Letters: Government living in fear of the all-powerful stores

Cheap drink is still available at supermarkets
Cheap drink is still available at supermarkets
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Have your say

I wonder if someone could provide an explanation as to why the minimum pricing legislation which was going to save us all from consuming too much alcohol has now been postponed “for the foreseeable future”.

The Scottish Government was paying lip service to its plans to ensure off licences and supermarkets would no longer be permitted to sell alcohol at ridiculously low prices and thus bring them into line with the licensed premises they have hammered for years, forcing a vast number of licensees to lose their livelihoods as they are unable to compete with supermarket prices.

The Government has yet again yielded to the power of the supermarkets who, as a result, may now continue to sell cans of lager at 23p. One of the large supermarkets is this week selling a 24-pack of branded lager for £6.60.

Bringing in the law on multiple buying was a total waste of time and again a token gesture to make the public believe that the Government was serious about reducing binge drinking.

I defy any MSP to come up with a rational explanation for the U-turn (or as they would have it, postponement) of minimum pricing other than fear of the supermarkets’ power.

Sheila Fraser, Beveridge Close, Dalkeith

Frontline workers need childcare too

Recent reports of the nursery closure at St John’s Hospital Livingston, and the earlier announcement of the nursery closure at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, raise serious questions about the lack of attention we pay to the economic case for good childcare provision.

Childcare is still seen as a non-essential service. The NHS Lothian spokesman is quoted as saying “it would be better to reinvest this money in frontline health services”.

This is wrongly presented as a simple choice. In fact, frontline health services are staffed by people who also require childcare and are probably using the nursery provisions on both hospital sites to assist them in remaining in employment. Removing these on-site, local childcare places only brings other problems, as skilled health service workers are faced with decisions about trying to change their hours to accommodate new childcare arrangements, or seeking alternative employment.

Ann Henderson, assistant secretary, STUC

ERI stay was like a five-star hotel

My daughter had spent quite a lot of time in ERI over the last two years having had four major operations in that time. I always stay in with her as she gets her own room and I get a mattress on the floor.

Throughout her times in hospital, her care has been excellent. I have had plenty time to observe the staff and can say all patients get looked after very well.

Granted the staff are overworked, but they all put their patients first, from healthcare assistants up to consultants.

Last year my daughter spent four days in Cardiff hospital, and comparing the two, ERI is like a five-star hotel. She had to share a ward with eight other women with one shower and one toilet, which was outside the ward opposite a men’s ward. It was awful.

Carole Macdonald, Gilmerton

SNP can’t answer some questions

BEFORE you can say Scotland is better off on its own (Letters, October 9), be sure you are fully aware of all the facts and any hidden liabilities that are paid directly, or borne by Westminster.

Scotland would be responsible for its share of the UK’s national debt of £1050 billion. Based on its population, 8.4 per cent would mean Scotland would inherit a debt of 
£88bn.

Second, the state pension. Seventeen per cent of our population is over 65 years of age – 900,000 pensioners receiving an average of £107 per week, £5bn paid directly from Westminster.

Third, the billions of pounds of pension that are paid to retired Scottish civil servants, teachers, police, armed forces and many more.

The Scottish Government refuses to talk about the problem of pensions. It will not tell us how it will go about paying each individual without taking short cuts, or the amount of time it will take to set up. The SNP just doesn’t know.

Lastly, can we guarantee there will be no challenge to our claim on the revenue from North Sea oil? Without it our imports would far exceed our exports.

James Mitchell, Corstorphine, Edinburgh