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Readers’ letters: Asking for Henry, affordable housing and ‘masterclasses in misogyny’ from Moray church

We visited Peterhead to "ask for Henry"
Our social media manager Derry Alldritt "asked for Henry" as we found out how easy the new Morrisons initiative is.

Sir, – Would love to hoover up the “ask for Henry” offer of a free baked tattie and beans at supermarket Morrisons cafes.

Unfortunately, Aberdeen’s cafe is under refurbishment and closed.

The nearest Morrisons cafes are Banchory – a 5hr 48min walk, or Inverurie – a 5hr 19min walk from Aberdeen.

A great idea from Heinz but I cannot see me digging up the energy to make these journeys.

Aberdeen’s families in need of help will miss out!

T Shirron, Davidson Drive, Aberdeen.

Let’s have genuine affordable housing

Sir, – During his leadership campaign, Rishi Sunak talked about flat-pack housing as a way of bringing down the cost and vastly increasing the quantity of social housing, citing their use in the 1950s, when more than 150,000 were built.

We lived in a brick council house but several of my cousins live in prefabs in Linlithgow, Broxburn and Wales. They were great.

These days are gone. Instead, a recent Channel 4 programme, Britain’s Evicted Kids, told the story of a mum who is training to be a midwife, a dad who works in a hospital and their three happy kids who were “no-blame evicted” because their landlord had to sell up and despite them being up to date with their £600 a month rent.

They spent the next few months moving from hotel to hotel, miles from their daughter’s school.

Here in Stonehaven 133 houses are being built at Ury Estate costing between £500k and £700k. You could build around 500 good family homes for that money.

And last week I read of a survey, commissioned by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which found that 47% of respondents between the ages of 16 and 29 said that they planned to move away from the Highlands and islands within the next five years, a major reason being the lack of housing.

All political parties need to get behind true, low-cost, well-designed social housing with good communications and neighbourhood facilities, as opposed to “affordable” housing whereby a developer cuts a deal with an unelected quango with exhorbitantly-paid senior management like the CEO of Places for People who earned £519k last year to build slightly cheaper, often isolated, accommodation.

Michael Gove has been appointed secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities. He has a record of shaking things up.

Allan Sutherland, Willow Row, Stonehaven.

Sunak U-turn on fracking ban essential to help energy needs

Sir, – A nation’s riches, spent to meet vital national needs of all kinds, including its people’s welfare, depends on its natural assets.

Petroleum products, vital for so many valid purposes, may be recoverable by fracking, as was promised in Mr Sunak’s pre-election manifesto as a candidate for UK Government leadership.

Mr Sunak evidently judges that clamorous pressure from Green groups is more important and worthy than our virtually broke and energy-starved nation’s proper needs.

If that is representative of his way of doing things, he is unfit to hold prime ministerial office.

At the very least, further pilot studies are essential to study fracking’s safety and efficacy in the UK, designed and carried out by relevant, independent experts.

After all, electricity generation based on wind power was introduced without pilot studies. That now costs us billions and with no end in sight. This means of electricty production is very flawed by intermittency and myriad additional problems.

Pre-installation evaluation of wind turbines could have allowed much more rational policies for their application. They are not even green when account is taken of greenhouse gases produced in their manufacture alone.

The PM has now arbitrarily deprived the nation of mining petroleum by fracking, potentially vital as a source of energy and of its derivatives, and evidently without due consideration.

In the national interest, Mr Sunak must think again.

Charles Wardrop, Viewlands Road West, Perth.

Don’t applaud the council’s blunders

Sir, – The letter from Willie Young (October 29), a former city councillor I believe, should provide the Flying Pigs with some valuable material.

Before addressing the sad state of Union Street and its surrounding areas, we should first of all be highlighting the appalling failures of past councils who, in an attempt to bring some vibrancy back to the city, presided over the renovation of the Music Hall, scheduled for completion in November 2017 but finished a year later, and over budget.

Next the beautiful Art Gallery revamp. Again this project was subject to delays, eventually opening a year late in the autumn of 2019. The £30 million price tag was rumoured to increase and the £10m to be raised from public donations was more than £6m short.

