Letters: Let’s Guarantee no repeat of history for young people

THE Evening News is to be congratulated for giving such prominence to the blight of unemployment among young people (May 23). We have been here before.

In the early 1980s, under the guise of economic restructuring, mass unemployment was the norm, giving rise, later in the decade, to soaring homelessness, addictions and street begging.

A generation of young people paid the price or left Scotland for good.

We need not let history repeat itself.

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The Edinburgh Guarantee is a good enough start but there are massive opportunities for sustaining gainful work: refurbishing empty property, increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, improving our roads and footways for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles.

And if the public or private sectors are not light enough on their feet to respond, let’s tap the creativity of the Capital’s social enterprise and voluntary sectors.

Our young people deserve better.

Gavin Corbett, Green Cllr for Fountainbridge / Craiglockhart

Crazy promises from developers

WHY do so many construction projects in Edinburgh make so many crazy promises?

We had ridiculously optimistic assertions surrounding the completion date of the Scottish Parliament building, exceeded only by the embarrassment of that of the tram project. Now I notice another; Warriston Road was closed to traffic last June in order that the Water of Leith Flood Prevention scheme could be implemented. With extraordinary chutzpah the signs still read that it will be completed not only on Thursday May 31, but at exactly 6pm too.

Are we supposed to believe these promises, or just laugh?

Neil Griffiths, West Winnelstrae, Edinburgh

End prayers to create equality

IN advocating keeping the tradition of council prayers at the start of council meetings (News, May 23), Reverend George Grubb points out that nowadays not only Christians but also Muslims, Jews, Sikhs and many others faiths are represented and welcome to offer a prayer or reflection. Indeed, even atheists are allowed to get a shot at the “God slot”.

So far, so fair and inclusive, it would seem. But a third of the population is now non-religious. Does that mean that a third of these reflections will be offered by people from this group? No. For the simple reason most of us cannot appear at work and at the start of a council meeting simultaneously.

The religious have had centuries to organise themselves and have numerous representatives, for example ministers, priests, imams, rabbis, who are educated and employed to represent their interests.

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The non-religious on the other hand, what do they have? Well, they have the Humanist Society and the National Secular Society, who largely rely on unpaid members of the public to push for laws that do not discriminate against them.

I am not surprised Rev Grubb is keen to keep the council prayers as it enables a more or less daily coating of religion, which can only help to maintain its privileged position. But in the interest of equality and in order to create a level playing field in public life, it is necessary to put an end to council prayers.

Veronica Wikman, Malleny Avenue, Edinburgh

Seek help, not a quick financial fix

NEWS that the UK government has blocked plans for a cap on the interest payday loans companies can charge is extremely worrying, not least for the most vulnerable in our society.

Many of the thousands of families and individuals Shelter Scotland’s advice services have helped this year were living on a knife edge and felt they had no other option but to turn to payday lenders.

Payday loans may seem like a quick fix, but with interest rates of up to 16,000 per cent annually they are completely unsustainable and can quickly lead to snowballing debt, eviction, repossession and ultimately homelessness.

We will continue to be there for those who need our expert housing advice, but our worry is that, with government cutbacks leading to increased hardship, even our best efforts will only scratch at the surface of the problem.

We urge anyone who is experiencing problems in paying their bills to seek advice sooner rather than later.

Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, Edinburgh