Letters: Lib Dem/SNP stewardship something to be proud of

Donald Anderson (Letters, May 8) gets it very wrong in his attempt to mock the seriousness of the financial inheritance left to the incoming administration in May 2007.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 10th May 2012, 1:03 pm

Donald knows full well that I and others, including his Labour colleagues’ new SNP coalition partners in the city, refer to the council’s unallocated reserves when we mention the pittance of £373,000 for emergency use that we inherited from Labour in 2007.

The Audit Scotland 2006-7 report on Edinburgh states: “At 31 March 2007, the General Fund balance was £20.809 million of which £20.436m was earmarked for specific purposes leaving an unallocated balance of £0.373m.”

It also comments: “Steps need to be taken to restore reserves in line with the council’s strategy.”

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The chief executive and director of finance of the council in June 2007 gave an unprecedented warning to councillors on the seriousness of the financial situation

They advised us to take urgent steps to restore balances to give a much higher level of reserve, commented that the scale of overspend was unsustainable and that it was critical that we put the council back on to a firm financial footing.

We took that counsel seriously, turned round the council’s finances, stopped departmental overspends and unrealistic budgets, and over the last few years negotiated a much better deal for Edinburgh from the Scottish Government. The Audit Scotland 2010-11 report commended the council for having restored its unallocated general fund balance to £12.8m one year earlier than planned.

I am proud of the Liberal Democrat/SNP administration’s stewardship of the council’s funds in difficult times.

Jenny Dawe, Edinburgh

Cyclists should think of others

AS an occasional cyclist and also a pedestrian, I cannot understand why people on bikes cannot use a bell or shout to warn of their approach behind someone.

People do not have eyes in the back of their heads and bikes make little noise.

Cycling is a great form of exercise and you do not have to be super-fit as the cycle supports your weight. It would be good to see more places to cycle, but not at the expense of pedestrians.

If bicycles had to have registration plates, some might think twice about putting others at risk.

M Gibson, Tollcross

Coalition after poll an outrage

NO wonder people refuse to vote! The new East Lothian administration makes a mockery of the whole process, with a minority party in direct power.

We who do vote expect the party of our choice to represent our wishes in office, so what does it mean for Tory voters that their councillors have joined up with Labour, whose philosophy has always been the opposite of theirs?

Tory leader Ludovic Broun-Lindsay hails an agreement with Labour as an achievement on the grounds that all three Tory councillors will be given senior posts. Let him inform Tory voters what price was paid for this “agreement” so that they can judge whether that accords with their wishes.

The East Lothian electorate as a body did not vote for such an arrangement, which virtually rewrites the result. It is nothing short of an outrage that another party with only one seat fewer than Labour is left on the sidelines.

Unless two parties finish equal, coalition should not be allowed. The leading party should be obliged to take office in minority, having achieved the purpose of contesting the election. Otherwise, they should be barred from office.

Robert Dow, Ormiston Road, Tranent

Would return of train beat trams?

WE at Edinburgh Railway Action Group wonder how Evening News readers would answer three questions.

Are you in favour of the tram system being completed?

Are you in support of the tram contractors Bilfinger Berger?

Are you in support of re-opening of the Suburban Circle Line including Abbeyhill Loop, about 13 new stations and passenger traffic?

Harold Nicolson, Edinburgh Railway Action Group