Letters: Housing market boost is nothing but a false dawn

ISN'T the claim that "the city's housing market is on the up" really just a triumph of hope over reality (News, August 7)?

The requirement for such a large deposit for a new mortgage means even those with an existing loan may well be reluctant or unable to shift their lending to move in the market.

We have gone in one fell swoop from mortgages of above 100 per cent loan to value, to loans of 70 per cent to 90 per cent. Haven't these lending restrictions by the banks effectively put a large part of the market into a negative borrowing potential?

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Meanwhile, the banks are being allowed to compensate themselves for their failures through obscene bonuses, financed by hiked charges and Draconian interest rates, which are being imposed despite the base rate being so low at 0.5 per cent, knowing that we have no choice but to pay up.

Yet curiously, despite some banks returning these substantial profits being effectively state-owned, we must be the only shareholders who will not benefit from any dividend from our public shareholding.

Aren't these real signs that capitalism is in crisis? Left to the banks' strategy of looking after themselves rather than being a catalyst for economic recovery, aided and abetted by our government turning a blind eye, can't we who were not responsible for the current economic plight only look forward to a protracted period of unjustified pain?

With calls being made for the public to resist government spending cuts, shouldn't the government be taking notice?

Jim Taylor, The Murrays Brae, Edinburgh

Interest draining the public purse

WHEN Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon plans to axe in excess of 4,000 NHS jobs which can only affect health care and place extra demands on a remaining overstretched workforce, is she effectively agreeing with Tory policy of making blameless workers and the sick pay for a greed-driven economic crisis?

Ms Sturgeon predictably says she has no other option because of reduced budgets from Westminster.

If our Scottish Government passively complies with "Tory tough choices", which means attacking innocent workers while guilty bankers escape with impunity and obscene rewards, would prospective SNP supporters not be just as well to bite the bullet and vote Conservative at the coming Scottish election?

If the SNP is to win power it must start to act as a progressive left of centre party instead of just posturing as such. A good starting position would be to tell the Scottish people how much we are in debt to non-negotiable PPP deals.

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Its grossly excessive interest rates still drain the public purse today.

Jack Fraser, Clayknowes Drive, Musselburgh Help stub habit out among young

THE Government has just announced it may not implement a new law to scrap cigarette vending machines and tobacco displays in shops.

Yet we know vending machines are an easy source of cigarettes for children and that they are encouraged to smoke through the slick marketing in tobacco displays.

With 40 per cent of adult smokers, or ex-smokers, starting smoking before they were 16, it's clear we need to do much more to stop our children taking up this deadly habit.

That's why I am supporting the British Heart Foundation's campaign to ensure the Government implements this law to protect our children from the dangers of smoking.

Caroline Crozier, Bruce Gardens, Dalkeith

No room for tat in historic areas

AS Edinburgh is very much a tourist orientated city there should be a limited number of shops which specialise in tacky tourist goods but only in the appropriate area.

Shops in the Royal Mile and Princes Street should first and foremost reflect the character, history and prestige of the unique city that is Edinburgh. Gimmicky tourist shops do not fall into this category!

Angus McGregor, Albion Road, Edinburgh