Letters – Praise for local football fans

Dear Editor,

As an avid football fan, and a football commentator for a hospital radio station, I completely understand the intense rivalry between local football clubs.

Therefore, as an ambassador of this region, it fills me with pride that fans from both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have met together at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle recently, in an attempt to look at ways for fans to keep the passion, but lose the hate, between the two clubs.

Those who participate in endless bouts of violence before, during and after games, who know full well they run the risk of being banned from the stadium in future games, are thugs, not fans.

These people not only affect other fans at games, but often their local communities too.

Football has moved on since the dark days of frequent outbursts of violence and hate on the terraces, let’s work together, and push forward for a safer environment for all.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – Cut waste not key services

Dear Editor,

We’ve already seen frontline services in the North East crippled in everything from the NHS to road repairs, and are now told things are going to get worse under future governments.  Labour bankrupted our country and now the Liberal/Tory coalition has somehow made things worse.

When you consider the tens of millions of pounds which we throw down the drain every day, it is appalling that we face more years of under-investment in our local areas.  I’m a realist; I understand that times are hard – but the government is choosing the wrong areas for tightening our belts.

Before we make more cuts to key services, perhaps we should get our house in order?  We pay the EU 55 million pounds every single day and in recent years we have paid foreign aid to a list of nations which includes China, Russia and Argentina.

Perhaps we should start to look out for the thousands of parents who struggle to feed their families here in the North East, before we fund India’s space programme?


Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP North East

Support for legal high ban

MEP Jonathan Arnott is backing calls by the Centre for Social Justice for so called ‘legal high’ party drugs to be banned.

Mr Arnott, who has long been a vociferous opponent of these dangerous drugs, spoke out after new figures showed the number of deaths linked to them has increased eightfold in three years.

Think-tank, CSJ is asking the Government to implement legislation similar to laws introduced in Ireland in 2010.

The move would mean that some 200 ‘head shops’, which offer a range of drug paraphernalia, would close.

“Former drugs minister Norman Baker was supporting a blanket ban on the marketing, sale and distribution of such psychoactive substances but he has since left the Home Office so that may well have been kicked into the long grass,” said Mr Arnott, the North East’s Euro MP.

“Well it is too important to be side lined; young people are continuing to lose their lives or end up hospitalised because of these ‘legal highs’ and the government must act.

“I am not a supporter of imposing blanket bans restricting people’s liberties but this is an exception to that rule. It is necessary because otherwise the manufacturers just change the chemical composition to get round specific bans.

“We have a problem with drugs generally in this country, mainly, but not exclusively, with young people and we must do more by way of education to deter them dallying with danger which can easily lead to long term addiction,” he added.


Letters – Hartlepool foodbank shame

Dear Editor,

It is devastating that in the 21st Century foodbanks still exist and that vital food handouts are given to families on an average of every three minutes in our town.  I support the wonderful voluntary work that is going on, and thank all members of the public who have donated towards collections.  Having seen for myself the sterling work done by Hartlepool Tesco in getting food for local foodbanks, it’s encouraging that people are able to come together in support of a worthy cause.

The last time I visited a local foodbank itself, the number of in-work people seeking assistance was startling.  How can it possibly be right that people go out to work, attempt to make ends meet, but are still reliant on rescue packages from foodbanks?

It’s grossly unfair that those who manage to find a job, on the minimum wage, are taxed immediately by our greedy Islington-obsessed career-class politicians.  UKIP want to lift those who are on the minimum wage out of income tax altogether; ensuring work really pays.  We also need to make our benefits system fairer, more accessible and flexible. Too often deserving people miss out on what they are entitled to due to our overly complex benefits system, whilst the minority who abuse the system often go undetected.

These two changes alone would go a significant distance in supporting the lowest paid in the land, and helping those who need it most.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, Elwick Road, Hartlepool.


Letters – Customer service should always be a priority

Dear Editor,

It is good to see that bosses from Nexus have acknowledged some of the issues facing the Metro service.  However constituents advise me that the problems run deeper than the obvious issues to do with the trains and lines.

Constituents have complained to me of large indoor stations left completely unmanned in the evening.  One even complained about dogs walking around inside the station with no staff even aware of the issue.

Customer service needs to improve hand-in-hand with improvements to trains and lines.


Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Shocking new figures show Labour have zero credibility on zero hour contracts

Labour have ‘zero credibility’ on zero hour contracts according to UKIP’s North East Euro MP, Jonathan Arnott, after new figures revealed that Darlington Borough Council employs nearly 400 staff members on either a casual master or zero hour contract.

The figures were accurate as of the 20th October 2014, and were released under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Last year, figures released by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggested that the national figure for zero hours contracts could be approximately 1 million. Pro rata, that would indicate an estimate of circa 39,000 North East workers on zero hour contracts.

Jonathan Arnott, Darlington’s local Euro MP, said “The Labour politicians which lead Darlington Council should feel completely and utterly ashamed. These shocking statistics are prevalent not only in our region, but in Labour-led councils right across the country.

