Readers' letters: Scots school meals should be free to all

Obviously any additional payments for child benefits are welcome.

A comparatively simple way to illustrate how different an independent Scotland could be, that is made even more urgent by the punishing increases in cost of living, would to make universal free school meals an integral part of our education system.

This would quickly show results both in national educational achievement (hungry children do not perform well) but also long term health benefits (saving NHS extra unnecessary work) as well as welfare generally.

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Local government in Hull has already showed how easily this becomes part of the wider curriculum (nutritional values of food and science generally) as well as social development (eating socially and not competing for commercial food).

In addition Hull noted that attendance was nearly 100 per cent with the attraction of breakfast, as that was guaranteed as well.

Norman Lockhart, Innerleithen.

Council’s dance night ban needs a rethink

The News report (November 15) refers to the licensing committee of the council refusing a licence for highly experienced operators to stage a dance night at The Royal Highland Centre on the basis that it is "high risk." What does that mean?

If Police Scotland and our councillors alike do not realise that refusing this event and possibly others is the higher risk then I truly despair.

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I would like to see the various health and safety assessments carried out. You can bet your bottom dollar that they were not carried out by recognised experts with appropriate experience, training, qualifications and expertise. More likely, I suggest, by Police Scotland and uninformed councillors hell bent on closing the event down.

If events such as this are not de rigeur with our councillors then have they not heard of "raves" going underground - no police, no health and safety, no emergency services, no welfare?

There is no such thing as "risk elimination" in the drugs space, but there are well tried and tested risk reduction alternatives, such as professional harm reduction techniques and having effective services on site.

The ruling administration on the City of Edinburgh Council have stated they will leave no stone unturned in the fight against the SNP's drug misuse deaths' shame, increasing year on year in Edinburgh and elsewhere across Scotland.

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They are not going to achieve that by sticking their collective heads in the sand. Think again please.

Douglas McBean, Edinburgh.

Alcohol unit sales plan is not working

As was forecast would happen by many knowledgeable people, rather than cure the deep-seated alcohol problems in Scotland, the SNP’s minimum unit pricing policy in fact worsened the situation and merely hammered the moderate drinkers in our society.

It seems that reasonably priced but powerful Buckfast tonic wine sales have sky rocketed, almost doubling, as have sales of high-strength lager.

Anyone who has been in any way associated with problem drinking and drinkers could have and probably did tell the FM her new policy was counter-productive

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But never one to pass up a good headline and instead think things through, she charged ahead and another wrong choice at the wrong time for the wrong reason came about.

And we all must pay the price.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.

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