CAMERON Crawford makes a fair point in his long letter (The answer to the housing shortage is blindingly obvious, May 14). I agree wholeheartedly that the housing crisis started in the 80s with the right to buy and the subsequent failure of the then government to allow councils to use the revenue to replace the stock sold under the scheme.

However, there was at that time a crisis in rural communities that was ignored at the time and is an even bigger issue today. At that time local people were unceremoniously turfed out of their homes in the summer months and forced to live in caravans (if they were lucky!) so that the properties could be used for short-term holiday lets.

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This undoubtedly made sense to the landlord, at that time more likely to be local, but was detrimental to those staying and trying to make a living – particularly in island communities.

Today the issue is even worse, and is affecting our towns and cities as well as rural areas where Airbnb and other holiday letting has decimated the centre of our towns and pushed people out of the towns into the countryside, increasing house prices there and limiting choices for young people everywhere.

Second home owners and private landlords should hang their heads in shame!

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We need to free up the properties tied up in the holiday letting businesses and allow people to live where there is work. Hoteliers could then invest in improving their businesses instead of slowly going under as so many rural hotels have. I’m getting sick and tired of landlords and Airbnb owners pleading poverty and unfair treatment.

As regards a solution to getting new-build affordable homes there are indeed many schemes worth looking into, but fundamentally local communities need to be given the tools to allow them to take control of unused properties and work together to upgrade and convert these, setting up their own small housing associations.

Affordable new-build homes do not stay affordable for ever as they can be sold on to the highest bidder. Let’s start small and who knows, a better future may be the result.

Linda Thomson

AFTER World War Two there was a housing shortage. The answer was to build prefabricated and substantially prefabricated houses.

I had a family member whose house was supposed to last 18 years. It’s still occupied after 70 years.

Since then prefabrication has developed technically by leaps and bounds.

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Houses can be factory-built and constructed on land quickly and readily more cost-effectively. And they can be built without the need for the high-rise disasters of the 50s and 60s.

We need starter homes for young people. We’ve seen a huge rise in student accommodation – why can’t we do the same to accommodate all young people starting out?

And we need smaller two-bedroom homes for those starting their own families.

All we need is government will, finance and the land released to build these new community opportunities. And the essential services that go with them: schools, GP sugeries, shops, transport links.

Prefabrication could provide quality homes quickly and cost effectively. Why aren’t we doing it already?

Jim Taylor

AS it’s Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19), I think it’s appropriate to thank the voluntary sector for the fantastic contribution it makes to Scotland’s mental health.

As our NHS is completely overwhelmed, befrienders are having to provide even more emotional support to a wide range of elderly, housebound and vulnerable people who face challenging issues such as loneliness, dementia and isolation, enabling them to forge strong social connections and live independent lives.

Fabulous charities such as Glasgow’s Golden Generation and The Good Morning Service have improved many vulnerable people’s lives immeasurably. Their caring, dynamic, innovative and specialised services are life-enhancing for their many clients, who as a result feel safer and valued by their communities.

As someone who has benefited personally from the above mentioned charities and other such organisations, I can state that they are truly life-savers.

Stephen McCarthy

READ MORE: Alister Jack asks UK Government to plan Scottish nuclear reactor

ALISTER Jack expects a “Unionist regime” to be in power in Scotland in 2026.

That would explain why Alister Jack at the House of Lords Constitution Committee announces plans for a new nuclear power station in Scotland in anticipation of a change of Scottish Government in 2026.

Just another reason why we have to be careful, very careful, what we vote for in 2026.

Winifred McCartney