THE decision by Edinburgh City Council to implement a “no-eviction” policy for those council tenants who are unable to pay the bedroom tax is a welcome one (News, April 10).
However, it should be borne in mind that this only protects council tenants. Housing Association tenants remain vulnerable and it therefore is unconscionable that there are people in this city who may be facing eviction from their homes as a result of this iniquitous, medieval, Tory tax on the most vulnerable in society.
It also has to be said that the SNP Government in Holyrood has more work to do if it is to live up to its claim of offering a progressive alternative to the cosy Westminster consensus of the mainstream parties when it comes to tackling inequality and poverty in Scotland. Why, for example, has it refused to adopt the proposals of the Govan Law Centre in Glasgow to amend the Housing Act (Scotland) to protect every tenant in Scotland impacted by this tax from the threat of eviction? This they could do by enacting legislation to treat rent arrears accrued as a result as normal debt.
Of course, the aim of any civilised society should be to have this tax withdrawn. It makes no economic sense whatsoever, and has been carefully calibrated to demoralise and terrorise the poor by this Westminster government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.
Along with an increasing number of citizens of Edinburgh and the Lothians, I am determined to play my part in resisting this despicable and blatant attack on the poor, and I would urge others to do so too.
Unless we stand together we will fall separately.
John Wight, Carrick Knowe, Edinburgh
Lothian Buses’ private plate is unacceptable
Despite describing itself as the best municipal bus company in Britain, Lothian Buses has, yet again, raised its fares.
I see that a new eco-friendly single decker boasts personalised numberplate LB13.
Now private car owners can, if they wish, squander their wages on these luxuries, but not a municipally owned bus service.
Colin C Maclean, Hillpark Avenue, Edinburgh
Teachers’ six-week holidays aren’t fair
Education secretary Michael Gove is considering proposals to cut short the school summer holidays from six weeks to four weeks.
This is a great idea and is long overdue as teachers get far too many holidays as it is. Why should teachers be fully paid to have six weeks’ holidays in the summer when everybody else gets two weeks?
The sooner this proposal becomes a reality the better. Then teachers can live in the real world along with the rest of us.
Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar, East Lothian
Scotland has finances to support itself
With the publication by the Scottish Government of the comprehensive Scotland’s Balance Sheet, which demonstrates Scotland’s stronger financial position compared to the UK across a range of scenarios, George Osborne should clearly think twice before lecturing Scotland on its public finances.
With the Treasury rumoured to be publishing another anti-independence paper imminently, seeking to undermine the financial strength of an independent Scotland, the Scottish Government paper shows that Scotland’s public sector debt is lower than the UK as a whole.
It also includes figures published last week which showed that pension and welfare costs account for a smaller share of the economy in Scotland than is the case for the UK as a whole and most of the EU 15 – and that tax receipts in Scotland, on a per capita basis, have been higher than those of the UK for the last 30 years.
Over the last 30 years Scotland has paid £222bn more in tax than its per capita share – including £150bn more during the 1980s, when the Tories were steadily dismantling our heavy industries.
There is no doubt now that Scotland could more than afford to be independent. What all sides should now be debating is how Scotland can use its relative fiscal strength to build a fairer, more prosperous society, which is so badly lacking in the UK.
Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
Cyclists are a danger to other road users
I refer you to the Evening News, April 17, to a letter by Alastair Macintyre in which he expresses his experience and opinion about reckless cyclists with no respect for sensible cycling or for traffic laws.
I think this type of cyclist makes up over 50 per cent of all cyclists. I second and support the statement made by Mr Macintyre.
As road users, cyclists are becoming more and more irresponsible. They don’t care about the speed they travel at, obeying road signs, and they use pavements or roads, whichever is most convenient.
They should be registered and should display a clear registration number on their bikes. And they should go through cycling tests before taking a bike out on common roads.
Anthonie Reof, Merchiston Avenue, Edinburgh
How can a garden be labelled with a class?
Since when did gardens suddenly become middle class (Botanic Garden too ‘middle class’, News, April 19)? What difference is there – if any – in gardens?
Brian Burnett, Hawkhill Avenue, Edinburgh