Letters: Axe costly defence spending and invest in public services

THE political consensus of our main parties indicates public services' workers and users must pay for greed-driven economics. Those considering voting for any of these parties appear to have only one thing to consider as I see it; which one, if elected, will make things less bad less quickly.

When research shows that for every pound spent on local public services, 64p is reinvested in the local economy and political pundits estimate that 30,000 public sector jobs could be axed regardless of which party wins the General Election, this economic madness must be questioned.

Because spending on public services has been a means of growth in our economy during recession, we cannot afford to cut them when they and those who deliver them should be supported and resourced.

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Wouldn't it be more fitting if we put an end to our military misadventures in Afghanistan, said no to Trident and addressed the billions of pounds lost every year to the Treasury by those who cheat our tax system?

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh, East Lothian

Neck and neck, but not for the big prize

I READ with interest Ian Swanson's take on the Edinburgh North & Leith Election (News, 8 April) and the misconception offered by the Lib-Dems in their claim to being on the brink of a shock result of Ross County-esque proportion.

Kevin Lang is, however, correct in his assessment that this constituency is a two-horse race. Sadly, in spite of the incessant 2005 Election results-led glossy leafleting of the area, this Lib-Dem nag won't make it over the Electoral Becher's Brook!

SNP candidate Calum Cashley is right to point out that school closures will be a key factor in where the votes will go. He should know! His party have been instrumental in putting the final nail in the coffin of two local primary schools, Fort and Royston.

Even his party leader on the council, Stevie Cardownie, proves to have a poor track record in this subject as parents and teachers alike had to indeed wonder where their ward councillor was during consultation meetings last September ahead of the closures.

It's neck and neck indeed, but the good money isn't on who is battling for the bronze medal podium place.

Mark A Brown, Grigor Terrace, Edinburgh

Progress is priority for NHS Lothian

YOUR article "Bed blocking on rise after winter chill in Lothians" (News, 2 April) gave an inaccurate picture of the number of patients delayed in hospital once their care has been completed.

NHS Lothian and our council partners have worked extremely hard to reduce the number of people in this position and have delivered a significant downward trend in recent years.

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Your article did not compare like with like. The figure of 109 patients reported includes patients with complex needs. Due to the specific requirements of these patients, such delays are reported separately. In calculating the change from previous months, you did not take this into account and compared 109 with another figure which did not include patients with complex needs.

Overall there were 109 patients across Lothian who were recorded as delayed in hospital during the February 2010 census – 34 with complex needs.

This is a significant reduction on the 142 delays (48 with complex needs) for the same period last year and is not an 18-month high as reported.

It compares with a figure of 550 in January 2002, showing the progress that has been made.

This remains a key priority for NHS Lothian and our council partners. We will continue to work to reduce the number of people who have to remain in hospital longer than is necessary.

Jackie Sansbury, director of strategic planning and modernisation, NHS Lothian

Make sure you are eligible for polls

TIME is running out for people to make sure they can vote on 6 May. The deadline to register to vote is Tuesday 20 April.

Registering to vote takes only a few minutes, so can I encourage your readers go to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk and register now, or call us on 0800 3 280 280.

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Andy O'Neill, head of the Electoral Commission's Scotland Office, Edinburgh

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