Letters: Leisure price rise is a stretch too far for senior citizens

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Edinburgh Leisure has increased membership fees for our senior citizens from January 1 by nearly 33 per cent from last year, bringing to 76 per cent fee increases within three years.

When I queried this shock increase, a representative told me other councils in the UK had been surveyed to bring Edinburgh’s prices in line, keeping with existing trends nationwide. The same representative said that only senior memberships were raised, with no other category affected.

There was no explanation why this vulnerable group is being targeted for these huge price rises, when wage earners and people in their active years are not experiencing such rises.

Seniors are encouraged by the council and health agencies to get out and exercise, yet it is this group who are usually on very low fixed incomes and least able to afford such escalating expenses.

I was advised membership provides for 40 per cent reduction in other activities. Just how many activities are the elderly likely to require or pursue?

Such discrimination and targeting is at best ill-advised, at worst insensitive and callous. Perhaps Edinburgh Leisure feels this social group is an easy target less likely to complain.

David Bellak, Bellevue Road, Edinburgh

Yes, let’s park the Ark at Leith

THE suggestion by John Gibson to bring the Ark Royal to Leith is not as foolish as it may sound (News, January 11). It should be remembered the MoD does not own any ship in the fleet. They are paid for by the taxpayer, and this applies equally to the army and RAF.

If a ship is ready for retirement and is replaced, fair enough, but what David Cameron did was a knee-jerk reaction, especially when the Conservatives are the party of law and order.

They should be maintaining the fleet, not sinking it. I know how I felt when my own ship, HMS Salisbury, was sunk off Plymouth Sound.

London has the Belfast and Portsmouth has the Victory.

Remember David Cameron, this nation loves a challenge, so leave the armed forces alone.

CJR Fentiman, Polwarth Gardens Edinburgh

Overseas Scots should get vote

IN a nation that proudly proclaims “we’re a’ Jock Tamson’s Bairns”, and “a man’s a man for a’ that”, it is surprising to watch the SNP Holyrood parliament preparing to deny a vote on the future and destiny of their country to those Scots living abroad.

A Scot living abroad is to become an ex-Scot as far as the independence referendum is concerned, apparently.

If the question is not to be put to the people for more than two years there is ample time to let expatriate Scots register a request for a vote at the nearest British Embassy, and vote there when the time comes. It is a sad day when a country values the untried opinion of a 16-year-old at an academy above that of a fellow countryman showing the flag abroad.

David Fiddimore, Calton Road, Edinburgh

Shed some light on bad driving

WHY do so many car drivers travel around the city with faulty head/side/tail lights? Passing schools in the morning darkness, some cars have just a single working headlight.

It would be of considerable assistance to many parents if these faults could be rectified. Can the police not patrol each school on a random basis to enforce the repairs?

Colin C Maclean, Hillpark Avenue, Edinburgh

Not streets ahead for cleanliness

YOUR article about Edinburgh’s street cleaning record (News, January 7) understandably chose figures which show us in the worst possible light and there is certainly room for improvement.

However, Keep Scotland Beautiful also independently assesses five times as many streets for us compared to the survey you reported on.

This broader sample shows a clear trend of more of the city’s streets being cleaner since the Lib Dem/SNP administration took over in 2007. The exception was during last year’s severe winter, when we diverted all available staff, including street cleaners, to help with snow clearing, and our street cleaning scores suffered as a result.

I am confident the next assessment will again show further improvement, although there is still a long way to go.

Cllr Robert Aldridge, environment leader, Edinburgh City Council