LETTERS

Crossrail 2

The government’s decision to approve London’s Crossrail2 project has proven controversial.
When Crossrail was approved we were assured that investment in the North was a priority – everyone in the North East knows that this claim proved to be false.

Now Crossrail2 is being finalised and we are once again being told that infrastructure in the North is a priority. I wonder if any of your readers actually believe these latest claims? I certainly don’t.

During every election campaign Labour and Tory MPs come up to the North East to reveal their grand plans to invest in our roads and railways, but once the election has ended we seldom hear anything more about these promises until the next election campaign has begun.

The North East does not need any more empty promises or pointless hype about the mythical ‘Northern Powerhouse.’ We need the infrastructure investment that we have been lacking for decades.

LETTERS

Successive governments have imposed damaging cut after damaging cut upon our Armed Forces

Dear Editor,

Tory Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has been attempting to convince military leaders and experts that he is not in charge of managing the decline of the British army; indeed he went as far as claiming that “defence is growing.”

I really do not know who Mr Fallon is trying to fool.  The British Army, Royal Airforce and Royal Navy are all undermanned, underfunded, underequipped and there seems to be no long-term vision or plan to address these problems.  Just this week the UK launched an impressive new aircraft carrier to much fanfare.   However, in recent years the size of the Royal Navy surface fleet has become alarmingly small and this has caused many people to question whether we are even in a position to properly utilise and protect these new carriers.

Successive governments have imposed damaging cut after damaging cut upon our Armed Forces and this has had a devastating impact across the board.  It is time for our political leaders to stop pretending that these problems don’t exist and start talking about policies to address these issues.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Hartlepool Borough Council should reject proposed 31% increase to councillor allowances

Dear Editor,

I was both shocked and disappointed to learn that Hartlepool Borough Council are considering raising councillor allowances by 31%.

Local councillors play a vital role in their community but in a time of cuts and council tax rises I believe that it would be extremely inappropriate to provide any councillors with a higher allowance.

In January Council leaders told us that they had ‘no alternative’ to raising council tax because of government cuts and a lack of funding. I would like to think that every single councillor who supported this tax rise will now be voting against raising allowances.

Residents were told that this tax rise would protect vital services, not fund a higher allowance for the councillors who enforced the tax rise. The Council should not even be considering this idea, if they have spare money in the budget then they should be investing it in frontline services such as social care.

Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Increase in manufacturing export orders welcomed

A report showing the strongest increase in manufacturing export orders in six years has been welcomed by North East MEP Jonathan Arnott.

The weak pound is making UK goods more competitive and demand from non EU markets has improved at a record pace. The demand from domestic customers is also at the strongest for three years;

A survey by the Confederation of British Industry also showed that expectations for export orders are at their at their strongest level in more than two decades.

Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP, said, “This report shows how wrong were those against our breakaway from the grip of the EU. They have been holding us back but now we are on the path to regaining our independence and our economy is going from strength to strength.

“The manufacturing industry in the North East has suffered badly over the decades but there is so much skill and thirst for success in the region that this survey can only be good news.

“Instead of trying to hold us back those politicians who still can’t accept the Brexit vote should wake up to the reality and make sure that everyone is pulling in the same direction as we move forward.”

LETTERS

If a war broke out tomorrow, would our Armed Forces be capable of defending Britain’s territory?

Dear Editor,

The idea of a war between Spain and the UK over Gibraltar is ridiculous. Politicians on both sides may enjoy blustering about this issue but it would never happen. However, this non-debate does highlight a much more serious question – if a war broke out tomorrow, would our Armed Forces be capable of defending Britain’s territory?

Savage cut after savage cut (many of the worst under David Cameron) have dramatically reduced the size and effectiveness of our Armed Forces. I also worry that we lack an effective long-term defence plan and that decisions are made based on short term and financial considerations. Politicians seeking re-election are often tempted into stopgap measures, knowing they won’t still be in office when bigger problems hit.

For example, the government (eventually) decided to invest in some new aircraft carriers (which are electorally popular, unlike for example anti-submarine vessels) but are we actually in a position to use these effectively? Does the Royal Navy have the resources to put together a true carrier squadron? If they somehow managed to scrape one together what impact would this have on operations in other areas of the world? The UK should have aircraft carriers, but if we invest in this we must ensure that we have a surface fleet capable of protecting and utilising them – otherwise they are good for little more than selfies on Conservative Party election materials.

Nor is it just our Royal Navy; the Army and RAF are also critically underfunded, undermanned and lack many basic resources – just last week Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was discussing the possibility of huge cuts to the Royal Marines.

MPs have underinvested in our Armed Forces for decades, but it takes a lot of nerve to make an implicit threat of war in the same week that you are also planning the next round of savage cuts.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

LETTERS

The government must be prepared to fight for our fishing industry

Dear Editor,

Democracy has prevailed! Article 50 has been triggered and the United Kingdom is leaving the EU. Talks between the UK and EU will kick off soon and many different priorities have been discussed in recent days; these have included everything from defence and security concerns to the wellbeing of London bankers.

One policy area that I feel has not received enough focus from either politicians or the media is our fishing industry – particularly here in the North East. We are a coastal region whose strong traditional fishing industry has been decimated thanks to EU policies which have caused untold misery and unemployment. Brexit represents a chance to start to undo some of these mistakes and could give the fishing industry a chance to prosper. We must stop foreign vessels overfishing our waters and rebuild our fishing fleet.

However, this will not happen if Theresa May and her government do not view this industry as a priority. British fishermen have been let down countless times since 1972; it is only fair and right that they be prioritised now. The Remain campaign did not agree, but our fishermen and the wider fishing industry are every bit as important as trendy jobs in London and our government must be prepared to fight for them.

Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP