion via a second unnecessary and massively expensive Forth road bridge.

Just think what such a vast sum of money could achieve in terms of pavement improvement, pothole repairs and safe cycle ways.

Alison Johnstone, Scottish Green Party, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh

Pivotal poll role would be Capital

WITH the issue of Scottish independence sure to dominate politics for the foreseeable future perhaps Edinburgh, being the capital of Scotland, should play a pivotal role in the referendum process by playing host to a panel of unbiased, apolitical experts on Scottish affairs. The main task of this panel would be to keep the Scottish public accurately and clearly informed of all that is happening during the referendum build-up and more importantly explain in layman’s terms exactly what the positives and negatives of an independent Scotland would be.

It’s already obvious that politicians both north and south of the Border are offering anything but transparency, and as usual are more intent on squabbling amongst themselves.

By the time judgement day arrives, the people who really matter, the Scottish v oters, may have become so disillusioned and confused that a sizeable percentage may not bother to vote at all!

Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh

Changes will only help Glasgow

SO the worst council in Edinburgh’s history is determined to ruin the centre of Edinburgh (News, January 10).

George Street, for a long time, was Edinburgh’s most beautiful street, with some wonderful buildings. It is now set to be completely ruined.

No doubt Princes Street will become a “no go” area for discerning people, and the Glasgow saying, “Glasgow’s miles better”, will, at last come true!

Thank you, Ms Dawe et al, for making a laughing stock, and a shambles, of our once wonderful, beautiful capital city.

A A Miller, Clackmae Road, Edinburgh

Fuel cuts are not nearly enough

ALL six energy companies last week announced a reduction in prices of around five per cent. So much for claims they don’t act as a cartel!

But anyone who thinks this will have anything other than a marginal impact on Scotland’s scandalous levels of fuel poverty should think again. Gas and electric bills have gone up 100 per cent in the last five years.

There are now one million households paying more than 10 per cent of their income on energy – the official definition of fuel poverty.

This is a fourfold increase in a decade.

With bills soaring and incomes plummeting, Scotland has a huge fuel poverty crisis on its hands. And like every other crisis it has its casualties.

Professor John Hills, commissioned by the UK Government to examine the scale of the problem, concluded that 2700 people will die this winter as a result of chronic fuel poverty.

At the same time the industry regulator OFGEM has accused the power companies of profiteering and launched an investigation.

The governments at Westminster and Holyrood need to bring these bills down further and increase the winter fuel allowance paid to pensioners as well as extend it to other vulnerable groups.

They also need to invest in energy efficiency schemes that match those in Scandinavia.

Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party, Alloway Loan, Edinburgh