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Taken for a ride

ScotRail dividends to its share-holders add 7% to cost of fares.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union (RMT) said franchise holder ScotRail paid dividends of £18 million in 2010, £18m in 2009, £17m in 2008 and £21m in 2007.

"In two of these years, ScotRail actually paid more in dividends than it made in profit, leading to the obvious conclusion that because it does not contribute anything towards investment in the railway or rail infrastructure, and with the level of Government subsidy even covering its track access charges, it is simply milking Scotland's railway."

http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/scotrail-dividends-add-7-to-cost-of-fares.17085971

Safe Motoring

Scottish towns and cities had the worst rates for major MoT failures in the UK last year, figures have shown. Motoring groups expressed alarm at the news, which they said suggested there were more unsafe cars on Scottish roads than elsewhere.

Dundee topped the test table for “major failures”, with 15.3 per cent of vehicles not getting an MoT certificate

Halfords Autocentres said the cost of repairs following failed tests had nearly doubled to an average of £143 compared with £82 some 18 months ago. The firm said that added up to a total bill of £1.44 billion for motorists. A survey found nearly a quarter of drivers just “keep their fingers crossed” and hope their car will pass.

Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association said: “It is of concern that a higher proportion of cars in Scotland are failing the MoT as this indicates that there are more unsafe cars on the roads in Scotland.” He said: “We have also found that 10 per cent of drivers are cutting back on servicing their car…

that's clever!

Inverclyde Council spent £650,000 in order to make savings of just £250,000.

Four senior local government officials, all of whom receive salaries of between £75,000 and £105,000, have been suspended after paying consultants hundreds of thousands of pounds to deliver savings that failed to materialise.

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh the city’s new chief executive has said thedisaster-hit trams project must go ahead because too much money has been spent to cancel it.

Travellers Beware

According to the AA the average price of a litre of fuel in Britain will rise from £1.26 to £1.30 on January 4. American householders are now typically paying a fraction of the price at just over 50p a litre, according to the latest figures. And EU figures show fuel prices in Britain have been the highest in Europe. This time last year petrol was at £1.08 a litre and diesel at £1.09. In Stornoway, the typical price of a litre of unleaded will go up from £1.37 to over £1.40 with diesel up from £1.39 to £1.43.
Luke Bosdet, of the AA, said: “The facts are that fuel is being taxed like a luxury item such as champagne. But it is a necessity for everyone, from the youngster starting his first job, to volunteer drivers, to cabbies, and lorry drivers. The duty on fuel is an unfair tax as it hits everyone the same. There is no means-testing built in so it affects people that can least afford it. Enough is enough.”


Inflation-busting rises in rail fares took effect yesterday with some mainline se…