WHEN mortgage interest rates were at an all-time low our private house builders generally increased new properties and their facilities on the basis of "more for the same annual outlay". This resulted in much fewer "starter" homes and fewer houses for anyone downsizing. We are now seeing houses with three or more bedrooms going unsold and small houses fetching prices well above all but the comfortably well-off.

Legislation for affordable housing is too weak for local housing planners to insist on adequate new developments. Local requirements for economic homes are not being met.

At the same time, the rent increase controls are only successful for sitting tenants. New tenants face much more increased rents. Unsuccessful first-time buyers face increased rents.

Build-to-rent developers claim that the rent restrictions make such investments unprofitable. However such developments have unnecessary facilities, for example two bedrooms and two bathrooms; nothing readily affordable there.

In summary, in the low-mortgage honeymoon and before current inflation, we have made life easy for middle and high-income families. The poorer and younger population have ended up the worst off in housing and daily living. Have any of our political parties addressed this urgent problem?

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.

Put onus on defence team

WAS it not an unacceptable contempt for the court as well as demonstrating a total lack of any contrition to her victim’s families when Lucy Letby refused to attend her sentencing knowing that the judge would never instruct her jailers to use force to make her attend ("Lucy Letby sentencing: Families speak as nurse refuses to appear", heraldscotland, August 21)?

In future, as a deliberate mark of respect to victims, their families and also to the courts by avoiding an empty dock, why not legislate that it is the responsibility of the defence team of solicitors and barristers to persuade the convicted person to attend, and if they fail to do so they must continue to represent him or her by taking their place in the dock to hear the sentencing?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

Read more: Rouken Glen Park is one of best in the country and it will remain so

Be proud of Scottish curling

ALAN Simpson chooses to demean Scottish performances in sports that we invented ("How do other countries come to play Scottish sports better than us?", The Herald, August 18).

Unremarkably, he singled out the lack of international achievement in football and golf. He then turned his attention to another Scottish invention – curling, and dismissed Scotland’s gift to the Olympic Winter Games with five words: "Curling is no better, really”.

Really? What about:

• Eve Muirhead (originally from Perthshire) who with her all-Scottish team is reigning Olympic champion, two-times world champion, four-times world junior champion and four-times European champion;

• Bruce Mouat (from Edinburgh) and his team, reigning world champions, current Olympic silver medallists, three-times European champions as well as Mixed Doubles Olympic and world medallists;

• Team James Craik, the latest in a long line of Scottish world junior champions and medallists.

• Or even Salt Lake City Olympic champion Rhona Martin (now Rhona Howie), she of the “stone of destiny” win that kept a record number of BBC viewers up beyond midnight in 2002.

All of these curlers followed in the wake of Scottish world champion and Olympic medallist teams led by such as Jackie Lockhart, Hammy McMillan, David Smith and the trail-blazing Chuck Hay.

Meanwhile, the organising team at Curl Aberdeen has successfully delivered a series of World Championship events, even at the height of the Covid restrictions, while the Perth-based World Curling Federation is the only Olympic International Sports Federation headquartered in the United Kingdom.

Mike Haggerty, Former Herald curling correspondent, Clydebank.

Dog licences idea unworkable

CLARK Cross's solutions to the problems of attacks by dogs (Letters, August 21) are impracticable. A whole new bureaucracy of dog trainers, testers and testing offices would be required; would these be funded by the proposed licence fee of £300, a figure seemingly plucked out of the air? The old licence fee of seven shillings and sixpence, abolished in 1987, is equivalent to less than £1 today. Someone more innovative than I will have to produce the answer to what is a serious problem.

On a lighter note, a golfer beaten by an opponent who was seven holes up with six to play was said to have been beaten by a dog licence.

David Miller, Milngavie.

Dreading the tattoos to come

YOU think it's all over? I'm afraid not. Following the progress and near success of the Lionesses ("Wiegman proud despite ‘hard to take’ final loss for Lionesses", Herald Sport, August 22), I'm afraid we must expect a rush of young and not-so-young women clamouring to have their arms adorned with ugly tattoos. Captain Millie Bright's shining example is sure to find favour with many.

Being the son of a prison officer in the 1950s and 60s, I tend to associate this fad with those my father, rather interestingly, called "his clients". It may have moved on from the Love and Hate statement favoured by some but, in my opinion, this practice does absolutely nothing to to improve a person's appearance.

David G Will, Milngavie.

The greatest. The end.

SURELY there is no need for a poll on who is our greatest talent (Letters, August 21). It can only be the one whom most Scots have never heard of, and on whose shoulders Albert Einstein claimed to have stood: James Clerk Maxwell.

Ronnie McMillan, Milngavie.

Why a diary is a godsend

RE Doug Marr's column ("Is keeping a diary now a thing of the past?", The Herald, August 21): I am 82 and have kept a diary every day since I was 15.

It is not very personal or something I would have to hide but it contains a wealth of information and has been consulted many times about names of people, the bed and breakfast we stayed at in Cornwall in 2015, how long it takes us to drive to Crianlarich...

Recently I found out what age my son was when he fell and damaged his front teeth. My son is 47 but his dentist wanted to know. A few lines a day are enough. I don't know how other families manage without a diary-keeper.

Mrs Fiona Black, Stirling.