Response from Jonathan Arnott MEP to today’s announcements from George Osborne

Following George Osborne’s announcement of plans for the North East, Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP for the area said,

“Whilst I welcome any investment into the North East region by central Government, I’m slightly sceptical at the timing of this announcement. We are a mere 69 days from a General Election and suddenly there are billions of extra pounds to spend.

“The decaying infrastructure problems and lack of North East investment have not just appeared overnight, they have been created by decades of neglect by Labour and the Conservative coalition. Where was this funding many years ago when it was needed?

“One of my bugbears with this pledge today is that a portion of this promised infrastructure work has already been discussed and promised previously, such as dualling the A1 and improving the A19. Residents have a valid reason for thinking the Government are taking them for a ride.

“What’s more worrying is that the proposed timetable for this work to commence, on the A1 for example, will not start till 2020. This gives the Government of the day ample time to ‘amend’ or withdraw the investment as they see fit, whilst at the same time, forcing North East residents to wait with sub-par infrastructure, a lack of investment and a feeling that the North East region just gets scraps of funding from a London-dominant pot.

Anger over wind turbine go-ahead

Local UKIP Euro-MP Jonathan Arnott has reacted angrily to planning approval being given for three huge wind turbines in Hartlepool.

“Although slightly smaller than originally envisaged they are still monstrous beasts at 574 ft (175m). I find it horrifying that they will be 56ft higher than Blackpool Tower and visible from five miles away.

“And as well as being a terrible eyesore they are not an efficient energy source,” said Mr Arnott.

“I completely understand that in this day and age we need to look at sustainable energy sources but expensive wind farms are not the answer. The winners are wealthy landowners and the losers families and pensioners who feel the brunt of the subsidy on their energy bills.

“We should instead be investing in alternative technologies such as tidal and nuclear power, which are both far more sustainable and efficient.

“Hundreds of objections were made by local people to these turbines at Graythorp Industrial Estate, Brenda Road West Industrial Estate and Tofts Road West and their views have been ignored. Future generations will look back at this era of wind turbines and see it for the utter madness it is,” he added.

Local UKIP Hartlepool PPC Phillip Broughton added “I don’t believe that people want wind turbines in the area at all, but they certainly do not want any this big.  The idea of putting turbines higher than Blackpool tower within the town is crazy.   Besides this, these turbines will simply result in yet more expensive taxpayer subsidies for inefficient wind technology.

Letters – The level of immigration to the UK is unsustainable and will cause long term problems

Dear Editor,

New figures show that immigration to the UK has soared to 298,000 people per year. Just where are the government going find the jobs, housing, infrastructure and social and medical services that these people are going to need? Here in the North East we already have huge issues with a lack of housing, infrastructure, crippling council cuts and unemployment. How is a huge influx of more people going to do anything but put yet more pressure on these already serious issues?

Simultaneously, research from UCL shows many of our best and brightest are leaving for overseas.  Are they emigrating to the EU to enjoy the oft-hyped benefits of that union?  No, the top three destinations are Australia, America and Canada.

Our society is losing many of its best trained whilst constantly adding competition to those who are most vulnerable.   Whilst our NHS is crippled by a lack of British doctors and nurses and we are forced to recruit around the world, we are losing the sort of people who could fill these roles.

Meanwhile the working classes who already earn the least are seeing salaries and opportunities squeezed by evermore foreign workers applying for jobs while being prepared to work for less because our minimum wage is so much more than what they earned at home.   As the cost of living continues to rise; our youth and unemployed are faced with evermore competition for jobs that are paying less than they once did.

These immigration figures are unsustainable and will cause many long term problems if we can’t tackle the issue.  We must gain control of our borders, end open door immigration and reform our education system to ensure that we are training the skills that we need for our economy and vital services.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

 

 

My Column – If we get the decision on e-cigarettes wrong it could cost many lives

I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life. I just don’t trust myself not to enjoy it too much, and to become addicted.

When I was a teenager, and my friends were trying cigarettes, I chose not to for that reason.

Normally I’d be the last person to write an article about smoking. But recently, I’ve noticed that many – if not most – of my friends who smoke have replaced their cigarettes with e-cigarettes.

