Readers' letters: How much are trains costing taxpayers?

We should have known the nationalisation of ScotRail by the SNP would be a disaster.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 7:00 am

At hand over in April ScotRail ran 2400 trains every weekday. After only eight weeks under SNP Government ownership this is now reduced by a third. The network will close down early every night. Weekend timetables are still to be announced.

In December 2019 Transport secretary Michael Matheson announced in Parliament “Ministers must ensure that the services we secure are high performing…” and “Of course, the Scottish Government must plan for the future of our rail services beyond 2022 and work is already underway to examine the options open to us.”

With the franchise transfer arrangements, SNP Ministers should have addressed insufficient driver numbers by now.

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In March 2021, Graham Simpson Tory Transport spokesman said, "This is the same government that can't even build a couple of ferries which hardly instils confidence in them having the competence to run a rail service." And John Finnie Greens Transport spokesman advised "Nationalisation of services is just the first step towards a greener, integrated public transport system …"

Abellio, which ran the Scotland rail franchise, posted a pre-tax loss of £64.5m in March 2020.

How much is this latest disaster costing the economy and Scottish Taxpayers?

Alastair Murray, Edinburgh.

Energy policy should come to Scotland

What a surprise. Oil and gas industry leaders warn that a windfall tax on their excessive profits risks future green investment. Nonsense.

First, when oil prices cratered in 2015, the UK Government cut oil taxes to zero, which of course negatively impacted the rigged GERS accounts for Scotland. Now when these same companies are raking in obscene profits from speculation, not cost increases, they squeal like stuck pigs while consumers buckle under crippling energy bills.

To show their gratitude, these firms have donated £1 million to the Conservatives since 2019.

Second, the UK stands alone among EU nations in having sold off its energy assets so private companies and shareholders can benefit while the rest of us are held ransom to their bottomless greed.

Germany, Norway and France are shielding citizens from higher prices while UK citizens are paying 54 per cent more with further increases slated for October.

Scotland bears the brunt. Self-sufficient in cheaper renewables, Scottish renewables producers pay ten times what their English counterparts pay for grid connection, which is pure discrimination. Scottish consumers’ standing charges are doubling whereas Londoners will pay just 38 per cent more. The new £18 billion London Crossrail won’t provide a fraction of the benefit similar investment in Scottish renewables would, but Westminster is allocating just £27 million for the NE Transition Zone.

And last year Westminster spurned an Aberdeenshire carbon capture project for one in former red-wall northern England.

As long as energy policy remains with Westminster, Scotland will be short-changed

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

CoS welcome news for gay Christians

Not sure if The Church of Scotland is due a medal for keeping up with the 21st century, but nonetheless we welcome the vote to allow its clergy to conduct same-sex marriages given the importance to gay Christians.

Some oppose this new equality saying that it’s “unbiblical and sinful” and are glad of the “conscience clause” allowing them to turn away gay couples.

The times they are a changin’. Would the Alabama bus driver who ordered Rosa Parks to move seat during The American Civil Rights movement have been entitled to say, “I didn’t sign up for this!” ?

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society.

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