Letters: Expertise is needed, not SNP’s wishful thinking

Loft insulation. Pic: Comp
Loft insulation. Pic: Comp
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Insiders have indicated that Alex Salmond may be about to mount his white warhorse and ride to the rescue of the Grangemouth plant now Ineos has announced it is closing the troubled petrochemical site.

Nationalising the plant would be a heavy cost to the Scottish taxpayer both before and after the independence vote.

Ineos plant. Picture: Michael Gillen

Ineos plant. Picture: Michael Gillen

The plant is losing £150 million every year, so how would Salmond change this?

The pension scheme has a £200m deficit, so taxpayers’ money would have to be poured into this black hole.

The company pay in £30,000 to the pension scheme for each employee. Would this continue or would it be closed?

The staff earn an unsustainable £55,000 a year plus shift allowances, so would this be allowed to continue?

There are 1370 employees – how many would be sacked?

It would take real commercial expertise, not political wishful thinking, to turn these huge losses into even modest profits.

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

City aim should be to leave the car at home

I HAVE no doubt that John Eoin Douglas is right (letters, October 23) to say that bikes and trams managed well together prior to 1956 when trams were last in the city.

But that is because the real issue is neither bikes nor trams but the huge volume in other traffic growth since the 1950s. As long as so much city space is given over to cars then compromises and conflict are, sadly, inevitable.

Other European cities have levels of car-ownership just as high or higher than Edinburgh’s but have managed to create public transport systems and quality cycling and pedestrian facilities which mean that car-owners are only too delighted to leave the car at home for day to day travelling within the city. That is where Edinburgh needs to get to.

Gavin Corbett, Green councillor for Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart

New surface on old road a real sett-back

Passing the top of Easter Road on Tuesday night I was sorry to see that council contractors were hard at work laying replacement asphalt on top of a beautifully preserved stretch of stone setts.

These setts had only been revealed when the previous crumbling asphalt was removed this week, but appeared to be as sturdy and serviceable as when they were first laid.

Maybe a future generation who genuinely see Edinburgh as a heritage city will put them back to work when the new asphalt wears out.

John Hein, Montgomery Street, Edinburgh

How insulation has now left us stuffed

LAST year we had our house insulated and were told we would make big savings in our energy usage.

Then last week “climate change secretary” Ed Davey told us that the reason our bills are going through the roof is to subsidise “green” policies put in place by the Government.

So, even though we are using less energy than before because our house is insulated, we are actually paying more in our bills than ever before, because of climate change targets.

As Del Boy said in Only Fools and Horses, “Is he winding me up or what?”

Alan Lough, Boroughdales, Dunbar, East Lothian

If only we could run on the Greens’ hot air

I’m pleased Melanie Main wishes to debate schools spending and how we improve our school estate (Letters, October 23). Despite the negativity and running down of our schools by the Greens I believe we can be proud that nearly 90 per cent of our schools are rated as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ by the Scottish Government.

I do agree that over decades there has been a lack of planned maintenance in our schools, and there is a desperate need to tackle the backlog that this has built up. This is exactly why a series of comprehensive conditions surveys have been carried out, and why the Labour-SNP coalition plans to put in place a targeted programme of repairs, in an attempt to ensure all our schools are brought up to a good standard. However drawing up such a plan, especially in times of financial cuts, does mean hard choices and needs serious consideration.

I do also take issue with Cllr Main seeking to label the “tourist tax” as a Green suggestion, when Labour, SNP, and Lib Dem members have been pursuing the issue for more than a decade, and I refuse to take seriously any Green spending plan when they call for more funding almost daily, yet repeatedly fail to identify where that additional spending would come from.

Green “ideas” seems to be recycling the suggestions of others, their spending plans should go into the compost bin, and their hot-air should be labelled as a renewable energy source!

Cllr Paul Godzik, convener for Education, Children and Families

Bags of help to raise cash for a good cause

I’d like to extend our thanks to everyone who has shown support to the Great British Bag-athon, British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland appeal by donating through our ESPC showrooms on George Street in Edinburgh.

Throughout September, ESPC was supporting BHF’s appeal by acting as a drop-off point for bags full of unwanted clothes, DVDs, home wares, books and toys which could then be repurposed for the charity.

The ESPC showroom saw a great response from customers whether it was picking up a donation bag or returning them filled. Without your support and donations this achievement just wouldn’t have been possible and I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that supported this effort.

Neil Harrison, head of marketing, ESPC, George Street, Edinburgh