Perth city centre has become depressing

Perth and Kinross Council leader Ian Miller at Perth City Hall.

Sir, – I refer to your articles about a “world-class” Perth City Hall being able to rival Dundee’s V&A once it is converted to an art gallery.

I was astounded to read that John Bullough, who was one of the loudest voices supporting the city hall’s demolition, now supports its transformation into an arts attraction or an arts hub as it has been called.

The hall was, before it closed in 2005, a popular venue for artistic and cultural activities of various kinds. What a volte-face by Mr Bullough.

The reason for the renewed interest in Perth City Hall is, of course, Perth’s application to become UK City of Culture.

How can a city with so many empty shops and dilapidated buildings such as St Paul’s Church, St Andrew’s Church, the Waverley Hotel and the White Horse Hotel even contend to claim the title? I rarely go into our “Fair City” centre. I become more depressed each time.

Alister Y. Allan.
18 Castle View,

Benefits system is a shambles

Sir, – I write with reference to the letter by Gordon Kennedy of Perth and his experience with ATOS.

I received and returned a form from ATOS requesting I attend for personal independence payment assessment.

As an OAP and despite informing ATOS of suffering two kinds of arthritis, awaiting a hip replacement, being housebound, having no access to transport and unable to use public transport, they still demand I attend a centre 20 miles away.

The taxi fare will cost ATOS about £50.

On receiving disability living allowance more than 20 years ago, I was informed I would receive this indefinitely. Governments come and go and rules change but the cost of administering this system must be incredible.

It is not as if they can send me back to work, having been medically retired for years.

Good luck Mr Kennedy and all those, like me, caught up in this ludicrous situation.

Sandra Livingstone.
20 Jubilee Park,
Letham (Angus).

NHS needs charge points

Sir, – At last someone in the UK Government realises that non- qualifying persons do have to pay for treatment on the NHS.

On a fairly recent trip to Canada, I had an insect bite that turned nasty, resulting in a visit to a local hospital.

A nurse assessed the situation and informed me that a doctor’s assessment was required, however, before I could be seen, I was asked for £200.

I was informed that credit card payment was acceptable and preferred.

I saw the doctor for five minutes, was given antibiotics and went on my way.

Why can’t the NHS have this uncomplicated procedure? Why is it so difficult?

Kenneth Soutar.
1b Dalhousie Street,

Inconvenient trade facts

Sir, – In response to Henry Malcolm (February 8) I would like to clarify I would not call myself a unionist, more of an issue-by-issue voter.

It does though appear to be the default of those in the separatist camp to brand people unionist if they have the audacity to question SNP policy.

Mr Malcolm is correct to state that Prime Minister Theresa May said we will pursue a bold and ambitious free-trade agreement with the European Union.

A deal will eventually be brokered, however, surely nobody with any credibility believes the rest of the EU will allow Britain to leave their organisation and agree to a free-trade deal.

Jean Claude Juncker’s recent statements show he is ready to play hardball with Britain as a warning to any other potential exiteers across the continent.

In one way or another, trade barriers will be put in place that are not currently there.

If the Scottish Government takes Scotland into the EU, we will also have to face those new barriers to trade.

If Scotland leaves the UK and stays out of Europe (a change of policy may be on the horizon when the shadow of the euro becomes a vote loser) trade negotiations could be awkward.

The inconvenient facts are that the rest of the UK sends 10% of its exports to Scotland with more than 60% going the other way.

It is clear to see who holds all the aces in those negotiations.

I still don’t get it.

Steven Lyall.
17 Rossie Avenue,

Block second referendum

Sir, – Your editorial of February 9 suggests that another divisive referendum on Scottish independence looks inevitable.

Only a fool would consider that process to actually be of benefit to Scotland as a whole, or, more particularly, to the tax payers of this land who will be expected to fund the handouts of the left-wing socialist state that Nicola Sturgeon is hell-bent on creating in pursuit of ultimate power.

Alex Salmond, Ms Sturgeon and other SNP politicians said that the 2014 referendum was a once-in-a-generation event.

It is time for the UK Government to hold their feet to the fire in that respect and be decisive by refusing to permit another one.

Jim Shaw.
Hill Street,

No queue to join European Union

Sir, – I was struck by the headlines in sections of the media that, according to Jacqueline Minor, head of representation for the European Commission in the UK, an independent Scotland would have to join an apparent queue for EU membership.

This is peculiar as there is, of course, no queue and indeed was not in fact what Ms Minor said.

Ms Minor said Scotland could jump the non-existent queue as legislation in Scotland is in alignment with existing EU rules, a situation she cited as being different when compared with the likes of Montenegro, Serbia and Bosnia.

Again, while some sections of the media claimed Scotland would have to join the euro, Ms Minor made clear there is no stipulated timeline for joining.

New member states are committed to joining the euro, but this is theoretical as they have to join Exchange Rate Mechanism 2 (ERM2) prior to joining, which is a voluntary arrangement.

This situation is, of course, predicated on Scotland becoming independent after Brexit rather than before, which would change matters fundamentally.

Alex Orr.
77 Leamington Terrace,