Letters: Address the banks crisis that is crushing the poor before worrying about tax cuts for the rich

YOUR lead story today (“Bank closures could see 500,000 Scots without access to cash”, The Herald, July 11) was a change, albeit a worrying one, from the Conservative leadership crisis. This is indeed an alarming situation for thousands of Scots.

The cost of living crisis we are experiencing is an opportunity for a reality check. Are we meeting the needs of all in society, regardless of their financial status? The impact bank closures have already had in some rural and outlying areas has been devastating for some very fragile communities. For banks to effectively deny access to cash in times of extreme hardship is exacerbating the situation, encouraging households to “swipe” and lose control of spending. Is this move by banks a breach of one’s human rights by denying access to our own cash?

A move to a cashless society is not acceptable for all sorts of reasons. It creates barriers, isolation, inequality and poverty. Isolation and loneliness have been major issues during the pandemic and bank closures will only serve to intensify this situation. And the steady decline in the use of cash is having a devastating impact on charities; no more popping the few pence change into the charity tin.

This is a serious issue for individuals, households and the wider society as a whole, so perhaps, just perhaps, the leadership candidates for the Conservative Party could spare a thought, take their gaze off tax cuts for the rich and address this crisis.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.


CAROLINE Wilson’s article on problems at the Institute of Neurosciences (“‘High risk’ surgery unit probed over patient harm”, The Herald, July 9) was of interest to me as I’ve worked on various developments within and around that building.

In 2012 I was asked by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (NHSGG&C) to look at the existing theatre floor in connection with a feasibility study being done for a new endoscopy suite. I commented at the time that the entire theatre suite was unfit for purpose. Indeed I was quite shocked that there was not even a dirty utility room to each theatre as is normally required for the disposal of clinical waste.

Following on from that I did a series of designs for a clinical research facility plus a new Ward 66 and Ward 62. However, the latter did not go ahead because we would have to access the theatre floor for installing new drainage and the theatres would be out of action for weeks, if not months, as a consequence. This was deemed to be unacceptable.

The patient pathway at that time involved badly injured patients being brought in via the main entrance directly in front of people sitting in the cafe. We advised that this was not a tenable situation. I was subsequently asked if I could come up with proposals for a new emergency ambulance drop-off and entrance. I duly did a sketch proposal positioning this to the north of the building and creating a road loop for ambulances to pull up under a canopy to discharge patients into the building. An angled entrance led to the main lift core but with the lifts now accessed from a controlled corridor so that there was total patient privacy.

However I was told that the NHSGG&C preference was for ambulances reversing rather than pulling up under the canopy. I pointed out that the Health and Safety Executive considers such arrangements to be dangerous. I also advised that NHS Lothian have banned reversing ambulances across their entire estate after a patient was killed. To my astonishment NHSGG&C advised that having ambulances reversing was actually policy across the whole QEUH campus. My proposal was duly rejected.

It came as somewhat of a surprise then to discover a planning application for a new ambulance entrance submitted in 2017 from another firm of architects, especially since it was virtually a carbon copy of my own rejected proposal. I’m somewhat puzzled to read that no progress has been made to rectify the problem given that a solution appears to have been agreed five years ago.

Robert Menzies, Falkirk.


I THOROUGHLY enjoyed Wimbledon this year, but felt so sorry for Prince George, who was dressed in the clothes of a city gent, suit and tie in 30C.

It would have been so good to have seen him dressed down in shorts, T-shirt and sandals, but no doubt Wimbledon protocol would not have allowed.

Letting the poor lad sweat, so sad.

Neil Stewart, Balfron.

• RATHER than the All-England Club taking the entire blame, did no-one in the Foreign Office or our Moscow Embassy see fit to check on the backgrounds of the players from the ex-Soviet Empire (“Red faces at Wimbledon”, James Morgan, Herald Sport, July 11)?

But as they also seem to have ignored the clear 20-year evidence of Vladimir Putin’s increasingly dictatorial methods and falsification of history leading to his latest aggression, maybe this latest diplomatic myopia is not surprising.

John Birkett, St Andrews.


IN the Caurs and Clippies cartoons, referenced by Mary Duncan (Letters, July 11), Bud Neill drew on both the down-to-earth and the sometimes kindly side of the no-nonsense “Ferrs Pleez” attendants, remembered by those of us who hurtled and shoogled through Glesga until they came to a halt in 1962.

“It’s san-ferry ann tae me whether he knocked yir teeth in or no’, Mac. There’s still nae spittin’ on the caurs . . .”, and “Aw, Jimmy! There’s a wee wumman wants aff upstairs if ye’ve a meenit . . . “.

R Russell Smith, Largs.


“HERE I sit, alone and sixty,

Bald and fat and full of sin,

Cold the seat and loud the cistern,

As I read the Harpic tin”. (Arnold Bennett)

Of whose future do those words make me think? I couldn’t possibly comment.

Thelma Edwards, Kelso.

ON July 28, 1865 Dr William Pritchard was one of the last to be publicly executed in Scotland. He had been found guilty of the murder of his wife and mother-in-law by poisoning them with antimony. It was estimated that some 70,000 witnessed the event at Glasgow Green, fulfilling the Glasgow curse – you will die facing the monument; Nelson’s monument.
Prior to coming to Glasgow in 1860 he had been a doctor in Yorkshire. On his leaving, the Sheffield Telegraph described him as follows: “Left with a very indifferent reputation. He was fluent, plausible, amorous, politely impudent and singularly untruthful.” Perhaps an equally accurate statement about a British politician who has recently resigned.
Ian Dale, Bearsden.

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