Letters: Don't hold your breath for latest pie-in-sky proposal

A NEW World Trade Centre building is heading our way, according to development and business leaders (Evening News, October 7).

Excuse me for holding my breath, but I'll believe it when I see it. And the same goes for the skyscraper hotel at Haymarket, the giant Ferris wheel at the Waterfront, Caltongate and so many other pie-in-the-sky ideas which have never got off the ground.

We're in the middle of the worst recession in decades, we can't afford to provide decent schools to prepare our kids for their future, and yet our council and business chiefs will gladly get together to discuss ideas that will never, ever see the light of day.

If only we had some way of harnessing all the empty words spoken by these daydreamers, we'd have enough hot air to keep everyone in the city warm through the coming winter.

C Darmody, Bruntsfield Road, Edinburgh

Burns is trying to pass on blame

I FIND it very strange that city Labour leader Andrew Burns is now trying to pass the blame for Labour's tram fiasco on to his political opponents, (City leaders split on trams, News October 7) when responsibility for overseeing the day to day management of the tram project lies with TIE whose four councillor board members include Labour's Ian Perry as well as Liberal Democrats Gordon Mackenzie and Phil Wheeler and Tory Allan Jackson.

Have any of them raised major concerns about the mis-management of the project?

As they are opposed to this tram project, no SNP councillor is on the board of TIE and when the SNP attempted to scrap the trams in April 2009 all the other parties on the council voted down an SNP motion calling for a full report on the costs and timescales involved.

Janice Thompson, Walter Scott Avenue, Edinburgh

Affordable homes must be priority

AGAINST the background of the banking and public sector spending squeeze, it is clear that innovative ways of funding affordable social housing have to be explored in order to meet the needs of thousands of people across Scotland.

In that light, I welcome the initiative shown by Housing Minister Alex Neil in appealing to the Pension Fund industry to invest up to 1 billion-a-year in social housing in Scotland, saying it is a dependable investment and the demand is there.

But I would like to remind the Scottish Government that this is only one of several ways forward. Even if he manages to lure investment from the pension funds, it should not be used as an excuse to cut public sector capital expenditure on house-building.

Despite the spending squeeze, there is money in the public purse for funding a house-building programme across Scotland, but it all depends on having the political will to do so.

The Scottish 'Independent Budget Review' released in July this year warned that continued capital expenditure was vital in order to stimulate private sector economic growth and employment. It is estimated that each 1 invested in housing generates 3.50 in economic output.

So, this innovative idea to help fund social housing is a positive step and I wish it success.

However, as it contemplates which areas of capital expenditure are to be slashed, the Scottish Government must commit to a programme of concerted investment in building affordable homes. This has to be a national priority to help pull our country out of the economic doldrums and house the thousands of people desperate for a home of their own.

Graeme Brown, Director, Shelter Scotland, Edinburgh

Strong language about Travellers

I AM appalled at the use of the word 'plagued', to describe the presence of Gypsy Travellers at Sheriffhall Park and Ride (News, October 7).

It is this kind of negative attention that is causing prejudice and discrimination towards Gypsy Travellers from the settled community.

Dr P Nolan, Amnesty International (Scotland)

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