This week's letters page includes responses to a letter sent from Councillor Alastair Redman regarding income tax.


Having read the letter in last week’s Advertiser on dangerous buildings in Helensburgh, I agree that Argyll and Bute Council must have some powers to make the owners of property in such a bad and dangerous condition have the buildings made safe for the public and occupiers.

I understand that some of the occupiers of some of the tenement buildings are willing to pay for repairs and others are not (shame on the latter). But there must be some way the council can redress this matter.

The closing of East Clyde Street is making it difficult for traffic to get around the town. Living in East Princes Street I know only too well of the consequences, as we have double the amount of traffic, and also the effect on those trying run a business on East Clyde Street. It must also affect those on the start of West Clyde Street.

The weekend coming we have the Summer Festival in the square and West Princes Street will be closed. I suspect chaos will resume on the traffic situation.

I have a friend who lives in Bearsden and likes to visit Helensburgh and is in full praise of our town square, but was appalled to see the decline of those buildings that are propped up by scaffolding.

By the way, one of the premises in Sinclair Street that’s propped up is the old police office. Isn’t that owned by Argyll and Bute Council?

This situation doesn’t not look good for our town. Visitors will decline if things are not improved, so local councillors, MSPs, MPs and Argyll and Bute council should get a grip on this situation for the people, and those trying to run a business and bring back the town as it should be!

D. Moore

East Princes Street, Helensburgh

Councillor Alastair Redman states (Advertiser, August 2) that income tax rises in Scotland this year have led to a 12 per cent increase in personal insolvencies, but shows nothing to justify this statement.

A Scottish Government fact sheet as at February 20 lists the following.

Compared to the rest of the UK, 55 per cent of Scottish tax payers pay less tax.

Compared to 2017/2018, 70 per cent pay less.

Taxpayers on incomes less than £33,000 (1.8 million) pay less.

More than four out of five (81 per cent) of current basic rate tax payers pay less.

While it is extremely regrettable that bankruptcies have risen, there does not appear to be a connection with families being “hammered with higher income taxes”.

Could it be that other factors, such as the collapse of Carillion possibly owing money to subcontractors, the cut back to Royal Mail services and sub post offices, and small firms being given bad advice by banks, which I believe is being investigated, have had some part in the rise in bankruptcies?

I offer these as suggestions as I am obviously not in a position to be more definite. Further investigation would almost certainly reveal many other factors for the increase.

With regard to the bullying claims probe recently, Cllr Redman is in a win-win situation. He has chosen to describe the expenditure of almost £100,000 in the probe as a waste of taxpayers money – and I tend to agree with him – but had there been no investigation, he would have been able to criticise the SNP and the Scottish Police Authority for a cover-up.

There was at least one sale of the shares of RBS, propped up by the taxpayers, around 2015 by the Conservative government at a loss to the taxpayer, which makes the above expenditure look very small beer indeed, but since I have not personally seen the build up to the actual figure quoted at the time, I could not possibly comment further.

Charles Barbour

Bonar Law Avenue, Helensburgh

Without fail another letter from Cllr Alastair Redman attacking the Scottish Government reaches the papers.

After looking at councillors’ expenses to March 31, 2018, it is very interesting to study the detail of these expenses (available on Argyll and Bute Council’s website).

It is even more interesting to find that the total amount claimed by councillors and former councillors for meals is £1,387.70.

Cllr Redman must have been feeling a bit peckish as he has munched through £658.28 all by himself - almost 50 per cent of the total claim!

Can Cllr Redman explain this amazing amount? Perhaps he needs this food to sustain him in his continual campaign of letter-writing criticising the Scottish Government.

He would do well to remember that councillors’ expenses come from Scottish taxpayers.

Isobel Strong

Lilybank, Glebelands, Rothesay

In his letter to the Helensburgh Advertiser on August 2 Alastair Redman, Tory councillor for Islay, bemoans the fact that the wealthiest in Scotland face a modest increase in income tax but neglects to mention that 70 per cent of taxpayers will actually pay less than last year.

How typical of a Tory only to worry about the richest in our society.

Neither does he feel the need to point out that everyone in Scotland benefits from services which aren’t available elsewhere in the UK such as free school meals, prescriptions, eye tests and university education, not to mention the lower council tax paid by residents here.

He goes on to rant about his claims of mismanagement from the Scottish Government using pejorative terms which ill befit the office he holds.

The hypocrisy of this is staggering. Following mismanagement of Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership’s integrated joint board, of which he is a member, the board had to call on the health secretary to sort out their mess leading to a humiliating U-turn on savage cuts they wished to impose on their constituents.

Finally, with regard to Police Scotland, amalgamating our police services secured the efficiency savings that have allowed us to maintain police numbers and record low levels of crime in Scotland.

This contrasts sharply with Tory-run England where police numbers have fallen by 13.2 per cent to the lowest level since comparable records began in 1996.

The result of this plummet in police numbers in England is, very sadly, there for all to see in rocketing crime statistics – particularly in London where they look to Scotland for advice on how to deal with knife crime.

Should Councillor Redman wish to see real examples of incompetence, he needs look no further than his own Tory party’s domestic governance in England and their tragic and woeful handling of Brexit negotiations in Europe.

Gil Paterson MSP

SNP, Clydebank and Milngavie

At Royal Mail we never forget that we form an essential part of the UK’s social fabric.

We know our postmen and postwomen are valued members of the local community as they deliver letters and parcels six days a week - in all weathers.

We’re also continually looking to make our services even better to give customers greater convenience as they shop online.

I’d like to make your readers aware of a few changes to their doorstep deliveries so there are no surprises.

Customers expecting tracked items from large retailers are among those to benefit from these changes.

If they are not at home when we deliver, they’ll now receive email/SMS notifications on the whereabouts of their delivery.

For customers who have provided their contact details, the notifications will confirm when their items have been delivered to a neighbour, as well as specify the neighbour’s address.

The ‘Something for You’ card is also going digital, making it easier for customers to retrieve their item if they are not at home when we deliver.

Email and SMS notifications will let customers either re-arrange their parcel delivery for another day or collect their item from their local customer service point using relevant identification.

Customers will no longer need to go home to collect the physical card - which we’ll continue to be post through letter boxes.

And finally customers taking pre-paid parcels (including returns) to selected Royal Mail customer service points will receive an acceptance scan as soon as they drop off their item thanks to new scanning technology.

We hope that these changes bring greater levels of convenience, and wish all your readers hours of happy online shopping.

Gerry McAuley

Delivery director, Glasgow Mail Centre

With the Edinburgh Festivals now under way, can I remind any of your readers planning to visit our city that, unlike the made-up and damaging “tradition” of rubbing Greyfriars Bobby’s nose, it is a genuine Edinburgh tradition to pause for a moment in the Royal Mile beside St Giles to lick the Heart of Midlothian.

John Hein

Montgomery Street, Edinburgh