From our postbag

editorial image

Dog dirt - an issue that won’t go away

Sir, – Many of the Journal and Gazette readers will sympathise with E M Johnstone who is fed up with a dog fouling her garden. (Letters, July 11)

This problem is all over Springfield estate and even worse when it happens in the childrens’ play areas.

Even in the High Street one has to be careful. The sports centre is often targeted and several dogs can be seen on the football pitches.

We keep hearing that irresponsible dog owners are in the minority so why do we see so many discarded black poo bags all over the town and canal?

I previously wrote about the lower level of the Vennel car park and West Lothian Council acted promptly to clean it up.

However that dog owner is back with a vengeance.

There are numerous official notices telling people to pick up the offending mess or face a fine.

Has anyone ever heard of someone being fined?

A blitz on this problem and the maximum fine of £500 being levied would sort it out.

Where are the litter wardens when you need them? Yours etc.,

Clark Cross,

138 Springfield Road,

Linlithgow

experiments

Drop the secrecy

Sir, –Like thousands of others around the country, I am deeply concerned that the number of animal experiments in Britain is continuing to rise despite the availability of alternatives.

Home Office statistics reveal that over four million animals were subjected to cruel and unnecessary tests last year including 3554 dogs, 2202 monkeys and 11,895 rabbits many of whom would have been killed at the end of the experiment.

More advanced scientific methods are available now than ever before, yet the number of animal experiments keeps rising – despite a government pledge to reduce animal use. It’s a national disgrace and the public deserves to know why.

We urgently need to open up the secretive animal experimentation industry to wider scrutiny by scientists and the public. Let’s have a proper public examination of proposals to use animals before they suffer tests. This is only possible if the outdated Section 24 “secrecy clause” is scrapped – a move supported by politicians, celebrities, experts and eminent individuals.

It is time for us to abandon crude and outdated animal tests in favour of modern science. Please ask your MP to sign Early Day Motion 255 which calls on the Government to increase transparency and set reduction targets. Find out how you can help at www.navs.org.uk –Yours etc.,

Jan Creamer

President

National Anti-Vivisection Society

Millbank Tower, Millbank

London SW1P 4QP

taxing

Bedroom

tax worry

Sir, – The government’s new report on the impact of the spare room subsidy – the so-called ‘bedroom tax’ – makes for worrying reading.

The analysis has revealed a staggering 60 per cent of tenants affected by this have been unable to meet their basic housing costs since having their benefits reduced.

Although one in five claimants have registered an interest in downsizing, shortages of smaller properties mean just 4.5 per cent of tenants had been able to move to a smaller home.

As a result some have no choice but to cut back on food and energy and others are running up debts through credit cards and payday loans.

As part of a charity supporting people in financial need in the UK, we at Turn2us know that these findings echo the experiences of our users – over a third of which are social housing tenants.

We’re also concerned by the recent government figures showing that almost two-thirds of councils have not paid their total Discretionary Housing Payment allocation to tenants. With the gap between incomes and living costs widening for an increasing number of people, it’s important that they are aware of the support available to them.

Anyone who is struggling can use our free benefits calculator and grants search at www.turn2us.org.uk to see if they are eligible for any additional financial support.

Our website also contains more information about the spare room subsidy and how to apply for Discretionary Housing Payments. – Yours etc.,

Alison Taylor

Director

Turn2us

London W6 7NL