Letters: Poll tax reprieve lets down council tax payers

Edinburgh nurses  bin their poll tax books in a demonstration in June 1989. Pic: Crauford Tait
Edinburgh nurses bin their poll tax books in a demonstration in June 1989. Pic: Crauford Tait
Have your say

As full poll tax payers, we would like to air our views on the Scottish Government’s decision to write off over £347k in unpaid poll tax.

This was a decision all Edinburgh residents who did pay poll tax should have been made aware of before it was ‘sneaked’ through government.

Did Nicola Sturgeon think as Alex Salmond did? Did she not think the council should have tried to do the job they are paid to and try to claw back some of the debt?

A percentage of the debt is better than none. The written-off money could have been utilised in many ways - helping employ doctors, nurses, teachers and to help the forgotten, older people who really need help, and much more - £347m is a huge amount of money.

We may not be able to recoup all the lost poll tax, but surely the Scottish Government need to respect the council tax payers.

Cathie and Brian Davies, Oxgangs Farm Grov, Edinburgh

Royal High School plan won’t win any awards

I was shocked to see an artist’s impression of the proposed Royal High School development in the Evening News (February 28). It’s an abomination.

Ian Hardie, Comiston Drive, Edinburgh

Energy suppliers win in anti-market world

Can switching suppliers regulate our electricity market? Before the Tories privatised electricity, state-run companies cared for workers and set fair prices for consumers.

After privatisation, jobs went and conditions and pensions were attacked. ‘Westminster-regulated’ energy companies are now given carte blanche to keep prices high and profits higher.

We are told to shop around for better deals, but many stay put because deals favour certain customers and the hassle involved only encourages mistrust.

When Ed Miliband, the leader of a party that nationalised electricity, only suggests freezing prices, can Westminster regulate profiteering energy cartels?

If the SNP held the balance of power post general election, it could push simplifying complicated contracts.

The price of a unit of electricity should be as clear as the cost of a pint of beer or any other commodity.

If a good publican wouldn’t expect a loyal customer to pay more for a pint than new customers and wouldn’t expect average drinkers to pay more than heavy drinkers, how can energy profiteers get away with such anti-market practices?

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive , Musselburgh

Train services should be renationalised

Up to the weekend we had a British government-owned company running the principal train service from Edinburgh to London. It is now being run by a Perth-based bus company and an offshoot of a private airline company.

Scotland’s national railways are at present run by a bus company based in Aberdeen, yet at the end of the month these services are to be handed over to a government company.

But the company in the second case isn’t the British Government, it’s the Dutch one.

We gave railways to the world, yet the present Westminster government can’t accept that their own people should run our railways but Dutch civil servants behind Abellio should instead.

This is more than a disgrace and proves that the Tories only want to run this country down.

The railways are a vital part of this country’s infrastructure and should be owned and operated by the British people for their benefit.

The only government which should be running trains is the British government, but this lot have their logic reversed with disastrous results

Alex Rankin, John Knox Road, Longniddry, Edinburgh

My enemy’s enemy is not my friend

FRASER GRANT (Letters, 28 February), claims that Labour is allied to the Tories because they both supported the ‘No’ campaign in the referendum.

This is a constantly recurring claim, as can be seen by the similar point of Joseph G Millar (Letters, 22 January).

According to this reasoning, the SNP is allied to the Socialist Workers Partyn since they both supported the ‘Yes’ campaign.

Similarly, according to this logic, the SNP is allied to the Tories at Westminster, since they both opposed the 50% tax rate.

To treat two parties as being equivalent, simply because they agree on one particular policy is clearly not sensible.

John Higinbotham, Bruntsfield Gardens, Edinburgh

No waiting for NHS service at the Western

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the doctor, nurses and ambulance men who looked after me on February 24 when I had to attend the Western General Hospital. I am 84 and not in good health.

After the bad reports I had heard about waiting times, I was amazed how quickly I was dealt with. I thank the National Health Service once again.

Mr Robert Wright, Gilmore Place, Edinburgh