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Readers’ letters: Community asset that is more than just a business

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Sir, – The Post Office is more than a business – for many, it is a community asset across settlements. While the Post Office should be considered a vital public service, successive Tory governments have diminished the importance and the value of post offices to the point that they are no longer viable.

The frustration felt between the community and CJ Lang is entirely understandable, but the struggles began decades ago as services such as NS&I, TV Licensing and Post Office Card Account were under threat and stripped from post offices by the UK Government. The post office network was “transformed” to encompass commission-only based business models, leading many post office operators to open longer hours for less remuneration. As the Post Office is a trusted brand to the public, this brings footfall into businesses – but the services given to a community are not merely financially driven. The support provided to vulnerable members of a community by post offices is immeasurable.

That support is often taken for granted – with the true detrimental impact only seen when post offices face closure.

I fear the closures in Spar stores is merely the beginning.

Post offices will not stay open if business owners find that it is not viable to do so, and postmasters will continue to leave the post office network.

Jenny Nicol, Potterton, Aberdeen.

Drugs downgrade not the solution

Sir, – The announcement by the Lord Advocate that individuals caught in possession of class A drugs would simply be issued with an official police warning is a significant change.

This makes the treatment the same as for both class B and C drugs. This has occurred with little general consultation and shows a lack of balance and insufficient study of the realities in Scotland.

This is no magic bullet to automatically reduce drug deaths. Class A drugs are inherently very much more dangerous than B and C.

The legalistic change has been partially copied from the Portuguese approach who have dealt with their own drug problems quite successfully since 2001, but it is nothing like as simple as the drugs policy minister suggests.

It will take a lot more than a reform of the legal situation with drugs. It is the treatment support that needs to be radically improved in Scotland.

Eight years of total neglect with SNP cuts is the root cause of the systematic increase in drug deaths compared with both the rest of the UK and the EU.

Audit Scotland had previously identified the lamentable state of the problem in 2009 and 2019, but no improvement has occurred.

The first minister needs to apply herself seriously and practically to addressing all the health issues in Scotland and take full advantage of the economic funding benefits provided by the Barnett Formula and accept the economic impossibility of independence at this present time.

David Philip, Knockhall Way, Newburgh, Aberdeenshire.

Look in mirror before blaming

Sir, – Latest Monday Dons managerial excuses – individual mistakes! Perhaps he should look closer to home.

Everybody else in St Mirren Park could see that red card for Teddy Jenks coming.

Keeping the player on after the interval did not look like smart management.

Nor did packing the Dons half in the second period, with the current mix of ineffective centre backs – one of whom is an excellent midfielder.

The lengthening line of unsuccessful signings is also not the players’ fault, incidentally.

Alexander F MacDonald, Braeside Terrace, Aberdeen.

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