Free lunch ‘facts’ to chew over

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I have been following the debate on free meals for SBC councillors and must commend the Hawick News and Richie Brown (letters, December 3) for the way it has forced the Hawick councillors to change their minds on this very important issue. All SBC councillors should understand it is not about the cost, it’s about the principal. Here are a few facts for your readers to consider:

Davie Paterson’s contributions are as comical as ever. He talks about SNP hypocrisy? During the original debate, Mr Paterson stood up in the chamber and declared: “A’m no’ acceptin’ this, A deserve ma’ free denner.” He now states that he doesn’t mind paying. Did I miss something? I don’t know how many years he has been a councillor but he should brush up on procedure and make sure that he informs canteen staff of his latest U-turn as I understand he forgot to let them know last week and his lunch was wasted.

For Councillors George Turnbull and Zandra Elliot to now say that they are happy to pay for their lunches is true hypocrisy, since this is exactly what they rejected on the day. Stuart Marshall seconded the original motion to keep free lunches? Jock Houston was not present but says he always intended to pay for his meals? Ron Smith wasn’t sure if he wanted free dinners or not so he abstained?

The idea of a collection box was tabled as an amendment but this was also rejected by greedy councillors.

It’s a great pity that they not did all do the honourable thing and vote with the SNP in the first place instead of being forced into reverse by their constituents and the press.

On the £12 entitlement red-herring . . . the government guidelines do not include lunches purchased within a councillor’s own ward or within council-owned premises.

COUNCILLOR JIM BROWN

Convener, Roxburgh and Selkirk branch SNP

I would like to make this comment on the free meals for councilors: it looks like tit for tat. I know that food left over goes in the bin, so yes scrap free meals for councilors and make them pay. Also cut their expenses and start at the top of the tree. Lunches at £3,360 a year would be a start. When you see staff out of work with no hope of getting new employment, how would councillors feel if the shoe was on the other foot?

The other point I would like to make is when it comes to councillors voting they should not be allowed to abstain. To me, to abstain means you’re sitting on the fence.

So come on councillors show the public why they put you in office and stop acting like children.

THOMAS STEVENSON

MAY I reply to David Parker’s explanation as to why certain local contractors’ machines were not used by Scottish Borders Council to clear the recent snow. I find it quite disappointing that my firm and that of A. S. Crawford Groundworks seem to have been overlooked because, according to Mr Parker: “The council use contractors we know need minimal supervision”. Comments which suggest that we are not capable of working by ourselves.

In January, I cleared the snow from Mart Street roundabout to Heronhill Bank, one of the busiest roads in Hawick, along with Trinity Street and parts of the west end. All without council supervision. No damage incurred, no problems encountered and no complaints made. A. S. Crawford cleared the whole of Denholm with no supervision either.

Mr Parker misses the point completely. Jedburgh contractors arrived in Hawick en masse, with Dawson Plant providing six machines (from Jedburgh and not Cavers as he states), and Harkin’s, J. Laidlaw’s, C. & J. Construction and Elder Fencing counting for around 12 machines in total, plus operators and labourers – all taking valuable work away from Hawick businesses.

DREW GLENDINNING

D. & C. R. Landworks

THE Friends of Hawick Community Hospital and Catherine Jeffrey from Jedburgh would like to thank everyone who so generously supported and donated to the recent coffee morning held in Jedburgh British Legion Hall.

The morning was a great success and raised £1,600 which will go towards cancer care for patients at the Community Hospital. Thank you all very much again and we look forward to your support in 2011.

Merry Christmas.

John A. L. Oliver

Friends chairman

IT HAS been another great year for the Iain Watson Memorial Walk, where 19 hardy souls managed to raise £2,525.95. Added to the money already collected during the previous four years, makes the toal nearly £35,000.

On behalf of the Watson family I’d like to thank everyone involved over the last five years for their help and support. Gavin Gibbon, Shaun Kerr, Lex McLean, Steve and Viv Watson for helping to organise the event. Lauren Graham for her bake sales and the transport provided by Peter Hogg & Son and Billy Brunton.

There have been after parties at the Office Bar, YM Clubrooms and Station Bar, while catering has been organised by Brydon’s Bakery and Restaurant, Baguette and Go and Baguette Express.

Kind donations have been received from Keystore Express, Crosbie Chemist, Hawick RFC, Howdens Joinery and the family of Robbie Rae. Bagpipes played by Alan Smith and Hawick Scout Fellowship Pipe Band; accomodation and entertainment provided at Stow by Susan and Sandy Aitchison, Stow Bowling Club and the Springbank Inn. Darren Johnston for his entertainment and Karen Swinton and her mate for the charity waxing session.

Without all these people and the kindness and generosity of so many others, the event wouldn’t be as successful. We are already looking forward to next year.

SCOTT WATSON