Letters, February 11 2022

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Thanks to Co-op manager Colin

Campbeltown U3A has recently resumed meeting after a Christmas break and the speaker at the most recent meeting was Colin Middleton from Campbeltown’s Co-op supermarket.

He gave a most interesting and informative talk on the workings and history of the store and gave us all goodie bags which were greatly appreciated.

We would like to thank him very much for taking time out of his busy schedule for us.

Jean Kirk, chairperson, Campbeltown U3A.

Any Dalintober developments must be sensitive

Regarding plans to demolish flats in a sensitive area of the town, as reported in last week’s front page article ‘Have a say on planned Dalintober demolition’, these are iconic buildings in terms of the aesthetic value they bring to the town’s outstanding seafront location.

I fully understand the need to reduce housing stock, in line with a declining population, but previously demolished buildings in adjacent areas – Saddell Street and Queen Street – are now unsightly gap-sites.

Local opinion is important, given what has happened in the wake of recent housing demolition. There is concern, often heard in local conversation and frequently discussed on Facebook, of what might happen in the latest round of town planning.

To be fair, plans are afoot to replace the same with modern housing – probably less stock to suit the demands that exist in the town at the moment – however, it is really important any proposed build be sensitive in design to suit this prime parkland location, an area fronting onto Kinloch Park and town’s seafront Esplanade.

I share this concern, given the results of previous demolition, but also hope any future plans will include thoughts to increase housing stock, this in line with greater employment opportunities and rising population levels.

Alex McKinven, Campbeltown. 

The Right to Food has never been more needed

I am appealing to people throughout the region to support my Right to Food Bill proposal before the consultation closes on Wednesday February 16.

In the wake of Ofgem’s eyewatering increase in the energy price cap last week, which will see already struggling households having to wrestle between paying for heating or paying for food, the Right to Food has never been more needed.

If the SNP and the Greens hadn’t played party politics and kicked my Bill back, we could have already been working on ensuring the Right to Food is enshrined in Scots law.

Instead, we are having to re-consult at a time when the country is already grappling with a cost of living crisis.

On Thursday, Ofgem announced that from April the energy price cap would rise 54 per cent to £1,971 – that is an extra £693 households will have to find just to keep their homes warm and the lights on.

Forthcoming increases to the interest rate and rises in National Insurance payments will exacerbate the situation.

It is heart-breaking. I have had food bank helpers in tears saying we can’t wait another year for the Right to Food to kick in. People need help now.

Food bank volunteers need assurance that the invaluable support they provide in their communities will end one day, when wages and benefits are adequate enough for proud families to be able to stop using the food banks.

New statistics show rising homelessness across Scotland. Food bank use is soaring. Illnesses of the past like rickets and malnutrition have reappeared.

In a rich nation like Scotland, in the 21st century, this is appalling. It’s Dickensian.

People are struggling right now – it’s time the First Minister stops commentating on the cost of living crisis and starts doing something about it.

She could start by allowing her MSPs to support my proposal.

Rhoda Grant, Highlands and Islands Labour MSP.