Madam, – Can someone please tell us how we stop our council from destroying the high streets of Angus?
Last week, despite all the evidence, the council leader told us their punitive tax on parking within Angus was “a done deal”.
This is identical to the rhetoric coming out of Westminster at present.
I defy anyone other than these myopic councillors to defend this disastrous decision.
The considerable loss of shoppers to our high streets caused by the council’s actions was always going to force the closure of many small businesses.
Now with the closure of Goodfellow and Stevens in Carnoustie, we see the impact this venal system is having on larger traders as well (Parking policy blamed for Angus cafe closure, Courier May 14).
A huge amount of our high street traders are owner-run businesses who earn significantly less than the expenses claimed by most councillors, let alone what these councillors are paid. This huge loss of potential customers will make many shops unprofitable whilst our elected bureaucrats continue trying to break a “butterfly on a wheel”.
On a visit to the Borders last week I was immediately struck by the fact that none of the towns such as Kelso, Peebles, Melrose, Jedburgh etc, charged for parking in their well laid-out car parks.
Unsurprisingly, their high streets seemed to be doing well, with a healthy level of visitors and locals making use of the shops and businesses within their towns.
If they have even a scintilla of doubt about this statement they should take a pleasant day trip down to the Borders.
They can park easily for free and the benefit should be instantly obvious to our councillors.
They will see the correlation between good adequate parking and trade as opposed to punitive parking and empty shops.
They should not need to go to these lengths, however, to see that people do not expect to have to pay to £1 for the ability to buy a Courier a stamp or some small present or gift in the small towns of Angus.
Nor will tourists bother stopping if they have to hunt around for their debit card or phone.
Someone needs to take charge of this debacle and sort it out as anyone can see that within a few months boarded-up shops will become a feature of small Angus towns as they rapidly become uneconomic.
David V Jones.
6 Knowes Loan,
Unclear over Tory plans
Madam, – This morning I received five small election leaflets for parties standing in the European elections.
Usual stuff methinks? But one struck me as a tad unusual, the Scottish Conservative one. On reading it I discovered it mentioned Nicola Sturgeon by name 13 times, it contained the word referendum 11 times, it mentions independence, indyref 2 and SNP seven times.
It mentions the Scottish Conservatives 11 times, Brexit three times and Ruth Davidson by name only once.
Now do not get me wrong, I am not and never have been a member of the SNP or any other political party and do not intend to join any one of them. But I do read these things and all the other leaflets included some policies their party promises to carry out should they get elected.Surely we are entitled to ask the Scottish Conservatives and their supporters “what are your plans for Scotland other than stop indyref 2”?
5 Main Street,
Is SNP ready for independence?
Madam, –The entire raison d’etre of the SNP is the achievement of Scottish independence.
Yet, as an administration, they have singularly failed to prove that they are capable of actually governing Scotland.
Political campaigning is their forte, not administration.
Observing the Scottish Parliament in session is not at all inspiring.
Members with ministerial responsibility tend to read out prepared statements in a rather lacklustre fashion while the First Minister and her front row deputies, get quite agitated if an opposition member gets close to the truth.
A recent example of SNP intransigence has been Education Minister John Swinney’s insistence on tests for primary one children.
This proposal was rejected by a majority in the Scottish Parliament, but I understand he is insisting this badly thought-out plan of his should continue.
This arrogant attitude puts him at odds with parents and teachers.
To date, the Scottish Parliament has been granted powers in education, environment, health and social services, housing, law and order, agriculture/forestry/fishing, local government, tourism and economic development and welfare.
We are acutely aware the SNP crave full powers under independence.
So why have they decided to forego powers relating to VAT at the present time?
And furthermore, how much power have they actually agreed to accept in the welfare section?
I shudder to think how Nicola Sturgeon, or John Swinney et al, would cope with the complexities of defence, membership of the UN, foreign affairs or a central bank or Scottish currency.
Would it be the case that these areas of Government would also have to be deferred to some future date?
Hardly what one would expect in an independent Scotland
Robert I G Scott.
Economy in UK Gov’s hands
Madam, – We should be indebted to Jill Stephenson for reminding us of the significantly poorer growth of Scotland’s onshore GDP compared to the rest of the UK and that the Scottish economy is now smaller in real terms than it was 10 years ago, (An anaemic performance, Courier, May 10).
As responsibility for the Scottish economy is not a devolved matter, responsibility for these significantly poorer economic performances can only lie with the Westminster government.
These statistics give no credibility to her argument for remaining within the UK but, rather, strengthen the case for an independent Scotland, the government of which would have the full range of economic instruments at its disposal.
She also omits to state that OBR forecasts expect oil revenues, while currently poor, to double to £2.2 billion by 2024.
As the newest fields to come online in the north North Sea and to the west of Shetland would lie within an independent Scotland’s territorial waters, we could expect a significantly higher share of this revenue than we can currently expect.
Murray S Duncan.
5a West Huntingtower,
Conspiracy over Brexit vote
Madam, – Am I being too cynical by suggesting the Brexit fiasco has been engineered by the Whitehall mafia en masse and there never was any intention to deliver the result of the European Union referendum?
If they had intended to carry out our wishes they would never have put a Remainer in charge.
My only problem with this theory is that the media must have been in on it as I don’t think they are all dolts.
Would that then make the UK a totalitarian state, which is more than a wee bit scary.
19 Forth Park Drive,