DAVID Gow ("Don't hit second home owners", The Herald, January 11) describes the Scottish Government’s decision to allow local authorities to double council tax on second homes as a means of addressing the need for affordable housing as “woefully inadequate”.

These are not the words I would use. Disgraceful, yes; woefully stupid, yes; ill-thought out, yes.

We have had a holiday home on Arran for nearly 30 years, and our parents had one for 20 years before that. They were bought for what, at the time, were relatively modest sums. However, with the farcical increase in house prices over the intervening period, should we ever decide to sell, on last year’s insurance valuation, our cottage would do nothing to improve the stock of “affordable housing”.

Of course, with the ongoing disgraceful ferry shambles, we might be lucky to find a buyer, should we ever decide to sell. There are over 80 properties for sale on the island.

Affordable housing is a government responsibility, and market forces mean that private sector sales will do nothing to help. Mrs Thatcher made sure of that with her sale of council housing.

This is just another abrogation of responsibility by an incompetent administration, as any money raised by local authorities will simply be used to fill in the shortfalls caused by the decision to freeze council tax. It will certainly not be used for the provision of affordable housing.

John NE Rankin, Bridge of Allan.

Read more: After the Post Office saga, how about the Waspi scandal?

The energy conundrum

FURTHER to my letter of January 9, readers might be interested to know that at 9.35 this morning (January 11) the 12000MW of grid-connected solar panels we have in the UK are producing only 1900MW, some 0.45% of UK power demand. Wind is producing 12.89 % of our needs.

The French, Dutch, Belgian, Norway and Viking interconnectors are contributing nothing as presumably they have nothing to spare and indeed we are presently sending them a dispersed trickle equivalent to 0.4% of our output to help keep us in balance as our demand varies.

In addition we are again running our near-life-expired coal stations to squeeze out a further 3.02%. Burning North American forests is providing 7.47% and gas again is our saviour, approaching near maximum capability at 60.95%.

This is no surprise to many in the profession when the UK Government has today announced plans for the biggest expansion in nuclear power for 70 years in an effort to re-establish security of supply in our country and tackle our net zero legal obligations.

There remain, however, a couple of overarching problems. The first is that our politicians are not engineers and are almost bereft of experience in business so who will have the skills to run this civil nuclear roadmap? Also, the next generation of advanced reactor nuclear stations are likely to include the adoption of high-assay low-enrichment uranium Haleu which is not yet available at commercial scale outwith Russia as it will achieve smaller designs and higher efficiency Whilst the UK is addressing the building of its own Haleu manufacturing plant in north-east England one wonders how long this might take and if it will ever materialise. given the likely level of resistance.

DB Watson, Cumbernauld.

Poor show with Poor Things

F people wish to know what Alasdair Gray would think about the film of his novel being transferred from Glasgow to London ("Poor Things: Glasgow is missing from Alasdair Gray's novel", heraldscotland, January 10), perhaps your archives could help.

I recall that sometime in the 1970s Alasdair wrote a Herald article about a similar issue. He explained that in response to a drama script he had submitted to the BBC, the commissioning editor had suggested that he change the location from Scotland to the south of England since there were many more viewers there and they were more likely to identify with the drama if they were familiar with its setting.

Alasdair explained that he was tempted because he needed the money and, after all, lots of great writers set their work in varied locations, especially Shakespeare. However, in typical Gray style he then concluded by demolishing these arguments. He asserted that this is how you undermine a people's conception of themselves, how you undermine social and cultural identity.

So I don't think there is any doubt about what his view would have been about removing Poor Things from Glasgow.

Isobel Lindsay, Biggar.

The Herald: Alasdair GrayAlasdair Gray (Image: Newsquest)

Selfishness of vehicle owners

EXCUSE me, J Kerr (Letters, January 11), but public roads are for the movement of traffic, not for the storage of private vehicles. Similarly, pavements are for the movement of people and again, not for the storage of private vehicles.

There have been previous reports in this paper of poor town planning and the appalling state of our public transport, particularly buses, and there is need for strong action on both these points. However, that does not mean that vehicle users can freeload on the rest of us. If they wish to use public space for storing their car then there should be a charge, as there already is in some areas.

Your correspondent mentions Knightswood, where many properties have driveways and gardens, but many vehicle owners are too lazy or too selfish to use their own land when there is public land apparently available.

And don't even think of coming back and saying "Oh, but drivers pay road tax." Road tax, whereby vehicle owners paid directly towards the upkeep of our roads, was stopped in 1937, before most of us were born.

Vehicle excise duty is based on a vehicle's CO2 emissions; it's a pollution tax and currently, electric vehicles are exempt.

Patricia Fort, Lanark.

• J KERR'S letter illustrates our surrender to inconsiderate urban car parking.

A pedestrian's safety and progress must not be compromised by cars left on the pavement. If roads are too narrow councils need to sort them: don't compromise, figure out a safe solution.

We have let vehicles clog up our streets, wreck our kerbs and paths and place us in jeopardy.

Allan McDougall, Neilston.

Read more: Post Office scandal: follow Scotland's miners example

History revision

I NOTE that, once again, your "On this day" feature (The Herald, January 11) claims that Oliver Cromwell was defeated by the Royalists in a field at Naseby. How did he manage to become Lord Protector?

John Wilson, Inchinnan.

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Last chance saloon

ANENT Robin Dow's commentary on wine waiters (Letters, January 11), a late friend asked one such to pour for him and his companion the small amount remaining in a bottle of red.

"If Sir wishes the dregs," was the supposedly intimidating response.

My friend was saved the cost of the anticipated gratuity.

David Miller, Milngavie.