A TOTAL of 845,000 households in Scotland are in fuel poverty. This includes 34 per cent of households in East Lothian, 31 per cent in Midlothian, 26 per cent in Edinburgh and 23 per cent in West Lothian. This is a national scandal.
I was, therefore, disappointed to see that despite agreeing that energy efficient housing should be a national infrastructure priority, the Scottish Government has only proposed a modest increase in spending in this area in the draft budget for 2016/17.
Research by the Scottish Greens has shown that if we keep investing at the current rate, it will take 28 years to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland, so we need a step-change in our approach. By prioritising warm homes for all we can create thousands of local jobs.
In light of the global deal on climate change in Paris, the need for investment in low-carbon infrastructure has never been clearer.
Engineering, finance and construction experts know that such investment will make our economy more resilient, but we need Holyrood to be bolder.
Greens will continue to push for the jobs of the future and for an end to fuel poverty.
Andy Wightman, Scottish Green MSP candidate Lothian region, Bonnington Mill, Edinburgh
Let’s hope film success stretches to music too
Great news from Film Edinburgh of their £6.6m economic return this year and hopes for a plans submission for a £150m studio at Straiton (‘Cameras and lots of action for Capital in record year’, News, December 23).
Perhaps now Edinburgh councillors, instead of cutting music fees, might have the vision to realise how Edinburgh young musicians might aspire to compose glorious film scores in the future.
Joan Rowe, Corstorphine, Edinburgh
Caring for children’s holiday safety
As a health and safety manager for Miller Homes, my team and I have spent the last month visiting a number of schools providing children with fun, interactive lessons on health and safety.
The aim of our initiative is to help educate them about general health and safety, as well as the importance of staying safe near construction sites, especially when workmen have downed tools for two weeks’ holiday and the sites are not manned.
For some young people out playing without adult supervision a construction site can seem like a playground, but the hope is our sessions with the children will have heightened their awareness about potential hazards, enabling them to continue having fun without putting themselves or others at unnecessary risk.
Andy Polhill, Lochside View,
Spanish election points the way for Scotland
As Spain undergoes a period of political horse-trading following the election, the outcome of negotiations will push Catalonia a further step closer on its pathway to independence - an issue with major implications for the possible future of Scotland.
The dominance of the conservative Popular Party (PP) and the Socialists (PSOE), who have alternated in power for 32 years, is over and the nation has entered a multi-party era.
In the past these two parties needed the support of only tiny parties to gain a parliamentary majority when they did not win outright. However, the new kids on the block, Podemos came a strong third with 69 seats and Ciudamos finished fourth, with 40.
Catalonia returned an unprecedented number of pro-independence MPs. Within three months of pro-independence parties winning a majority of seats in the Catalan elections and engaging on a roadmap to independence, the result of the Spanish elections means that Catalonia’s future is firmly in the spotlight.
The two possible outcomes are a left-leaning coalition led by PSOE, with the support of Podemos and the Catalan pro-independence parties, or a grand coalition of PP and PSOE, maybe with the support of Ciudadanos.
The former would imply a shift to the left and a self-determination referendum for Catalonia would inevitably be part of any deal. The latter would consolidate the status quo, exacerbating the conflict between Catalonia and Spain.
Whatever the outcome, Catalan independence just became closer.
Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
One bridge is fixed, now for two more
It is not the lack of maintenance on the Forth Road Bridge that is causing concern.
The North and South Bridges in Edinburgh are suffering from a lack of maintenance and this seems to be part of a plan to let them deteriate so much they have to be replaced.
This would then allow the new bridges to be built to accommodate the trams.
If you think I’m paranoid try getting the council to clear the blocked sivers. They have been blocked for years. Think of the damage this water is doing. It has to go somewhere.
Norrie Rowan, The Grange, Edinburgh
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