Letters, December 18 2020

Letters.

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Brexit concerns over farming and fishing

Last Monday, a glossy publication from Donald Cameron MSP arrived through my letterbox extolling the virtues of being a Conservative candidate in next May’s Scottish elections.

Mr Cameron listed six subjects of concern he had been involved in recently. All important, yes, but why did he fail to mention the two sectors that face the challenge to their survival caused by Brexit: farming and fishing? Both sectors face severe financial ruin.

On fishing, west coast fishermen rely on rapid transit to get their catches of prawns, langoustines, crabs and lobsters to Europe within 24 hours of landing.

These vital exports will, due to Brexit, be subject to senseless bureaucracy of red tape before they reach their destination.

Warnings from the fishing businesses all along the west coast of Scotland have been ignored by the UK Government. Coupled with this delay are tariffs set as Britain will no longer be an EU member.

Next, to farming. Everything points to constant financial hardship. Lamb exports, vital for every sheep farmer in Scotland, face EU levies of 40 per cent of the value of these animals.

For example, prime lambs currently worth £95 to export will near be worth £58. These levels of return will make sheep production unviable. All exports of world famous Scotch beef will be levied, as well as Scotch food and drink exports currently worth many millions to the Scottish economy.

In the 2016 EU referendum, Scotland voted 62 per cent to 38 per cent to remain in the EU. As everyone in the UK surveys the last minute shambles of ‘No deal or bad deal’, they must be amazed at the absolute mess we are in.

Our chance of salvation or rescue comes next May when Scotland has a chance to let Mr Cameron realise the folly of his party’s ways.

Robert MacIntyre, Rothesay.

Is this worthy of applause?

First our children painted rainbows, then we stood on our doorsteps applauding the NHS.

Now Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and devolved administration will grant a one-off ‘thank you’ payment to all NHS Scotland staff. The gross sum of £500 will be paid to all full-time staff, including primary care and home care staff and care home and hospice workers.

This bonus sum, costing upwards of £180 million, will be taxable, resulting in those NHS staff members on the lowest income likely to be hit the hardest.

Part-time staff are to receive a ‘proportionate share’ and employees in receipt of top-up benefits may experience a ‘knock-on’ effect on entitlements.

The Scottish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, said ‘many care home workers are part-time, so the fear is that they will end up with a derisory payment’.

Let’s also remember that in England and Wales, tax is payable at 20 per cent on taxable income up to £50,000. In Scotland, our tax is payable at 20 per cent on taxable income up to £43,300.

Le Presidente Nicola and her Sepratista Nationale Politico (SNP) have put on something akin to a magic show. The question you may wish to ask yourself, is this worthy of your applause?

Tommy Macpherson, Saddell.

Lack of support for Tarbert amendment

I was disappointed that my amendment, brought to the Mid Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands Area Committee to retain the underspend of £255,000 designated for Tarbert regeneration improvements, was not supported by Councillor Alastair Redman.

I appreciate that the councillors who represent Lochgilphead were keen that the additional monies should top-up the costs of the project at the Front Green as that tender has come in much in excess of the original budget, but it is deplorable that a councillor elected to represent Tarbert chose to vote against the amendment that would have allowed Tarbert to benefit from the funding allocated for improvements in the village.

I would assure all residents in Tarbert that I will work for the people of Tarbert, who elected me to represent them in the best way I can.

Councillor Anne Horn, Kintyre and the Islands.

Tier two unfairness

Being a previous resident in the Wee Toon, and now residing in Helensburgh, I totally agree that Campbeltown and all other rural places in Argyll, should have been moved to tier one a couple of weeks ago.

Helensburgh has had its tier two status challenged recently by sailors from Faslane in several groups going to the boozers and buying ‘substantial’ meals with several beers, but are classed as being from the same household due to being on the same ship.

Also ‘Weegies’ getting the short train journey from Glasgow and breaching the travel rules to infest the area unlawfully.

We are the closest town to the Covid hot spots, which certainly doesn’t help matters.

I hope Nicola Sturgeon sees sense and allows all rural places in Argyll to be exempt from the harsh restrictions that are unfairly spread over the whole of the region.

Name and address supplied.

Pensioners’ television licence fee

I see Bruno Tonioli is pocketing £33,185 a minute during his current appearances on Strictly Come Dancing which equates to a further 211 free TV licences for the over 75s.

Is it any wonder the BBC has a problem with those of us refusing to pay the licence fee of £157.50 when it can pay mouth-watering sums to endless so-called celebrities.

I realise the BBC has a duty to honour contracts but perhaps honouring previous pledges to OAPs over 75 would be a way forward.

I also see water bills are likely to increase every year for the next six years, adding an average increase in council tax bills of £118 per annum.

Seeing as it seems to have rained every day since October in this part of the world, I begin to wonder how water companies can equate this increase to all citizens who have no alternative other than to pay.

Perhaps internal budgeting within these companies could well be a sensible solution.

Keith Abendroth, Campbeltown.

Wanted – young people for NSPCC board

We are launching the Young People’s Board for Change, and want to recruit 15 members aged between 13 and 16 years, from across the country.

The board members will use the platform to raise awareness of what matters most to them, take action and make change happen. They will also have a big role internally advising staff and trustees.

The young people will take part in new experiences and opportunities, meet other young people, as well as develop confidence and learn life-long new skills, such as campaigning and public speaking.

Over a two-year period, members will take part in residentials, meetings and workshops, and campaign to share their views and opinions.

We want as many young people as possible to have the chance to apply, so we are encouraging parents and carers to speak to their children about this exciting opportunity, and teachers and other professionals to share details with their students and through their networks.

Find out more at nspcc.org.uk/boardforchange, or for an informal chat please contact participationteam@nspcc.org.uk.

The deadline for completed applications is January 11 and interviews will be held between January 18 and 21.

Carla Malseed, local campaigns manager for NSPCC Scotland.