“I do understand that these contracts can be a necessary evil for some small businesses, which are not yet at the stage where they can gauge the amount of work required from one week to the next.  But big corporations, which our political class cosy up to, use zero hour contracts on a basis which can often lead to the exploitation of workers.“

A recent study by Durham University graduate Marjorie Libourel found the use of zero hour contracts disrupts family life, leads to higher divorces rates, and problems for child care and holiday arrangements.

She argued that the lack of stability for on demand employees makes it difficult to budget and plan finances in the long term.

Arnott continued “As leader of the Labour Party, Blair promised that a Labour government would see an end to zero hour contracts. Twenty years on, Labour MP’s and Labour-led councils are still using them collectively in their thousands. As a party, Labour have zero credibility on zero hour contracts. All talk, no substance.”



Jonathan Arnott MEP learns about the ways in which food bank organisations help those in need across the North East

UKIP’s North East MEP, Jonathan Arnott, visited Hartlepool Tesco last week to learn more about the partnership between the supermarket chain and the Trussel Trust, and make a food donation.
Tesco is the first national supermarket to partner with foodbanks for what was their fifth collection. The supermarket has also pledged to ‘top-up’ food donations by 30%, to provide longer term support to Trussell Trust foodbanks and Fareshare.
Arnott said “It is devastating that in the North East, we have one of the most used foodbanks in the UK, as well as over 25,000 people seeking support by the Trussel Trust’s Gateshead, Newcastle East and Newcastle West End food banks alone.
“A massively overcomplicated benefits system and low incomes are forcing more people, who are desperately in need, to turn to foodbanks. We need a more accessible and flexible benefits system, so people are able to understand easily what support they are entitled to receive. We also need to lift those who are on the minimum wage out of income tax altogether. These two policies alone would go a significant distance in helping those who are in need across the North East”.

Commission Question – Could the Commission please confirm the number of current Jean Monnet professors and Chairs in North East England?

Question to the Commission for  written answer P-007979/2014

Could the Commission please confirm the number of current Jean Monnet professors and Chairs in North East England?

In the interests of transparency, could the Commission also please confirm their names and the academic institutions with which they are associated?



Answer given on behalf of the Commission by Mr Navracsics

No scholar in the universities of North East England is currently receiving financial support within the context of Jean Monnet activities.

In the interest of transparency and as Jean Monnet beneficiaries continue to hold their title of “Jean Monnet Professors/Chairs” even after their contractual commitments with the Commission has ended, the Honourable Member may want to note the following earlier involvement of North East England’s universities in Jean Monnet activities:

Newcastle University:  Prof Ian Ward (1992), Prof Ella Ritchie (1999, 2000) and Prof D. Barlow (1999);

Durham University: Prof. Holly Cullen (1992);

Northumbria Univeristy: Dr Sarah Mercer (1991).

Letter – We must focus on key services, not vanity projects

Dear Editor

Westminster Council have just approved a “garden bridge” at the cost of £175m to the taxpayer.  Not only is this bridge expensive but it will cost £3.5m in annual maintenance.   Some people have dubbed it “the most expensive footbridge in the world”.

It is interesting to see that London Councils can afford to build hundred million pound infrastructure projects primarily as a piece of art.   Here in the North East we have run down railways with cattle trucks for trains, inadequate, overcrowded roads and a health system that is being gradually decimated due to lack of funds.  Many Councils here couldn’t afford to build a footbridge for practical reasons, never mind artistic ones. Perhaps the people of London could make do with a simply functional new footbridge and the extra (estimated at around 5-10 times what was necessary) funding could be redistributed around the country to help areas where the infrastructure doesn’t even meet the most basic of requirements.

I for one would welcome a large investment into our local railways, even if it didn’t quite meet the artistic tastes of Westminster Council.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

UKIP open North East campaign HQ

UKIP’s deputy leader, Paul Nuttall MEP, declared that Blyth Valley would be a ‘two horse race’ between Labour and UKIP in next year’s general election.

Mr Nutall, the North West’s Euro MP, travelled to the constituency yesterday to open UKIP’s North East campaign HQ and constituent advice centre in Blyth’s town centre.

UKIP were within touching distance of winning throughout Northumberland in May’s European elections, coming 300 votes off top spot.

In an interview earlier this year, UKIP’s North East MEP, Jonathan Arnott, said that it was ‘objective to say that the Labour party has been complacent in the North East’, and that he had a ‘gut instinct’ that UKIP could do well in Blyth valley.

Following the launch, Mr Nuttall, said “We are going to take the fight to Labour in this constituency. Labour’s ‘anti-UKIP’ smear machine will, in no doubt, be in full swing in Blyth Valley right up until May next year. UKIP want to keep the NHS free at the point of delivery, we want to scrap the bedroom tax, and we want to scrap tax on minimum wage jobs. It is no wonder that hard working people are flocking to UKIP in their droves”.

 Cllr Barry Elliott, UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Blyth Valley, has pledged to open another two constituent advice centres in Cramlington and Seaton Delaval, if elected as the constituency’s MP next May. 

Mr Elliott said “We in this constituency feel completely neglected by Labour, and have done for a number of years. UKIP are offering a positive vision for working class people who feel left behind by the cosy chumocracy which fill the green seats of Westminster. Labour have let us down time and time again, and we in the North East want a change”.