Letters to the editor – July 23, 2021

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Searching for local radio listeners

I am searching for local radio listeners to help with a research project.

A lecturer and programme leader for BA Journalism at Edinburgh Napier University, I am working on a study of local radio in Scotland for my PhD.

I want to find out what people make of radio in Scotland, how often they listen to the radio, which stations they like and which ones they avoid, how satisfied they are with the stations’ local news provision.

Scotland is in a peculiar position of not having any local public service radio, neither in major urban areas or in rural parts, except for a few limited BBC Scotland opt-outs.

I am looking to recruit participants for a focus group, lasting around 45 minutes, to be held online in July – face-to-face might be possible subject to government lockdown rules.

Email Alex via a.kocic@napier.ac.uk to find out more.

Alex Kocic, Edinburgh

Save water in warm weather

Scottish Water is reminding residents and visitors to use water efficiently in warm weather.

Demand across the country was so high last week that Scottish Water had to provide 100 million litres of extra water per day, compared with normal levels at this time of year.

As temperatures soared in much of the country, this increased to more than 200 million litres extra per day over the weekend.

Scottish Water is tankering extra water into some parts of the country to maintain supplies, including Tighnabruaich and Portavadie.

Water levels in reservoirs are at 74 per cent. This is a fall from 77 per cent last week and from 90 per cent in late May.

Current levels are below average for this time of year but the main issue is demand for water from customers, which has increased considerably during the warm weather.

When garden water use increases dramatically, for things like sprinklers and paddling pools, that places considerable strain across our infrastructure to move the water as quickly as customers need it.

If people across the country – residents and visitors – can take some simple steps to reduce their water use, they can make a big contribution towards our efforts to maintain normal supplies for everyone and there will be fewer tankers on the roads.

People can help protect water supplies by:

  • using a watering can instead of a garden hose
  • not using jet washers, which use an average of 36 litres of water
  • not using paddling pools, which use an average of 400 litres of water, but if pools are used try quarter filling them and using the water for your garden afterwards
  • turning the tap off when brushing teeth
  • using washing machines and dishwashers only when fully loaded

More information on saving water is available at www.scottishwater.co.uk/savewater.

Kes Juskowiak, water operations general manager, Scottish Water

Don’t cut Universal Credit


The Poverty Alliance has this week written to Therese Coffey MP, secretary of state for work and pensions, after her department refused to disclose any analysis on the potential impact on poverty of cutting Universal Credit by £20 as planned this autumn.

The refusal came after a Freedom of Information request by the Poverty Alliance, with the Department for Work and Pensions’ reply deeming the disclosure of the information to not be in the public interest.

With the risk that the cut could pull hundreds of thousands of people across the UK into poverty, we have written to the secretary of state calling for the release of the government analysis and urging her to listen to the voices of people struggling to stay afloat across the UK by keeping the £20 lifeline.

Governments have a moral responsibility to take decisions that protect people from poverty.

The UK Government increased Universal Credit by £20 because they knew it would otherwise fail to meet people’s needs. That was the right thing to do.

Yet ministers are now planning to cut that £20 at a time when so many are struggling to stay afloat, and are compounding that decision by refusing to be straight with the public about what the impact of that decision will be.

That is because they know that it will sweep hundreds of thousands of people across the country into poverty. To allow this to happen would be a moral failure; this is a simple case of right and wrong.

It is not too late for the government to change course. If it is serious about ‘levelling up’ then it will keep the £20 lifeline and begin to build a social security system that protects people from, rather than drives them into, poverty.

Peter Kelly, Director of the Poverty Alliance


The poem below was sent to the Argyllshire Advertiser by Ardrishaig reader Kenny Rowan. It will chime with anyone who comes from this beautiful, unique part of the world.

Have you ever sat and wondered about life for a while
With its ups and downs and living in Argyll
And no matter how far or where you may roam
It’s Argyll that’s the place you always call home

Have you ever sat and wondered how life might have been
If you upped your roots for a land that’s more green
Settled down in a city like London or Rome
But Argyll would still be the place you call home

Have you ever sat and wondered about a life on the sea
And imagined what travelling the world would be
A life on the oceans over sea and over foam
But Argyll would still be the place you call home

Have you ever sat and wondered about east and west
And the age-old question of which is the best
You can twist and turn with your mind still torn
But Argyll is the place you would still call home

I guess what I’m asking is about life in Argyll
With its hills and glens and lochs by the mile
Roads that are twisted and no signal for your phone
But it’s still the place you are proud to call home

Kenny Rowan