In another busy letters column, readers accuse politicians of being out of touch with reality, foresee problems arising from the defence cuts, call for more action to keep rural roads safe, bemoan a lack of recycling options, and examine public-sector pensions.
Politicians out of touch with struggling families
Sir,-I can empathise with the Prime Minister having to make difficult decisions.
Recently, I have been agonising over prioritising the cost of laying a carpet in my sons’ room against ever more pressing bills such as commuting costs, rising groceries prices and stealth taxes.
While I try to budget for an increase in petrol duty, rising insurance and taxation costs for my car, David Cameron’s ministers deliberate whether to travel by ministerial car or taxi.
Records show the 2009 cost of the former to the taxpayer was over £17,679 and the latter in excess of £341,428.
Meanwhile, figures show households spend £1542 every month on utility bills, rent or mortgage payments, the weekly shop and other bills. This equates to £24,100 annually.
With the average annual salary being assessed as £23,244, or £1497 after tax each month, this £45 shortfall goes some way to explaining why I find difficulty finding money to pay for other expenses such as clothing, holidays and other “luxuries”.
David Cameron is presiding over legislation requiring me to work longer before retiring from a career spanning 50 years. Thanks to government tinkering, my pension will equate to nothing like my final salary. Conversely, the average MP costs taxpayers £118,000 in allowances and expenses, then after an average service of 13 years, an MP in the current scheme can look forward to a pension of £21,049 a year.
Yep, some tough choices indeed. But let’s not kid ourselves who these choices will affect.
Ron Connelly.43 Morlich Road,Dalgety Bay.
Danger of new Falklands war
Sir,-A naval task force without air cover is like a house without a roof.
If this essential shield is removed from our navy then, at some point, Argentina will invade the Falklands with impunity.
The oil wealth from these forlorn islands that could have been ours, will be no longer. It is reminiscent of Thatcher’s removing the patrol ship from that area in the 1980s, thereby encouraging the Falklands war. Can the Tories not learn from history?
Leslie Milligan.18b Myrtlehall Gardens,Dundee.
Enforce law on road mud
Sir,-In what area does Bob Carruth (October 23) reside? It is certainly not in north-east Fife.
The roads in the Auchtermuchty/Dunshelt/Strathmiglo/Ladybank areas (to name a few) are an absolute disgrace, many of them with thick deposits of mud. No attempt to clean them up has been made by the farmers.
The law states quite clearly the offenders should clean this mess up as quickly as possible or they are liable to prosecution.
The police seem to turn a blind eye to these people who are systematically breaking the law and turning our roads into skid pans, often on corners.
The Auchtermuchty to Dunshelt road has seen many accidents in recent years, at least one of them fatal.
Charles Henderson.5 High Street,Auchtermuchty.
Courtesy and consideration
Sir,-In reply to Bob Carruth, perhaps more patience would be shown to farmers regarding muddy roads if farmers showed consideration to others by pulling in occasionally to let others past.
Very few tractors do this and it leads to frustration which itself can cause accidents. Not doing so is also an offence. Consideration is a two-way street.
John Montgomery.24 March Crescent,Cellardyke.
Lack of rural recycling points
Sir,-I disagree with Alan Drever of Aberfeldy (October 23) about punishing people for not recycling.
In Kinloch Rannoch we have absolutely no recycling facilities. All we have is a wheelie bin. If we want to recycle, we have a 12-mile journey to Blair Atholl or a 20-mile journey to either Pitlochry or Aberfeldy.
That is okay if you have transport but many people here depend on buses, so no wonder the council are finding stuff that should be recycled in the wheelie bins.
I keep my glass jars and bottles for making chutney and ginger wine but, if we had the right bins, many others would not have these problems.
I should say in all fairness to Perth and Kinross Council that there is ongoing negotiations with a local business who have a piece of land where recycling bins could be sited but this seems to be taking forever.
Isobel Johnstone.9 Craigvarr Place,Kinloch Rannoch.
Pension hole getting deeper
Sir,-I read Stuart Allan’s letter (October 22) and his understanding of the pensions system is scant to say the least. I would answer his points as follows.
Private pension schemes require contributions of up to 10% of salary from the employee. Public-sector employees do not pay three or four times this amount.
Among the highest contributors are the police, at 11%, which previously allowed them to retire after 30 years’ service.
He then states that contributions of those working pay for those retired. That is an unfunded scheme.
He then contradicts himself by stating that public-sector schemes are generally well funded. Can’t be both.
He again ignores my point about salary levels of senior employees and massive overstaffing as this obviously does not fit his argument.
My point is about the total cost of these unfunded schemes. This future liability, or black hole, according to latest Government figures, is £770 billion.
Iain McLaren.1 Clinkerheel Drive,Birkhill,Dundee.
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.