Letters to the editor – June 10, 2022

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Ideas have consequences


Alastair Redman (Letters, June 3) gives wise advice contrasting with the ‘woke’ drivel circulating in modern society.

Newcomers getting £50,000 to halt Scottish island depopulation is just a wasteful government scam.

The further we have moved away from sane socialist inspired simplicity of living, fixing the bare bones survival basics for all, plus redistributing wealth, the more we have seen social anarchy and disorder.

A nation with food banks should not be offering £50,000 incentives to encourage people to move onto far flung islands.

One of my friends made a very profound statement about the socialist inspired redistribution of wealth and its positive legacy.

Although very wealthy and successful, this friend praised the UK government for having relatively high taxes, so that poverty can be tackled.

Alistair Redman is surely right about the need to intelligently address specific factors like housing and transport. Can housing shortfall cause family breakdown and mental health crisis? Ideas have consequences.

Dr James Hardy by email

Safe play for all


To coincide with Child Safety Week from June 6 to 12 we at the disability equality charity Scope are releasing research which shows that many parents and carers do not feel their disabled child is safe using playgrounds with inaccessible equipment, with some parents saying their child had been hurt because of equipment not being suited to their needs.

The survey of 1,000 parents and carers of disabled children found that many children are being denied fun, friendship and development opportunities, leaving many families isolated and excluded.

The fact that some parents do not feel their disabled child is safe in playgrounds is extremely alarming.

Many playgrounds aren’t designed with disabled children in mind. For example, many have woodchip or sand floors which may be difficult for children with wheelchairs or walkers, and concrete floors are dangerous for children who are prone to falling.

Every child has an equal right to play. Yet many disabled children can’t enjoy their local playground because the equipment isn’t designed for them.

It leaves disabled children shut out and missing childhood experiences.

That’s why we’re calling on government to create an Inclusive Playground Fund so that councils can work with disabled children and their families to design playgrounds that work for them.

Emma Vogelmann, lead policy adviser at Scope

Grants for primary children


The Scottish government is urging families to check their eligibility and to apply for the Best Start Grant School Age Payment now that applications are open for children old enough to start primary school.

This one-off payment of £267.65 is to help at a key stage in a child’s life and can be used for anything from a new pair of shoes to books or arts and crafts materials.

Best Start Grant School Age Payment is available to families who get universal credit, tax credits or certain benefits with children born between March 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018.

Parents who have deferred their child’s entry to school from August 2022 to August 2023, or those who are home-schooling, should still apply before February 28, 2023 or they will lose out on their payment. There is no cap on the number of children in a household who can get this payment.

Best Start Grant School Age Payment is one of the Scottish Government’s five family payments administered by Social Security Scotland.

The package includes Scottish Child Payment, three Best Start Grants, and Best Start Foods.

From the end of this year, both the Best Start Grant School Age Payment and the Best Start Grant Early Learning Payment will be paid automatically to families who get Scottish Child Payment when their child is of eligible age.

When a child is due to start school it comes with additional costs, and so I would encourage parents and carers to check if you are eligible and, if so, to apply for our Best Start Grant School Age Payment.

We have built our new social security system to make it as straightforward as possible for people to access support. This is why people can apply online, by post or over the phone.

You can also apply for all five family payments for all the children that you are responsible for, in a single straightforward form – and we put no cap on the number of children who can get these payments.

We want every child in Scotland to have the best start in life and our social security system is here to help with that.

Visit mygov.scot/beststart or call 0800 182 2222 to find out more or apply.

Ben Macpherson, Minister for Social Security

Fuel prices


People across Scotland, including in Argyll and Bute are paying the price for sky high energy bills, despite Scotland having an abundance of resources in oil and gas and renewables.

Under Westminster control, the vast revenue from Scotland’s oil and gas industry has been squandered by UK governments for decades and now it is consumers in Argyll and Bute who are getting hammered with higher average energy bills, with bills here being the 23rd most expensive in Great Britain.

This is also a result of the outrageous and expensive transmission charges that are charged in Scotland for companies to access the national grid here.

The measures announced by the Chancellor last month – welcome though they were – will barely scratch the surface of the rocketing energy bills crippling households now and in the winter months to come.

High fuel bills in Argyll and Bute and across Scotland lies squarely at the door of the Westminster government and shows why Scotland needs the full range of powers that will come with independence.

Jenni Minto, MSP for Argyll and Bute