Scotsman Letters: Don't overstretch to buy a home than you can't really afford

It's down to home-buyers to decide what they can afford and how much risk they can accept over the longer-termIt's down to home-buyers to decide what they can afford and how much risk they can accept over the longer-term
It's down to home-buyers to decide what they can afford and how much risk they can accept over the longer-term
Ian Blackford's comments over the weekend that the UK government has left the British public "uniquely exposed" due to the lack of long-term mortgage fixes simply don't reflect reality.

When we moved house a few years ago, we considered a long list of options from those available including a plethora of long-term (ten years or more) fixed rates.

There were plenty on offer from a range of companies and given there was really only one way interest rates could go at that time, we opted for a 15-year fixed rate.

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While the rate wasn't the cheapest option (it was around 0.5 per cent above shorter-term fixed rates) we felt it prudent to lock in for a longer period of time. If people chose to take a slightly cheaper, short-term rate then they are the ones that have left themselves exposed.

These decisions always bring a degree of risk – a risk no different from Mr Blackford's suggestion of a 30-year fix where you could be stuck paying a lot more should rates go down in the future.

​There's no easy answer, but it's down to the buyers to decide what they can afford and how much risk they can accept over the longer-term .

If you're that exposed to interest rate rises, then you're buying more house than you can truly afford.

As the old saying goes, you only find out who's skinny dipping when the tide goes out.

J. Lewis, Edinburgh

Positive thoughts

​I see Stan Grodynski continues his tirade against the UK government (Letters, July 15).

What a nice change it would be to see some positive thoughts from him instead of his constant gloom and doom performances. For example:• UK history shows it was the UK that first recognised the international inhumanity of slavery and actually did something about it. Yet we are encouraged to feel nothing but guilt.• The UK common law statutes even today are admired world wide as an example of democracy at work• The many nations of the world that adopted the UK model of parliamentary democracy and rule of law.

For him to insist that the UK is on a downward slippery slope is nonsense. He might care to consider the rise of the UK currency against the mighty US dollar in recent months, now standing at 1.31

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He might also consider the reality that our political parties appear to be putting forward candidates in constituency elections that seem to be based more on personality and possible "star quality" than the life experience necessary to properly serve constituencies and our country as a whole.

A prime example is Mhairi Black, elected as an SNP member of the UK Partliament at the age of 20 years.

Is it any wonder, then, that politics has become a swamp of ideological socialism that has little to do with life's realities?

Derek Farmer, Anstruther, Fife

Transgender plea

I am a male-to-female transsexual who is truly frightened. My very existence is being questioned, my rights debated, my gender dysphoria demedicalised without a single consultation by MPs who are silent to my pleas.

Transsexuals have been conflated with the transgender community, people who bear no resemblance to our experiences and needs. Claimed as 'inclusivity', the reality is it creates only erasure and misunderstanding. We are told we are 'outdated'. That all our fears, our pain and our struggles are today irrelevant. Maybe we are too problematic for the reigning vision of a 'transgender umbrella'.

We are not 'proud' to be transsexual. By definition transsexuality is a curse, imposed upon us by the cruelties of nature, which leaves us only two stark choices: Attempt risky surgical transition in order to survive or struggle as your birth sex and risk spiralling into self-destruction. Transgender people do not face such horrific dilemmas.

With just 6,000 in the UK we are still human beings. We are not demanding special privileges or validation. We plead to live peacefully within society as who we truly are, and as we have done for decades.

I urge politicians to show compassion for the real lives that will be impacted and for those yet to be.

Leanne Mills, Sutton Coldfield

Cladding laws

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Perhaps the reason that local authorities in Scotland have requested only 2 per cent of available UK government funding for removing combustible cladding is that their experts think our tower blocks won't go up like Grenfell in the event of a fire (The Scotsman, July 15).

Our much stricter building regulations which have been in place for 20 years mean that a Grenfell-type situation is unlikely to occur in Scotland due to the fact that all high-rise flats must have cavity fire barriers.

It is not so much the flammability of the material used as the construction of the external cladding to deny the spread of fire via a chimney effect.

England failed to copy such safety measures introduced by the much-maligned SNP government.

Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

All hot air?

The news is currently full of stories on the hot weather in southern Europe and claims that we are in the hottest period that the planet has seen in 125,000 years.

Obviously that long ago there were no SUVs, aviation or gas boilers, so any warming back then must have been caused by natural forces. My question to climate alarmists is, have those natural forces disappeared?

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland

Astronomical . . .

The Indian space programme has cost £600 million to date. The Chandrayaan 3 rocket to the Moon has amounted to £57m. British aid to India, in the last 12 months, has amounted to £96m.

John V. Lloyd, Inverkeithing, Fife

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