Letters: Overnight success should be paid for with bed tax

SO Edinburgh hotels are raking it in, making more money per room than anywhere else in the UK (News, October 14).

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th October 2011, 1:06 pm

This means while most of us are having to cut back spending even on essential purchases to make ends meet, hotel bosses are rubbing their hands with glee as visitors vote with their feet and head for Edinburgh.

And yet there are those in the trade who still complain about the very thought of a “bed tax”.

Hotel bosses should wake up and smell the (overpriced) coffee.

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They are currently doing very nicely on the back of being located in a city that is a tourist magnet, and which is still performing at the highest level while hotels in rival cities wilt due to the recession.

And yet this city has great financial problems. Even leaving the hugely expensive trams project aside (if only we could!) there are many council staff fearing for their jobs as cutbacks are planned in a bid to save money.

Of course this also means that some of the most vulnerable in our city may have to do without vital services they rely on.

Surely the least the hotels can do is give something back to the city they operate in by way of passing on some of their profits through tax.

William Marshall, Dalkeith Road, Edinburgh

Poor being given the cold shoulder

OFGEM’S revelation that the “big six” energy firms have increased their profits eight-fold since June will undoubtedly make millions of irate customers even more furious.

After all, these profits come as the government tells us there are now one million Scots households living in fuel poverty, i.e. unable to afford the £1345 now demanded of them for gas and electricity.

And the reasons for their plight are plain to see. Energy bills have doubled in the past five years, whilst wages, benefits and pensions have not.

The combined bill for gas and electricity now also includes 20 per cent VAT, which means we are paying some of the highest energy prices in the world. And all this at a time when living standards are plummeting.

The Scottish Socialist Party demands the government acts to cap these bills and that anyone paying more than 9.95 per cent of their income should receive an immediate winter fuel allowance to prevent them toppling into fuel poverty.

Colin Fox, Scottish Socialist Party, Edinburgh

Working hard to deliver answer

THE points expressed by Graeme Brown (“Low housing supply sends rent costs through the roof’’, Interactive, October 14) have been a concern for Edinburgh City Council for some time.

The South East Scotland Housing Need and Demand assessment from 2008 showed that 1600 new affordable homes are required each year in Edinburgh to meet peoples housing needs.

By working with the Scottish Government, housing associations and house builders we have been able to deliver 1212 affordable homes which are currently under construction and 1558 affordable homes which will be approved to start on site within a year.

The approval of these homes supports up to 2180 jobs in construction and related industries and provides a boost to the supply of new homes to rent or buy in the city.

Mr Brown is right to talk about the problem and I hope he can appreciate the efforts this council is taking to deliver the solutions.

Councillor Norman Work, Vice Convenor Health, Social Care and Housing

Help only those who deserve it

THE current unemployment figure is alarming and disappointing so far as the genuinely out of work are concerned, but no account is being taken of the fact that some are made up of criminals, layabouts, ne’er-do-wells and the unfortunate whose physical condition makes them deserving.

Possibly if the true percentage of the unemployed was reported and something done about all those freeloaders, the problem would be manageable and less of a burden upon those in employment and paying tax.

David McPhillips, Broomfield Crescent, Edinburgh