IoS letters, emails & online postings (1 December 2013)

Sunday 01 December 2013 01:00
Comments

In the Special Report by James Cusick on Scotland and independence (24 November) he talks of the proposed divorce between Scotland/UK. I am divorced and it is not that great. Sure, you get some financial independence but [you] can feel cut off and isolated.

I have spent the past year in Helensburgh, a town steeped in Naval history. The article provoked memories of the people and their concerns. They were positing the Navy leaving Helensburgh. What would happen to the town, house prices, people, and where would the Navy go?

How can the people be asked to seriously debate, let alone decide, on a future Independent Scotland with such a poor level of research into the stark reality?

Alice Smith Hogan

London

I hope Scotland does attain its independence in 2016. I believe, however, that full Scottish sovereignty can only be achieved by Edinburgh having its own elected head of state. Scotland should embrace the chance to be free to stand in its own two feet, whatever the economic price.

Dominic Shelmerdine

London W8

I deplore calls for heavy goods vehicles to be banned from central London during the day because of the percentage involved in the death of cyclists (Archie Bland, 24 November). Such a ban would do immeasurable harm to the capital's economy. Since 100 per cent of these fatalities involved pedal cycles, surely it would be more to the point to ban these dangerous contraptions in the rush hour? Or, better still, permanently.

John Eoin Douglas

Edinburgh

I was disappointed to read that women's football is again facing barriers to participation, as highlighted in "Rising fees force the next David Beckham... off the pitches" (24 November).

It is unacceptable that the Hackney Laces are unable to access the reduced pitch fees available to boys' teams, just because they are girls.

Our figures show that 131,000 women over 16 play football every week, making it more popular than men's rugby. A £2.4m scheme launched by the FA, Sport England, the Premier League and the Football League will help to further drive participation among girls and women. Hackney Council should review current arrangements to ensure girls' teams are not marginalised.

Ruth Holdaway

Chief executive

The Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation

Congratulations to Christopher Fowler for reaching No 200 in his excellent Invisible Ink series (Arts & Books, 24 November). I have enjoyed reading so many of the writers he has rediscovered for me. I hope he will find space for the favourite author of my teens, Percy Westerman.

Michael Davison

Kingston, Surrey

I read Paul Gallagher's article about nursing numbers with concern (24 November 2013). He is right to note that by March 2014, NHS organisations are planning to hire an additional 3,700 nurses. But he is wrong to say nursing numbers have gone down in hospitals since 2010.

The data he quotes covers hospital and community health services, and does not take into account the record increases in midwives, health visitors and school nurses since 2010. The best approximation for hospital nurse numbers is those providing acute, elderly and general care and they also rose, by around 1,280 between August 2010 and August 2013.

The Francis Report has had a significant effect in increasing the number of hospitals saying they are going to employ more nurses on wards, but we need to make sure this happens across the NHS. In light of the rising needs of vulnerable older people, we also expect local NHS organisations to make sure they have the right number of staff caring for patients in our communities.

Dr Dan Poulter MP

Health Minister, Department of Health

What a wasted opportunity! Rather than setting out what Labour could, should or would do after being elected in 2015, Ed Miliband spends his time complaining about those nasty Tories and their tactics, all wrapped up in vacuous soundbites of his own. Surely, to misquote him, "Labour can do better than this"?

Robin Bulow

Deal, Kent

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Letters to the Editor, The Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF. Email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk. Online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2013/December/01

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