BRIAN Wilson and I would disagree on the merits of independence but in his article today, I find myself in complete agreement with everything he says on land reform without which, in my view, the housing shortage will never be resolved ("Why has so little been done by Holyrood to tackle land reform?", The Herald, June 7). There is much a bold Holyrood government could do within the devolution settlement by pushing hard against the boundaries of current legislation, to acquire land in urban, rural, and island communities to meet the housing need. More still could be done if we were freed from our ties with Westminster, which resists at every turn any changes which might be to the detriment of landowners.

There is a piecemeal approach to the issue of housing and land ownership, with tinkering at the edges based on political philosophy rather than a structural plan to create a virtual circle of endeavour. Consider the current plans of the Scottish Government, with further regulation in the pipeline, to strengthen tenant protections, which creates more burden for landlords – most of whom act responsibly with their tenants. In Nordic countries, those countries with strict rent regulation have a much smaller buy-to-let market than those with less regulation – hence fewer properties on the market to let which drives up rents. What are the plans of the Scottish Government to mitigate potential rent increases and to replace the properties likely to be lost to the buy-to-let landlord sector when the new legislation comes in?

Land ownership and the sharing thereof is at the crux of the welfare of the people and the economy of a nation like Scotland, whether devolved or independent. Without substantial land reform, those at the bottom of the social ladder will stay there. The Highland and island clearances are again in full swing as wealthier incomers push our young people out and have no choice but to move elsewhere for housing and work, in that order – to the fundamental detriment of their dying communities. There should be ample space for both but until land reformation, nothing will change. These new “clearances” are fully sanctioned by government and go under the encompassing banner of inertia, lack of awareness and “I’m all right Jack”.

What is required is a non-political legislative body to be set up to examine the entire issue with the remit clearly set out in advance on how to acquire land through cadastral expropriation and other methods including the “stick and some carrot” for large landowners. New methods of acquiring a long-term home should be explored as there are alternatives to purchase. It would then remain for the government of the day to pass the necessary legislation.

Alan M Morris, Blanefield.


HAVING tried to contact Glasgow City Council recently, regarding a simple planning inquiry, I was amazed to find the offices are closed. Indeed they cannot even accept a letter, and advise that email is the only way to contact them.

To add insult to injury, they claim that as their staff are working remotely, they may not have facilities for answering inquiries. Finally they ask us to bear with them, during the "current unprecedented situation".

Can someone tell this council that they seem to have fallen asleep, and woken up in a world where it is still June 2020.

M Carr, Glasgow.

* I CAN now see why the public get angry with Glasgow City Council's roads department. Over the last three months I have phoned them three times and sent a email asking them to remove seven road signs lying on the central reservation on Great Western Road and all you get in reply is "we will pass it on to the depot". What is the point of asking people to report anything if you do not listen to them?

William McCarron, Glasgow.


THE idea has been mooted over the last few days of employees being asked to work a four-day week instead of five days a week but with a reduced salary. In my former job a compressed hours shift pattern was introduced. This is slightly different to that being proposed as we worked the same number of hours. However this also meant that we enjoyed more days off.

Initially this was welcomed, but over time drawbacks were identified. Primarily people found that whilst at work you do not spend money. However they found having extra days off meant they spent more money relaxing and enjoying the time off. Those considering the option might like to bear this in mind when making their decision.

Richard Wiggins, Prestwick.


I LIVE in a moderate-sized cedarwood bungalow which my mother and father had built for retirement. It cost in the region of £8,000.

A short time ago I received a note from my electricity supplier saying "electricity personal projection: £7,638".

Who could possibly have foreseen that in the space of a generation what you paid for your house would only just be enough to pay the electricity bill?

The figure of £7,638 is more than my entire state pension.

DW Geyer, Kilcreggan.


IT is difficult to imagine what dinosaur in the Conservative Party actually thought a return to Imperial measures was a grand idea. What lunacy. Apart from the inevitable cost, which we can ill afford, the system has no logic. Metric measurement is easy to understand and is mathematically sensible.

No doubt the instigator of this potential change is a staunch Brexiter, regularly hums Rule Britannia to himself and believes we still rule the waves.

Ian Smith, Symington.


RECENT reports have advised that cranberries, grapes, red wine and green tea all reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and now, following a study by Peking University, eggs have been added to the list of healthy lifespan products ("Going to work on an egg aids your heart", The Herald, June 6).

I remember reading many years ago that “finding just the right amount of whisky daily a man might live forever”, and offer this as a possible line for further research.

Slàinte Mhath.

R Russell Smith, Largs.