Find out what our readers think of the stories making the Gazette headlines.
Dear Ed, – Members of the Tolbooth Management Committee are at a loss to understand the comments being made at the Community Council meeting in the last three months and reported in the Gazette.
No-one has come to us with such comments; no-one from the community council has even had the courtesy to contact us.
Most of the current committee have been running the Tolbooth since it was opened 20 years ago. It is very well used by over 40 voluntary groups and organisations, as well as many individuals and we can only assume that those unhappy are unaware of the restrictions on its use.
We are a charity and do not pay business rates. Over the 20 years, we have learned from our mistakes. In the early years we had complaints from businesses about goods being sold from the Tolbooth and even a threat through a councillor to have our charitable status removed – and if we had to pay business rates, we would have to close.
Because of our charitable status, we had to clamp down on what can be done in the Tolbooth. We are exempt from water rates, again on the basis that we are a charity and “are not a retail outlet or a council building”.
Because of these conditions, we have had to turn down many business bookings for the Tolbooth over the years. In the case of the florist, because he was not selling from the Tolbooth, we believed we could help and agreed that he could use the building for storage on certain – very rare – nights.
It seems that we are damned if we don’t and damned if we do.
One other thing which may lie behind some of the criticism has been a request for the use of the building from groups unwilling to pay for the hire of toilets.
The Tolbooth will never be left open to serve as toilets during public events in Lanark High Street. Again, we learn from experience. It happened once and was a disaster, with the building left unmanned and open to the whole world.
Would those complaining about that be prepared to leave their own homes or businesses open and unmanned for use as a public toilet? Those who know the building and the position of the fire door will understand the Tolbooth’s vulnerability.
Whatever the problem is, perhaps something could be worked out if people came to us directly instead of smearing us at community council meetings without giving us the opportunity to respond.
We meet on the first Thursday of the month, in the Tolbooth at 7.30pm. Our next meeting is on May 1 and anyone who wants to discuss the way the Tolbooth is run, or to discuss their own proposals with us, will be very welcome. New members of the committee are also always welcome. – Yours etc.,
Lanark Tolbooth Management Committee.
Dear Ed, – Once again our council has let the people of Lanark down. The recent poll taken on the subject of Lanimer Day gave a majority of people in favour of the continuation of the extended licensing laws. Although the majority was small it showed the people did not want the change. I believe that most of the councillors would accept this majority in the local elections for their seat. This is supposed to be a democracy and the wishes of the people should be listened to. I understand the change has been asked for by the local police Inspector because of a serious incident at last year’s celebration. How he knows that the assailant had been drinking in the street is a mystery as many assaults take place almost every weekend when there is no drinking in the street allowed. Will the next step be a ban on drinking altogether?
I wonder why this new Inspector is taking this stance when his predecessors have managed to police the event in the past. Is it because he is new to the job and does not have the confidence in his ability to control the event?
I understand that the Cornets will still be able to have a toast at the usual places so some of our traditions will be upheld.
The Justice Secretary will have the final say, after consultation, and will require a significant majority against to change the law. – Yours etc.,
NAME AND ADDRESS SUPPLIED.
No hate here
Dear Ed, – I came across a press release from the Labour party concerning equal pay written by Cllr Monica Lennon, saying that the SNP hated each other more than the Labour party. I would like to state, for the record, that I don’t hate anyone. What I hate is the idea that the Labour administration in South Lanarkshire has profited from its 15 year oppression of its low paid women workers.
Even now, my understanding of the secret deal is that they have only compensated the women who were forced to go though their lawyers and, even then, only for the 5 -year backdated limited period.
Monica seems to have taken on the” Lord Haw Haw” role on behalf of the Labour Group, criticising anyone who shows any social conscience and support for the employees affected. Her actions reminded me of a quote from Madeleine Albright, the American Secretary of State when she said: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” My position is that compensation should be paid to every worker affected and that is what I will be campaigning for – however long it takes. Every worker, every penny. – Yours etc.,
CLLR PETER CRAIG,
Ward 20 Larkhall.
Dear Ed, – The soaring price of energy is affecting everyone and the hardest hit are the poorest, who cannot afford to turn on the heating. If we continue to rely on fossil fuels, bills are likely to rise in the long term as coal, oil and gas become more expensive and renewable technology gets cheaper. Fossil fuels are also driving climate change and polluting people’s land, especially in developing countries.
Yet the big UK banks continue to pour billions of pounds into new coal, oil and gas projects around the world and the government is doing nothing to stop them. Perhaps this is not surprising: research by the World Development Movement shows that a third of ministers in the coalition government have links to the big fossil fuel companies or finance companies that bankroll them.
We need a government that takes both fuel poverty and climate change seriously, not one that puts the profits of big companies before all else.Of course,the simplest and best solution would be to have a nationalised energy company,run for the benefit of the people and not to provide excessive profits for shareholders. – Yours etc.,
Dear Ed, – More than 15 years after modern antiretroviral medication transformed HIV into a manageable condition, Terrence Higgins Trust’s new report HIV & Poverty (www.tht.org.uk/poverty) reveals a shocking picture of financial hardship among people with HIV in the UK.
The charity has seen a 15 per cent increase in people accessing its Hardship Fund, which helps people with HIV in severe financial need cover basic living costs such as food, clothing and heating.
As the full impact of the Government’s welfare reforms starts to be felt, it is vital that our council considers the needs of local people with HIV in its plans, and that financial, social and emotional support is available for those whose condition affects their ability to work.
HIV and poverty should not be linked. But, without adequate support, financial stress, poor diet, and other factors associated with poverty can lead to mental and physical ill health for people with HIV, in turn making it harder for them to re-enter employment.
Let’s do all we can to make sure that HIV and poverty no longer so often go hand in hand. – Yours etc.,