Readers' Letters: City centre car ban will hurt elderly and poor

Having read in The Scotsman (12 June) that the Scottish Government plans to ban older cars from four city centres in Scotland in conjunction with Edinburgh City Council, may I point out to them that their draconian measures will hit the poor and sick (whom they profess to care for) more than most other sections of Scottish society.

Edinburgh is one of four Scottish cities where older cars look set to be banned (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Yes, the lower-income bracket who cannot afford to upgrade their cars and those using them who have Blue Badges because they are disabled. As far as I am aware, no measures are contemplated for assisting them. Thus, an old age pensioner who lives in the country (who cannot sit for over two hours in a bus with no lavatory) and has to attend hospital in the city will be heavily penalised. Why not give them a longer period of grace and, as they do in Paris, for example, extend the age of old cars that may enter the city by ten years for diesels. A diesel car driven to the end of its life will avoid the carbon footprint of scrapping it and making a replacement for years more.

Some state aid to people forced to replace an old vehicle would be a good idea, especially as the proposed ban will seriously devalue older cars.

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Christian Orr Ewing, Kelso, Borders

Mark your card

If, as seems probable, the UK is to go cashless, the Scottish Treasury should provide every citizen with a personal Scottish Treasury Cashless Account (STCA). This account would garner no interest and have no overdraft facilities. The only "money” in your STCA would have been deposited there by you. You would treat it exactly as you do your wallet or purse. Your STCA would come with a plastic card, which you would treat exactly like cash in your wallet. This card would incur no cost to a vendor. At present, credit card companies charge vendors (and so, ultimately, you) for the privilege of allowing you to spending your own money.

One enormous advantage of this STCA system would be privacy. Only under clearly defined circumstances would the government have access to STCA data. At present private card providers know precisely what, when, where and how much you spend on every purchase.

More seriously, it is not generally known that card companies have the power to deny someone access to a credit card and even rescind an extant card – all without giving reasons. What would a cardless person do at present in a cashless society? Urgent action is required before the private banks and card companies take complete control of our UK financial system. The government must take the initiative, and wrestle back control over our legal tender. STCAs would solve the SNPs problem of what currency a newly independent Scotland would have!

Doug Clark, Currie, Midlothian

Charm offensive

Alastair Stewart’s claim that Scottish independence would be aided by an irredentist movement (Perspective, 15 June) is based upon the fallacy that people belong to a land when, in logic – because “land” is not a person and only “persons” can own things – the opposite has to be true: that the land belongs to the people. A simple example is that, regardless of the past, Gibraltar now belongs to the Gibraltarians who are free to choose whether to remain “British” or rejoin Spain. People are not possessions. If the Spanish wish Gibraltar to rejoin them then they must exert some genuine and convincing charm as a land grab of an unwilling population is offensive to all modern notions of human rights. On that basis, the Scottish Nationalists might try charming the Northhumbrians and Cumbrians.

Tim Flinn, Garvald, East Lothian

A modest start

The broad outlines of a free-trade agreement between the UK and Australia should be viewed in context. It is the UK's first post-Brexit trade agreement to be negotiated from scratch, and the government has long argued that the ability to strike its own deals around the world is one of the big benefits of leaving the EU.

However, on the government’s own figures it is worth saying that trade deal is estimated to add 0.02 per cent to UK GDP in 15 years’ time, while the government’s own estimates of leaving the EU single market will reduce UK GDP by 4 per cent over same period of time.

We will need the equivalent of 200 Australias to offset the impact of leaving the largest single market in the world.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh

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Keep out or be fined: Edinburgh city centre ban on older vehicles

Lithuania tragedy

Thank you so much for printing the photograph of a man laying flowers in memory of Lithuanian deportees to Siberia in 1941 (15 June). All too often the complexity of the Second World War and consequences of the Nazi-Soviet Pact on Poland and the Baltic States are overlooked.

