Letters: Building for the future with affordable homes

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Have your say

The News (December 9) is right to draw attention to the scale of the housing challenge the city faces.

But what is less well understood is the changing nature of the housing problems people face.

High house prices have combined with a lack of mortgage finance to make home ownership even less viable than it was before.

But people still need homes. Demand for council and housing association homes remains high with around 140 bids for every rented home advertised. Letting agents regularly report record levels of demand for private rented housing and private rents are rising.

Failing to respond to this problem would be negligent and politically irresponsible. That’s why the council and its partners have, this year, approved investment of nearly £200 million in building more than 1500 affordable homes, mainly for rent.

The construction of homes for rent has now overtaken the construction of homes for private sale in the city. This investment will also sustain more than 2,000 jobs in the city. Jobs that pay the mortgages and rent.

That is why I am so disappointed to read the comments of Labour’s Cammy Day who thinks trying to tackle this problem is “totally unrealistic”. Are Labour really saying that this council and our partners should build fewer houses?

This is what we have come to expect from Labour over the years; no leadership, no vision and no houses!

Paul Edie, convener of Health Social Care and Housing

Currency union is nothing new

IT was with much bemusement that I read Danny Alexander’s comment that the only way Scotland would be able to retain sterling is within the current UK monetary and fiscal union, and to go any other way would “risk currency catastrophe” as currently being experienced in the eurozone.

There are nearly 40 countries in the world in currency unions, all as independent nations. For example, prior to joining the euro Belgium and Luxembourg enjoyed a currency union, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein are still in one. There is no reason to think that Scotland and the rest of the UK could enjoy a similar arrangement, with shared decision making on monetary policy.

It is also interesting to note that while Mr Alexander views the situation in the eurozone as “catastrophic”, its economic growth this year is still forecast at almost twice the rate of the UK.

Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh

Is it anti-Scottish to question Alex?

WHY is Alex Salmond remaining silent on the euro crisis?. Is this because he campaigned for the last decade to join the euro – including attacking Gordon Brown for not joining – or is it because he does not have an opinion on eurozone fiscal union, or whether or not the ECB should step in?

It is becoming deeply unacceptable for a man who attacked sterling as “sinking like a stone” in 2009 to now have his own views on joining the euro hidden away. I guess a simple question would be, in the SNP’s proposed referendum on the euro, how would the First Minister vote?. That seems a fair enough question, or is it anti-Scottish to ask it?

Michelle Smythe, Dalry Road, Edinburgh

Creating a facility for the people

WE were very interested to read your piece regarding investment in new schools in Midlothian (News, December 9).

Whilst we receive funding assistance for the school part of the Lasswade Community Campus, Midlothian Council wholly funds the community part. This includes the library, leisure centre, computer area, community kitchen, conference suite, squash court, sports hall, dance studio, 25m six-lane swimming pool and artificial football pitch.

The new £37.1 million Lasswade Community Campus will provide cutting-edge facilities for local community groups, teachers, pupils and the general public. Existing facilities will be replaced and community services brought under one building.

We will provide approximately one third of the cost of the school replacement with the other two thirds coming from the Scottish Government. The council is committing the additional funding so that we can create a true community facility for local people.

Councillor Derek Milligan, leader of Midlothian Council