Some parents might have preferred if the Council spent this money on protecting school children

Dear Editor,

We have seen much discussion this week about how almost all school crossing patrols across Newcastle could be scrapped as a result of looming cuts.

This makes me think back to news reports from September when we heard that the Labour group in Newcastle City Council decided to hand large pay rises to some of the highest-paid staff in Newcastle.  It was reported that some staff who already earned more than £100,000 per year received pay rises that could be counted in the tens of thousands.

I can’t speak for everyone in Newcastle, but I suspect that some parents might have preferred if the Council spent this money on protecting school children rather than handing huge pay rises to some of their highest-paid staff.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Just as important as having adequate funding for a budget is ensuring that this funding is spent wisely

Dear Editor,

We hear a lot about cuts and a lack of government funding and it is certainly true that many key areas of the public sector are underfunded.  However, just as important as having adequate funding for a budget is ensuring that this funding is spent wisely – this is something that I feel successive Labour and Tory governments have failed at.

The fact that the Royal Navy’s largest ship HMS Ocean is set to be retired is a perfect example of the government being wasteful with taxpayer funding.  While I don’t welcome a reduction in the size of the Royal Navy surface fleet, I understand that ships age, become outdated and need to be retired and replaced.  However, HMS Ocean went through a £65 million upgrade in 2014!   With Ocean set to be scrapped, not only was this upgrade a gigantic waste of money but it demonstrates a lack of long term planning within the heart of government.

We must continue to press the government to provide adequate money for key services, but we must also remain vigilant and ensure that this money is being spent wisely.

 

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Crime is on the rise all across the North East

Dear Editor,

It was very concerning to read new statistics revealed on Thursday (20/10/16) showing that crime is on the rise all across the North East. Crime rose 35% in Northumbria, 19% in Durham and 11% Cleveland. Northumbria had the highest crime increase in England and Wales.  At the same time, the Conservative government is continuing to make cuts to police funding. What message does that send to criminals? Is there any wonder that crime is on the rise when our government clearly doesn’t see the fight against crime as a priority.

People deserve to feel safe in their homes and on our public streets.  It may be a cliché, but it’s only a cliché because it’s true and ignored by our government: is time to get tough on crime.

The government must give our police forces the resources that they need to protect their local communities, ensure good governance and that resources are focused on front-line policing not pen-pushing. That means fewer police press officers and more patrols on the streets.

We must also ensure that when criminals are found guilty they receive suitable prison sentences – sadly all too often (and much to the dismay of their victims) criminals walk away from court with little more than a slap on the wrist.

The North East already suffers from high unemployment and a lack of government investment. The last thing local people need is rising crime.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

LETTERS

Lax sentencing and an increase in crime have once again gone hand in hand

Dear Editor,

I was extremely disappointed to hear that a judge in Middlesbrough released a young criminal after declaring that his “wings are clipped” despite admitting that nothing has previously stopped this repeat offender and stating that he was “determined to embark on a life which will result in you being locked up for increasingly long periods in custody.”

Deterrence and rehabilitation are two core pillars of our justice system, but protection of the public is also vital.  Figures released on Thursday (20/10/2016) revealed that crime in the Cleveland Police area (which was already at a high level) rose by 11% in the past year.

Soft-touch justice fails to deter criminals, fails to protect the public, fails to ensure that the punishment fits the crime and fails to provide any incentive for offenders to rehabilitate.  Criminals whose actions show a danger to our society should head to prison, not return onto our streets after yet another slap on the wrists.

It is an old cliché to say “it’s time to get tough on crime”, but it’s true: lax sentencing and an increase in crime have once again gone hand in hand.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Bus lanes were not created to punish drivers

Dear Editor

I just read an article on the ChronicleLive website (14/10/16) which highlighted recent comments from a retired policeman about the Newcastle bus lanes.

This is an issue that constituents have raised with me on numerous occasions. Many people (especially from other areas who are not used to driving in Newcastle) feel that it is very easy to accidentally enter a bus lane in Newcastle and receive a ticket. Some constituents have even speculated this is not a coincidence.

I hope that Newcastle City Council use the recent decision to cancel around 5,000 penalties as an opportunity to review their system and make sure that it is fit for purpose.

I know this is a tough time for the Council and that more cuts are looming, but bus lanes were not specifically created to punish drivers or to generate revenue for the Council, nor should they unnecessarily put people off visiting Newcastle.

