Readers' Letters: A little planning consideration could bring female-led economic boom

Organisation around Taylor Swift’s recent Scottish concerts got one reader thinking about a way to boost economy

Scott Reid’s article “Taylor Swift, Euros and Highland Show help high streets” (5 July) has prompted me to reflect on the special nature of the Taylor Swift tour and its economic impact.

I attended one of the Edinburgh concerts with a friend and the experience went beyond bracelet swapping and witnessing the joy of girls seeing their heroine. Having been to many concerts in my life, I can honestly say that the Eras tour was the safest I have ever felt in a large crowd, undoubtedly due to the predominantly female audience.

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Imagine the potential economic impact if women's safety and needs were consistently taken into account. Prior to the first concert, MSP Monica Lennon raised the question in the Scottish Parliament about whether our transport services were adequately prepared to safely move a massive crowd of mostly young women home (they were – I was able to board a tram immediately and the journey was very peaceful).

Taylor Swift fans at an Eras Tour concert at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)Taylor Swift fans at an Eras Tour concert at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)
Taylor Swift fans at an Eras Tour concert at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

It was a refreshing change from the times certain parts of Glasgow become effectively off-limits due to the presence of intoxicated men after certain football matches, transforming parts of the city into intimidating environments.

At a time our economy could benefit from a boost, it would be wise for councils to remember that women also enjoy socialising and are more likely to do so when we feel safe. Glasgow recently elected a Green councillor who is committed to making feminist town planning a reality for the city.

Feminist planning involves simple considerations such as safety, accessibility, and the needs of children – factors that would benefit everyone. If our public services and towns were made safe and welcoming for all, our high streets could thrive for years to come.

Gemma Clark, Paisley, Renfrewshire

Spend spend spend

Rachel “there’s no more money” Reeves claimed English Labour has inherited “the worst set of circumstances since the Second World War”. Not so – in 1945 he UK had a debt-GDP ratio of 250 per cent. Today it’s under 70 per cent.

In 1945 the UK was flat broke. It owed the US for wartime Lend Lease programmes and its empire was imploding. What did the newly elected Attlee Labour government do in response? It didn’t adhere to some made-up fiscal rules that artificially constrained it from acting in the peoples’ best interest. It opened up the spending taps. It created the NHS from scratch. It bought out the coal mines, power companies and railways from private companies and invested more in them. It spent money on education, on social services, on social housing. For once, the people were the owners of public assets, assets that would be worth trillions if they were in the public domain today.

What happened? The economy surged. There was full employment with low inflation. GDP grew substantially and the UK paid off its debts. Massive government spending on the people – health and education – and on productive investment signalled to the private sector where to put its money. In other words, government spending led the way to economic growth and prosperity for all – it always does.

Ms Reeves not only needs a history lesson, she needs a lesson in government finance. Her solution – to provide public money to the private sector, hoping it will somehow grow the economy – will fail. And she ignores government’s chief obligation – to promote and protect the nation’s most precious asset, the health and wellbeing of its people.

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For the Scottish people to prosper, they must end this failing union.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh

Purse pressure

Rachel Reeves is under arguably more pressure than anyone in the UK given Labour’s victory was won on the back of the promise of economic growth to pay for increased spending on public services. She is handling it well, regularly seen smiling broadly in high vis gear and proudly hailing herself Britain’s first female Chancellor of the Exchequer.

It’s been quite a rise for the girl from Lewisham who worked her way up to Oxford University to become a career politician. If the confident and charismatic Reeves succeeds she will become the next Labour leader and a future prime minister. If she fails she will be widely blamed for Labour’s defeat at the next general election.

Unlocking the planning system and private sector investment will be challenging, to say the least. Reeves, like her colleagues, is riding high after 20 per cent of the electorate voted Labour into power. Reality may have hit home now she claims Britain is in the worst financial position since the Second World War. I wish her well, the future prosperity of us all depends on Labour’s “big bet” on growth.

Neil Anderson, Edinburgh

Broken system

Under any decent proportional representation electoral system (say, the single transferable vote, STV) there would now be 219 Labour MPs, 154 Conservatives, 92 Reform, 79 Lib Dems, 44 Greens, 15 SNP and 44 others in the Commons. However, under STV people might vote differently (they can indicate their preferences). Because 326 MPs would be needed to form a majority, those results would require Labour to go into coalition with one or more other parties; say the Lib Dems and Greens (342). In Ireland, using the STV system, the government is a coalition of three parties: Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party.One might argue that our “winner takes all” system makes for stable government, but there's no evidence coalitions are unstable.

What our system does is hand full control to one party regardless of their popular support: in this case just 33.8 per cent of voters. Is that fair?

Steuart Campbell, Edinburgh

New definition

John Swinney stated he’d govern for all of Scotland and then commented that Independence will be front and centre of his objective. This policy is working really well, having lost 39 seats in the election.

It would appear that the SNP are the new definition of insanity .

Jeff Lewis, Edinburgh

Party freefall

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The beaten SNP candidate in the nationalists' safest seat at the recent election, Toni Giugliano, has hit out at the party hierarchy. He claims that the protective attitude of the SNP leadership to the constituency's MSP with regard to his iPad's blatant misuse on holiday has spectacularly misfired.

The wagon-circling around Michael Matheson was surely a major error by the SNP that has come back to haunt them.

As was their palpable reluctance to deal swiftly and fairly with other transgressors in the party in the past years. There was a time their devotees would accept these things and “wheesht for Indy”. No more.

It is surely another factor that has resulted in the ongoing nationalist freefall.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh

Poor punditry

Hired as a pundit for ITV’s Election Night coverage, Nicola Sturgeon was at her miserable worst. Never able to face reality at the best of times, she attributed the SNP’s hammering to the electorate wishing to give the Tories a good kicking.

Joanne Cherry KC, by contrast, called out the SNP’s shortcomings dating back to Sturgeon herself. No argument there.

Sturgeon, over her years in power was, without a doubt, the architect of her party’s downfall, allowing few others into the decision-making process.As a pundit she shouldn’t give up the day job.

Doug Morrison, Tenterden, Kent

Wasted thoughts

Keir Greenaway (Letters, 8 July) makes an impassioned plea that an improved pay offer should be made to GMB members working in waste services. He urges that we write to our MSPs, MPs etc.

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However, to do so on an informed basis, it is imperative that we know the financial detail (in absolute terms, not merely percentages) behind the current COSLA offer and the GMB demands.

Through various taxes (council tax, business rates, income tax etc.) we, the taxpayer, will ultimately be funding any increased pay awards. It is only fair, then, that local government/Cosla be fully transparent in publishing details of the existing salary bands and median salaries therein. Likewise what these salaries would increase to under the current Cosla offer and what further increase is proposed by GMB to meet their demands.

Further, so that the public can gauge the impact of any proposed pay offer, it would be useful to know in percentage terms what the effect on council tax would be of the existing offer and of any increase beyond that – though I do realise the Scottish Government could step in to mitigate the impact on council taxpayers.

The impact on council tax is an especially useful measure as it should take account of the extras eg overtime rates, pension contributions etc that go along with an increase in basic pay.

The Edinburgh Festival is an especially busy period for the city; we welcome the additional income it generates for the local economy, but it also comes with a massive increase in waste output and littering of our streets.

In recognition of the additional pressure put on our council waste disposal staff, has consideration been given to special one-off bonuses being offered to those directly impacted in collection of the additional waste? Perhaps, in part, funded by the extra income that accrues to the City Council, eg from performance venue rents and street markets. Just a thought when it comes to pay negotiations.

Alastair Neilson, Edinburgh

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