Letters: Foundations must be laid to recover from repair woe

News that the statutory repairs scandal continues to reveal further serious wrongdoing (News, July 18) should come as no surprise, but any suggestion that council taxpayers should foot the bill would be totally unacceptable.

The latest example of below-specification materials being used to repair many roofs must fall squarely at the door of the contractors who carried out the work, even if it is proved that council employees turned a blind eye to the practices in return for inducements.

This matter clearly has a long way to go, but where it has been shown quite clearly that specifications were not followed, it ought to be possible to instruct the contractors to renew the works immediately at their own cost, and to provide owners with a proper warranty period.

Bill Goodall, Baird Drive, Edinburgh

Banks should be held to account

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Many articles on the wrongdoings of the banks have failed to take into account other ways the banks have made money. For the past five years or so, banks have encouraged their customers to move their pension funds from perfectly good private products.

Why? In a word, 
commission. Many older plans contained guarantees, such as guaranteed growth rates, guaranteed annuity rates, low charges, higher tax-free lump sums on retirement, yet the banks 
convinced people to give these up.

Many banks set their staff targets to make, with bonus payments resultant on achieving set goals.

Make your targets or find another job seemed to be the driving force. Under such pressure, who can blame some staff for mis-selling.

And, of course, the more you sell the better your bonus.

Obviously changes coming in next year will stop banks continuing the ‘churning’, but for many of the banks’ customers, the damage has already been done.

So not only have the banks forced many firms out of business, by not giving loans to help expansion or help short-term cash problems, they have put many customers in a worse position financially when the eventually retire, as they could have had a better pension by leaving their money with their original pension plan provider.

It’s called a triple whammy.

I’m not sure what the FSA has been doing all this time.

Alun Thomas, Sinclair Close, Edinburgh

Turbines would ruin natural site

There is a proposal to erect three turbines in the Pentland Hills Regional Park very near the Rullion Green battle site.

Those who use the Pentland Hills for respite from city life, to recover and refresh themselves by gaining pleasure from unspoilt nature might care to register their opinion on the Midlothian Council planning website.

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We now know that wind energy does remarkably little to reduce carbon dioxide emissions compared to claims by the industry. With increasing numbers of turbines, emissions savings will eventually become zero.

Unfortunately wind energy has become a toy for rich landowners to greatly enrich themselves further at our expense. Sadly the fuel poor in Scotland suffer most from this policy.

If this proposal is not rebuffed, it will not be possible to stop proposals for turbines on Salisbury Crags, Arthur’s Seat and the Royal Park.

Professor Anthony Trewavas FRS, Croft Street, Penicuik

Grassmarket is now flourishing

Councillors and council officers who have been involved in recent years in the upgrading of the streetscape in the Grassmarket deserve commendation.

What a pleasant place it is to now to visit and linger in!

Norman Bonney, Palmerston Place, Edinburgh

Gay marriage is about choices

Seems that once again religious pressure has stalled equality on gay marriage.

What does the right of two individuals to get married have to do with anyone else?

It’s like saying that I can’t have a doughnut because you’re on a diet. This disappointing capitulation of the SNP government is hardly “Brave”.

Neil Barber, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh