Readers' letters: The ability to deliver at a local level is what counts at council elections

What influences voters’ choices in council elections?What influences voters’ choices in council elections?
What influences voters’ choices in council elections?
What are the forthcoming local elections actually about? Already the Scottish Conservatives, in their call for the withdrawal of three pro-independence Labour candidates in Edinburgh, seem to suggest it is a test on whether there is support for another referendum on the matter (News, 29 March).

I cannot comment on how active Ross McKenzie, Richard Parker and Katrina Faccenda are on the things that might be relevant in the coming poll. Some voters will see it simply a s a test of the parties’ national popularity. But their ability to deliver on housing, recycling, transport, schools, social work, the promotion of the city on the international stage, effective fiscal scrutiny, among many other municipal issues, must count for something too.

All parties should be mature enough to tolerate a minority view whilst their leaders make it clear what their overall policy objectives are. Conservatives have put up with very strong adherents of the free market while in practice supporting the mixed economy. If the Lib Dems were to insist on strong adherence to the party line, they would be bereft of candidates. Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar ought to have the political guile to manage a degree of internal dissent.

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It is a pity that these things get such a high priority when we decide who should represent us on councils. My impression is that local democracy has suffered badly in the two years of the pandemic, with councillors much less visible and officials sometimes showing scant regard for accountability. Its revival will depend very much on how candidates can relate to voters’ real aspirations and needs in the coming weeks.

Bob Taylor, Glenrothes

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Fleeced again

The private energy companies are fleecing Scotland again and the UK government stands idly by. Electricity standing charges will rise by 100 per cent in Scotland, a net energy exporter, whereas in London, where zero energy is produced but much is consumed, they are rising by just 38 per cent. People in Scotland will be paying four times higher energy bills than the average UK household. Why?

For one, Scottish generators pay the highest grid charges not only in the UK but in Europe and Scotland faces the highest electricity charges in the UK. This is pure discrimination and profiteering by private companies. There is no reason why standing charges should vary by region.

The other reason is that private energy companies can charge whatever they want because Scotland in the Union is powerless. Renewable energy prices haven’t changed and Scotland generates nearly 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables, so it makes zero sense to charge Scots more.

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If government cannot meet the basic needs of its citizens then what’s it for? The UK government has chosen to serve the interests of its political base – the wealthy elite – and to abandon everyone else. The Scottish people have had enough. The SNP must get on with what it was elected to do and get us out

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Business acumen

I'm sure the whole of Scotland is rejoicing in the news that First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes were taking part in the National Economic Forumheld in Edinburgh.

They seemingly pledged that the voice of business is at “the heart of government”. This will be reassuring for Scottish shipyards, airports, oil and gas businesses, national energy start-ups and all the other growth sectors who have benefitted from the amazing level of business acumen shown by our SNP/Green government.

Jim Houston, Edinburgh

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