Letters: Housing Bill must also take care of the young

Housing minister Margaret Burgess. Picture:  Gary Hutchison
Housing minister Margaret Burgess. Picture: Gary Hutchison
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While it is right and proper that much of our political focus has been on the forthcoming independence referendum, we must not forget that our Scottish Parliament is currently debating and shaping laws that will affect our own and our children’s future.

Today, the Housing Bill will be debated at Holyrood. As it stands, it will allow social landlords to discriminate on the grounds of age when allocating social homes.

But Shelter Scotland contends that a person’s age should not help or hinder their chance of being allocated a home and we are concerned that this measure will disadvantage young people who already face major obstacles to finding a safe and secure home of their own.

Why should young and vulnerable people in Scotland who are already getting a raw deal be further discriminated against?

Those who support this retrograde measure have singularly failed to describe the problem they are seeking to address or its scale or nature. They have failed to present any convincing evidence that the law needs to change.

Shelter Scotland, along with a coalition of charities, including Barnardo’s Scotland, Children 1st and Who Cares? Scotland, has written to the Housing Minister Margaret Burgess to ask that the proposal be removed from the draft Housing (Scotland) Bill.

If this proposal is not removed, there is a very real danger that vulnerable groups and young people in particular will be unfairly penalised and will not be allocated the homes they desperately need.

Graeme Brown, Director, Shelter Scotland, South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh

Ten trivial questions for Martin Hannan

Following Martin Hannan’s latest pearls of wisdom (News, April 22)regarding the ‘No’ campaign being in disarray, voting ‘Yes’ seems like a great idea, if only we knew the answers to these trivial questions:

1. What currency would we have?

2. Would we get into the Eurozone?

3. Is wee Eck going to ask us if we want to be in the Eurozone?

4. What effect would all the speculation about the above have on our economy and interest rates? How much tax will we be paying?

5. What happens if there’s another run on the banks - are we on our own?

6. What do we do when the oil runs out in 30 years or so?

7. Following a ‘Yes’ vote the Scottish government say they will throw open our borders and allow mass immigration, as opposed to sensible controlled immigration we would all agree is the way ahead. So what would that mean for our kids looking for work?

8. If we get into trouble abroad will there be a Scottish embassy we can ask for help?

9. If the answer to that is ‘Yes’ then how much will it cost to run all these embassies?

10. What will our defence policy be and how much will it cost?

Also, it’s all very well saying a ‘Yes’ vote is nothing to do with the SNP, but as they will be the majority party for the foreseeable future, it is, whether we like it or not.

Now, let’s get the answers sorted out so we can all buy into the biggest gamble in our history.

David Smith, Tranent, by email

It’s time Leith cleaned up its act and its Water

Having recently seen the Film, Sunshine on Leith, I thought it was time to actually see for myself the areas that I was brought up in.

As a regular visitor to family and friends in Leith, from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, I decided this time to have a look at the Shore area. What I saw shook me.

The film portrays Leith in a good light. As a youngster I used to swing on the chains and get the odd clip around the ear for doing so.

I was tempted to try the same again, but to my astonishment, the Water of Leith is in a terrible state, with rubbish floating in it. Clearly there must be a distinct lack of maintenance. What troubles me is, if that is the case, how long will it be until the water silts up.

York regularly floods but, it hasflood plains to help alleviate the problem. The only way Leith has of getting rid of the water is out into the Firth of Forth.

Silt is a major factor in keeping rivers flowing. Doing nothing will only cause major problems in the future.

Someone must surely be in charge of the maintenance. I cannot understand why an enforcement notice has not been served.

Another point is, after crossing from the Shore towards the Mal Maison, on the left is the rusting hulk of a supposed restaurant named, Cruz.

If that does, as stated, open soon, it can only be as a diver’s paradise. It should be moved or better still, scrapped. It is an eyesore that spoils an attractive area of Leith. There must surely be someone in the area that can make better use of it.

What this says to any other visitor to Leith beggars belief.

As an avid user of Twitter and Facebook I am thinking of starting up an e-petition. I will be returning to Leith. If I see no improvement, the Leith motto will be in vogue. ‘Persevere’.

Disgruntled Leither, Graham Whyte, Harrogate

Say yes to staying Better Together

It amazes and saddens me when I read endless comments by the ‘Yes’ campaign that the ‘No’ campaign is negative. It is a positive negative. ‘No’ means no, as Scotland is Better Together.

There are too many divisions, separations and dissent in the world today without this puffed-up desire for independence by Scots who regard those of us who have no political disagreement with England, Wales or Northern Ireland, as being unpatriotic.

We are being realistic, patriotic and Better Together.

Margaret Campbell, Dovecot Loan, Edinburgh