Letters: An expensive new transport project . . sound familiar?

Edinburgh MP Mark Lazarowicz proves it is not just our councillors who have learnt nothing from the trams fiasco, when he voices support for the HS2 rail project (News, May 14).

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 17th May 2012, 1:00 pm

The HS2 project to build a very high speed rail line initially from London to Birmingham by 2026 and later on to Manchester and Leeds is a giant version of the trams disaster.

Edinburgh residents will find all its flaws strangely familiar – a vastly expensive project built by foreign contractors to provide modest benefit to a small minority whilst starving essential budgets of funding and supported by politicians of all parties who learn nothing.

Twice Britain created worldleading infrastructure – the canals in the 18th century and the railways in the 19th century. In both cases, it was private money that was risked, with parliament only passing legislation to enable the compulsory purchase of land.

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Indeed, if there was a genuine commercial case for HS2 then the private sector would be able to find the money. As it is, the borrowed money will run out long before HS2 reaches the English Midlands let alone any further. No Scottish politician should be supporting this railway for the rich, which will never reach Edinburgh or Glasgow.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

Don’t treat us like children, Nicola

HEALTH Secretary Nicola Sturgeon seems intent on going ahead with a minimum 50p per unit for drink. To help her cause she states: “A teenager can buy enough alcohol to kill themselves for about a fiver.”

What a stupid comment. Money wouldn’t deter teenagers who would put themselves in that position.

People who have experience of alcohol problems always make the point that money is not a deterrent, and that should be an education.

Politicians should not be allowed to treat adults like children.

Will the next increase be on coffee, sweets and so on to act as a deterrent?

Once you let them in the door, where will it end?

Politicians talk about saving lives, but how many lives will be affected by violence/house break-ins, or stealing from shops (we will pick up the bills) by those needing money for drink?

It will be working class areas/people that take the blunt of it all and Nicola Sturgeon should remember that at the next election.

John Connor, David Henderson Court, Dunfermline, Fife

Perfect storm will hurt vulnerable

IT should come as no surprise that the impact of benefits cuts will hit the most vulnerable in our society the hardest.

Along with other organisations, Shelter Scotland has been warning of the dire consequences caused by the perfect storm of welfare reform, severe austerity measures and an ailing economy.

To see MSPs predicting that the UK Government’s reforms will lead to a rise in homelessness, more children living in poverty and disabled people’s lives made harder, I have to ask, where is the fairness in all this? Shelter Scotland will continue to be there for those who need expert housing advice.

Our worry is that, with these cuts leading to increased hardship, our best efforts and those of others in the advice sector will only scratch at the surface of the problem.

Gordon MacRae, head of communications and policy, Shelter Scotland, Scotiabank House, South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh

Scotland on top of a gold mine

INTERNATIONAL oil services company Aker plans to add another 500 jobs to its current 2700-strong operation in north-east Scotland.

This announcement interestingly came on the day that the International Monetary Fund published a report that stated that oil prices could double over the next decade.

With oil prices at a historically high level of around $110 (£69) a barrel, and as much oil left in the North Sea as has already been extracted, Scotland as a nation is sitting on a proverbial gold mine.

With independence we can leverage these vast resources to invest in our nation and build up a substantial oil fund, benefiting both this and future generations.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh