AS an environmentalist and a Liberal Democrat I am appalled to learn that the SNP Scottish Government at Holyrood intends to half the Airport Passenger Tax on flights from Scottish airports.

This tax cut will reduce the Scottish Government’s income from air travellers by about £100 a year. The increase in air traffic will contribute to further pollution.

Considering we are all facing an increase in Council and Business Rates how can the Scottish Government justify abandoning this amount of revenue?

This January, seven local councils across the central belt recorded toxic levels of particulate matter that breach the World Health Organisation and Scottish Regulatory Safety Standards. It cannot be maintained that the Scottish Government really cares about the health of its population.

Jane Lindsay,

via email

Just how costly will Tory run councils in Scotland be if they get the chance to run councils this May? They may claim they are for low taxes but recent behaviour shows they say one thing to get votes and another once safely elected.

In the 2010 election they promised VAT wouldn’t increase. Less than two months later they increased VAT to 20 per cent. They also introduced a pasty tax, a granny tax, a caravan tax and a bedroom tax – none of which was indicated in their plans for government before they were elected.

But their latest wheeze to talk down Scotland is to claim that it’s more expensive than England. Really?

Council tax in Scotland hasn’t increased since 2007. In England it has increased by 21 per cent. In Tory run Surrey council they threatened to increase it a whopping 18 per cent subject to a local vote. The cap on council tax increases in England is nearly 5 per cent. In Scotland it is 3 per cent. And let’s not forget that it was the Tory-led Moray council that proposed increasing council tax by 15 per cent last year.

In Scotland since the SNP came to office prescription charges were cut since and then abolished in 2011. In that time prescription charges in England have increased from £6.65 in 2006-07 to £8.40 in 2016-17 - a 26 per cent increase. In Scotland tuition fees have been abolished. People don’t pay for learning. In England they are at £9,000 a year. A 200 per cent increase since the SNP came to office.

In Scotland water rates will be an average Scottish Water of £357 for the next year. The current average charge – even before next year’s rates are set – is £389 in England and Wales or £32 higher than in Scotland.

There are also no tolls in Scotland since we abolished tolls on the Forth and Tay bridges in 2008. Meanwhile in England and Wales there are 23 tolls on roads, bridges and tunnels with charges as high as £6.70 for a single trip on the Severn Bridge or £11.50 for the day in central London.

The Tories think they can con the voters by pretending they’ll lower taxes when experience shows they will increase them when they get elected. People have an opportunity this May to show them they aren’t taken in by their fraudulent pitch.

Andrew Stuart,

Norfolk Court,


WELL over half of people in Scotland fail to realise just how many calories are in their favourite chocolate treats while over a third confess to eating chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

That’s according to new statistics released as part of the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) DECHOX campaign to help fund life saving research into heart disease.

The survey showed over half underestimate just how many calories are in a typical chocolate bar (55 per cent) and over half don’t realise how many calories are in our favourite chocolate treats including a chocolate chip muffin (51 per cent).

Nearly half in the country (47 per cent) say we feel guilty after overindulging on sweet treats, and with over a third (34 per cent) saying chocolate is sneaking its way into every meal of the day, its no surprise that one in ten feel their chocolate habit has officially got out of hand (10 per cent). Around a quarter of residents have even resorted to eating chocolate in secret (24 per cent), away from prying eyes.

Even though around a fifth of people (21 per cent) rank chocolate as the hardest thing to give up, it seems there is still hope for a country clearly infatuated with chocolate. Over six in ten people remain confident that they could give up chocolate for a month (61 per cent). So why not take part in DECHOX this March and take on the challenge?

The BHF is calling on chocolate-lovers across the UK to give up their favourite chocolate treats in March and get sponsored to raise money for life saving research into heart disease. Sign up at

Harriet Southwood,

British Heart Foundation,

via email

FOR many of us February is the perfect time to share a little love. I’d like to take a moment to ask your readers, why not spread the affection to charity too?

I work for Revitalise – an incredible charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers from all across the UK. Although we are a smaller charity, we have a very big heart.

Ultimately it is those you’ll find at the centre of our heart that make us really special. From our guests who arrive with stories and gifts to share, our army of vibrant volunteers who help to fill our centres with fun and laughter all year long, and not forgetting each and every one of our wonderful supporters - these are the people that help to create the magic of Revitalise, and there’s space for you too.

We don’t mind how you choose to make a difference; all that matters to us is that you want to. Why not join Team Revitalise in the fun of the Simplyhealth Great Run Series and help represent us as your chosen charity? Or perhaps you’d prefer something a little less action-packed? That’s fine too; we have plenty of opportunities and are always looking to welcome new people.

However you wish to make a difference, we promise you that not a minute of your time, an ounce of your energy, or a singe penny of your generosity will go unused and most importantly of all, you’ll always remain close to our heart. To find out more about Revitalise, our fundraising challenges, volunteer opportunities or ways you can support us please visit or call 0303 303 0147.

Stephanie Stone,


I attended the Scottish Parliament Wednesday 8-2-17.

Labour, Green and Scottish National MSP’s joined together at the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday last week (8-2-17) in support of the Jimmy Reid Foundation call for Trident non renewal and diversification. Many ordinary people were present in the public gallery and discussed matters later in a committee room with elected representatives.

Only 600 civilian jobs are dependent on Trident at the Clyde Faslane and Coulport naval bases as noted in the JR report. The Trident replacement will cost £205 Billion, enough to give every civilian worker £18 million each. This would be a better return for the local economy than protecting arms profits at the expense of our NHS.

Labour MSP Elaine Smith told Parliament that Scottish Labour are against Trident, made the serious point that no one should lose their job and called for a Scottish Defence Diversification Agency.

The three out-of-step and lonely Tories seemed to be in cloud cuckoo land, with one stating “I don’t believe Trident is a dangerous weapon”.

The public discussion recalled that Teresa May said she would ‘press the button’ and after meeting Donald Trump had met European leaders to encourage them to spend more on arms. An ex army mother living near Faslane with her children spoke of hearing the Base alarm going off two or three times per week without any information being given to the community. She was worried also over MOD radio-active waste dumping and noted that environmentally Faslane would have been closed if it was civilian and immunity did not apply. It was agreed that MSP’s would approach the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.

An ex nurse told the public meeting she was ashamed of Jackie Baillie, the only Labour MSP to speak in support of Trident from a supposed multilateralist position. She recalled how some years ago she had been issued with official advice that she should travel north by hitching a lift from departing police officers and fire fighters and return later when “safe” to tend to nuclear survivors. She concluded her emotional input by stating “there is no multilateralim”.

Elaine Smith MSP made the point that she wanted to be rid of Trident, not just see it moved to another part of the UK. That seems to make sense to me.

Tom Simpson

GMB member,

ex arms industry worker and CND supporter,

Castleview Road