Regards,

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

The EU funded at least seven projects that were in violation of its own state aid laws

Dear Editor,

As your readers will be aware, the SSI steel plant in Redcar recently closed – this was an event that had a devastating impact on both the local economy and Teesside as a whole.

This plant closed for many reasons; one of these factors was that EU state aid laws hampered our government’s ability to support the plant and its employees.  SSI is only one of many examples of how state aid regulations have impacted British businesses.

I repeatedly called upon the government to support SSI in Redcar and I kept being told that this was not an option that was on the table.

I sit on the EU Budgetary Control Committee and I make a point of ensuring that I scrutinise the EU’s finances as much as I possibly can.   You can imagine my frustration this week when the EU Court of Auditors revealed that the EU funded at least seven projects that were in violation of its own state aid laws.

It seems to have been one rule for these EU projects and another for Redcar.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

The sooner the Government activates Article 50 and begins the formal Brexit process, the better

Dear Editor,

The UK (especially the North East) has been suffering deep and painful cuts to public services for many years now.  Just last week Newcastle Council discussed the need to cut an additional £30 million from their budget.

During the recent referendum, when the ‘IN’ campaign wasn’t focusing on spreading the lies of ‘Project Fear’ they kept telling us what great value for money membership of the EU was for British taxpayers.   As a member of the EU’s Budget Committee I pay close attention to financial decisions made by EU leaders and even I was stunned to hear the EU announce that they have given the Committee of the Regions (which meets 6 times per year) an extra €31,000 for tea and biscuits – they claimed this was because they had underestimated the required snack budget.

Not only does the EU provide poor value for money for taxpayers, but the unaccountable elites who dominate every level of its structure simply do have any interest in ensuring that money is spent wisely.  No expense is ever spared in the search for luxury – EU bureaucrats never face election and can spend freely with no fear of ever having to justify their decisions.

If they are spending significantly more than €31,000 on biscuits for the Committee of the Regions alone, I shudder to think how much wasted money is never accounted for.  The sooner the Government activates Article 50 and begins the formal Brexit process, the better.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Teesside needs investment, not rhetoric

Dear Editor,

Figures released last week revealed that Middlesbrough (23.9%) and Hartlepool (27.4%) are among the towns in the UK with the highest concentration of workless households.

As someone who lives on Teesside I can’t pretend that I was surprised by the figures.  This area has been underfunded and neglected for decades – successive Tory and Labour governments have shown little to no sign that they have even been interested in helping this area.

We need investment in long-neglected areas such as local infrastructure, public transport (anyone who has ever got a train from Hartlepool, or sat in gridlock just outside Middlesbrough will understand this very clearly) and roads – this investment will help attract new employers to the area.   In order to support and fill these new jobs we will need significant investment in education and this must not be limited to schools; we must ensure that adults are being trained with the skills they need to get into stable employment in a modern workforce.

Politicians sitting in London muttering about the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ will not fix these problems; investment is needed, not rhetoric.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

LETTERS

Newcastle Council cuts

Dear Editor,

Just a few days ago the Labour group on Newcastle Council decided to give some of the city’s highest paid Council staff very significant pay rises.  It was reported staff who already earned significantly more than £100,000 per year will receive pay rises that can be counted in the tens of thousands.

Yesterday (28/9/2016) I read an article on the Chronicle Live website which stated that Newcastle Council has created an online tool which lets local people decide how they would balance the budget in the face of £30 million cuts.  This tool is designed to give residents the chance to experience the decisions councillors face when drawing up a budget.

Of course, I fully understand that scrapping fat-cat raises for the top Council earners would only save a fraction of the £30 million that’s needed. But the point is one of principle – just like when I introduced amendments this week in the European Parliament ‘s Budget Committee to cut my own salary and allowances (but sadly was outvoted).

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott

(UKIP Member of the European Parliament for North East England)

LETTERS

It is great to see Co-op supporting British farming

Dear Editor,

 

Co-op have announced that they will switch to 100% British bacon and lamb in all of their own brand products.  Co-op already have an impressive record of backing British farming and I would like to take this opportunity to commend them for taking this one step further.

This is a move that will be appreciated by many of their existing customers and I have no doubt that this policy will attract new customers to Co-op stores.

British farming has faced many challenges in recent years and support from stores like Co-op and restaurants like McDonalds already play a key role in supporting literally tens of thousands of farms all across the UK.   I hope that more companies will following in Co-op’s very impressive footsteps.

 

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP