Freezing council wages will lead to poor quality of staff

I was astounded to learn that Scottish local government minister Derek Mackay has frozen councillors’ pay for another year (News, December 29).

I was impressed by the argument, when our banks were in crisis, that restricting the remuneration of senior bankers in failing banks would lead to a diaspora of banking talent as all the best bankers left for higher paid jobs with only poor quality staff still in post.

This argument surely applies to local government and it would be regrettable were Mr Mackay’s freeze to lead to our councils degenerating into a morass of the unemployed and unemployable, especially as strong and wise leadership will be required to steer councils through the difficult times ahead.

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John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh

Closing roads only clogs up the town

So Holyrood Park was closed (again) for four days over Christmas, so a handful could ride their new bikes.

It’s closed again on January 7 for another run.

Could I ask the council to make sure that all the streets around the park get shut off as well? The road at Abbeyhill is good and maybe the road past Holyrood school.

Without this help the town will not clog up properly and it might not look like we need a congestion charge.

Will the cyclists be using the road up to Dunsapie Loch? I am getting a new 4x4 and would hope that I might be able to try it out.

Steve Thom, Cornhill Terrace, Edinburgh

Fuel allowance is per household

Reading the articles in the Evening News re fuel allowance, all comments appear to suggest everyone over the age of 60 gets this allowance in full.

This is far from being correct. Only single occupancies get the full amount. In other households with more than one occupant over 60, the allowance is divided equally between them.

Ken Campbell, Edinburgh

Criticism of BBC quiz is pointless

While I agree with John Gibson highlighting the waste of money by the BBC, I have to object to his criticism of Pointless.

I and many friends consider this to be one of TV’s best quiz programmes. I look forward to it and check my efforts against the contestants.

J Lawless, Davidsons Mains, Edinburgh

Fireworks damage our historic city

I once again find myself torn between pride that I live in such a beautiful city and worry that it won’t be beautiful for much longer.

Every New Year, and also at the end of the Festival, we have a magnificent firework display which attracts thousands of people.

But fireworks are a form of explosive, and we are setting them off in the oldest and most fragile area of our city. No wonder we have problems with masonry falling from rooftops.

I live in the city centre, in a building that is merely 90 years old, but when the fireworks explode, the whole building shakes and I can’t help worrying what structural problems are being stored up for the future.

Buildings that are hundreds of years old are not able to withstand this impact on a biannual basis and we could well face losing some of our wonderful, historical buildings in the future, just for a few hours of – albeit spectacular – fireworks in the present.

G Fraser, Stockbridge, Edinburgh

Switch off TV and bond with family

I’d like to say thank you to the BBC for providing such a dull choice of programmes to watch over the festive season. Their lack of imagination no doubt led to many families turning to conversation, reacquainting themselves with relatives they see just once a year, and perhaps partaking in some traditional entertainment like board games or charades.

I know it helped my family to bond in a way we haven’t done for years. Perhaps if every family chose to switch off their TVs from time to time we would be a closer society, and a happier one at that.

R Walker, Cramond, Edinburgh