Letters – There is no such thing as EU money.

Dear Editor,

The Beamish Museum is in the news this week because it is no longer earmarked to get £4 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

Now I am a great supporter of this County Durham heritage site, which is an economic asset to the North East, and I hope it long continues to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

But no one should be fooled into thinking that we should rely on and be grateful for European money. Let me make it plain – there is no such thing. This country meekly hands over a staggering £55 million a day to the EU and then they very kindly give us some back and we jump up and down in gratitude.

It is madness almost beyond belief and the sooner we leave this failing economic bloc the better.

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Arnott,

Re-engaging voters with politics will take more than hollow words

As we are now in a run-up to an election, many politicians are declaring their distress at low turnouts and slow voter registration.   The truth is that many people are disillusioned with politics full stop.  No matter what politicians promise or say, some people feel it won’t make a difference.

I regularly speak at public meetings all across the North East and at every single one  somebody will come up and thank UKIP for standing; saying that they haven’t voted in years and would not have voted this time if UKIP weren’t standing. This is something I am very proud of: UKIP may not be for everyone, but we have provided a voice and alternative option for many people who previously felt disenfranchised.

I’m living in the Easington constituency (one of the safest seats in England) and am standing for Parliament there.  For many years no-one but Labour has really campaigned there.  There are no no-go areas for UKIP, and – like many UKIP members standing in seats written off by the other parties – I hope to provide a real alternative choice in that area for the first time in decades.

The Scottish referendum showed how energised politics can be when people care about an issue and feel their vote matters.  When many young people in England don’t care about political parties, the answer isn’t more party politics but more direct democracy.

Giving power back to the people is core to UKIP’s beliefs. We believe local people not just politicians should be able to contribute towards the big decisions that impact their area.  Increased local democracy, referendums on key issues and a more representative voting system would all be positive steps to bring politics and power back to the people.

Letters – The level of immigration to the UK is unsustainable and will cause long term problems

Dear Editor,

New figures show that immigration to the UK has soared to 298,000 people per year. Just where are the government going find the jobs, housing, infrastructure and social and medical services that these people are going to need? Here in the North East we already have huge issues with a lack of housing, infrastructure, crippling council cuts and unemployment. How is a huge influx of more people going to do anything but put yet more pressure on these already serious issues?

Simultaneously, research from UCL shows many of our best and brightest are leaving for overseas.  Are they emigrating to the EU to enjoy the oft-hyped benefits of that union?  No, the top three destinations are Australia, America and Canada.

Our society is losing many of its best trained whilst constantly adding competition to those who are most vulnerable.   Whilst our NHS is crippled by a lack of British doctors and nurses and we are forced to recruit around the world, we are losing the sort of people who could fill these roles.

Meanwhile the working classes who already earn the least are seeing salaries and opportunities squeezed by evermore foreign workers applying for jobs while being prepared to work for less because our minimum wage is so much more than what they earned at home.   As the cost of living continues to rise; our youth and unemployed are faced with evermore competition for jobs that are paying less than they once did.

These immigration figures are unsustainable and will cause many long term problems if we can’t tackle the issue.  We must gain control of our borders, end open door immigration and reform our education system to ensure that we are training the skills that we need for our economy and vital services.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – We must continue to empower local communities

Dear Editor,
I am very pleased to hear that local residents have been listened to over the controversial proposed DISC development in Ashgrove Avenue.

If the local community does not want a project of this type in their area they should be able to block it.   UKIP policy is all about returning power to the people and giving them the chance to decide on key issues in their community.  I am glad that in this case the views of the local community have been listened to.

I hope that DISC will now be able to find a more suitable venue for this project.

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

Letter – The political class just don’t get it, do they?

Dear Editor,

The political class just don’t get it, do they?

Ed Balls has declared that a hedge trim or car wash should be treated the same way as a more formal purchase. He declares that people doing odd jobs “are not going to be VAT-registered” – all the while admitting that he himself hasn’t always treated purchases this way.

He is seeking to tax every drop he can from hard working people, not only seeking to grab yet more of their hard-earned money but also bury them under yet more red tape and paperwork.

But the fault doesn’t lie with the people, it lies with the politicians.  They should simplify the tax system, deal with the VAT mess, ensure big corporations pay their share and create a system where the rich can’t evade tax and expect to avoid prosecution.

Unlike Ed Balls and his Labour Cabinet colleagues, not all are millionaires: many people need these odd jobs to make ends meet and feed their families. Of course they should pay their taxes. But asking the local ice cream van for a receipt so we feel like ‘we’re all in it together’ isn’t going to solve the problem, and it might just be a tad patronising to the working people Labour used to care about, Mr. Balls.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – Thank you to the people of Hartlepool

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank all of the local residents I met at the UKIP North East conference in Hartlepool last Saturday. I meet local people on a daily basis and have been delighted to watch the consistent growth that UKIP has enjoyed in the town. It was fantastic to get the chance to meet so many local people all at once and to even have passers by going out of their way to approach the venue to enthusiastically announce their support for UKIP.

The North East has effectively been a one-party state for too long. I am delighted that UKIP are able to provide a true opposition for local people and I look forward to see a very exciting election campaign develop in the months ahead. I believe that UKIP can make a real difference and we are putting up a strong, young, hardworking candidate in Phillip Broughton who I believe could make a real difference for the people of Hartlepool.

Even if UKIP are not to your tastes, a strong opposition is good for all of us. Many local seats have been “safe” for a long time and waking up complacent politicians is good for all in our communities.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East