On a personal note my family in Riga, having been warned, was able to escape deportation by going into hiding. My grandfather's assistant and her husband, both doctors, were not so lucky, being arrested. She was deported to a town in Siberia where she was allowed to practice. Every year she had to queue to have her internal passport, without which life was impossible, stamped “12 years no rights to correspondence” Her husband was shot immediately, in 1941, but she did not find out for years. Eight years ago in The Occupation Museum in Riga we were shown the notebooks detailing the detailed surveillance by the KGB of people like her who had returned to Latvia from Siberia. This continued until Gorbachev's time.Marina Donald, Edinburgh

Jagged edge

If we force care home workers to get jagged or get fired, elderly folk will die through staff shortages. Jagging the unwilling will produce the placebo effect's evil twin, the nocebo effect. The nocebo effect means folk who think the jag will harm them will be harmed. This is just an attempt to blame care home deaths on staff not government mishandling.

Perhaps oblige new employees to get jabbed, but not current staff.

Barry Tighe, London

Knee mistake

It is said that the Scottish football team will “take the knee” before the England game later this week. England, despite many England supporters expressing their outrage, persist in this unthought-out idiocy. Do they know that those who are behind the “Black Lives Matter” movement are self-confessed Marxists? We all believe in lives mattering, whether black, yellow, brown or white. Why is it black lives that are highlighted? Quite simply because Black Lives Matter is an organisation set up in the United States to combat the numerous examples of racism by American police who are trigger-happy and whose victims are often black.

The UK has a much larger number of other races and they should be included in any protest. All lives matter and no football team should be taking the knee. As it is, it is honouring an extremist political group whose whole aim is to overthrow our democratic society.

Dave Anderson, Aberdeen

Pure folly

The Bank of Scotland recently closed its Kinross branch and we now have to drive to Glenrothes to bank. This is to add to the bank's profits and puts the cost on our shoulders but also adds a further tiny amount of tax to the UK exchequer in Fuel and Road Tax and Vat in car expenses. This type of leakage from Scotland goes on all the time.

If you buy a foreign car that country benefits. However all the shippers, insurers and infrastructure suppliers take a cut as it goes through England. Every traffic cone and cat's eye is an added cost. This applies to all goods imported to Scotland, witness the constant flow of supermarket lorries. If spare parts are required the system carries on but Vat is charged by the UK. All these sums suffer from evaporation – the angel's share – when integrated into the tax budget. These are real pound notes, not the digital money printed by the Bank of England.

Extending this supply chain all the way to Australia to feed inferior beef to the people of Shetland or Lewis when they have plenty good meat of their own is taking coals to Newcastle, the height of folly. This is because it is the middle man who takes the profit – in this case, Westminster. If gaining 10 per cent on whisky is quoted as a quid pro quo of an Australian trade deal, the question, is how much of that – if any – will end up in Scotland?

Iain W D Forde, Scotlandwell, Perth and Kinross

Degree of fairness

While it is unfortunate that less financial assistance is now being given for foreign students to study in the UK, it means more places at Scottish universities can be taken up by qualified Scottish and English students. It has become a national scandal that many UK youngsters are unable to gain a place at their chosen university because there are no places left after financially subsidised foreign students are granted entry by paying our universities greater fees.

If we are to have the necessary doctors and highly trained UK citizens for future years, UK students should have precedence over well-heeled incomers from foreign parts. Perhaps funds, once given to foreign incomers, should be paid directly to universities who believe that they are impoverished.

Archibald A Lawrie, Kingskettle, Fife

Life lesson

Like James Watson (Letters, 15 June), I raised an eyebrow at the decision to allow Scottish school pupils time off classes to watch Monday's match, given how much teaching they've lost over the last year through the pandemic. Then it occurred to me this could be a very valuable life lesson for them in how to handle disappointment. As my brother said – just another day in the life of a Scotland fan.

Alasdair J C Taylor, Edinburgh

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