Letters: Level-playing field for all is worth raising a glass to

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association has been arguing for a level playing field wherever possible for many years.

This is now more important than ever in light of Finance Secretary John Swinney's "supermarket" tax.

Commercial rates for pubs and hotels are calculated on a completely different basis from any other commercial businesses – they are calculated on turnover rather than square footage.

The rates burden on such premises equates to around 8.5 per cent of turnover.

In comparison, the rates burden on premises such as supermarkets, whilst based on square footage, equates to about two per cent of turnover.

The SLTA has already suggested to the Scottish government that supermarkets should also be commercially rated the same as other retailers of alcohol and a square footage calculation should only be used for areas displaying their non-alcohol products.

We estimate that 100 million in extra rates revenue would be achieved and a level playing field for all businesses, particularly the Licensed Trade, would once and for all be achieved.

Colin A Wilkinson, The Scottish Licensed Trade Association

Still waiting for a fair society

WHEN you read of Royal Bank of Scotland bonuses, you are immediately aware that in the UK there are many who can't get a job, or afford to buy a house or even have a place to live.

It is surely a mockery that well-paid men and women in a financial post (whose bank was bailed out from the public purse) can put out their hands for another massive cash injection.

In sport and music there are also highly-paid individuals whose income vastly exceeds those of the have-nots – yet it rumbles on. Nick Clegg talks of a fair society – when?

Trevor Swistchew, Victor Park Terrace, Edinburgh

Beware of peer review research

MICK Geggus (Interactive, January 17) is, of course, correct to be sceptical of obtaining evidence against climate change from a "simple internet search".

His contribution to the debate, however, in linking those who disagree with him to "'scientists' who believe the world is flat" does him or his argument no credit.

Many very eminent scientists do not subscribe to the catastrophic, human induced, global warming view which has cornered so much of our public policy.

Richard Lindzen, professor at Massachussetts Institute of Technology is one such climate scientist with impeccable credentials, and whose views have led me to question what has become the climate change orthodoxy. He is one of many.

Mr Geggus would also be well advised to review his confidence in peer-reviewed research in the climate science field.

It was a group of bloggers, initially outside the peer-review system, who, in the teeth of ridicule and obstruction, showed that the much vaunted and influential "hockey stick" pattern of global temperatures, was based on deeply flawed peer-reviewed papers.

Peer-review is a relatively recent standard adopted scientific standard. In climate science there are notable evidences of it being corrupted.

Cameron Rose, Conservative councillor, Southside & Newington

Grit out there and clean up the mess

NOW that the snow has melted of its own accord and warmer days are with us, isn't it time for Edinburgh City Council to tidy up the mess left following their belated attempts to clear the streets?

Whilst piles of grit on street corners may have been useful when there was snow, these are now cluttering up our pavements as well as providing a target for children to amuse themselves by spreading the stuff further and, in some cases, even throwing it at passing vehicles.

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh

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