A safe, secure and affordable home is a basic right for everyone and fundamental to life chances. Without this, children are less likely to have the same level of educational attainment as their peers. Without a warm and safe home, children are more likely to have poorer health outcomes over their lifetime – for example, children in cold homes are twice as likely to suffer respiratory problems.
So, in considering the various paths towards ending child poverty in Scotland, it is paramount that tackling Scotland’s housing crisis is at the heart of it.
Only by building at least 12,000 affordable homes a year for the foreseeable future can we start to tackle the crisis – a crisis that affects us all and one that carries a very human cost, especially for children.
Director, Shelter Scotland
I see Alex Salmond has been given £30,000 of taxpayers’ money to “adjust” to a non-parliamentary life outside Holyrood, following the £65,000 golden handshake resettlement grant he received for the same purpose from Westminster in 2010 as an outgoing MP, before returning to Westminster as an MP, but keeping the money nevertheless.
Moral turpitude notwithstanding, is there not a mountainous irony that people of Mr Salmond’s ilk allegedly stand against this assumed political corruption that the SNP likes to pinpoint on Westminster and lays the blame on all Scotland’s ills on UK ministers’ greed?
The contrariness and incongruity deepens when representatives of such astonishingly low quality as Pete Wishart (SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire) made the astounding and demonstrably untrue claim that “No SNP member [MP] has a second job, a directorship or a place on a company. Our responsibilities here are our sole concern and our only responsibility”. Oddly, the SNP’s own standing orders for the Westminster group and signed off by the party’s 2015 Autumn Conference was that members will “treat the position as a full time commitment with an attendance and work rate commensurate with that position”.
Perhaps, the SNP hierarchy could explain why Alex Salmond currently actually has four other jobs, separate from his MP responsibilities in Westminster and that over a quarter of their Westminster members (Ian Blackford, John McNally, Richard Arkless, Lisa Cameron, Drew Hendry, Philippa Whitford, Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Angus MacNeil, Patricia Gibson, John Nicolson, Stuart McDonald, Calum Kerr, Steven Paterson, Deirdre Brock, Chris Law, Tommy Sheppard and Martyn Day) hold directorships and second jobs including places on companies, contrary to the SNP’s own diktat, while shamelessly standing on an anti-austerity platform.
In the real world, this is called hypocrisy.
Dalmellington Road, Crookston, Glasgow
The Parliamentary Counsel Office has advised the SNP government against unnecessary use of Gaelic and to “always use English as far as possible” (Scotsman, 9 August).
According to the 2011 census, out of the 5,118,223 residents of Scotland over the age of three, 5,044,683 (99 per cent) can speak English. Yet, under the SNP and at significant cost, Gaelic has crept into our education system, on to our road signs in parts of Scotland where Gaelic has never been spoken and now apparently unnecessarily into our legislation.
The SNP’s Gaelic drive is clearly not required by necessity. It’s part of the nationalist party’s unceasing mission to create a sense of separateness from our fellow countrymen and women across the UK when, in practice, none exists.
Royal Circus, Edinburgh
I’m fully in agreement with the Parliamentary Counsel Office instruction to Scottish Government lawyers that English should be used as much as possible rather than Gaelic in drafting legislation but I’m not so sure I agree with the stricture against using words which have been used in the Scottish legal profession for hundreds of years.
The one consolation is that that the wonderful Scots legal word “thereanent” seems to have been spared!
Kennedy Court , Haddington
Engine of change
Following the shenanigans and fraud committed by motor manufactures around measuring and reporting of vehicle emissions which has come to light in the last year, good luck to the legislators when deciding on how to determine the pollution given off by a particular make of car or lorry which might then be used to limit their access to certain city areas (Scotsman, 9 August).
Perhaps a more effective way of reducing vehicle pollution would be for the Scottish Government to give traffic wardens the power to issue a ticket to drivers who sit in stationary vehicles with the engine running, adding unnecessarily to city pollution. Tour buses, delivery vehicles and taxis are culprits here, as are mums involved in pick-ups on the school run.
The revenue raised could perhaps go to help pay for road repairs to reduce the number of potholes in the city to the benefit of all.
South Clerk Street, Edinburgh
As a Hibs supporter I was at the Hibs v Rangers Scottish Cup Final, and I have listened to people with a balanced view who rightly condemned those who ran on the pitch but saved their absolute disgust for those who committed any acts of violence. I also listened to those who shall we say have a shock/horror approach to all those Hibs supporters who ran on. I was waiting for calls for the return of floggings/hanging etc.
What I found very strange was the lack of condemnation for those who let off large flares in the Rangers end and more importantly for the singing of sectarian songs when Rangers went 2 - 1 up. If you watch the game again you can clearly hear the sectarian singing aimed at Allan Stubbs. Was this vile and insulting behaviour part of the inquiry or are we Scots now accepting this filth and brushing it under the carpet again.
Surely those who run Glasgow Rangers must want to move their team into the 21st century and stop this bile
16 Broomhall Loan, Edinburgh
As a Corbyn victory will be yet another disaster (on top of Brexit) I wish to announce that I will not be voting Labour during the next election if Corbyn leads.
I have been a lifelong Labourite and I think that under the leadership of Smith Labour could hope to pick up Remain voters en masse. If Corbyn wins expect to see able Labour MPs deselected in favour of inexperienced Momentum replacements. Corbyn’s Labour will be ambivalent on Europe so cannot win Remain voters. A party spilt actually seems likely and desirable. The message needs to be sent loud and clear that many Labour supporters feel as disillusioned with Corbyn as do his MPs
Corbiehill Place. Edinburgh
The incredibly low interest rate is succeeding in sustaining high house prices, especially in London and the south-east. However, for those who have managed to squirrel away something in the way of savings, it is having a devastating effect.The pockets of those who have scraped together a modest £10k are being picked to the tune of around £10 a week.
It would seem there are gangsters in the Treasury and in Westminster, those, mentioned in The Godfather, “with a briefcase, who can steal more than a hundred men with guns!”
Joseph G Miller
Gardeners Street, Dunfermline
Steel’s not riveting
It is usually better to ignore any outpourings from David Steel (Scotsman, 8 August). With a track record that includes being Presiding Officer when the cost of the Scottish Parliament went from £40m to over £450m and also the failed Liberal/SDP pact, he is probably the last person whose advice is needed.
His latest offerings also contain a number of unsupportable assertions. Scotland might not have to join the EU as it might not be leaving in the first place. Transfer of British membership is one possibility as part of England’s leaving negotiations.
Since Scotland in GDP terms would rank in the middle order of countries, has considerable natural resources and is strategically placed geographically it makes perfect sense to be part of the EU.
As for the assertion that Scotland would be forced to join the euro, both Sweden as pointed out and Poland have been members for some time and still use their own currency. On the other hand the pound could be at serious risk if England leaves the EU and joining the euro might be more sensible for an independent Scotland. The pound as a trading currency could be reduced as companies leave to find places within the EU. The Republic of Ireland is far higher in world ranking by per capita GDP than Britain.
In all the downsides of the union with England are outweighed by the advantages of staying in the EU.
Bruce D Skivington
Pairc a Ghliob , Strath, Gairloch
The Chinese ambassador should realise that in a democracy when governments change so do their policies. The proposed £18 billion Bridgwater power station is of untested technology and will take too long to construct. It will sell electricity at an eye-watering price.
Electricity generation is of national strategic importance; we do not know how hostile a future Chinese administration will be. Already Chinese activity in the South China Sea is alarming. This project should be cancelled. Britain is built on reservoirs of gas so we should commence fracking immediately and build new gas-fired power stations.
Justice Park, Oxton, Lauder