Some have tried for years, and failed, to quit smoking altogether. So I’m happy to see them doing something which is much less unhealthy. And here in the North East, we have the highest rates of smoking in the country.

Now, after a couple in Staffordshire were barred from adopting because one of them had used an e-cigarette, we learn that North Tyneside and Durham councils have similar rules – flying in the face of advice from Public Health England and the Fostering Network, depriving children of loving families.

 

 

You can read the rest of my column on the Journal website here.

UKIP Easington hold inaugural Public Meeting

Local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott spoke at a public meeting in Horden (Easington constituency) last night, alongside West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge. At just a few days’ notice, the venue had to be moved due to serious damage to the roof at the previous venue. Fortunately everyone was hugely accommodating, with another excellent venue around the corner hastily arranged, and people who had received leaflets were directed to the new venue on the night.

Jane Collins MEP had been due to attend, but sadly had to miss the event due to a service for the 1400 victims of the child sexual abuse scandal in Rotherham. Thanks to Bill Etheridge MEP not only for stepping in at such short notice, but also for a superb speech highlighting his working-class background from the steel industry and how UKIP truly is a Party of the people.

With the local branch having been in existence just a few short weeks, the vast majority of those present were non-UKIP members and had never been to a UKIP event or meeting previously. It was clear that Jonathan and Bill did much to persuade the audience of UKIP’s message; five new Party members and the promise of help and support from some who didn’t join will attest to that!

The biggest issue was that of jobs; with unemployment a huge problem in the area, UKIP’s education policies and positive vision for a focus on apprenticeships and technical education as well as on the academic side were discussed in some detail. Business owners lamented a lack of current skills; fixing the current mess in Jonathan’s opinion could take years. But we cannot continue to overlook our manufacturing sector.

What did Jonathan think of the Conservatives’ economic record in government? Not much, it seemed: they have achieved little for working people, the gap between here and the rest of the country economically is growing, not falling. Bill added that the Conservatives have added more to the national debt in 5 years than Labour did in 13.

Is it futile to believe that we can develop manufacturing jobs in this country? No, Bill replied, the British spirit is to never give up. And UKIP’s Redcar PPC Chris Gallacher was in the room to point out that prior to his personal intervention, new jobs at a plant in Redcar were due to go exclusively to foreign workers; now, the vast majority will go to local people.

It was heartening to see that former non-voters and Labour voters alike were turning to UKIP. “I haven’t voted at the last two General elections, because I haven’t felt there’s anyone to vote for”, one confessed afterwards. But he assured us that this time would be different, and we were left in little doubt where his cross would be going!

One local Labour Party official turned up to the meeting – furiously taking notes throughout and then asking a string of questions which were easily responded to.

Don’t we need immigration for our NHS to cope? He was boxing at shadows: UKIP’s policy recognises that we need skilled immigration, but in the long term it’s irresponsible not to train doctors and nurses ourselves. After all, we are depriving some of the poorest countries in the world of desperately-needed medical personnel.

Would ex-pat Brits living in EU countries be deported back to Britain under UKIP proposals? Of course not, just as no-one proposes to deport existing migrants in the UK who remain law-abiding citizens. And, for example, the Spanish government would hardly shun Brits taking their money into Spain.

Would British people wanting to live in France have to learn to speak French? That would be a matter for the French government. What business of ours is it to tell the French how to run their country? Jonathan speaks as much French as possible in Brussels and Strasbourg, trying to learn the language to help the work he does in the European Parliament – and also out of respect for local people.

The message of the evening was clear. No-one has challenged Labour in Easington for decades. But there’s no such thing as a no-go area for UKIP, and we will give the people a real choice.

Congratulations to UKIP North Tyneside on holding another very successful public meeting

Congratulations to UKIP North Tyneside on holding another very successful public meeting.  This meeting was very well attended with over 60 local people turning up and yet again demonstrated the growth of UKIP across North Tyneside and Tynemouth.

I spoke alongside local PPC and branch chairman Gary Legg; a candidate whose passion for the local area could not be missed. After the speeches we had a lively Q&A.   At this Q&A local residents raised a number of issues; these varied from what the questioner called the “shameful PFI programme” (which UKIP would seek to permanently end) to ambulance waiting times, local infrastructure and how UKIP would reinvest the money we would save by leaving the European Union.

I always find these public meetings to be very valuable and constructive events.  As MEP for the entire North East, I can’t visit every local community regularly so these chances to meet local people at regular grassroots events all across the North East is invaluable.  I spoke in Stockton last week, North Shields last night and I look forward to a meeting in Horden tonight.  If you wonder what UKIP could do for you, please come along to one of these meetings when we are in your area and ask any questions you like – especially the tough ones.

UKIP condemns hopeless EU financial control as auditors say tens of billions have been spent “in error” from rural development funds

Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP for the North East and member of the European Parliament Budgetary Control Committee, said: “The European Commission has again shown it is incapable of finding a way to ensure taxpayers’ money is spent properly. For eurocrats, the failure to spend a billion-plus euros according to the rules is business as usual.”

UKIP press release, February 23, 2015. Immediate.

Arnott said while one “could expect any multi-billion euro operation to have a rate of error in how money is spent, the auditors found that the rate of error in spending EU rural development funds in 2011-2013 was ‘unacceptably high.’ In fact, the rate was 8.2 percent, or four times the maximum rate of error that would be tolerated in private enterprise.”

“In this report the auditors calculated the rate of error just for three years. If calculated across the entire €150bn (£110bn) 2007-2013 rural development budget, this would indicate that €1.23bn (£900m) has been spent by member states without adhering to the rules. The Commission is responsible for ‘shared management’ of these funds, so the eurocrats must share the blame for the failed oversight and gross errors made in how these billions were spent.”

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP calls for clarification over e-cigarette adoption guidance

Urgent clarification is needed from Durham and North Tyneside Councils after confusion over e-cigarette guidance for adoptive and foster parents, said local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott today.

“In my view the guidance should say that loving couples anxious to provide a home for a child should not be prevented because of vaping.

“In the wake of a Staffordshire couple being barred from adopting after the would-be father was seen smoking an e-cigarette it has emerged that different councils have varying approaches.

“These I believe include North Tyneside and Durham local authorities who state they will not place under-fives with e-cigarette users.

“Many of the councils that take this stance cite the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF), which recommends ‘users of e-cigarettes be considered smokers’ until concerns about the devices are cleared up.

“They have concerns that e-cigarettes ‘may act as a “gateway” for children and young people to start smoking.’

“However Public Health England has found there was ‘no data’ supporting the claim and that it was ‘rare’ even for teens to experiment with e-cigarettes. And they have also recently stated that the health risks of passive exposure to electronic cigarette vapour are… ‘likely to be extremely low.’

“It seems to me that the stance of the BAAF and the councils following their guidance needs urgently reviewing. Particularly as other councils follow alternative guidance from the Fostering Network, which says that people ‘should not be prevented from fostering or applying because of e-cigarettes use’,” said Mr Arnott.

“There are 69,000 children in care in this country in need of foster homes or adoptive parents and it seems that their chances are being hindered by politically correct social workers and conflicting guidance.

“They need to concentrate on the priorities of these children seeking a family life instead of looking for reasons not to provide it,” he added.

Letters – We must continue to empower local communities

Dear Editor,
I am very pleased to hear that local residents have been listened to over the controversial proposed DISC development in Ashgrove Avenue.

If the local community does not want a project of this type in their area they should be able to block it.   UKIP policy is all about returning power to the people and giving them the chance to decide on key issues in their community.  I am glad that in this case the views of the local community have been listened to.

I hope that DISC will now be able to find a more suitable venue for this project.

Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

UKIP Stockton hold another successful public meeting

Last night Jonathan Arnott MEP spoke alongside UKIP PPC for Stockton South, Ted Strike, at a public meeting in Ingleby Barwick.  There was a good turnout to hear both speakers.  Ted spoke with passion about his work in the local community and what he had achieved for local people over the years, as well as his charitable work overseas.  Jonathan gave an overview of UKIP’s policies and his work as an MEP in the European Parliament.

The Q&A session saw questions focus mainly on immigration and the NHS, widely expected to be two of the top issues in the General Election campaign.  None of the audience was hostile to UKIP, but it’s always refreshing when speakers face some difficult questions.  All looking good for UKIP in Stockton South, and well done to UKIP Stockton putting on a great evening!