Letters: Bus pass rule changes are hitting the disabled

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The Scottish Government has been busy eroding the entitlement to concessionary bus travel in Scotland and it has ensured that many of those who qualified for the free bus pass are no longer eligible.

Many people under 60, with severe disabilities and hearing impairments, have had to reach a much higher threshhold and as a result many Scots have been stripped of their entitlement to a free bus pass.

Many of those who managed to surmount the barriers erected by the Scottish Government have had to renew the bus pass on an annual basis rather than enjoy the three-year cards issued for the over 60s.

People who cannot read a number plate, as stipulated by DVLA, have been particularly badly treated when trying to obtain a free bus pass.

Despite surrendering their driving licences to DVLA, and thus qualifying for concessionary travel, they have had to re-apply to DVLA annually, at the request of the Scottish Government for the required authorisation to obtain a free bus pass.

However, DVLA are no longer issuing authorisation to those who surrendered their driving licences and as a result people are being denied concessionary travel.

The Scottish Government is fully aware of the actions of DVLA, but it chooses to look the other way while Scots who qualify for the free bus pass are denied them.

Then again, the Scottish Government has been attacking the free bus pass entitlement for years.

Jim Stewart, Oxgangs Avenue, Edinburgh

Mature enough to vote, but not to drink

Before the referendum last September the SNP government tried to convince us of what they obviously firmly believed themselves, that 16- and 17-year-old youngsters had the maturity and sense of responsibility to be trusted with helping to decide the future of our country.

Now we read that the same government does not trust anybody under the age of 21 to have the maturity and sense of responsibility to control their drinking.

Something amiss here, surely.

William W Scott, St Baldred’s Road, North Berwick

RBS move will add to west city congestion

RBS are to move 2000 of their staff from city centre offices to their Gogarburn HQ. This move will not only diminish our city centre it will also add to the congestion regularly seen in the west of the city.

Of course, RBS say that they will save around £18 million a year by this shake-up. They are no doubt relatively unconcerned at the cost this move will inflict on the city and on us all.

But it cannot be right that private gain should be achieved at public expense - especially when RBS were granted an exemption from Green Belt planning policy by the city to build their HQ at Gogarburn in the first place.

Lawrence Marshall, King’s Road, Portobello

Britain no longer has a foreign policy

Following the leaders’ debate much attention was paid to the fact that, beyond the EU, there was no mention of British foreign policy.

That may be, in part, due to the fact that as a shrinking actor on the global stage, the UK does not really have a foreign policy. Indeed, a recently retired British NATO chief described the UK as a “foreign-policy irrelevance”.

After failed military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan by the previous Labour government, Mr Cameron made the case for armed intervention in Libya, now in a state of civil war, then bungled the parliamentary vote.

In addition, the UK, one of the moving forces behind the 1994 Budapest memorandum which guaranteed Ukraine’s security, was then absent when dealing with Russian aggression against that state, ceding the ground to France and Germany to deliver some form of peace.

At the NATO summit last year Mr Cameron urged alliance members to pledge at least 2% of their GDP to defence spending, but looks likely to break his own rule.

The UK is no longer a global player, an ‘irrelevance’ on the global stage, and to further reinforce this sorry state of affairs Prime Minister Cameron threatens to remove the UK from the European Union, the one institution which gives us some form of global presence.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Lay artificial turf in Princes Street Gardens

I see in the Evening News (April 7) that the council is not to reinstate the grass in Princes Street Gardens East until the beginning of May.

Do you not think it is silly to keep having to do this every year, not taking into account the cost and the time involved?

Would it not make more sense to use artificial turf? This would not need to be cut and if they wanted to, it could be rolled up and stored, and would be ready to be put back at the end of each event.

It would save the yearly cost of buying new turf and getting it laid. Also it would look good.

Lots of football clubs are using it, so it can’t be all bad.

Raymond Ross, Hutchison Avenue, Edinburgh

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