Then we had the £3.2m pedestrianisation of Broad Street, Upperkirkgate and Gallowgate. The due date for completion was October 2017, but it opened 10 months later, in August 2018, and a little over budget. Not a record any council should be proud of.

The city council has landed the ratepayers with a few millions of overspending for these three capital projects alone. Perhaps this is not the time to remind the readers that the Union Terrace Gardens project has landed the council with a record delay, an opening date unlikely to be by the end of 2022 and, we are to believe, there will be an overspend.

Added to our woes, it was reported that as a result of “Trussonomic” incompetence there will be a £4.4m deficit in the council’s general fund by the end of the budget year.

Does Willie Young still believe, in light of the above facts, that the council’s plan should be applauded, not criticised?

John Young, Anderson Drive, Aberdeen.

Speeding bikes are risk to pedestrians

Sir, – While one fully understands that cyclists feel they get a bad deal in Aberdeen city (October 29) I might, as a pedestrian, have more sympathy if what I am sure are a small minority of their brethren took notice of us by not riding, often at speed, on pavements – especially where the roads in question often have cycle lanes.

Duncan McKay, Bedford Road, Aberdeen.

Charitable status for public benefit

Sir, – The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) needs urgently to tighten its rules on eligibility for charitable status with associated tax breaks.

That “the advancement of religion” is in itself currently enough to qualify has already led to OSCR giving the go-ahead to dangerous anti-gay and anti-vax conspiracy messages promoted by East Kilbride- based Christadelphian Ecclesia.

Now Moray Coast Baptist Church, which registered as a charity in August, has been reported for publishing a sermon entitled The Conduct of Christian Women, which explains that housework is the “primary function” of women, that “society would be a lot better if women would submit to their husbands and tend to their children” and insisting “I only want my wife to look sensual when she’s around me”.

In return for the support of the taxpayer, charities must provide a public benefit – not this masterclass in misogyny. We are relieved that OSCR has confirmed the charity is “being examined”.

Neil Barber, Edinburgh Secular Society, Saughtonhall Drive, Edinburgh.

Tory propaganda case for IndyRef2

Sir, – Can some people not see the propaganda fed to us daily by the UK Government?

This alone should make sensible informed people want to leave this Union for a better future for our children and grandchildren.

The democratically- elected government of Scotland with Nicola Sturgeon as first minister has every right to keep their manifesto pledge to have a referendum.

Now our new PM, elected by a handful of Tories, has instructed Michael Gove to set up a new department with two full-time press officers paid with our taxes to talk down our Scottish Government.

These are not press officers, they are state-sponsored propagandists.

What else do No voters need to change their vote come the referendum?

The UK is getting more like a dictatorship every day.

Herbert Petrie, Parkhill, Dyce, Aberdeen.

More SNP hot air on independence

Sir, – The daily diatribes spoken by Nicola Sturgeon on any subject have no doubt been prepared by a plethora of spin doctors working round the clock for almost 15 years.

The weaknesses of the arguments presented are clearly and easily recognised by a number of honest and objective critics but generally missed by gullible nationalists.

The economic nonsense of Nicola Sturgeon’s pie-in-the-sky economic predictions for a referendum clearly have no credibility and have just been ignored.

An even worse economic fate would befall Scotland if independence actually happened.

This is probably the least credible of all the independence proposals presented to the voting public of Scotland. This is almost certainly the least favourable moment in time to make such a change with global economic woes and also the most amateurish proposal.

It was certainly not worth waiting for.

Has the new SNP proposal been independently checked by any serious economic experts?

The answer is no, which is why there has been no run on the Scottish pound, which does not exist, and the interest rate of Scottish gilts also remain changed as they do not exist either.

Sturgeon is clearly pulling an imaginary lever.

It’s all a complete imaginary hot-air pretence and best just ignored.

David Philip, Knockhall Way, Newburgh.

Let’s get back to city basics

Sir, – I can wholeheartedly agree with RC (October 28) – he explains the feelings of many people on the negatives of moving the football stadium a few hundred yards.

ACC should be looking at the basics of the city rather than yet another vanity project as happened with the previous incumbents.

Bill L, Aberdeen.

New beach stadium

Sir, – I think the beach would be a better choice.

But, with climate changing and ice melting in the Arctic, we might see the new stadium underwater.