Readers' letters: We need to talk about building regulations

The article, "Home owner appeals council's UPVC windows decision," (News, October 4), is of wide interest.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 7:00 am
uPVC windows are problematic in conservation areas

I suspect that the planners are acting ultra vires and might not relish arguing their case in court if they were to seek an enforcement order. But that is an aside.

In Edinburgh the planners are refusing consent to replace Georgian windows in listed buildings, of which there are thousands, with more or less like for like double glazed ones.

If you are heating by gas, the best estimate is that bills will go up by a factor of between three and five over the next decade.

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Large, single glazed, ageing windows leak heat like an open door. Who will want to live in cold houses with huge heating bills? A few rich people but a lot of poor who have no other choice.

Thus the buildings will be ill-maintained and decay, defeating the purposes of both government energy policy and of listing buildings.

David J Hogg, Edinburgh.

Social spending cuts disaster for the poor

According to the recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) report, since the UK government controls 85 per cent of social spending in Scotland and is completely responsible for working-age benefits, the “overall inadequacy [in social spending] falls at the UK government’s door”.

An immediate example is the looming cut to Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credits (WTC) which will affect around 450,000 families in Scotland, reducing their income by £1040 a year.

Although unacceptably high, poverty in Scotland is well below that of England. With its limited powers, the Scottish government has protected many families from the worst impacts of Tory austerity.

However, JRF warns Boris Johnson’ welfare cuts will neutralise the benefits of the Scottish Child Payment.

The real shame is that the UK has the worst poverty levels of 14 countries in North West Europe.

It has the least generous unemployment benefits, less than a fifth of the average of other European countries, even with the Universal Credit uplift.

It pays the lowest state pension in the OECD and is violating the triple lock which will increase pensioner poverty. On top of this, Brexit is hammering working families with soaring food, petrol and heating costs.

A Union that tolerates a third of its children living in poverty is not worth remaining in. Poverty is a political choice being forced onto Scotland.

Only independence gives us the power to choose differently.

Leah Gunn Barrett, Edinburgh.

Scottish ferry saga is a sad indictment

It is noticeable that the purchase of the second hand ferry from Norway for £9 million to service the Western Isles was presented as almost a triumph by the SNP administration.

I am aware that the nationalists have to keep their army of taxpayer-supplied special advisers in some kind of employment but trying to put a positive spin of any kind on any aspect of the Scottish ferry catastrophe is Mission Impossible.

£100 million plus of our taxes were spent on prestige ‘’Scottish’’ ferry projects and they now lie rusting in their shipyard stocks.

That would have paid a good percentage of the cash required to reimburse the temporary £20 a week extra being docked from the UC benefits of some recipients.

This is incompetence and mis-management on a scale that beggars belief.

Alexander McKay, Edinburgh.