Letters, July 24 2020

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Re-establish relationship with FLS

Regarding your feature in last week’s Courier, I must take issue with Dr Lee’s tirade against Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) or, as we used to know it, The Forestry Commission and Forest Enterprise.

Over the years Carradale has had an excellent relationship with this body from the days when it was one of the largest employers in the village.

It has been incredibly generous to us over the years; our splendid sports field was given to the village for, I think, £1. Seldom used at the moment, it has a quiet wee corner remembering those in World War One and the healthy mixed saplings donated by Forest Enterprise are growing nicely.

What was once the forestry office with its land and substantial outbuildings has become a tearoom and heritage centre.

The splendid Deer Hill walk, recently highlighted by Cameron McNeish in the Herald, was instigated at the request of the Carradale tourist group of the day. Hacked out of heather and rough moorland, it is now a beautifully maintained and sign-posted path up to a trig point, giving a wonderful vista of the area.

Even the little picnic table up the glen beside the B842, with parking spaces and a neat stone bridge, adds to the welcome to visitors. Not to mention the miles of safe forest roads where we can walk or cycle. Sadly, in 40 years of exploring these tracks and seeing all manner of wildlife, I seldom see another human.

So it’s no wonder FLS thinks we are an ungrateful lot and I suggest that instead of trying to go our own way, perhaps we should try and re-establish our previous relationship with FLS and make sure when chunks of land are sold to the wicked windfarm barons we get conditions on the sale, including access and siting of towers, and money from them.

Trish Hurst, Carradale.

Shielding ‘mismanagement’

The SNP’s ‘shielding’ of vulnerable people has been shambolic.

In total, 9,221 people were wrongly advised to isolate during the pandemic, with 3,361 of these people told to shield unnecessarily as a result of misidentification of cancers.

This adds to the list of errors made by the separatists regarding shielded individuals – from letters sent to the wrong people, changes in the numbers of people shielding and problems with the text service.

This error is typical of the SNP’s mismanagement of this crisis.

Councillor Alastair Redman, Kintyre and the Islands.

Economy needs billions more

The Chancellor’s recent pledge of an additional £30 billion worth of measures to support the economy is to be welcomed and brings the direct cost of Covid-19 interventions to more than £311 billion as at July 9.

While a seemingly large sum, when one looks at the looming potential economic collapse, this is akin to using a pea shooter against an elephant.

With the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicting four million unemployed, bringing the unemployment rate to 11 per cent, what the Chancellor has done is temporarily protect jobs and livelihoods rather than providing the stimulus needed to guarantee these jobs in the long-term and get the economy moving again.

We have seen VAT reduced to five per cent for the hospitality sector, but this is a fraction of the across-the-board cut that was made in response to the 2008 global financial crisis.

What we need is major investment to rebuild the economy and yet we have had the paltry amount of less than £10 billion being used for housing decarbonisation and green homes.

There is an immense amount of capital at very low prices for the government to borrow and invest. This will not always be there.

The economy was already stuttering in the first quarter and has now fallen off a cliff, with the OECD predicting the UK economy will take the biggest hit in the industrialised world this year. And that is before we fully exit the EU single market and the inevitable economic challenges that creates.

We need a genuine New Deal, with billions pumped into the economy through additional borrowing if we are not to leave an economic and social wasteland for this and future generations.

Alex Orr, Edinburgh.

Talking about heart disease

We want to start a national conversation about heart disease and need readers’ help to make it happen.

At British Heart Foundation Scotland, we’re developing recommendations we want the Scottish Government to take forward over the next five years to improve care for people in Scotland living with heart disease.

We’ve been listening to healthcare professionals and people living with heart disease to help us identify key issues and work out priorities and actions and now we’re opening a wider consultation to shape final proposals.

If you are living with heart disease or are a clinician working in this area, we’d like to hear from you. Share your thoughts and ideas at www.bhf.org.uk/scotheartplan or by contacting barclayk@bhf.org.uk or on 07471 902521 before September 4.

Have your say to help us develop an ambitious and innovative plan with patients at its heart.

Kylie Barclay, Policy and Public Affairs Manager, British Heart Foundation Scotland.