19 February 2011
Cuts debate (and tourist
tax) goes global
Evening News opinion piece and over 150 google hits
for branch call to save services.
here for the Evening news 'Mouthpiece' from Branch
President John Stevenson, or see below.
here for a google search of over 150 sites covering
A tourist tax would help combat the looming
cuts, says John Stevenson
It is hard to comprehend just how savage the cuts
are. Such is the scale, that they are destroying
the very fabric of services, not just for the next
few years but forever.
The cuts are ideologically, not financially driven.
The debt was much higher in the 1940s but we could
still build our treasured NHS.
The few economists who actually predicted the crash
say that cuts of this speed and size will make things
If you are still not convinced, just look across
the water at Ireland. Deep and savage cuts pushed
the economy even deeper into debt.
The speculators who caused the problem are reaping
billions in bonuses. The workers they fleeced are
losing their jobs. It's not fair but it is real.
And it won't change till the Government changes.
So what do we do in the meantime? Do we just let
services that care for the vulnerable, keep our
communities safe, protect our health, educate our
children and maintain our roads wither on the vine,
possibly never to return?
Or do we try to do something to keep the basics
there? One way is to stop throwing good money after
bad on privatisation. Another is a Tourist Tax.
It won't save all services or the thousands of
jobs being lost. But it would help to hold together
a framework for the future.
With business rates shared nationally, Edinburgh's
council gets precious little back for the investment
it puts into infrastructure, festivals and events
that bring people to the city, benefiting local
Surely a small return for that investment, to save
the fabric of local services for local people is
not too much to ask for.
We are not talking about the big percentages levied
like some other cities around the world. With 4
million visitors a year, the Edinburgh tax could
be at an amount that would hardly be noticeable
to tourists but could bring in millions.
It won't solve the problem. But it may keep the
wolf from the door and allow us to build services
to be proud of again in the future.