Zoo's panda plans - 'Their arrival could save the attraction'

The Prime Minister has rarely been the bearer of glad tidings during his so far short tenure in 10 Downing Street.

Indeed his coalition Government has tended to be the harbinger of misery as it sets about the task of slashing public spending.

No-one it seems has escaped the tide of gloom it has created. Not the police who are preparing to force staff to retire, or the fire brigade who are set to close their staff canteens. Nor the hospitals who are getting rid of more than 300 nurses or the local authorities who may yet look to raise council tax to balance their books.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But now David Cameron has taken on a role which may help deliver a fantastic boost to the Capital.

• What do you think of David Cameron's efforts to help get Edinburgh Zoo a panda? Vote here

By lobbying the Chinese authorities on behalf of Edinburgh Zoo, he has raised hopes that a deal may finally be struck to bring two pandas to the city.

Imagine the buzz about the place as crowds flocked to see Britain's only giant pandas.

But the feel-good factor would not stop there. The hundreds of thousands of extra visitors they would attract would be manna for the city's tourism industry.

The future of the zoo - which is preparing to lay off a quarter of its staff to save money- would also be secure. It might not be exaggerating to say their arrival could even save the famous attraction, given the fears about the impact which the current cuts might have.

Cross your fingers, and everything else, for this deal. We could really use that kind of good news right now.

Vital support

people are often at their most vulnerable when they are coming out of hospital after a long-term or serious illness.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So the support offered by Citizens Advice Bureau outposts at the ERI and Royal Edinburgh Hospital, directing patients to care and support in the community, will have often proved to be a lifeline.

Finding the 40,000-a-year needed to keep it running may seem like too much for our cash-strapped public agencies but some effective way must be found to give patients that advice.

Otherwise many leaving the wards will find themselves on a fast-track back to the same hospital bed - and then no-one wins.