Letters to the editor – December 11, 2020

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Dereliction of duty over A83

The SNP government’s lack of action in delivering a permanent solution to the problems besetting the A83 is inexcusable.

The SNP has been in power for more than 13 years but has done next to nothing to deliver a permanent solution to the chronic problems with the A83 which are strangling the economy of much of Argyll and Bute.

It is truly shocking to learn from the Fraser of Allander Institute that the SNP government is hoarding as much as £1 billion of funding from the UK Government, some of which could, of course, be spent on sorting out this problem. There are plainly the financial resources to deal with this.

It is an inexcusable dereliction of duty on their part and will not be forgiven or forgotten by people whose jobs and livelihoods are being threatened by this ongoing crisis.

Donald Cameron MSP, Highlands and Islands Region

Sprinklers ‘will save lives’

Sir,

I am delighted that the Scottish Government is taking forward my campaign for greater fire safety precautions in social housing.

Guidance is now going out to the building industry, ahead of installing fire sprinklers in all new social housing with new regulations coming into effect next year.

The sprinklers will be a requirement in new flats, maisonettes and larger multi-occupancy dwellings, including where care is provided.

Fire sprinklers have  proved time and time again to be effective in the fight against fire and I know that this move will save lives.

There has always been strong backing for these plans from the public, the industry and other MSPs, especially in the light of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

I would still like retro-fitting sprinklers in older properties to be considered and, although that is my longer term hope, I understand the problems this would pose.

I am delighted this is coming in before I retire as an MSP at next year’s election – what better than a life-saving ‘present’ at Christmas?

David Stewart MSP, Highlands and Islands Region

Second to none at Ardfenaig

Sir,

Can I please, through the columns of the Argyllshire Advertiser, say a very big thank you to all the wonderful staff and their manager Nan Anderson at the council’s Ardfenaig care home in Ardrishaig.

These people have, since the lockdown and well before that, given those in their care love and affection that is second to none.

On a daily basis they put themselves in harm’s way, to the benefit of not only the residents but also the relatives of the residents, and may I personally say they do it in a professional and loving way.

On behalf of those in your care, especially those who cannot say it for themselves, ‘Thank you and a very merry Christmas to you all’.

Leonard McNeill, Minard

A stronger voice for people in communities

Sir,

I congratulate the Scottish Government on its recent commitment to a bill that will give the role of local government legal status in Scotland.

The European Charter of Local Self-Government (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill has been proposed and fought for by Andy Wightman of the Green Party. It aims to incorporate the European Charter of Local Self-Government into Scots law, setting out certain rights for councils and protecting them from centralisation.

It’s been strongly supported by local government body COSLA, whose president, Councillor Alison Evison said: ‘This is a good day for democracy in Scotland. It is a good day for our communities.’ It’s also a good day for our hard-pressed local government.

Here in Argyll and Bute, I think we recognise the absolute necessity of so many of the services provided by local government for our day-to-day wellbeing.

We also recognise the increasingly challenging responsibility involved in the delivery of those services, not least in the face of Covid-19 and the climate emergency, which both have tested us all this year.

Our comings and goings have been adversely affected by both these ‘events’, as our social relations are constrained by the first, and our movements, our access and connectivity by the unprecedented scale of the A83 Rest and be Thankful landslides.

Andy Wightman’s Bill, if enacted, will give people a stronger voice in the conduct of their  affairs, and we will increasingly need that stronger voice to advocate for our present and our future in Argyll and Bute.

Mary MacCallum Sullivan, Ardrishaig

Remembering those missing

Sir,

The much-loved Erskine Tree of Honour was dedicated and lit in fine style last week.

Every year the Tree of Honour dedications lead us into the festive season.

This year, in spite of the pandemic, we embrace the opportunity to remember those who will be missing from our lives this Christmas. Though 2020 has been a challenging year, we at Erskine have been overwhelmed by the generosity, thoughtfulness and kindness from our supporters and the community.

We would like thank each and every one, with special thanks to Central Car Auctions for its continued support of our veterans and also to Atalian Servest which once again generously donated a magnificent Christmas tree, now standing proudly at the entrance to The Erskine Home.

Ian Cumming MBE, Erskine chief executive

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