SNP prove the only real Westminster opposition

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Contrary to Martin Redfern’s claims (Letters, November 25) the SNP MPs are not only standing up for Scotland but also providing the only consistent opposition to the Tories in the House of Commons.

Labour are all over the place with several policy positions on any given topic such as three different stances on renewing Trident with Ian Murray abstaining as he always does over nuclear weapons. He and his Labour colleagues also abstained rather than vote against Tory Welfare cuts on July 20.

Meanwhile the SNP MPs forced a Labour U-turn on opposing George Osborne’s Fiscal Charter, forced David Cameron to climb down on measures such as repealing the Human Rights Act, omitting it from the Queen’s Speech at the last minute. SNP pressure meant a late decision to not hold the European referendum on the same date as the Scottish Parliament then Tory back tracking on relaxation of Fox Hunting ban and over Evel.

George Osborne’s autumn statement confirmed that there will be a further 5% real-terms austerity cuts to Scottish funding over the next four years. Yet the Scottish government is expected to mitigate policies implemented by a Government that only one constituency voted for. But that is what Labour preferred when they opposed independence and voted against devolving meaningful taxes, welfare, employment law and the living wage to the Scottish Parliament.

Fraser Grant, Warrender Park Road, Edinburgh

Burns in denial over Cameron House saga

It is a mistake to assume, as you suggest in your editorial about events at Cameron House (News, November 26), that in the council there is ‘a real willingness to face up to all that has gone wrong and take remedial action’.

At last week’s meeting of Edinburgh Council I asked the council leader Andrew Burns what action he proposes to take. In response he dismissed the Cameron House events as having occurred ‘well over a decade ago’.

Some of the sorry saga did take place a long time ago, but much of it is more recent and a key issue is the more recent and ongoing events and their impact.

For Cllr Burns to claim the scandal is about events which happened ‘well over a decade ago’ indicates he has been poorly briefed or is attempting to sweep the issues under the carpet.

Cameron Rose, Conservative councillor for Southside & Newington, City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh

Narrow escape from falling oil revenues

I was shocked to see that revenues from oil have fallen 94% in the last year. Coupled with tens of thousands of job losses in the North Sea and related industries across Scotland the situation for Scottish public spending is dire.

Before the referendum Alex Salmond told us that Scotland was “on the cusp of a second oil boom”. How tragic that ridiculous statement looks now.

He should have the decency to apologise and admit we would be facing massive increases in income tax and cuts to schools and hospitals if he had got his way.

Michelle Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh

Christmas spirit is now profit motive

Your article on mulled wine prices at the Christmas Market in Edinburgh seems to misunderstand completely what Christmas is all about (‘Mistletoe and whine’, News, November 24).

Surely the reason Underbelly has taken on the council’s contract is to shovel as much money as possible out of residents’ pockets and into their own?

The true spirit of Christmas is 350%+ profit margin.

(Dr) Kirsty Anderson, Cowan Road, Edinburgh

Food bank figures give distorted picture

SNP MSP Christine Grahame’s comments on food bank referral numbers in Midlothian over the six months to September, in which she comments that they are “alarming and show that people in the area are in dire straits” (‘Concern over food bank use’, News, November 23), suggests political opportunism.

The 802 referrals she mentions for the period equate to an average number in Midlothian of around 130 per month or, to put it another way, one visit to a food bank in a month by one person for every 660 of Midlothian’s population.

The total referrals for Scotland is reported as 60,000 for the last quarter - or approximately 20,000 per month. The national average is, therefore, around one person in every 265.

In addition, a figure of 44% referrals is put down to “benefit delays and cuts.” I’m not surprised that benefit delays are a large factor at this time, but were the impact of cuts measured as a reason for a referral?

Finally, what about the remaining 56% who are referred? I suspect Ms Grahame wants to shy away from the reasons for their problems.....

Paul Ritchie , Warrender Park Terrace , Edinburgh

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