THIS week's crop of readers' letters to the Advertiser includes your views on the funding of Helensburgh's waterfront, possible changes to the state pension age, standardised tests for P1 pupils, and appeals to support charitable fund-raising.

To have your say on any topic of local interest, just send your views in an email to or get in touch via the Send Us Your News section of this website.

Please remember to include your name and address, and to keep your contributions as brief and to-the-point as you can.

We also need a daytime contact phone number in case we need to check any details at short notice, though this will not be published.

Happy writing!

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In his most recent column in the Helensburgh Advertiser, Maurice Corry MSP wrote that “there have been some inaccuracies recently regarding the LIBOR funding originally announced by George Osborne for the Helensburgh Seafront Development, which I had been heavily involved in securing”.

However what Mr Corry does not do in his column is attempt to explain how these “inaccuracies”might have arisen.

Let me try to fill in the gap.

In his role as Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne announced in his budget on March 16, 2016 that “in response to the powerful case made to me by Ruth Davidson we are providing new community facilities for local people in Helensburgh and the Royal Navy personnel nearby at Faslane, paid for by LIBOR funds”.

Perhaps not too much clarity there?

In its Audited Annual Accounts for the year ended March 31, 2017, Argyll and Bute Council explains that increased funding had enabled a revised capital programme to be drawn up.

This funding, the accounts stated, “was mainly due to [an] additional grant of £5 million funding by the Chancellor using LIBOR funds for the swimming pool element of the Helensburgh Waterfront Development.”

Again, perhaps not too much clarity there?

However, an article published on the Helensburgh Advertiser website on March 16, 2016 had this to say.

“Argyll and Bute councillors [had] voted to allocate £6 million from its reserve budget at last month’s council meeting for the pierhead development project.

“As external funding has now been secured for the swimming pool and waterfront project, that money can be spent on the next priorities, according to Councillor [Ellen] Morton.”

This statement in the Advertiser explains the situation in the same terms as Maurice Corry explained it – namely that this was not extra money for the Helensburgh swimming pool project, but rather a reduction in Argyll and Bute Council’s need to borrow for it.

Unfortunately this statement was pubilshed quite well down in the March 2016 article in the Advertiser.

So, where does the blame for the “inaccuracies” lie?

In my opinion, it lies with the publicity which was given out principally by the UK Government in 2016, and to a lesser extent by Argyll and Bute Council at the same time.

All of this is of course a pity. As recent events have proved, Argyll and Bute Council could well have done with devoting this windfall towards the new Helensburgh swimming pool.

And of course their decision to site it at the seaward end of the pierhead car park has not helped.

Stewart Noble, Helensburgh

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – August 29, 2019

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When I was the MP for Argyll and Bute I used newspaper columns to tell readers what work I was doing on their behalf.

I didn’t fill up these columns attacking obscure think tanks, as the current SNP MP did in the Helensburgh Advertiser last week.

The Tory think tank which proposes increasing retirement age to 75 has rightly been condemned, but in his column Mr O’Hara failed to explain his own party’s pensions policy.

Liberal Democrats in Government introduced the triple lock pension guarantee. This means the state pension goes up every year by the highest of the following - the rise in prices, the rise in average wages, or 2.5 per cent.

We also introduced free personal care for the elderly in Scotland.

In contrast, the Scottish Government’s own figures show that the SNP’s policy of separating Scotland from the rest of the UK would see public spending in Scotland cut by £1,968 per person in Scotland every year.

Instead of devoting his column to attacking obscure think tanks, perhaps our SNP MP could use his next column to tell us where the SNP’s axe will fall if they get their way and cut spending by £1,968 per person.

Councillor Alan Reid (Liberal Democrat candidate for Argyll and Bute)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – August 22, 2019

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How often do you ask for an opinion and not want to hear or act on any of the advice given?

It would seem that here in Scotland, the SNP Government are guilty of that with regard to the testing of five-year olds in their first year at school.

The majority of MSPs voted that the Scottish national standardised assessment for P1 pupils should be scrapped. As this vote and debate was advisory it could be – and indeed, sadly, it was – ignored by the Government.

The results of a national survey on the value of this test have recently been published, and the overwhelming majority of responses from teachers, headteachers and local authorities say the P1 assessment should be scrapped.

In response to the question, “to what extent is the P1 Scottish National Standardised Assessment useful for school improvement” the answers included the following:

“None, it doesn’t tell us what we didn’t already know.”

“Children are stressed and upset by the process and may indeed lose confidence.”

“It is a waste of time, effort and money.”

“The format of the test is unsuitable for P1 pupils.”

In order that tasks can be completed by a P1 age child, direct adult input is required on a one to one basis, thus losing a lot of valuable teaching time.

We have a new intake of four- and five-year olds who have just started school.

Please, SNP Government: listen for once to those experts who educate our children.

Scrap this contentious test and don’t subject children to this stressful and useless ordeal, which is of no benefit to them or their education.

Ursula Craig, Cove

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – August 15, 2019

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I AM often asked for ideas on ways in which people can offer support to those affected by breast cancer, especially during October, which marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And my answer is always…take part in Wear It Pink and raise money for breast cancer research and support.

Despite more people surviving the disease than ever before, breast cancer is still the most common cancer in the UK. Almost 960 people in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and around 310 people in the Highlands, are given the devastating news that they have breast cancer, and around 70 people in the area die from the disease each year.

Since launching in 2002, Wear It Pink has raised more than £33 million for breast cancer research. This is money which helps Breast Cancer Now get one step closer to achieving our ambition that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live – and be supported to live well.

Everyone and anyone can take part in Wear It Pink. Some people will choose to hold a cake sale, while others will opt to organise a raffle, and some will arrange a pink fancy dress day at school, work, or in their community.

So, what are you waiting for? Register to claim your free fundraising pack at, mark Friday, October 18 in your diaries, and join us in helping to fund life-saving breast cancer research and life-changing support for those affected by breast cancer.

Summer Kendrick (Wear It Pink manager, Breast Cancer Now)

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READ MORE: Helensburgh Advertiser letters – August 8, 2019

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I AM thrilled that Macmillan Cancer Support’s World Biggest Coffee Morning event is fast approaching. I love a cuppa as much as the next person, and it’s great that you can help people with cancer at the same time, so I would love for readers in your area to get involved.

Macmillan’s Coffee Morning raises millions for the ever-growing number of people affected by cancer. Macmillan is not government funded, so without the public’s generous help, they simply can’t provide the services that are needed in Scotland.

Macmillan is here to help everyone with cancer live life as fully as they can, providing physical, financial and emotional support. The charity provides advice and support seven days a week on its free support line as well as through its 7,700 healthcare professionals. But demand for Macmillan’s services is constantly growing and it needs your help to support the growing number of people living with cancer across the country.

Macmillan’s Coffee Morning takes place on Friday, September 27 (but people can host whenever they want) – and people will be making a difference however they get involved.

Homes, workplaces and communities from the Shetland Islands to Land’s End will be hosting Coffee Mornings this year. Your reader can find events nearby using the interactive map on the Coffee Morning website (

Do something amazing today; sign up to host a World’s Biggest Coffee Morning at Thank you very much.

Martin Clunes (for Macmillan Cancer Support)