Letters: Budget shortfall harms learning disabled

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Due to a recent definitional change, nearly 20 per cent of all pupils in Scotland are now assessed as having an ‘additional support need’ (ASN) by the Scottish Government.

Once only encompassing those with a significant support need, a range of pupils, from those with minor behavioural issues all the way to those with complex disabilities, must now be given additional support from their schools.

This has diluted resources to the point that many severely learning disabled children and young people – those the Muir Maxwell Trust works with on a daily basis and the very group most in need of assistance – are in danger of simply being left behind.

The Scottish Government had a chance to rectify this situation with its most recent Draft Budget. Sadly, officials have ignored this burgeoning problem and promised no additional funds to help local authorities cope.

As schools buckle under the strain, the severely learning disabled are not necessarily getting the level of help they require to flourish.

The Scottish Government needs to step in and act immediately to end this state of affairs. We must give Scotland’s severely learning disabled children and young people the proper level of support they so desperately need.

Ann Maxwell, Founder, Muir Maxwell Trust, Stuart House, Eskmills, Musselburgh

SNP will pay at the polls for tax amnesty

Many refused to pay the poll tax although it was the law of the land. Those who did pay obviously had to make up the shortfall in local authority funding.

When some who registered to take part in the referendum found themselves being asked to pay overdue tax, Alex Salmond stepped in and announced an amnesty for all those still owing money to their local authority. He went further and has promised to provide funds for local councils to, in part, make up for the lost revenue.

So the position is that law-abiding citizens first had to pay more to make up for those who refused to pay and now must fork out again to fund Salmond’s generosity with taxpayers’ money.

When the general and Scottish elections are held, it is to be hoped that law- abiding citizens will keep this in mind and withhold support from SNP candidates to prevent further concessions to criminals in future.

William W Scott, St Baldred’s Road, North Berwick, East Lothian

Wildlife charities right to fear wind farms

WILDLIFE charities are absolutely right to fear a series of offshore winfarms in the Firth of Forth will prove deadly to seabirds (News, October 11).

The Scottish Government was granted permission for hundreds of turbines in the Forth and Tay, which may generate enough energy to power 1.4 million homes.

Representative from RSPB Scotland and the Scottish Seabird Centre say they are worried about the potential impact the structures would have on marine wildlife.

They are truly right to be concerned. These structures are ugly and extremely dangerous to birds. I hope the decision to build these grotesque windfarms will not come to pass.

Mrs June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh

Circus lions should be returned to the wild

YOUR article about a West Calder zoo’s attempts to add four lions to its collection of kept creatures does little or no justice to the fate of these unfortunate animals (‘Zoo launches appeal to build new home for lions in travelling circus’, News, October 6).

To be carted around France in an enclosed wagon is indeed truly awful, but to suggest that the answer lies in the freezing and alien ‘expanses’ of West Calder is at best naive and at worst callous.

This appears to be an attempt to gain more livestock for a commercial venture, not to seek the best natural environment for these wonderful animals.

We already have enough creatures and fish of all sorts kept in unnatural and inhumane conditions purely, it seems, for adults to point at and for children to puzzle at.

The lions should be rehomed in Africa where they come from. Why not raise funds for that instead?

Paul Griffin, Edinburgh (address supplied)

Edinburgh road repairs are slow off the mark

I AGREE with Donald McBride (Letters, October 4) regarding the state of road repairs in the Capital.

I live in Sighthill and our roads are appalling, as are the pavements. At the moment there is a squad of men at Sighthill Terrace working over the past few months and they have still not completed the road to be resurfaced.

This should have been finished long before now. Do they ever have their work inspected?

Tram money would have been better spent on repairing roads in Edinburgh and the surrounding area

Ms Pauline Frazer, Sighthill Drive, Edinburgh

Referendum No vote did not mean no change

THE referendum No vote must not be allowed to mean no change. The Unionist parties must now deliver on their promises.

It was very devious of David Cameron to link change in England with the new wider powers for Scotland, for that caveat was not in the pledges. Those representing Scotland’s interest at the devolution commission must not be sidelined.

We voted No, now keep your word.

Trevor Swistchew, Victor Park Terrace, Edinburgh