Letters: Bus drivers deserve praise for efforts in conditions

SOME questions have been asked lately about the performance of our transport services and their response and ability to cope with the severe weather of the past couple of weeks.

One company that in my view has to be commended is Lothian Buses.

Despite the drastic weather conditions it managed to keep buses running in almost all corners of the city.

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Bus routes were diverted to roads that were accessible and the company played a massive role in getting people to and from work, keeping the city moving.

Updates were regularly available online, allowing people to check for changes to services.

Bus drivers should be credited for driving in very difficult conditions in some parts of Edinburgh with many cars stuck and pedestrians on the roads.

We may not have seen the worst of the winter and there's no room for complacency but whilst we're quick at finding faults with our transport services we should also praise those that deliver, and Lothian Buses is certainly one of them.

Dr Ian McKee MSP, Scottish Parliament

Fear for economy with VAT increase

THE news from industry body the CBI (News, December 20) makes for very worrying reading.

The prediction that the economy will slow to the point of virtual standstill is worrying enough.

The real concern in the report is the prediction that due to the VAT rise, we will start to get such a rise in inflation that interest rates will have to start rising in 2011.

An increase in mortgage rates is about the very last thing we need in the economy right now and could easily see growth back into negative territory.

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It beggars belief that the Liberal Democrats are now supporting a rise in VAT to 20 per cent this coming January when in opposition they vehemently opposed a rise due to its very inflationary impact.

I know we are all cynical about what Lib Dems promised before the election – but this is not about politics, this is about hurting every single family in Britain.

Michelle Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh

Where is all the money going to?

IN reply to the letter by Jim Taylor (Interactive, December 20) in which he states that if councillors incur costs in pursuit of their official duties as elected official which they would not normally have, then shouldn't we taxpayers properly recompense them.

First, can he bear in mind that they wanted to do the job as they put their name forward to ask the taxpayers to elect them.

The position of councillor is a job, therefore why must they get special treatment with free transport and free meals?

I pay council tax and as my home is on a privately-owned estate the only service provided is the emptying of household bins, garden refuse and recycling boxes.

There is no street sweeping, and no environmental wardens come round my area, so may I ask him, where does he think my money is going?

I am a pensioner and I have still to pay income tax on any monies I get above a certain amount.

Jane Black, Edinburgh

Grateful for the SNP's tax freeze

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THANK God that the SNP has forced another year's freeze on the council tax.

This crippling tax (in my case 200 per month) only raises 10 per cent of the council's expenditure.

A large part goes to the collection of the tax, the rest goes to the councils pension fund.

Labour are desperate to raise it by approximately 70 per month, but that would devastate the income for those on the basic pension.

So I have a suggestion. Have a referendum on scrapping the tax completely and in the spirit of fairness and democracy, only those who actually pay the tax get a vote.

Let's face it if you're not paying the tax you'll vote for every rise possible and against any reduction in services.

Ian Murray, Edinburgh