Constance’s cuts U-turn smacks of hypocrisy

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I refer to your article (‘Call for rethink on Centres’, November 25) concerning Angela Constance’s call for a rethink on community centres in West Lothian.

The hypocrisy from Angela Constance and her SNP colleagues is staggering. Along with West Lothian SNP group she supported and embraced the £34 million of cuts to services in West Lothian over the next three years.

The truth is that Angela Constance voted in the Scottish Parliament for a budget that has imposed huge cuts in services for her constituents in West Lothian. She should have considered the consequences before supporting the cuts.

Consultation with management committees has been ongoing for many months. During that time, the SNP has had many opportunities to suggest alternative proposals on the way our community centres are run. To date, it has not put forward a single proposal.

West Lothian Council Labour administration is ensuring that our libraries, customer information service offices, community centres and village halls will not be closed; that is the priority for our communities.

Cllr Dave King, Executive Councillor for Culture and Leisure, West Lothian Council

Hotel poll is only a small Lothian snapshot

The Royal High School was designed and built as a school of education and learning and should remain so.

It may well be that 5000 have responded positively to a survey in favour of a hotel development (News, November 27), but bearing in mind that the population of Edinburgh and the Lothians is over 750,000, that is very small and does not give developers the right to alter the appearance or skyline of the area.

I am quite sure that the vast majority do not want the RHS being turned into a blot on the landscape, but something to be admired.

CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens, Edinburgh

St Mary’s Music School’s RHS agenda

I read with interest the article regarding the Royal High School in Thursday’s News. It appears that if St Mary’s Music School is successful in obtaining ownership of the building, they are going to demolish the eastern block to make way for new school buildings.

This would obviously ruin the view of the existing building as these pavilions give balance to the structure.

In an era when the city is being criticised for demolishing buildings which are not worth saving (the St Andrew Square glass monstrosity comes to mind), I cannot wait for the objections to flood in from the heritage groups et al against this proposal.

These are the same groups who have given their backing to the St Mary’s proposal without seeing any plans, therefore I won’t hold my breath.

Gordon Whitehead, Corstorphine, Edinburgh

Police cuts hamper battle against crime

Subscribing to the ‘Broken windows theory’ (the idea that dealing with low-level crime helps to reduce more serious crime), we have assiduously reported graffiti in our area and encouraged the owners of the property involved to remove it.

We get willing cooperation from Virgin Media, Royal Mail, SP Networks and Edinburgh City Council and we wait to see how Openreach responds to requests to deal with BT street cabinets. However, we get no action from Network Rail.

To help identification of the culprits, we report the tags to police, but this is complicated by Police Scotland operating only within ward boundaries (we cover part of two city wards). The British Transport Police are more responsive, but police investigations usually lead nowhere.

Before reorganisation, Lothian & Borders Police were more cooperative and had teams working through tag records, sometimes with 
success.

Steuart Campbell, Secretary, Longstone Community Council, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh

Protecting vulnerable children is crucial

As a coalition of leading independent and third sector providers we are deeply concerned by the threat of potential funding cuts to vital children’s services across local authorities in Scotland and have launched a major campaign to protect these.

As local authorities consult on their budget proposals, the potential to cut services is set against a backdrop of increasing demand for children’s services, with the number of those identified with additional support needs (ASN) standing at over 140,000 – around one in five of the school population.

Urgent action is required to ensure that those children and young people with ASN are identified as early as possible and provided with adequate support. Local authorities are, however, finding it increasingly difficult to provide the necessary services due to budget cuts.

Local authorities are being required to achieve more with less and this serves only to increase the barriers that children’s services departments face in delivering the best outcomes for vulnerable young people.

Cutting already diminished resources is simply not an option and we would urge local authorities to protect services for children and young people, using the current financial environment as an opportunity to explore the potential for public service reform and the delivery of services in the most efficient and effective manner.

Scottish Children’s Services Coalition:

Tom McGhee, Spark of Genius

Duncan Dunlop, Who Cares? Scotland

Stuart Jacob, Falkland House School

Sophie Pilgrim, Kindred

Niall Kelly, Young Foundations