We begin the week with our correspondents tackling the issues of public sector pensions, electric cars, Fife Council care homes and the shortlisted designs for the Dundee V&A.
Taking issue with public sector pension claims Sir,-I read Stuart Allan’s letter re public sector pensions and would answer his points as follows.
1) He states that nobody is required to work to age 65 in the private sector but how many schemes allow you to retire before 65? He also states that you can retire early if your finances allow. He can perhaps let me know what percentage of the population are able to afford that option?
2) He says that many public sector pensions are in “rude health.” Does he not realise that the bulk of public sector pensions are unfunded, i.e. the taxpayer and the contributions of those working pay for the pensions of those who are retired?
3) He conveniently has not addressed the question of overstaffing and salary levels of senior employees. Does he realise that over 9000 people in the public sector earn more than the Prime Minister, and a further 38,000 earn over £100,000 per annum?
Their pension is based on their salary on the day they retire-not on what they have contributed to the fund. This hardly seems fair on the taxpayer.
Iain McLaren,1 Clinkerheel Drive,Birkhill.
Electric cars are the future
Sir,-I was pleased to read recently that some financial assistance was being given to a Dundee company (Axeon) in the development of electric vehicles.
In 1978, as part of a business qualification, I chose to write a piece on the transport industry, of which a good deal centred on electric railways and electric vehicles. I might add I was (generously I think) given a score of 95% for this project by the applied economics tutor.
I had looked very far ahead and had vehicles exchanging “power packs” at roadside “service stations” just like we do for petrol but by handing in a near-spent pack for a fully charged one.
These could eventually be the size of a video tape. If we recall the size of the first radio and look at them now, we can see how progress could achieve this.
With the discovery of hydrogen-powered cars and other eco-friendly vehicles, wouldn’t it be great to have such cheap and clean means of transport and not have to rely on oil supplies from unreliable nations?
And there’s a bonus: maybe Jeremy Clarkson would disappear for good.
K. J. MacDougall,3 Logie Avenue, Dundee.
Better use of public money
Sir,-Your report on the possible closure of Fife Council’s care homes talks of the council “relying on the private and not-for-profit sectors” should the closures go ahead. This gives a slightly inaccurate view of the current situation.
Fife Council already relies on other providers. While the council directly provides 297 places, it funds another 2000 or so in the other sectors, providing places for residents who qualify to have their care home provision paid by the council.
It could not begin to meet its obligations using only its own buildings and staff.
The Care Commission reports show no significant difference in standards. However, there is a large difference in cost. Council places cost far more a few years back it was £715 v £545 per week.
The council knows all this. In 2007-8 the council formed a working group which ultimately recommended, on political grounds, the rebuilding programme that is now under review. I was the only councillor who questioned that decision.
Since then the Conservative group has consistently proposed the changes that are now under consideration on grounds of lower cost. So the council could have taken these steps years ago, saved millions and put the cash to good use elsewhere.
Cllr Dave Dempsey,Leader, Fife Council Conservatives,7 Carlingnose Park,North Queensferry.
Appalled by V&A designs
Sir,-I read with great interest Mr Connelly’s letter regarding proposed designs for the V&A Museum.
This museum is indeed a great fillip for the city and should be welcomed but at what cost? Having read his letter I studied the designs and can only say I am appalled by the proposed apparitions, stunning as they may be.
I was born in Dundee before moving south 50 years ago but my family still live in and around the city. Consequently I have visited regularly and each time I have been dismayed by the gradual erosion of our heritage.
So much has changed over these years necessary for the progression of the city, but with what thought for the appearance and usefulness?
I continue to lament the loss of the Wellgate steps leading down from the Hilltown a notable architectural sight in the city being replaced by the monstrosity of the Wellgate Centre which has no aesthetic value let alone economical viability, having turned into a total “white elephant.”
I also abhor the gouging out of the city to provide the monstrous concrete underpass, which itself is an unforgiveable blot on the landscape. A more sympathetic design in keeping with the city’s ethos could surely have been found for the centre and alternative strategies found to alleviate the traffic flow in the centre.
There are too many other aberrations in the city to list but a retrospective view should surely be cast at the success (or mostly lack of it) in the replacement, e.g. of the failing tenements with the eyesores destined to be the slums of the future.
Do the architects ever visit proposed sites? It would seem not if they come up with such designs which have no relevance, sympathy or acknowledgment of such a proud city’s heritage.
I hope more residents in Dundee will stand up and be counted. Please voice your concerns, or is this really the way you want your city to go?
Yvonne Leaver,Barrack Lane,Bognor Regis.
Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to firstname.lastname@example.org or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.