Letters: Low housing supply sends rent costs through the roof

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News that rental prices are rising in the private sector is a major concern and shows the housing crisis touches everyone.

A lack of social housing and high house prices means that increasing numbers of people have no option but to look to the private rented sector.

But where renting was once the cheap alternative to home ownership, rising rents have forced many ordinary families to cut their spending on essentials such as food and heating, or uproot and move away from jobs, schools and families in search of cheaper rents.

The root cause to rising rents is a shortage of housing supply across Scotland.

This puts pressure on the accommodation available and can leave those in need of cheaper rent options uprooted from their communities and exposed to bad housing and unscrupulous landlords.

To remedy the problem Scotland needs to build more houses, both in the social and private sectors. Only then can the trend of rising rents and the strain on household finances be addressed.

Graeme Brown, director, Shelter Scotland, Edinburgh

Pig-headed Alex right this time

I WAS greatly moved by the “It gets better” video made for YouTube by our First Minister, Alex Salmond. His impressive vision for a Scotland in which life for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in Scotland continues to improve brings hope to all LGBT folk – not just the young people to whom it is addressed.

In view of his oft-demonstrated obstinacy in ignoring all opposition and pushing ahead with unpopular and bad legislation just because he feels it is right, I am confident that he and his government will duly legislate for same-sex marriage in the teeth of opposition from the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

In this case, he is right and I applaud him for it.

John Hein, publisher, ScotsGay Magazine

Press freedom comes at a price

THE press coverage of the business and personal adventures of Dr Liam Fox has finally flushed out the existence of his shadowy – privately financed – right-wing pressure group which fled its HQ to the US when its charitable status (for tax avoidance purposes) was rejected by the Charities Commission in the UK, because it provided no charitable benefit to ordinary citizens.

It is essential that the press should continue to be able to alert us to the presence of secretive and sinister organisations which would seek to influence our lives and futures from the shadows – and for that reason the Levenson Inquiry into press behaviour, stimulated by the Murdoch empire’s phone hacking scandal, must not recommend steps which make the reporting of this sort of scandal more difficult than it already is.

I am revolted by the distasteful intrusion into private lives by the worst elements of the press (and bemused by those who want to read of it) ... but that may be the price we have to pay for press freedom: at times it is all that stands between us and the Big Brother state.

David Fiddimore, Nether Craigwell Calton Road, Edinburgh

Confusion over car parking lease

I REFER to the article “GPs slam moves to axe car parks” (News, October 7) and would like to clear up any confusion regarding the car parking lease for Stockbridge Health Centre.

The responsibility for the car parking lease for Stockbridge Health Centre lies with the Edinburgh Community Health Partnership (CHP) and not NHS Lothian.

Edinburgh Community Health Partnership covers the whole of the city of Edinburgh and is responsible for the delivery of local health services in homes, health centres and clinics. The CHP works in partnership with Edinburgh City Council’s Department of Health and Social Care. It is important readers understand who is making local community health-related decisions.

The decision was based on the fact that this is the only GP practice/health centre in Edinburgh where Edinburgh CHP leases land for car parking and covers the cost.

Peter Gabbitas, joint director of health and social care, Edinburgh