Readers' letters: Fire alarm scheme needs oversight
I was interested in what Derek Farmer had to say about the new smoke and heat alarm system which home owners are required to install (Letters, 16 October).
He mentions a cost of £300. I have received an estimate of between twice and three times that figure for a house which may be a little larger than his but is still a modest bungalow. It may be a perfectly reasonable sum but as someone with no technical knowledge it is impossible for me to judge. Other tenders could be sought but this is just the sort of scheme to attract unscrupulous cowboys - and they don’t all wear black hats.
No doubt this new regulation has been framed with the best of intentions but I would suggest that whichever arm of government is responsible for implementation should take steps to ensure the scheme is carried through with the minimum of hassle and expense.
S Beck, Edinburgh.
VAT cut will help us sign up to fire safety
I write in support of Derek Farmer (Letters, 16 October) concerning the new regulation requiring all households to have interlinked smoke and heat detectors fitted by the end of February 2022.
I agree with Mr Farmer that this is yet another example of idiotic centralised bureaucracy, which has also been poorly communicated to people. I have been quoted £336 to replace my existing alarms, £56 of which is VAT. I believe this should be VAT exempt and I wrote to Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP who has passed the matter on to Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Local Government and Housing. I await a response.
Joan Grant, Edinburgh.
Time to end toxic culture of politics
The shocking death of Sir David Amess is the most awful heartache for his family and a tragedy for our democracy.
It is appalling that an elected representative who was simply trying to do his duty for his constituents should have been murdered in this way.
What if anything can we learn from this? Clearly we cannot ensure that MPs or MSPs are 100 per cent safe all the time and it is very difficult to protect them against the the actions of a terrorist extremist.
However, in the wake of the murder of Jo Cox there was a call for a kinder sort of politics. That never happened and just recently Ian Duncan Smith said that he had never known politics to be so toxic.
It could be argued that politicians themselves are at least partly to blame for this.
We are assured that behind the scenes politicians of all persuasions co-operate and work well with one another on various projects and that for many friendships transcend the political divide.
The problem is that is not how the general public sees it. They see the mockery and the jeering bear pit that is the House of Commons, where insults are regularly traded and speakers frequently shouted down, their opinions rarely heard.
They see political programmes where politicians consistently refuse to see any merit in their opponents' arguments, no matter how worthwhile their points may be and they see varying degrees of dishonesty. That is the cue that the public takes and that level of unreasonableness leads directly to the polarisation of views. No wonder the political scene has become so toxic.
David Hamill, East Linton.
We welcome letters by email, but please include a postal address, even if not for publication