Home   News   Article

YOUR VIEWS: A9 safety improvements, state pension arrangements and Inverness club’s centenary

By Gregor White

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!

No sign of safety improvements on A9

Why haven't safety improvements been implemented ahead of A9 dualling?
Why haven't safety improvements been implemented ahead of A9 dualling?

Last autumn, prior to the meeting organised by the Courier at Eden Court Theatre, you carried an article with me with various suggestions on how safety on the A9 could be significantly improved prior to full dualling taking place.

We are now six months – half a year – down the line and sadly nothing seems to have changed.

The white lines at the Aviemore and Carrbridge junctions are still non-existent; there have been no changes to the centre lining in accident black spots such as the Slochd; and the road surface gets worse every day.

Laybys are still full of either overnighting HGVs or with cars whose drivers are using the neighbouring vegetation as a toilet, due to the lack of roadside facilities.

The tourist season is now approaching. The road lining and surfacing are now both seriously dangerous. I can foresee numerous accidents this year – especially involving motorcyclists – due to the terrible road surface.

The only changes I have seen recently have been the erection of huge new bilingual signs at Milton of Leys and Daviot which must have cost many thousands of pounds – would this money not have been far better spent on safety improvements?

Transport Scotland, Bear Scotland and the Highland Council have all been put on notice about these issues and defects for very many months now.

Frankly I don’t think they care, hiding behind a corporate pretence of caring, but in reality they don’t.

If they did, then something would be happening by now.

I firmly believe if any accidents occur this year which are in any way attributable to the absence of lining or the state of the road surface they should collectively be held partly responsible.

No doubt they will all say that repairs and improvements are on their programmes for this year. I will believe it when I see it.

And in the meantime the deaths will continue.

Ian Donaldson


Catch up with all our columnists

Subscribe to receive regular email newsletters

State Pension is not a contract matter

Drew Hendry MP, commenting on the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s (PHSO’s) report on women’s State Pension age, refers to the State Pension as a contract where you pay money in and subsequently receive payments out (The Inverness Courier, March 26).

This is incorrect; there is no contract.

The State Pension is a contribution-based welfare benefit.

National Insurance is a tax and not money paid into a personal pension plan.

Governments change tax and benefit rates frequently and there is nothing fundamentally different about this change.

When it was introduced in 1946, women were eligible for the State Pension at age 60 and men at age 65. Life expectancy then was 64 years.

Life expectancy is now 82 years and, through equality legislation, women and men are treated alike.

It is therefore unsurprising that eligibility has been aligned between men and women and the age at which people become eligible for this benefit gradually increased.

The legislation to do this was introduced in 1995 with the first women affected in 2010 giving a minimum of 15 years to plan and prepare for the change.

Further changes were announced in 2007 and 2011, again many years ahead of being implemented. The PHSO report has some narrow criticism of the communication strategy the Department of Work and Pensions adopted in the period between 2007 and 2011; it does not recommend compensation for the changes as a whole.

Mr Hendry and his party frequently “stir the pot” on any issue where the finger of blame may be pointed at the UK government.

Presenting the facts accurately reduces the impact of this political narrative. As a result rhetoric takes precedence over accuracy.

George Rennie


Inner Wheel marks 100th anniversary

Inner Wheel was founded in 1924 in Manchester by Margarette Golding, a nurse, business woman and wife of a Rotarian.

Inner Wheel is an international women’s organisation with clubs in over 100 countries and a membership in excess of 100,000.

Friendship and service are at the heart of this vibrant organisation.

In May 2024, to mark the centenary, Inner Wheel members from all over the world will return to Manchester to attend a celebratory International Inner Wheel Convention. Several members from the Inverness club will attend.

Founded in 1959 the Inverness club is one of the largest in Great Britain and Ireland. The club is very proud that the elected association president of Great Britain and Ireland for next year is club member Heather Sheerin.

To celebrate the centenary, clubs were asked to do a 100 for 100 challenge.

100 balls of wool were donated by club members to be crocheted into 100 baby blankets by Heather Sheerin. They are being sent to Ukraine.

Hundreds of squares have been knitted and sewn into blankets to be sent to the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia.

100+ jars of marmalade were made by club president Mairi Cuthbert. They were all sold and the money added to club funds which are distributed to charities.

100 hand-crafted cards were made by Margaret Scoular, club correspondent, to be distributed to people in a spirit of friendship and care.

Friendship is as important as service. Members meet monthly for lunch, usually followed by an interesting speaker, at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness. There are also coffee mornings and occasional walks.

For further information about Inner Wheel, visit www.innerwheel.co.uk. You can click on individual clubs if you wish to make contact and can come along and try us out before joining. New members are always welcome.

Alice Cliff

Inverness Inner Wheel

Letters should be submitted to newsdesk@hnmedia.co.uk. Please include your address and a daytime contact number. You can also tweet us: @InvCourier or leave a comment on Facebook @invernesscourier

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More