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Buses raised at hustings
I’d like to express my appreciation to the organisers of the hustings in Ardrishaig Public Hall last Tuesday evening.
The discussion was lively and informative, and most of the candidates made meaningful contributions to the main debate.
There was considerable talk of the need for community involvement in council decisions, and a point was raised by an elderly gentleman in the audience that in all fairness couldn’t be discussed in sufficient detail in the time available. This was the deletion of the residential area up the hill at Kilmory from the council-subsidised ‘circular’ Lochgilphead/Ardrishaig bus route a few years ago.
He was told by one of the candidates that, as no-one used that section of the service, it was cut out on the principle of ‘use it or lose it’.
Once a week for the past six months I have been catching this bus at 1.45pm from the Lochgilphead hospital stop to Ardrishaig, and it goes out to the Kilmory council headquarters before returning via Lochgilphead to Ardrishaig.
Only once can I remember a person getting on or off this bus at the council offices – and that was the same councillor who this evening was proclaiming ‘use it or lose it’ at the hustings.
I think that the council should lose it – and maybe the other three daily services via their offices, if they’re just as useless – to enable the people who reside up at Kilmory to be served once more, at no extra expense to the council.
Robert Wakeham,

Elderly care must be priority
Thousands of older people are missing out on free personal care payments because of delays in assessing and arranging care.
As a result of data supplied by councils to the Age Scotland charity through Freedom of Information, we have found around 4,000 older people are waiting longer than six weeks for a financial assessment.
Some were waiting several months, and in one case someone waited almost two years for care to be arranged following their assessment.
Polling conducted by YouGov found that 73 per cent of people do not believe society values or invests enough in social care. It also found that only 17 per cent believed that public services will be able to look after their care needs when they are older.
These are deeply concerning figures showing thousands of older people facing delays in the care provision they need being put in place. It also means payments for free personal care they are entitled to not being received. This confirms the experiences of a number of older people and their families who have been in touch with Age Scotland’s helpline to tell us their experiences of delays in the system.
As we look to local authority elections next month, Age Scotland has contacted council candidates across Scotland to ask them to ensure providing high quality health and social care services is made an urgent priority by new administrations.
Free personal care has been one of the landmark policy initiatives in Scotland following devolution, and that is why we are calling on all levels of government to ensure the system works as it was intended.
Our research has also found that most Scots do not believe that as a society we invest enough in health and social care, or are confident public services will provide for their care needs in later life. This shows the levels of concern which exist around current provision of care services, and why as a society we must all work to ensure our health and social care system has the support and investment it needs.
We want everyone in Scotland to be confident they will receive high quality care when they need it in later life, and that is what we must work to achieve.
Keith Robson,
chief executive,
Age Scotland.

Royal Mail fights scammers
I am writing to let you and your readers know about a major initiative that Royal Mail has launched to protect consumers from scam mail.
Scam mail involves professional fraudsters sending letters that are designed to trick people out of money or other valuables.
Scam mail can include bogus competitions and fake prize draws encouraging people to buy products to qualify for a prize which does not exist.
Under the scheme, Royal Mail will block and impound suspected scam mail at its major distribution centres before it reaches the customer’s letterbox. Legitimate business and personal mail will continue to be delivered to customers as normal.
Impacted customers will be able to contact a dedicated Royal Mail helpline at 0800 085 8003, for information if they have any concerns. They can also arrange a home visit from Royal Mail staff.
We are also relying on local communities to play a role in defeating the scammers. We are supporting Friends Against Scams, a National Trading Standards scams team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to take a stand. The organisation provides lots of helpful guidance and advice.
If readers have any concerns about neighbours, friends or family, we would ask them to visit the Friends Against Scams website.
Rob Jenson,
operations director,
Royal Mail.