LETTERS: Roads are for cars, not for children to play on

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I am glad to see that Edinburgh council is willing to charge residents £1500 to close the roads leading to their streets (“New skids on the roadblock”, Evening News, February 10).

Whilst I am all in favour of kids playing outside I am certainly not in favour of blocking off roads to allow this. If parents want a specific road closure for this purpose then they should pay at least £1500 for the privilege and I would be inclined to charge them more in these times of austerity.

Roads are for cars and definitely not for children playing on. Most drivers including myself pay enough in road tax and other various motoring duties without having further and unnecessary restrictions placed on us. As a business man I have clients in and around this area and I am not prepared to respect a road closure for the above reasons. If my clients expect me to be at a specific place at a specific time then I expect to get to that place without hindrance unless there is a very good reason and children playing on the road is certainly not a good one in my opinion.

If the people of Parkgrove want safe play areas for their children then may I suggest they take them along to the large fields at nearby Silverknowes or perhaps the grounds of Lauriston Castle which also have two large grassy fields which are adequate for children to play safely.

Mr Alastair Macintyre, Webster Place, Rosyth, Fife

NHS mess is one that Sturgeon created

So Nicola Sturgeon now admits there is a crisis in the NHS in Scotland. But who caused it? Nicola Sturgeon herself!

In 2012, as Health Minister, she said it was a “sensible way forward” to cut the number of training places. No wonder we are short of doctors and nurses and the SNP are regularly failing to meet their own targets for waiting times.

Now she is trying to cover up the mess she created by using some of the money her government recently cut from local authority budgets, forcing councils to reduce the care services they provide.

It’s the usual SNP story – clever talk and stop-gap measures. Not an efficient way to run a country.

Henry L Philip, Grange Loan, Edinburgh

Charity legislation needed in Scotland

The news that registered charities in England and Wales will be prevented from using public funds for lobbying will come as an enormous relief to taxpayers, who have for far too long paid for the promotion of political and ideological views with which they disagree.

This practice, sometimes known as “sock puppet government”, involves state and non-state organisations collaborating to manufacture consent for political change and ideological causes, as well as to lobby the legislature itself, using public funds.

Not only does this practice manifestly subvert democracy itself, it undermines confidence in bona-fide charitable organisations, whether they use state funds or not.

If Holyrood is to deliver on its commitment to a transparent and honest democratic process, similar legislation needs to be introduced north of the Border, so we can be confident that all Holyrood legislation is a product of the democratic will of the people of Scotland, free from the risk of corruption embodied in the status quo.

Michael Calwell, Oxford Street, Edinburgh

Housing policy must protect the vulnerable

I watched this week’s PMQs with great interest as Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron traded barbs on housing. The exchange was an excellent example of the many different issues at play when it comes to housing policy.

Whilst the debate took place in Westminster many of the issues affect us here in Scotland. Most relevant for me, the decision to cap housing benefit for social rented properties. This will drastically reduce the amount under 35s and people in supported accommodation such as older and disabled people receive to pay their 
rents.

Scotland like the rest of the UK faces a shortage of affordable housing. We are looking for our political parties to commit to increasing the supply of affordable housing including social and mid-market types over the next parliament. However, we also need to create a better social security system which, amongst other things, protects the most vulnerable people who depend on specialist supported housing from the welfare reform measures being proposed by the current UK government.

Keith Anderson, Chief Executive, Port of Leith Housing Association, Constitution Street, Leith

Refusing contract not against doctors’ oath

It is time for junior doctors to take their gloves off in their fight against the Health Secretary.

Whilst a long-term strike might be considered to contravene the Hippocratic Oath, surely nobody could find fault with medics who simply refused to accept the new contract and resigned from their posts?

Of course they would then be at liberty to register with temporary agencies to work at whatever was the going rate. This would doubtless be more expensive for the NHS than simply settling with the BMA, but I cannot see any government allowing hospitals to close when there was a ready supply of suitable doctors available in the free market.

John Eoin Douglas, Spey Terrace, Edinburgh