Last year I was very vocal in my opposition to plans from Stockton-on-Tees Council to invest in a Hilton hotel. At a time when local residents were been faced with simultaneous Council Tax rises and cuts to key services I felt the the mere idea of investing in a luxury hotel was absurd. However, in the end the Council ignored all of those who opposed this plan and invested in Hilton anyway.
Imagine my surprise last week when I learned that the Council which was more than happy to invest huge amounts of money in a hotel had decided to raise Council Tax by 6% – the highest rise of any Teesside council.
When many people are struggling to simply make ends meet and evermore people are relying on foodbanks to feed their families, how can any local Councillor look their constituents in the eye and defend Council policies which prioritise investing in a billion dollar hotel company over providing frontline services for local residents?
Council Tax appears to be on the rise all across the North East, but I am sure that your readers will agree that this decision by Stockton-on-Tees Council was particularly egregious.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
http://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/altlogo.gif00Darrenhttp://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/altlogo.gifDarren2018-02-19 15:58:152018-02-19 15:58:15How can any Councillor look their constituents in the eye and defend Council policies which prioritise investing in a hotel company over providing frontline services for residents
I welcome the announcement from Alan Foster that maternity services will not be centralised at James Cook University Hospital as had long been feared.
The loss of Hartlepool’s A&E services is still a major issue for the area and it is very clear that local people want key medical services to remain at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
The narrative surrounding hospital services in Hartlepool has long centered around talking about which services will be cut, removed or reduced; this must now change to a discussion about how to improve existing services such as the midwife-led maternity services and how to increase provision for those requiring emergency care.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
http://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/LETTERS-1.png30800Darrenhttp://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/altlogo.gifDarren2018-02-19 14:04:172018-02-19 14:10:06The narrative surrounding hospital services in Hartlepool must change
I am pleased, and not surprised, that a poll has shown overwhelming opposition to new appointments to the House of Lords.
This has been revealed by new BMG Research polling commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society and it would appear it has put a halt, at least for now, on plans for about 15 new peers to be appointed.
These mooted appointments are opposed by the majority of Conservative, Labour and UKIP supporters who expressed views. The poll shows that 78% think there are already too many Lords – compared to just 18% who think the current size of nearly 800 is ‘about right’.
I am, and always have been, with the majority on this – the Lords is simply bloated and is not fit for purpose. In the name of democracy reform is long overdue.
It is packed with sycophantic cronies as recently demonstrated by the stated aim of several to derail the desire of the majority of the public for Brexit. The Lords was once a respected and respectable chamber but quite frankly that era has gone and the public has had enough of this unelected and unaccountable bunch.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
http://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/LETTERS-1.png30800Darrenhttp://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/altlogo.gifDarren2018-02-15 15:16:082018-02-16 10:01:39The Lords is bloated and is not fit for purpose. In the name of democracy reform is long overdue
While the EU continues to stamp its feet like a petulant child over Brexit it was reassuring, though not surprising, to hear that our relations with China will not change.
At least the beleaguered Mrs May was able to return from her trip there with that good news from the Chinese Prime Minister – something she generally needs more of right now – and our trading relationship with that vast country should continue to strengthen.
The EU is a declining economic bloc; by 2050 the EU’s own projections show that the whole EU27 put together will only be the world’s 4th-largest economy. China is just one of the countries with a growing economy outside the European Union with which we can have mutually beneficial trade deals.
The British government’s negotiating position has so far been weak; a confident, forward-looking, outward-looking robust approach is needed. It’s not too late for us to adopt the right approach.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
http://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/LETTERS-1.png30800Darrenhttp://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/altlogo.gifDarren2018-02-07 17:55:122018-02-07 17:55:40It's not too late to adopt the right approach
As far as I can tell the bottom hasn’t fallen out of the world since the UK voted for Brexit – and nor will it.
But those in favour of remaining still invent opportunities to proclaim, or at least imply, that our future is a bleak one filled with doom and gloom.
The latest I spotted was a report from Parcelhero (no, I’d never heard of them either) who suggest that Brexit could mean consumer rights giving online shoppers a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period being rescinded. But leaving the EU does not mean that this and all the other EU legislation foisted on us will be torn up by our government. Indeed, in many areas of workers’ rights and consumer rights, UK law is stronger than the EU requirements. If a British government truly wished to erode rights, this would not be the case.
Some legislation, particularly anything imposed with the EU ‘one size fits all” philosophy which does not suit our country, may rightly be amended post-Brexit to be tailored to the UK’s actual needs.
There are virtually no opponents to rights such as those in the Consumer Rights Directive. It is wrong to suggest that legislation that benefits our citizens is automatically at threat; Remainers are fighting against shadows, tilting against windmills.
http://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/LETTERS.png30800Darrenhttp://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/altlogo.gifDarren2018-02-07 11:45:212018-02-07 11:45:21Remainers are fighting against shadows
I quite agree with the 26 North East Labour MPs demanding more transport investment in the region.
They are quite right and it is a subject close to my heart about which I have spoken on many many occasions. There may be some dispute about the exact figures involved in the discrepancy between the North East and London but there is undoubtedly a yawning gap.
It is an issue that must be pursued but I have to say it’s a pity that the local Labour MPs did not take action when they were in power between 1997 – 2010.
Jonathan Arnott, North East Independent MEP
http://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/altlogo.gif00Darrenhttp://www.jonathanarnott.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/altlogo.gifDarren2018-02-07 10:09:032018-02-07 10:09:03The North East requires more investment in transport