Letters to the editor

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‘No winners’ at King George V playing field

Sir,

Please can I appeal through your letters page for support and action by Argyll and Bute Council to install a three metre high fence at the King George V playing field, Ardrishaig.

For the best part of three years, myself and Arthur Barclay have tried to persuade Argyll and Bute Council to support the fence project, which gained community backing from sports clubs, the public through the project’s Facebook page, Ardrishaig Community Council and Ardrishaig Community Trust – which had awarded a grant to pay for the installation of a fence two years ago.

At the council’s request, we submitted a business plan for the project to show what benefit a new fence would have for pitch users. We also found a local contractor willing to install the fence within an allocated budget.
However, as a result of the council’s insistence a new licence be drawn up – which meant the licensee (either the community council or the trust) had to maintain the fence after installation, with legal clauses drawn up – an agreement cannot be reached on those terms.

It is very disappointing, not only for people who have given up their time to try and improve a public facility, but more importantly for the people who use the pitch, or would use the pitch more if a better fence was installed which would improve safety and the enjoyment for those taking part.

There are no winners in this situation – it does not need to be this way.

Peter Laing, Lochgilphead.

Response from an Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson:

Community involvement is something the council encourages and the approach we are taking to the works at King George V playing fields in Ardrishaig has been successfully adopted elsewhere.

Where work is undertaken on council property by someone else, it is often necessary to agree a non-exclusive licence to ensure all parties are protected and provide clarity on their rights and responsibilities.

In this case, the council believed a way forward had been agreed. However, we are happy to further discuss any queries the other parties involved may have as we would very much like to see the project progress.

Save your stamps

Sir,

I am appealing for used postage stamps which help me raise funds for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Recycling used postage stamps is an easy way to raise money for the charity and I am always in need of all types of postage stamps, including  British, foreign and Christmas stamps.

If your readers are able to help, I would be grateful if they would cut the stamps from their envelopes (leaving a 1cm margin around the stamp) and send them to Myrna Chave, PO box 91, Virginia Water, Surrey.

Many thanks for your assistance.

Myrna Chave, Surrey.

Not good enough

Sir,

I have had a busy few weeks working hard for my ward. I have been in regular contact with the local roads department and, depending on the road in question, BEAR Scotland about the numerous concerns constituents have raised with me.

There is no doubt, when it comes to infrastructure in Kintyre and islands much more needs to be done.

Whether it is blocked and broken drains flooding pavements and roads or the huge number of potholes, the short-term piecemeal approach to any road repairs across the Kintyre and Islands ward, it not good enough.

The Scottish Government and my own council administration have to look at investing more in this productive, economically important but sadly, in some cases, politically ignored council ward.

I had a meeting with West Highland Housing officials in Port Charlotte where I stressed the need for new new doors and windows in many of their houses across my council ward.

I also was delighted to meet the management and workers of recycling charity RE-JIG and discuss the terrific work they do and the fantastic service they provide for our island.

Finally, Tarbert’s tourist Information Centre is to be closed while Bowmore’s will remain open. There should not have to be a choice for one or the other – we should be able to keep both.

Visit Scotland should recognise the huge importance of the tourist industry to Tarbert and the rest of the Kintyre and Islands ward.

I implore Visit Scotland to maintain both the iCentre and the Bowmore hub, as both are terrific assets.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Isle of Islay

Only workers’ collective power will reverse declining wages

Together for wages

Sir,

It is sobering news to see Scottish unemployment rise by 0.3 per cent this quarter.

While the general trend is for low unemployment, it is a reminder of the problems that still exist in the labour market in Scotland.

It is clear from this week’s pessimistic reports on the state of economy that wages remain in a downward spiral and prices continue to rise. The figures from the Office for National Statistics confirm a further fall in real wages for workers of 0.4 per cent.

The OECD Economic Survey Overview, published earlier this week, attributed continuing falls in real wages to lower levels of unionisation and collective bargaining and the growth of insecure and part-time jobs and zero-hours contracts.

The reality is many workers across the UK are at breaking point and for too many work does not offer an effective route out of poverty. It is only through workers strengthening their collective bargaining power in low wage, low respect, low dignity workplaces that we will begin to see a more secure labour market.

In the public sector, where both governments have the biggest capacity to act on wages, they are sitting on their hands.

The Scottish Government’s Fair Work Framework echoes our call for the expansion of workers’ collective bargaining and they now must support its extension into low wage sectors such as hospitality and retail.

The STUC’s campaign against precarious work, Better Than Zero, has proven that when workers join together and fight back against bad employers they can improve their pay, terms and conditions.

Graham Smith, Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) general secretary

Harvest of generosity

Sir,

The Harvest Festival at St Columba’s Scottish Episcopal Church, Poltalloch, on Sunday October 15 raised £300.

The proceeds will be divided between the Red Cross Hurricane Irma, Myanmar and Yemen emergency appeals.

We are grateful for the generous response of everyone who attended.

Rev Canon Simon Mackenzie, the charges of Mid Argyll and Arran

PIC:

The colourful banner made by Kilmartin Primary School pupils for the occasion. no_a42HarvestBanner01