LET­TERS

Argyllshire Advertiser - - YOUR VIEWS -

In last week’s edi­tion we called for am­bi­tion, en­ergy and imag­i­na­tion in ad­dress­ing the fu­ture needs of Ar­gyll trans­port.

The 11 op­tions, we are afraid to say, are lack­ing in these re­spects.

A num­ber seem to have in­built ob­sta­cles, ren­der­ing them vir­tual non-starters. Trans­port Scot­land al­ready seems to be ex­clud­ing a few – there’s too many big ships, the water’s too deep or sub­marines use this area.

Any­thing com­ing out near In­ver­ar­nan to the A82 is ridicu­lous.

Have Trans­port Scot­land en­gi­neers ac­tu­ally vis­ited these ar­eas? Do they know Glen Fi­nart?

Why in­volve Ayr­shire, when it’s the Glas­gow area and mo­tor­way net­work we need to reach?

And we share Bren­dan O’Hara’s dis­ap­point­ment at the ab­sence of tun­nels. Ar­gyll’s chal­leng­ing ge­og­ra­phy could be tack­led by go­ing through or un­der hills and lochs.

Op­tion 11 has po­ten­tial, but cost will prob­a­bly pre­clude it.

At this rate, would any­one be sur­prised if we end up with a mir­ror im­age road up the other side of Glen Croe?

There is, of course, no magic money tree, but if they are se­ri­ous about help­ing Ar­gyll, Trans­port Scot­land and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment must try harder – and ap­ply imag­i­na­tion and en­ergy to the sit­u­a­tion.

Lochgilp­head and In­ver­aray post of­fices – an open let­ter to Bren­dan O’Hara,

MP for Ar­gyll and Bute

Dear Bren­dan,

For sev­eral months now Lochgilp­head has had no post of­fice.

We have heard noth­ing from the Post Of­fice about this ser­vice be­ing re­in­stated Mon­day to Satur­day (9am to 5pm).

At present we have a few hours dur­ing the week where we can stand in a queue in the rain for the tem­po­rary post of­fice ar­range­ments.

I am not alone in call­ing for this sit­u­a­tion to be reme­died forth­with by the Post Of­fice.

I would hope the peo­ple of In­ver­aray would join this cam­paign as they also need a Post Of­fice in In­ver­aray.

Can you use all your in­flu­ence as an MP to bring this about.

I also call on Mid Ar­gyll coun­cil­lors to join with our MP to get the Post Of­fice to deal ur­gently with this.

We look for­ward to hear­ing from you.

John Reid, Lochgilp­head.

Car­ing dur­ing coro­n­avirus

Sir,

It is es­ti­mated that there could now be as many as 1.1 mil­lion peo­ple in Scot­land car­ing, un­paid, for a loved one who is older, dis­abled, or se­ri­ously ill dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. We know that it has been a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult time for fam­ily car­ers, with the ma­jor­ity hav­ing to pro­vide more care dur­ing the pan­demic – on av­er­age 10 ad­di­tional hours a week.

With many face-to-face day ser­vices still closed or limited be­cause of Covid-19, some fam­i­lies are car­ing round-the-clock with­out a break.

It’s thanks to car­ers telling Car­ers Scot­land about their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences that we are able to ex­plain to politi­cians and pol­icy mak­ers the chal­lenges they are fac­ing six months on from the coro­n­avirus out­break, as we head into win­ter.

By fill­ing in our sur­vey Car­ing Be­hind Closed Doors: six months on (see the Car­ers UK web­site) un­paid car­ers in Scot­land can help in­form the UK’s most com­pre­hen­sive study into ex­pe­ri­ences of look­ing af­ter a loved one dur­ing the coro­n­avirus cri­sis.

With a Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment plan for so­cial care re­form cur­rently in the mak­ing, it has never been more im­por­tant for un­paid car­ers to share their ex­pe­ri­ences.

Fill in the sur­vey at the www.sur­vey­mon­key. co.uk/r/CJ89NCH web page.

