Capital MSP's tax on plastic bags would be drastic

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IN 2005, Edinburgh South Liberal Democrat MSP Mike Pringle submitted a Bill to the Scottish Parliament proposing that every person in Scotland paid ten pence for each plastic carrier bag they used.

Parliament commissioned research which took two years to complete and cost tax payers an estimated 2 million. At the completion of this research, not a single member of the all party Environmental and Rural Development Committee supported the Bill and Mr Pringle had to withdraw it.

The reasons the committee did not support it are extensive and complicated but, suffice to say, such a move would actually have had a negative impact on the environment and the people of Scotland. This may surprise people who have not read the research.

Has Mr Pringle been humbled by the gross expense of his Bill and his inability to convince a single member of the committee of his argument? Not a bit of it. Instead, Mr Pringle is now demonstrating the political equivalent of a small child who has not got his way but who is intent on stamping his feet and trying, trying, and trying again until he gets what he wants; and to hell with the cost to his parents; or in this case the taxpayers!

Furthermore, Mr Pringle's latest submission to Parliament on April 16 will not contain a single element of new evidence to support his case. The vast majority of plastic bags are re-used or recycled. Research shows that plastic bags do not kill marine mammals; surprising, but true!

The issue of plastic bags as litter (and all other litter) can easily be addressed if there is a political will to do so; there is not!

Parliament's own research concluded that the proposed Bill could, quote, "affect those on low income more than other groups and that some ethnic minority groups, disabled people, women, single parents and older people are likely to be amongst those on lower incomes".

Did these groups of people ever anticipate that this would be the sort of "improvement" brought to their daily lives when they voted for a Scottish Parliament?

J Murdoch, Glasgow Road, Sanquhar, Dumfriesshire

Machine choosy about Scots note

ON having my parking ticket rejected from the payment machine at Greenside Place car park yesterday, I pressed the button for assistance. After waiting in a queue, I was addressed over the loudspeaker by a London voice who worked out what I was due and fixed the machine so I could put my money in.

When my 10 note was also rejected a couple of times I began to get mad at the ongoing fiasco and told the operator, who was still hanging on, of my dilemma. His reply was: "It's not a Scottish note is it?". At that point my money was accepted, but God forbid that I used a Scottish banknote in a parking machine in Scotland's capital city.

Isobel Muirhead, Cornel Lane, Glenrothes

Rugby teams are proving big draw

CONTRARY to your leader comment (Grassroots and elite both vital to breed winners– Evening News, April 9), crowds for both the professional rugby teams in Edinburgh and Glasgow are increasing this year and it is inaccurate to describe them as "the worst supported professional sides in Europe".

During the course of the season Edinburgh have enjoyed a fourfold increase in average attendances; up from an average of 1300 at the start of the season to an average of 5200 recently, a healthy figure we are determined to build upon in partnership with passionate and committed supporters.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow in their present guises have set record attendances this season, Edinburgh attracting 6225 to their Magners League derby against Glasgow.

The staff and players of Edinburgh Rugby Club are working hard to engage with both the existing rugby community and win new recruits to the game. Some 300 children recently attended the game against Connacht as part of a "Kids 4 Free" promotion, and further initiatives to attract new supporters to the excitement of professional rugby will be unveiled over the next few weeks.

Graham Law, head of media, Scottish Rugby Union

Identity fraud cost doesn't add up

CLAIMS that identity fraud costs the UK 20 billion a year are baseless (Keeping your ID safe, News, April 9). Even the Home Office claims only 1.7 billion, and most of that is comprised of credit card and insurance fraud – crimes not generally considered as identity theft.

The reality is that identity theft is extremely rare in the UK. What DC Burns describes are simple bank frauds in which money or services are obtained by deception. Since the commencement of the Fraud Act 2006, police outwith Scotland will not even investigate such crimes unless reported by the real victims – the banks or credit card companies.

If commercial institutions choose to provide services to people on the basis of a pilfered utility bill and mother's maiden name in place of a trusted relationship, that is their choice. They and their shareholders are responsible for any losses that may result. It only affects the rest of us when credit reference agencies get involved and libel innocent people.

Geraint Bevan, NO2ID Scotland, Grovepark Gardens, Glasgow

Speaker's actions are unspeakable

HOUSE of Commons Speaker Michael Martin is worse than the Tories were.

Mr Martin has spent 1.7 million of taxpayers' money, no wonder he launched a high court bid to stop a breakdown on MPs' expenses on second homes being revealed. Mr Martin got an annual salary of 140,000 and generous allowances and to think pensioners and infirm people have to choose between food or clothes to keep themselves warm.

Gas up 15 per cent, electric up 15 per cent but it won't affect our Mr Martin and the rest of the shameless MPs. Why? Because we the taxpayers pay their bills.

Jack McNeil, Corstorphine, Edinburgh