Letters – Job losses will impact the wider community

Dear Editor,

The proposed closure of the Jus-Rol pastry factory in Berwick is extremely bad news for the area.

Losing 265 jobs impacts not just on the workers and their families but the wider community with a knock-on effect on other businesses, such as small shops, takeaways, dry cleaners.

It is very sad that USDAW’s fight for their members failed in the face of the company’s “streamlining” decision. The only crumb of comfort is that the doors are not due to close until the autumn and I hope the firm’s promise to provide “support” to the employees takes a constructive form.

The area needs more jobs and the local authority must do all in its power to attract new businesses.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott,

 

Another black day for the UK steel industry

Tata Steel has confirmed it plans to cut 1,050 jobs in the UK, with job losses at Port Talbot, Trostre, Corby and Hartlepool.

Local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott described the news about Tata job losses as “another devastating blow to this country’s steel industry.

“This a black day for the Hartlepool area which can ill afford to lose any jobs and of course there is always a knock-on effect for local businesses.

“The North East has already lost thousands of steel industry jobs and the government needs to start delivering on action and not just talking about it.  Our membership of the EU is one of the reasons jobs are being lost and one of the reasons we must leave it.”

John Tennant, the Chairman of UKIP Hartlepool added “this news gives little confidence to Hartlepool residents that the future is bright under the Labour local administration. Both Labour and the Conservatives have systematically dismantled our Northern industries and we are seeing entire communities disappear.”

“We need to offer greater security for manual workers and protect their livelihoods.”

My Column – Taking Up the Challenge: Why We Must Leave the EU

One of the other North East MEPs, Labour’s Jude Kirton-Darling, has written a defence of the European Union in the Huffington Post. For today’s column, I thought it might make sense to take up the challenge, examine some of the arguments used – and see whether they stand up to scrutiny. She believes that the referendum will take place as early as June – just 6 months from now. I beg to differ; June just 5 months away. It would in any event be an incredibly tight timescale and Cameron would run into some logistical problems. But I digress. Let’s look at the key arguments:

“Decisions made by elected MEPs or national ministers are turned into ‘diktats from Brussels’ in the UK mainstream media or the annual reports of the Court of Auditors on the EU accounts are ignored in favour of the ongoing lie that the EU’s accounts have not been signed off.”

The phrase ‘diktats from Brussels’ relate to the fact that, almost every time, the driving force behind new legislation is the unelected Commission. Elected MEPs end up being little more than a rubber-stamping chamber. There is no ‘government’ and ‘opposition’ in the European Parliament, meaning that it’s much harder for a bad piece of legislation to be blocked. That’s why, for example, new VAT rules are costing British jobs right here, right now.

What about the European Union accounts? Well, it’s splitting hairs to argue that they have ‘been signed off’. The Court of Auditors said this about the accounts: “Payments for 2014 are materially affected by error. We therefore give an adverse opinion on their legality and regularity”. Straightforward and simple enough? We’re talking about €6 billion of taxpayers’ money affected by either error, or fraud. Hence for example the very accurate headline in the Times saying ‘Billions spent by Brussels is irregular and possibly illegal‘.

The next complaint is as follows: “Every grievance is given its European scapegoat, most recently shown with attempts to blame the floods on the EU, rather than budget cuts and climate change…False claims need to be challenged and exposed.”
Sadly, dredging of rivers is genuinely harder with the European Water Framework Directive. That increases the risk of flooding.

And under the Common Agricultural Policy, trees are unnecessarily chopped down so that farmers receive subsidy. Yet trees retain water 67 times better than grass. If the water isn’t retained, it floods. Don’t believe it from me, because I’m UKIP? How aboutMonbiot in the Guardian?

The next claim, I actually agree with. “Poorer regions of the UK are more dependent on exports to the EU than richer ones. Exports to the EU account for 15% of private sector output in the North East of England supporting around 170,000 jobs in the region”

But as trade with the EU would continue outside the EU, this is a complete irrelevance to the debate on whether we should be members of the European Union. In fact, jobs are being lost today through our EU membership. Does anyone seriously think that, had we not been bound by the European Union’s rules, we would still have been incapable of saving the steel industry in Redcar?

“Moreover, the North East is the largest net beneficiary of EU membership of the English regions – vital investment into our infrastructure, business development and skills.”

We spend £55 million every day on our membership of the European Union. Just over half of that is returned to us, with strings attached. It’s not spent as efficiently as it should be, and far too much of the money is wasted on bureaucracy. The parochial attempt to hypothecate different amounts of money for different regions, and claim that the North East ‘is a net beneficiary’, is shaky at best statistically and economically. The obvious point is that by leaving the EU we could replace every penny of that spending, make sure it’s spent far more efficiently, and the Treasury would have an extra £10 billion per year or so. Quite useful at a time of austerity, no?

The best defence Labour have to offer? ‘Oh but the Tories would never do that’. The last defence of Labour: blame the Conservatives. But which Party is in government today shouldn’t determine the next few decades of our future. The argument is a house of cards which falls down when examined.

“EU rules have cleaned our air, beaches and waterways, delivered equal pay for men and women and rights to paid holiday for all workers, and ensured redress for consumers.”

I’ve already destroyed this claim in much more detail in a previous article. But this is another example of the kind of historic revisionism that the European Union loves. I’ve covered much of this before but I’ll give just one example. We joined the EU (or its forerunner) in 1973. The Equal Pay Act was passed in the UK in 1970. So unless the European Union is capable of time travel, it did not deliver equal pay for men and women.

The case for the European Union is wafer-thin. It collapses almost immediately on closer examination. And don’t forget, there are some brave Labour MPs – like Kate Hoey, Khalid Mahmood, Frank Field, Graham Stringer, Ronnie Campbell and Kelvin Hopkins – who recognise that the EU is against the interests of the Left wing of British politics as well as the Right. Fortunately, Jude Kirton-Darling’s views are not universal in the Labour Party!

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post website. You can view it here.

The UK should be free to make its own laws

A European ruling that employers can read workers’ private messages sent via chat software and webmail accounts during work hours further demonstrates why we should make their own laws, said UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott today.

“Sadly we are bound by rulings from the European Court of Human Rights and this latest one is just one more that we are stuck with regardless of whether we like it or not,” said Mr Arnott, North East Euro-MP.

“UKIP believes that British people should make their own laws and have them interpreted by our own Supreme Court. Otherwise we will continue to be burdened with judgements like this made by judges that we did not appoint.

“The only answer is vote to leave the European Union and regain our freedom and the ability to make our own rules and regulations,” said Mr Arnott.

Letters – Public money must be spent efficiently

Dear Editor,

Having seen first hand the impact that previous cuts have had upon the people of the North East, I found it extremely frustrating to hear that the cost of Whitehall bureaucrats has spiraled (with many newly hired staff reportedly being paid thousands of pounds per day) within hours of receiving news that Hartlepool Council has voted to raise Council Tax.

Spending on this area had previously fallen significantly as part of Government cuts which leads me to question why key services in Hartlepool continue to suffer from severe funding problems (not to mention the local Hospital which has just announced that it will lose even more services) if the Government can find hundreds of millions of pounds for yet more bureaucrats in Whitehall.

It is true that Councils such as Hartlepool must spend what resources they have more efficiently, but (regardless of what David Cameron and George Osborne will tell you) the same must be said of the Government. We need more resources for key services, not bureaucrats in London who earn tens of thousands of pounds per month.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

Local hospital services have been cut yet again

Following the announcement that North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust will no longer provide licensed fertility treatment, including IVF, local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said, “I find it deplorable that Hartlepool University Hospital has had to take another department cut.

“Hartlepool has no A&E, it charges patients for car parking and provides less than satisfactory services for Hartlepool residents.

“I seriously question the efforts of Hartlepool Council and the North Tees NHS Foundation in finding a solution to the ever dwindling value for money at the hospital.

UKIP fought the recent General Election, campaigning to save the NHS and actually find funding for an extra £3bn to keep valued services and reduce bureaucracy. The party also campaigned to scrap hospital car parking charges as we already pay contributions in NI towards our NHS.