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Dear Ed, – I notice that there have been yet more cuts and changes to local bus services. I think this highlights some of the current problems which exist with the funding and
regulation of local bus services.
The current system of public funding for local bus services is complex with three different funding mechanisms feeding in. Scottish Government pays operators back a proportion of the price of the fare for journeys made with bus passes and bus operators receive a mileage rate for the journeys they make.
Local Authorities then pay top-up payments to maintain routes which are deemed essential but not commerically viable. Many, but not all, routes in Clydesdale receive this funding.
This complex system of payments is inefficient and leads to the different funding routes blaming each other when services are cut.
The Scottish Government says that it wants to see a “modal shift to public transport” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but this is not going to happen while bus services are not properly funded and regulated.
Both the bus pass repayment rate and the local authority budget for bus services have been cut in recent years, while mileage payments and bus pass fare re-imbursement continue to be paid on all journeys run even on routes which would be commercially viable without them.
The mechanisms for bus service funding need to be reviewed to ensure that they are efficient and deliver the best possible service to the public without allowing some operators to cream off profits backed by public money.
One cannot expect operators to run essential but non-commercial routes at a loss, but neither is it right that some operators are able to “cherry pick” routes and continue to receive public money to run routes which would be profitable without subsidy.
Regulation of bus services needs to ensure that public funding is targetted to where there is a need rather than to where a profit can be made.
While developing a high quality, high frequency integrated transport system in Scotland will initially require investment the amounts involved are a fraction of what is being spent on road building and maintenance.
Experience shows that as the frequency of services increases so do passenger numbers, which can mean that over time some services which are not initially profitable become so, and at which point the subsidy is no longer needed. – Yours etc.,
DR JANET MOXLEY,
Stand Up for Our Buses,
Gas Works Road,
Dear Ed, – I refer to Tom Mitchell’s letter of January 8.
The prosperity that Scotland enjoys today was achieved through free enterprise, venture capitalism, the Empire and the Union, among other factors.
I would ask Tom, and his SNP colleagues, what “new politics” will ensure that an independent Scotland prospers?
For example, will the SNP do away with free enterprise and venture capitalism?
How will the new political system work to the benefit of society and exactly what will those benefits be?
I’m looking for a credible, reasoned alternative to the status quo and not the wish-list and the dubious assertions and assumptions of the white paper on independence.
Tom equates free enterprise with “GREED” whilst the SNP claims that individuals will be £900 a year better off in an independent Scotland. Is seeking greater national and individual wealth not tantamount to greed!?
After all, increased prosperity can only be achieved at the expense of others and the environment.
Perhaps we need to redefine prosperity and not think of it in purely monetary terms but in terms of social and environmental benefits.
Furthermore, I believe that we do need a new economic model to work to, but one that provides for sustainable living and prosperity without growth. – Yours etc.,
DR JOHN L YOUNG,
Sold down river
Dear Ed, – What price majestic grandeur – 5p.? Once again our priceless heritage is being sold down the river (Scotsman 6/01/12). This is not just heritage crime it is sacrilege, desecration of something worthy of respect. Where do SLC stand now on their policy of Protect; Conserve; ENHANCE?
All this in the interest of short term gain for a multinational with an unparalleled track record for breaking environmental laws. Anyone with a vestige of pride in our historical heritage should be appalled by SLC allowing this latest development to go ahead. We are robbing future generations of their rightful heritage.
Will they be able to look and say “how fair this the rural scene” as William Wordsworth did in 1813 or “for majesty and grandeur not to be surpassed by anything of the kind in the UK” (19th.C guide book)? Yours etc –
6 Castle Yett,
Dear Ed, – The West of Scotland Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee, one of 15 committees in the UK, plays a central role in promoting the interests and welfare of veterans and their families.
We advise all public bodies on the needs of veterans and their families, and raise awareness of the War Pensions Scheme, Armed Forces Compensation Scheme and the services of the Veterans Welfare Service.
Further, we act as a conduit for consultation by Ministers, Ministry of Defence and the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency.
As an independent voice, we support ex-servicemen and women, their widows or widowers and immediate family members, whether service was in the Second World War or Afghanistan. We can provide assistance and guidance with claims and complaints (including War Pension and Armed Forces Compensation Schemes), and can assist in obtaining help from the appropriate ex-service charity or government department.
If any of your readers are in need of our assistance, or they know someone who is, then I would urge them to contact us on telephone 0800 169 2277, textphone 0800 169 3458, email firstname.lastname@example.org or the website www.Veterans-uk.info. – Yours etc.,
West of Scotland VAPC.
Dear Ed, – The UK Asbestos Training Association would like to urge everyone from builders to school teachers to have a healthy New Year by being aware of the danger of deadly asbestos in our midst.
Recent stories have raised fears that the message on this killer substance is not getting through.
WWII gas masks containing asbestos being shown to schoolchildren is a worry, but people should be more concerned by the fact that 75% of school buildings still contain asbestos.
Asbestos will not pose an immediate risk unless disturbed, but teachers need to be aware that stapling work to walls could release the deadly dust. Builders need to know there are no shortcuts when it comes to safe asbestos removal.
Over 4,500 people die every year as a result of breathing in asbestos fibres and this hidden killer remains the biggest single cause of work related deaths in the UK.
The Health and Safety Executive launches a new initiative on the danger of asbestos this New Year.
If you have any concerns, contact the Health and Safety Executive. The UKATA and HSE websites are also good sources of advice. – Yours etc.,
UKATA Vice Chairman.
INDEPENDENCE - what’s your view? Write to the Editor Julie Currie at 3 High Street, Carluke, ML8 4AL or email email@example.com