Letters: Build foundations for housing stock rise

Picture: PA
Picture: PA
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SHEILA Gilmore highlights a number of issues arising from the recent Scottish Government announcement regarding the abolition of the right to buy council homes, reiterating the urgent need for investment throughout the country (“Cheap promises will do little for housing crisis”, News, July 16).

Indeed, we would highlight the key issue at stake as overall housing supply.

Housing output has slumped to its lowest levels in 70 years, and it is estimated that 465,000 homes will be needed in Scotland by 2035 to meet demand.

However, recent build rates published by the Scottish Government point to a potential shortfall in the region of 140,000 by this time when there are currently already significantly more people than that on housing waiting lists.

Moving homes from one form of tenure to another does nothing to resolve this fundamental problem.

As an industry body with a membership providing 95 per cent of new homes built for sale in Scotland as well as a significant proportion of affordable housing, Homes for Scotland has consistently called for an increase in housing stock across all tenures in order that this and future generations have access to and the choice of a full range of quality, sustainable homes in places people want to live.

Chancellor George Osborne recently announced increased capital spending powers for Scotland during 2015-16, which we have urged is channelled into areas which stimulate economic growth, including into the upfront infrastructure which is needed to unlock stalled housing developments across the country.

Philip Hogg, chief executive, Homes for Scotland, Edinburgh

Dogma rated above decency

REGARDING “right to buy”, the loss of a small number of future sales receipts (at well below market value) will be offset by the councils keeping rental income to support new investment.

In addition, they will have retained accommodation for people in housing need, rather than placing them in very expensive temporary accommodation or having to replace homes sold with newly-built homes at much higher cost than the sale receipt.

Right to buy has always been economically illiterate; a triumph of dogma over decency.

That is why the Greens support the Scottish Government’s intention to abolish the outdated policy. I wish it was happening sooner than 2017.

Cllr Steve Burgess, housing spokesperson, Green group, Edinburgh City Council

Lady golfers meeting up for tee-time treat

Green councillor Gavin Corbett is obviously trying to discredit the Conservatives because they did not agree with Alex Salmond’s boycott of The Open at Muirfield because it has a men-only membership ruling (Letters, July 17).

I wonder if he will be as vocal when I tell him that Lundin Ladies is the oldest ladies-only golf club in the world.

I am also reliably informed by a lady that she plays in a ladies-only club in Carnoustie.

They are perfectly entitled to do so and long may they continue and prosper.

Would Mr Corbett care to challenge these ladies’ clubs or will he remain as silent as Alex 
Salmond?

Clark Cross, Springfield Road, Linlithgow

Scots can vote to end the age of austerity

Chas Dennis (Letters, July 16) must know Westminster is imposing the attacks on pensions and welfare rights and that their current cutbacks are supported by Labour in London.

It was the Government in London that signed off the expensive PFI contract that is causing Lothian Health Board so many problems at the Royal Infirmary.

The Scottish Government does not have legal or proper financial powers to solve these issues as this is restricted by the Scotland Act he refers to and which also allows Westminster to amend or reduce the powers of the Scottish Parliament.

The next Tory government intends to restrict Scottish MPs’ rights to vote at Westminster and effectively make them even more superfluous than at present when they are outvoted by 11 to one on the Bedroom Tax, on welfare reform or on Royal Mail 
privatisation.

Westminster rule may be fine for millionaire entertainers and sportsmen, but not for ordinary citizens.

The electoral system for the House of Commons is unrepresentative, the composition of the House of Lords is indefensible, the powers of the Crown are unaccountable and privileges are rife.

As a former Labour voter, I am pleased to see Labour for Independence is campaigning all over Scotland for a Yes vote in 2014 so that we can build a modern democratic and prosperous nation rather than face ten more years of austerity and decline as a result of London policies.

Mary Thomas, Watson Terrace, Edinburgh

Bid to fix fountain is already onstream

In reply to the letter from Helen Szafer of Canada entitled “Restore the fountain memorial to Burns” (July 15), I have been involved in the past few months in looking at restoring the Burns Memorial Fountain.

A bid has been submitted to the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund First Stage Application for the Regeneration of Dalkeith Town Centre Phase 2 which does include the relocation and restoration of the Burns Monument to its original position. There are other elements to the bid of course which will enhance the historic town of Dalkeith.

Councillor Margot Russell, Dalkeith ward