OWNERS within high-rise buildings with cladding issues in England, of any political persuasion, must have jumped with joy at the reappointment of Michael Gove as Housing Minister. Those in Scotland can only look on with envy.

Mr Gove has an agreement with 35 builders down south to contribute £2 billion towards fixing cladding on buildings they had a role in developing. A safety levy will be introduced to cover the additional £3bn still required to tackle the problem. Those who failed to join the scheme were told they would face the consequences and true to his word, he has now started court action against these companies.

Compare this to the situation in Scotland, where the cladding remedial work is described as in "disarray" and the project "is in doubt" due to lack of resources and staffing levels. It is estimated it would take up to five years to access all the buildings here which have cladding with the remedial work taking even longer. Meanwhile the owners of buildings affected by a faulty external wall covering are in complete limbo due to the Scottish Government inaction.

In one block in Glasgow city centre the buildings insurance which was £80,000 in 2020 and £145,000 in 2021 has now risen to an eye-watering £286,000 this year. The insurance broker, who charged £10,000 for obtaining the policy, has stated that he does not believe he will be able to obtain cover next year. There will then be a building with an estimated rebuilding cost of £30 million totally uninsured.

To add insult to injury the fire safety investigation highlighted that intermediate fire doors, which are required on each landing, had not been installed during construction with this omission also missed by the Building Control department of Glasgow City Council. The cost of this and other "fire compartmentalisation" work alone is £185,000.

As the flats are unmortgageable, one which cost £110,000 12 years ago has just been sold to a cash buyer for £53,000. I am told there are up to a further eight about to be repossessed. This will increase as current owners are unable to pay for the additional remedial work which is guesstimated to cost up to £3m. The Government has still not yet decided what coating it will allow on the building.

So could the Scottish Government contact Mr Gove, ask for his assistance and put the occupants of the 780 high and low-rise buildings with cladding in Scotland out of their misery?
Robert Aitken, Glasgow

Police should have been firmer

NO arrests were made during the apparently serious disturbances in Dundee on Monday evening although TV coverage clearly showed that the police were in attendance ("Supermarket bans firework sales in Dundee stores after night of disorder", The Herald, November 2).

"We need to be balanced and measured in terms of how and when we step in" and "sometimes going in too early can antagonise further behaviour and make the situation worse" were the responses, some would say excuses, given by a senior officer of Police Scotland.

A local woman interviewed indicated that warning signals had been evident in recent times, if so why then was more decisive and/or preventive police action not taken ?

I understand that Police Scotland are attempting to identify the culprits. Surely positive action on the night to prevent an escalation of events would have been a better course of action.
W Macintyre, East Kilbride

Hijacking of our cycle tracks

I APPLAUD Patricia Fort's comments (Letters, November 2). I don't often risk cycling in town but when I use the dedicated cycle track on the A77 at Malletsheugh I am regularly confronted by vehicles parked fully on the track, not on the carriageway.

The cycle track provides a safe route, away from the hazards of speeding driving, impatient and dangerous overtaking and inconsiderate parking. It is too easily seized.
Allan McDougall, Neilston

Citizenship test too difficult

IT is reported that, according to his wife, Prince Harry did not know some of the answers relative to the British citizenship test ("Citizenship test ‘was so hard'", The Herald, November 2). He may not be the sharpest knife in the royal family cutlery box, as it were, but he did obtain 11 GCSEs and 2 A levels at school and became a captain in the British Army. Perhaps the stringency of the test does need looking at, even if as a result Meghan might eventually pass it.
Ian W Thomson, Lenzie

Diffusion confusion

IT'S interesting to see the same word used correctly in today's edition, November 2 ("George Crawford used a scrap of tissue paper ... to diffuse the light...", Picture of the Day) and incorrectly ("Sunak attempts to diffuse Braverman 'invasion' row", Politics, page 6). I wonder how one "diffuses" an explosive situation, as no doubt intended in the latter case?
Brian Chrystal, Edinburgh

• CAN I add to Allan C Steele’s contribution regarding mangled English (Letters, November 2) the phrase "I were sat"? Clearly they mean "I was sitting", but even experienced broadcasters trot out this appalling phrase on a regular basis.

Doubtless other readers will contribute more examples of bad English that have them shouting at the TV.
Stuart Neville, Clydebank

Well said, Jeeves...

YOU report that researchers at the University of Bern have discovered that a good night’s sleep can make us happier, since while sleeping the brain processes emotions, strengthening positive feelings and quashing negative ones ("Good night’s sleep ‘makes us happier’", The Herald, October 31).

This has been noted before. When Bertie Wooster reported that he felt greatly refreshed after a night’s sleep, Jeeves remarked that sleep, as well as knitting up the ravell’d sleave of care, was the death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second curse, chief nourisher in life’s feast.

This rightly prompted Bertie to say: “I thought to myself – not for the first time – how dashed well Jeeves put these things.”
Robin Dow, Rothesay

Learn from the Romans

DURING a recent visit to Vindolanda Roman fort near Hadrian's Wall, I was most impressed by how efficiently the Roman drains coped with the water after a period of heavy rain. Perhaps someone from Glasgow City Council's roads department should pay the site a visit to see how it is done?
Eric R Gardner, Glasgow


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