Si­mon Hodg­son, direc­tor, Car­ers Scot­land

Pan­demic sup­port needed

Sir,

The re­port ‘The Im­pact of COVID-19 on the High­lands and Is­lands’ warns that the econ­omy of the re­gion could de­crease by as much as £2.6bn this year due to the im­pact of Covid-19 on busi­nesses and jobs.

And the fig­ures pre­sented by High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise in the doc­u­ment also sug­gest that un­em­ploy­ment in­creased faster in the re­gion than the rest of Scot­land.

This re­port makes grim read­ing and should make both the Scot­tish and UK gov­ern­ments sit up and pay at­ten­tion to the se­ri­ous im­pact that Covid-19 has and is hav­ing on the high­lands and is­lands, one of the worst hit ar­eas in the coun­try eco­nom­i­cally.

It’s clear that the econ­omy of the High­lands and Is­lands will need a shot in the arm if we are to turn around the wor­ry­ing trend of job losses and eco­nomic down­turn.

If we want to see the re­gion sur­vive and thrive af­ter Covid-19, we need to en­sure the right sup­port is in place to al­low us to build back bet­ter and sup­port an econ­omy that works for ev­ery­one.

Rhoda Grant,

High­lands and Is­lands Scot­tish Labour MSP

The Rest and be Thank­ful

Last week’s front page story fea­tured politi­cians united in a call for the right long-term so­lu­tion to be found at the Rest and be Thank­ful. MP Bren­dan O’Hara de­scribed it as ‘an eco­nomic and public safety emer­gency’, adding: ‘I sus­pect suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments have just been hop­ing the sit­u­a­tion wouldn’t come to a head on their watch.’

There was plenty of reader re­ac­tion on the Ar­gyll­shire Ad­ver­tiser Face­book page.

John Hall com­mented: ‘It’s only an emer­gency

be­cause there’s an elec­tion due next year. It’ll be soon for­got­ten af­ter­wards.’

Nic Out­ter­side posted: ‘Suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments is cor­rect. When I lived in Mid Ar­gyll 30 years ago the prob­lems on the Rest ex­isted. That was pre-de­vo­lu­tion and from what I learned the prob­lem had ex­isted for at least 30 years prior to that.

It is surely only a mat­ter of time when a ma­jor dis­as­ter oc­curs with a land­slip tak­ing out a bus full of peo­ple or an HGV.

‘My wife is vis­it­ing rel­a­tives in Camp­bel­town next week from our home here in Eng­land­shire and al­ready she has planned her jour­ney via Gourock and Tar­bert rather than even risk the Rest or mil­i­tary road or Cri­an­larich routes.’

Steve Bleasby wrote: ‘For the sec­ond time this week the Tar­bert to Por­tavadie ferry is sus­pended due to “tech­ni­cal rea­sons”. The ferry MV Isle of Cum­brae was sup­posed to have been re­tired years ago, but limps on in an age­ing and tired fleet.

We are head­ing to­wards a trans­port in­fra­struc­ture break­down in Ar­gyll un­less the gov­ern­ment takes rapid ac­tion. Time to fo­cus on us, not the cen­tral belt.’

Niall M Cameron posted: ‘As CalMac fer­ries age and break down, now is the time for bet­ter con­nec­tions to High­lands and is­lands. We’ve seen the cost of tun­nels, but build­ing ships is just as ex­pen­sive. A to­tal over­view of all trans­port is well over­due in this coun­try.’

Dun­can Black said: ‘You [the SNP] have had 13 years to do some­thing and all you’ve done is waste mil­lions on id­i­otic ideas and tem­po­rary mea­sures!’

This cheer­ing scene was pho­tographed in In­verneil by Pamela Hamil­ton us­ing her iPhone. Pamela said: ‘Two happy wee faces, grown from bird­seed, get­ting the sun.’ She added – for read­ers of a cer­tain vintage: ‘Lit­tle Weeeed and her cousin. Bill and Ben were in quar­an­tine.’

Send your favourite pho­to­graphs for pub­li­ca­tion to editor@ar­gyll­shiread­ver­tiser.co.uk

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