This week’s letters (January 8, 2014)

taxation

Tax evation has high cost for services

Last week a Government report indicated that the cost of benefit fraud was around a billion pounds a year.

However it should also be noted that the Public and Commercial Services Union has conducted research which shows that £100 billion pounds a year is lost each year by big companies and wealthy individuals either evading or avoiding paying their fair share of tax.

The PCS union also estimate that around another £26 billion pounds of tax goes uncollected because of inadequate staffing levels within the Inland Revenue.

No reasonable person condones benefit fraud but the public should save most of their anger for the real scroungers in our society such as big companies and wealthy individuals who will not play fair when it comes to paying their taxes.

No wonder our health and education services which are funded through taxation are so short of cash.

Arthur West

Ayrshire Poverty Action Group

Irvine

tourism

A great year lies ahead

As 2014 begins, it’s only natural to reflect on what was, by all accounts, a successful 2013 for Scottish tourism – naturally!

With breathtaking scenery, a plethora of outdoor experiences and an eclectic mix of stunning wildlife, exploiting the Year of Natural Scotland was what we call in the industry a “no brainer”.

Media giant CNN said Scotland would be the place to visit in 2013, and so it was. The sun shone and visitors from near and far headed into our great outdoors.

But now, it’s time to look forward.

As the bells struck midnight on an epic Homecoming-themed Hogmanay across the country, 2014 and a whole year of fun, festivals and frivolity began.

Homecoming Scotland features more than 400 events covering every month and almost every square inch of our breath-taking country.

It’s the icing on the cake in a year in which events such as the Ryder Cup, Commonwealth Games, and the MTV Awards will put the world’s spotlight on Scotland like never before.

In Dumfries and Galloway, a fantastic array of fabulous Homecoming Scotland 2014 events will be taking place, including the Big Burns Supper, the Wickerman Festival, the World Curling Championships Mixed and Senior Doubles, and Wigtown Book Festival, Kirkcudbright Jazz Festival, Youth Beatz Festival, Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival, Wigtown Agricultural Show, Stranraer Agricultural Show, and the Wild Spring Festival – to mention just a few.

So it’s the year to be in 
Scotland.

Everyone must get involved, not just to enjoy 
these unprecedented events ourselves, but to 
offer a legendary Scottish welcome to our visitors.

However, the party isn’t over when 2014 ends.

The events this year must be the launch pad for a new phase of success for Scottish tourism.

We need to exploit 2014 to ensure the industry prospers through the second part of the decade; to inspire watchers into becoming visitors.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year and hope you have a healthy, peaceful and fun-filled 2014.

Mike Cantlay,

Chairman, VisitScotland.

bad weather

Keep an eye on older people during storms

In light of the awful weather that has struck Ayrshire over the past few days, older people’s charity the Royal Voluntary Service is aksing members of the public to remember older people during the storms and continuing bad weather.

As floods and storms continue to cause havoc across Britain, the charity (previously WRVS), is calling on the public to make sure their older friends, family and neighbours have everything they need to stay safe and well.

Severe weather can have a devastating effect on the health and safety of older people, so it’s vital that friends, family and neighbours check in on older people in their town and offer to help where they can. Simple things like making sure older people have enough food in the house and offering someone a lift to a doctor’s appointment or to the shops can make a huge difference during the inclement weather.

To find out more, visit royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk or call 0845 600 5885.

David McCullough,

Royal Voluntary Service

youth trust

Thank you for support

The Trustees, staff and young people of Girvan Youth Trust would like to thank the management, staff and customers of ASDA Girvan for their generosity and support during our bag packing sessions over the festive period.

A staggering £2,709.50 was raised.

This sum will now be used towards the operation of the Z1 Youth Bar and our programme of trips, outings and activities during 2014.

The Trust is also in the process of planning this year’s summer programme for Girvan Esplanade.

All this work would not be possible without the ongoing and much appreciated financial and physical support of the local community...Thank You all for sharing our vision for local young people and the local community.

Bill Logan

Project Manager.