Madam, – I note your letters page has continued on the theme of “let’s bash the Scottish Greens for being influential”, this time around the prospect of workplace parking levies.
This is not a tax on the employees but the employers, many of whom, regrettably, do already threaten to charge their employees for parking at work.
Tories seem particularly incensed that after their demanding that the Scottish Government let councils increase their tax-raising powers they have finally allowed Scottish councils this option.
I note that the letter writers concentrate their wrath on worst case scenarios and fail to mention cases where, literally, people live a few minutes walk from work or are on bus routes.
Yet they insist on driving rather than free up spaces for fellow workers who live further away.
While our children are encouraged by schools to walk a mile a day some people seem not to realise that walking half a mile to work would not only keep their bodies healthier but help reduce pollution in our built-up areas.
Normally only major employers provide free parking spaces. The provision, upkeep and maintenance of which usually cost the company a lot of money but are considered worthwhile by them.
The greener companies already encourage the use of walking, cycling and public transport for those employees who have that option.
Charges plan will cost votes
Madam, – As I understand it the purpose of the ill thought out – or should that be not at all thought out – proposal to introduce new parking charges at workplaces is to reduce car usage, therefore reducing pollution and congestion.
As far as local authority premises are concerned I have two questions about the policy.
Firstly, will local authority premises be subjected to the charge and if not why not?
Secondly, if the charge does apply to these premises will the local authority pass it on to employees?
If it doesn’t pass it on the taxpayer will be left to subsidise it and the purpose of the tax will be defeated.
There is also speculation as to who might be exempt. Why should anyone be exempt? Someone’s job does not affect the amount of pollution their car generates or how much it contributes to congestion.
There is no reason that public sector workers should be treated any differently to private sector workers from top to bottom including MSPs, senior local authority executives and managers, company directors et al.
If everyone has to bite this nonsensical bullet, in addition to other Scottish-only tax increases which might be foisted upon us perhaps we might see a shift in voting patterns in the next election.
Battery scheme not so green
Madam, – There is a proposal for a battery storage unit in Coupar Angus to store surplus wind electricity and release when needed.
Arcus Consultancy Services held a public meeting on January 31 but were unable to say whether their client had any other battery storage units.
Renewable energy developers are desperate to harvest the subsidies and government grants available, they are not in it to “save the planet”.
Far too many “green” companies have taken government grants, paid their directors large salaries and then gone bust.
The Lithium and Cobalt essential for the batteries create environmental problems where it is mined resulting in water and air contamination and landscapes destroyed.
Batteries can explode so are a real danger.
This project will not cut global CO2 emissions since emissions are created mining, transporting, manufacturing and access.
On a positive Brexit note
Madam, – Why are remainers so negative about Brexit?
Admittedly there may be downsides, too numerous to mention, but let’s not forget the opening-up of new possibilities for enterprising people – such as increased opportunities for trade in contraband goods and so on.
Carpe diem, I say.
Making a drama out of a crisis
Madam, – The next Bond film could cast leading EU figures in the role of baddies.
There is Juncker, the ageing mastermind, Tusk the psychopath, and Verhofstadt the mad genius intent on total control of Europe.
“Today Europe, tomorrow the World” he would shout. A walk on part by Leo Varadkar as the clown would add humour to the production.
Educators must look east
Madam, – With world affairs seemingly moving towards China, it would surely be prudent to include Mandarin in the educational curriculum.
Brexit – deal or no deal, the UK or an independent Scotland, in the not too distant future, will have to deal, trade and communicate with China.
Although some may disagree, it should be borne in mind that China is a vast country, which managed with goodwill and global interests, has immense potential for all of us.
What are the realistic alternatives?
Independent sums a puzzle
Madam, – Can all of those people writing in demanding independence please tell us where the money is coming from.
At the moment the NHS, police and local authorities are all skint.
If someone can show me a plan to run this country on a sound financial footing you can have my vote.
But if you are using the back of an envelope accounting just forget it.