Letters: Cardownie has the power to uncover Jeffrey pay-off

Is it not time Councillor Steve Cardownie started to earn his responsibility allowance?

He was quoted in Monday's Evening News as saying that "details of Richard Jeffrey's severance pay-off should be in the public domain as it's public money".

Surely, as the deputy leader of the council, he only needs to pick up the phone and ask officials of the council for this information?

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It is clear that the council is responsible for the tram project now, not TIE.

So, Councillor Cardownie, get off your backside and start to take responsibility for the city's biggest transport project for a generation.

After all, was Councillor Cardownie not made responsible for tram communication by the council in December 2008?

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Labour spokesperson for transport and infrastructure, Edinburgh City Council

English rule will change nothing

Stephen Gash's call for a referendum on establishing an English parliament is premature (Interactive, July 18).

In the present post-democratic era, more than 80 per cent of our laws come ultimately from the bureaucratic European Commission. These laws are merely rubber-stamped by the European Parliament, and in some cases by Westminster or Holyrood as well.

Creating an English parliament will not change this reality at all; nor will it mean that the British people can do without Westminster.

Indeed, any English parliament created under present conditions would, like the Scottish Parliament, be largely a charade and just a further burden on Britain's long-suffering taxpayers.

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The first thing that needs to be done is for us to reclaim our rights to make all our laws democratically, on this island and in the English language. To do this, we need a referendum on leaving the EU - a referendum that the majority of the people have wanted for many years.

Only once we have reclaimed our democracy can we realistically turn to dealing with the best constitutional arrangements within the UK.

Otto Inglis, Inveralmond Grove, Edinburgh

Rennie has more pressing matters

Willie Rennie (Alex Salmond must come clean on the cost of independence, Evening News, July 18) conveniently ignores the Union dividend, which is costing each Scottish household 80,000 as our share of the UK debt, largely caused by Gordon Brown's disastrous stewardship of the economy, and is now estimated to be as much as 2.049 trillion.

This breathtaking figure is equal to 80 per cent of UK output and is three times the combined national debts of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, whereas official government figures show that Scotland has been in surplus for four of the last five years.Instead of pursuing David Cameron's Tory agenda on Scotland's future, the leader of the five Scottish Liberal Democrats would be better off explaining why he has abandoned his party's former commitment to federalism.

Calum Stewart, Montague Street, Edinburgh

Lay foundations for new housing

News that housing conditions are unlikely to improve without more efforts to combat social inequality brings new focus to an existing problem in Scotland.

The country is in the midst of a housing crisis, with 160,000 people on waiting lists for a home. With welfare reforms on the horizon, the situation is set to get much worse.

While understanding the complex links between housing and social inequality is important in the long term, what Scotland needs now is more homes. Investment in housing is investment in people. Unless the Scottish Government acts quickly to build more affordable and socially-rented homes, more people will face the human tragedy of homelessness - regardless of their social background.

Gordon MacRae, head of communications and policy, Shelter Scotland, Scotiabank House, South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh