Letter – Welcoming the return of UK troops from Afghanistan

We all have countless opinions on whether our troops should ever have been involved, but I would like to set politics aside and thank our troops for all of their service and sacrifice in the Middle East.

It has been a long 13 years and each of the 453 lives that have been lost was a tragedy.   Our armed services have always been a vital part of our nation and I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who choose to serve our country.

Many of us have family and friends who have served and sacrificed for our nation. I am glad to see our troops finally return home and I hope that those who are injured or suffer emotional stresses receive all the care and support they need for as long as is required.

Although the world remains a very uncertain place, I hope that it is a long time before our troops are ever called off to war again.  And I hope that all of our other soldiers currently on active duty around the world return home safe and healthy.

Letter – Welcoming local people supporting their community

Dear Editor,

Having seen first hand the good work done by such facilities; I am pleased to hear that a local church is opening another food bank in Barnard Castle so they can help those in need.

However, in 21st century Britain, it saddens me that North East food banks were accessed nearly 60,000 times last year. Even worse is the fact that many people visiting food banks are in employment yet aren’t earning enough to support themselves or their families.

We must tackle unemployment, getting people into work so they can support themselves and have a better quality of life.  Then we must make sure that these jobs pay enough for people to be able to look after their families. One way to do this is by taking everyone earning the minimum wage completely out of income tax.

Regardless of how distasteful it might be that they’re needed in the world’s 5th-largest economy, I urge people to support their local food banks. They do a fantastic job and help many of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letter – The importance of dualling the A1 should not be underestimated

Dear Editor,

Labour’s shadow transport secretary recently cast doubt on whether a Labour government would dual the A1.  I understand that it is traditional for the London elite to overlook and underfund the North East’s transport infrastructure, but even with this historical precedent this news is very disappointing.

The A1 is the main road from London to Edinburgh and is a vital transport artery in the North East.  It is pathetic that in so many places, the road is reduced to a single lane.

Dualling the A1 will make people’s lives easier and their daily commute less miserable.  It is also the road to growth for the North East, as it will make the region a much more attractive proposition for business, which is good for jobs and growth in the area.

Dualling the A1 is just common sense, rather than wasting taxpayers’ money on expensive vanity projects like HS2, the government should be looking for ways to make people’s lives easier and drive commerce. Dualling the A1 will achieve both.  And while we’re at it, shouldn’t we dual the A69 as well to improve our transport links to the North West?

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letter- The number of foreign criminals in our prisons rises again

Dear Editor,

Our prison service currently faces a funding crisis and a chronic lack of places.  Standards and security have been dropping and suicide rates are soaring.  Meanwhile, the National Audit Office has reported that the number of foreign prisoners has gone up – yet again.  They reported that the UK now has 12,250 foreign offenders.

This exposes yet again the empty rhetoric constantly spun by the Labour and Conservative parties; both of whom have repeatedly claimed that tackling the number of foreign criminals in our country is a priority.  They will talk about regaining control of our borders, about deporting foreign criminals, but time and again this is exposed as what it is – all talk, no action.

I find it an affront to everything that this country is supposed to stand for that foreigners come to the UK, commit serious crimes against British citizens then the government uses the tax money gained from those same hardworking citizens to house, feed and entertain these prisoners.  Don’t believe the empty rhetoric of Labour and the Tories, if you want to regain control of our borders and deport offenders, UKIP is the only solution.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letter – We must provide proper facilities for our school children

Dear Editor,

I’d like to praise Central First School in Ashington, Northumberland, following their transformation of a double-decker bus into a classroom, as a cost-effective solution to their chronic lack of space.

However, does this not illustrate the sad state of affairs in our education system today?

The Labour Party failed miserably during their time in government trying to gain value for money for taxpayers on new school builds. This has ultimately left us with overcrowded classrooms and underperforming schools.

Only last year we heard how our government poured £388 million into the ‘Education for All’ programme in India – a report released by the Indian government highlighted how no less than £70 million for the programme had either been stolen or lost.

How can it possibly be right that our London-based political elite lavish millions into other countries’ education systems, when our own kids here in the North East are forced to learn in buses due to the lack of classroom space?

It’s high time we ensured that our children receive the best possible start in life.

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP, UKIP

North East Region.

Letter – Announcing my support for the Right Lines campaign

Dear Editor,

 

I would like to publicly pledge my support to the Echo’s Right Lines campaign.

Modernising and improving the North East’s railways is absolutely vital to improving the region’s future prosperity.  In recent weeks I have spoken about this issue multiple times and I am delighted to throw my full support behind your paper’s campaign.

Not only are our lines and stations in need of improvements but many of the local trains are both outdated and outrageously overcrowded.  We need to be able to provide faster, more reliable and more comfortable public transport for the people of the North East.

London spends 24 times as much per person on transport infrastructure as we do here in the North East.  Recent investment from Grand Central is welcome, but if we are going to fix this long-running issue then we need further investment both from the private and public sectors. I hope that your campaign brings us closer to the day when our local infrastructure is on a par with the rest of the country.

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East region

Letter – Yet more evidence highlights the lack of recovery in the North East

Dear Editor,

 

Sadly, I was not surprised to read yet again, that the North East is lagging behind the rest of the country.  Recent reports show that while UK house prices are rising, prices in the North East are in decline.

This is yet another sign of the lack of recovery in the North East.   Unemployment is rising across the region, whilst it falls in every other part of the country. Meanwhile our local NHS at best is stagnating – while at worst it crumbles, areas of the region have among the highest percent of vacant shop fronts in the UK and our infrastructure is overcrowded and under funded.

The North East has been let down for long enough. It is the out of touch Conservatives and the Labour “one party state” in the North that have led us into this mess – they were the cause but they are not the solution.  UKIP are the true opposition in the North of England and we will ensure the elitist political classes are held to account on behalf of its citizens.

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letter – Don’t believe Labour’s Lies

Dear Editor,

It was bitterly disappointing to see Labour’s MP for Hartlepool, Iain Wright, resort to gutter-style politics in Wednesday’s (Oct 15th) edition of the Northern Echo.

Labour seem completely incapable of debating UKIP on policy, so instead, have resorted to smears and lies, in a measly attempt to stop the UKIP surge in Hartlepool.

UKIP do not want to charge patients to see their GP and do not want to see the NHS privatised. In fact, it was Labour Peers Lord Winston and Lord Warner, who have suggested that individuals should be charged for use of the NHS. It was under the Labour Party that we saw privatisation of our NHS balloon in the form of PFI agreements.

How can Mr Wright possibly suggest that UKIP want to see tax rises for the poorest in society when it has been UKIP’s policy for years to ensure that those who earn the minimum wage don’t pay a penny piece in income tax?

Let’s hope in the run up to next year’s General Election Labour decide to debate policy and substance rather than misinformation and smears.

Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP

Letter- A long-term railway investment plan is required

Dear Editor,

Last week, Grand Central announced a large investment in the region’s rail network, but the Journal’s story today reinforced yet again just how much work is ahead of us before infrastructure in the North East is on par with the rest of the country.

Whether you are travelling to work, an event or just going to the shops, the railways are key to thousands of peoples daily commute.  Yet those same lines are plagued by outdated trains, over crowding and underinvestment.  This chronic overcrowding proves beyond any doubt the demand for rail services and the justification for further investment.

We need improved lines, updated trains and more seats.  A temporary fix it up will not be good enough, nor is maintaining the status quo.  London spends 24 times as much per person on transport infrastructure as we do in the North East, if we seriously want to tackle this vital issue, then we need to invest in our railways and put in place a long term solution.  Fixing this issue will make life easier for thousands of local people everyday whilst simultaneously strengthening the region’s economy.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East region

Letter – We need improved infrastructure to be competitive with other regions

Dear Editor,

I am delighted with the news that Grand Central have decided to invest in our regions rail infrastructure.  Our transport links, whether that is the road system (especially the A1 – which I am campaigning to have dualed), rail, buses or airports, are vital to improving the economic fortunes of the region.

I can speak from first-hand experience that the local rail system badly requires significant investment – not just the lines but also the trains themselves and these issues should be addressed via this investment.  I will be playing an active role in the local consultation and I highly recommend as many of your readers as possible get involved, this is your transport system and it should be designed to suit your needs.

Sadly our region remains massively under invested in – London spends 24 times as much per person on transport infrastructure as we do in the North East. This investment is a good start but we have a lot of work to do to put ourselves on an equal footing with the rest of the country.

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East region