This week's bumper crop of letters to the Advertiser includes your views on the Summer Festival, Helensburgh's waterfront, safety in the water, pensions and more.

To have your say on any local issue, email your views to Please include your name and address and also a daytime phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, although this will not be printed.

Happy writing!

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May I, through the letters page of your paper, congratulate the organisers of the Helensburgh Summer Festival held last weekend?

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the town so full of life and happy visitors and residents on Saturday. Such a pity the weather was so unkind on Sunday.

Praise should go to Jonathan, whose firm sponsored the Summer Festival and provided and set up the stalls, to Fiona, who guided things admirably, to John, who soldiered on with what turned out to be a wrist broken in two places, and to Graham, who worked so hard only seven months after a major operation to remove a brain tumour. No wonder he was one of your Local Heroes last year!

Here’s hoping the council decide to give the Summer Festival next year a bit of funding, as I believe they do for the Winter Festival.

We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend and even had the bonus of seeing my favourite ship Waverley. Made my day, did that.

Fiona Moore, Eglingtoun Drive, Dunfermline

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Rather than conspire with the political fudge, delay and distraction (Advertiser, August 9) over the new leisure facility for Helensburgh, our Conservative and SNP councillors should force the Liberal Democrat leadership to return the £5 million of additional funds handed down from the UK Government to the project as intended, so the town can have the fit for purpose facility it deserves.

James Robb, Helensburgh

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According to Ellen Morton, chair of the Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee, we need the paid opinion of ‘experts’ (‘Prove new building is in the right place’, Helensburgh Advertiser, August 9).

At the end of the contract, there will be a report, unintelligible to a lay person.

Councillor Morton says: “I am concerned ahout people giving their opinions without showing their expertise on the matter. If we take their advice and it goes wrong, where does that leave us? We are employing people who are experts in this field and I am happy to take their advice.”

Such reports led to CHORD and the present fandango over the pier head. The vogue in new age thinking gave us Scotland’s first outdoor museum at a cost to the local taxpayers of £350,000, and growing, for the plinth art in Colquhoun Square.

Value for money, when there are no funds to clean the Chinese granite on the square or empty the bins more often? No money to weed the flower beds in the square?

The £30,000 would have paid for someone to help Paddy, who does valiant work keeping the town clean.

What experts decided that it was okay to have a two-day summer festival where a butcher, baker and candlestick maker were given prime slots in Colquhoun Square to sell items that are already available from local shops?

Most of the shopkeepers on our ‘high street’ have endured two years of CHORD which severely disrupted business. Now that the square is resplendent in Chinese granite, the space is being used to import competition for struggling merchants.

Why? There are numerous ways the square could be used to provide entertainment on a Saturday afternoon. Music, theatre, comedy, dance are a few things that come to mind

Memo to the Helensburgh and Lomond Area Committee of Argyll and Bute Council: why do we need another butcher in Helensburgh? We have three.

If the Gang of Ten don’t know the answer to the question, what do they do all day in their glass fronted ivory tower, the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre?

John Black, Woodhollow House, Helensburgh

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The Advertiser recently reported that a vehicle had been submerged at Rhu Spit after launching jet skis in the Gareloch (August 2 edition).

It seems like an opportune time to remind those using the loch that public slipways are available around the Gareloch and that the depth of water, tidal range, and nature of the loch bottom means that there are considerable risks involved in driving a vehicle onto an open section of shoreline.

As was discovered recently, there is a strong possibility that a road vehicle may become stranded and incur significant damage from sea water.

In addition, the Gareloch and the seafront at Helensburgh lie within the boundary of the Dockyard Port of Gareloch and Loch Long. As such they are covered by the provisions of the 2011 Clyde Dockyard Port Order.

Regulation 10 of the order prohibits the use of jet skis within the Dockyard Port unless written permission is obtained from the Queen’s Harbour Master; the Ministry of Defence Police can intervene if unauthorised use of jet skis is reported in this area.

The vast majority of people are responsible users; however, I would urge everyone to please think carefully about their safety and the safety of others before taking to the water.

D. Lightfoot (Queen’s Harbour Master, Clyde)

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In the UK we are in the process of increasing the retirement age at which people will be eligible to receive their old age pension.

Today it is still 65 for men and 63 for women, but it has been announced that over the next few years it will increase to age 68 for both.

This may not be the last increase we will see; I would not be entirely surprised if we do not end up at 70 as a standard pension age.

Our UK governments, both Tory and Labour, have systematically been reducing the value of the pension. Some years ago the link to average pay was broken; more recently the measurement for annual increases was changed from the retail price index (RPI) to the consumer price index (CPI), which makes the annual increase less, as the CPI does not include the cost of housing.

The cost of housing for those that do not own their house has ballooned since the council housing stock was sold off.

A recent Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) study calculated that a typical British worker will at retirement receive a state pension and other benefits worth around 29 per cent of what they had previously been earning.

That compares with an average of 63 per cent in other OECD countries, and more than 80 per cent in Italy and the Netherlands.

The gap between those at the bottom of the pay scales and those at the top has been rapidly increasing to the extent that we have the top 10 per cent owning half of all of the country’s wealth and rapidly getting richer while the poorest 10 per cent are falling further behind with an average total wealth of around £14,000 including property assets.

Many of the poorest have no assets at all, nothing more than the change in their pockets.

We are presently headed for Brexit and I fear that, regardless of a hard or soft landing, the prospects for these at the bottom will not be improved when the EU safety net is withdrawn.

It really is time for us to think again.

Dougie Blackwood, Helensburgh

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I was intrigued by the letter from Councillor Alastair Redman in the Advertiser of August 2 regarding income tax levels in Scotland.

Mr Redman is the Tory councillor for the ward of Mid-Argyll, Kintyre and the Islands, of which Islay is one small part. I’m therefore not sure if he wrote due to a concern for ordinary working people or for highly-paid whisky executives on Islay.

However, I would like to challenge his quite wayward claims that the tax system introduced by the SNP Scottish Government is somehow bad.

It means that most Scots will be better off – and here’s why.

(1) Everyone earning below £11,850 will pay no income tax (the same as the UK).

(2) Everyone earning between £11,850-£13,850 will pay 19 per cent (20 per cent in UK).

(3) Everyone earning between £13,850-£24,000 will pay 20 per cent (the same as the UK).

(4) Those earning £24,000-£43,430 will pay 21 per cent (20 per cent in UK), but will benefit from (1).

(5) Those earning £43,430-£150,000 will pay 41 per cent (40 per cent in UK), with those earning under £123,000 also benefitting from (1).

(6) Those earning over £150,000 will pay 46 per cent (45 per cent in UK) and will not benefit from (1).

The above means that most people in Scotland will be better off. No person earning under £33,000 will pay more tax.

These changes will raise a further £160 million in funding for our public services.

Councillor Redman might be enraged that higher earners are now paying slightly more income tax, but I don’t think there are many people who would agree with him. Indeed, most higher earners outside the Tory party are happy to do their little bit in these difficult times.

Jim McElhill, Glasgow Road, Clydebank