Letters – Praise for local football fans

Dear Editor,

As an avid football fan, and a football commentator for a hospital radio station, I completely understand the intense rivalry between local football clubs.

Therefore, as an ambassador of this region, it fills me with pride that fans from both Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC have met together at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle recently, in an attempt to look at ways for fans to keep the passion, but lose the hate, between the two clubs.

Those who participate in endless bouts of violence before, during and after games, who know full well they run the risk of being banned from the stadium in future games, are thugs, not fans.

These people not only affect other fans at games, but often their local communities too.

Football has moved on since the dark days of frequent outbursts of violence and hate on the terraces, let’s work together, and push forward for a safer environment for all.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – Cut waste not key services

Dear Editor,

We’ve already seen frontline services in the North East crippled in everything from the NHS to road repairs, and are now told things are going to get worse under future governments.  Labour bankrupted our country and now the Liberal/Tory coalition has somehow made things worse.

When you consider the tens of millions of pounds which we throw down the drain every day, it is appalling that we face more years of under-investment in our local areas.  I’m a realist; I understand that times are hard – but the government is choosing the wrong areas for tightening our belts.

Before we make more cuts to key services, perhaps we should get our house in order?  We pay the EU 55 million pounds every single day and in recent years we have paid foreign aid to a list of nations which includes China, Russia and Argentina.

Perhaps we should start to look out for the thousands of parents who struggle to feed their families here in the North East, before we fund India’s space programme?

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP North East

Letters – Hartlepool foodbank shame

Dear Editor,

It is devastating that in the 21st Century foodbanks still exist and that vital food handouts are given to families on an average of every three minutes in our town.  I support the wonderful voluntary work that is going on, and thank all members of the public who have donated towards collections.  Having seen for myself the sterling work done by Hartlepool Tesco in getting food for local foodbanks, it’s encouraging that people are able to come together in support of a worthy cause.

The last time I visited a local foodbank itself, the number of in-work people seeking assistance was startling.  How can it possibly be right that people go out to work, attempt to make ends meet, but are still reliant on rescue packages from foodbanks?

It’s grossly unfair that those who manage to find a job, on the minimum wage, are taxed immediately by our greedy Islington-obsessed career-class politicians.  UKIP want to lift those who are on the minimum wage out of income tax altogether; ensuring work really pays.  We also need to make our benefits system fairer, more accessible and flexible. Too often deserving people miss out on what they are entitled to due to our overly complex benefits system, whilst the minority who abuse the system often go undetected.

These two changes alone would go a significant distance in supporting the lowest paid in the land, and helping those who need it most.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, Elwick Road, Hartlepool.

Letters – Customer service should always be a priority

Dear Editor,

It is good to see that bosses from Nexus have acknowledged some of the issues facing the Metro service.  However constituents advise me that the problems run deeper than the obvious issues to do with the trains and lines.

Constituents have complained to me of large indoor stations left completely unmanned in the evening.  One even complained about dogs walking around inside the station with no staff even aware of the issue.

Customer service needs to improve hand-in-hand with improvements to trains and lines.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letter – We must focus on key services, not vanity projects

Dear Editor

Westminster Council have just approved a “garden bridge” at the cost of £175m to the taxpayer.  Not only is this bridge expensive but it will cost £3.5m in annual maintenance.   Some people have dubbed it “the most expensive footbridge in the world”.

It is interesting to see that London Councils can afford to build hundred million pound infrastructure projects primarily as a piece of art.   Here in the North East we have run down railways with cattle trucks for trains, inadequate, overcrowded roads and a health system that is being gradually decimated due to lack of funds.  Many Councils here couldn’t afford to build a footbridge for practical reasons, never mind artistic ones. Perhaps the people of London could make do with a simply functional new footbridge and the extra (estimated at around 5-10 times what was necessary) funding could be redistributed around the country to help areas where the infrastructure doesn’t even meet the most basic of requirements.

I for one would welcome a large investment into our local railways, even if it didn’t quite meet the artistic tastes of Westminster Council.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – Build houses on brownfield sites

Dear Editor,

I welcome the Journal article of 26th November which highlights the urgent need for house building in the North East, specifically on brownfield sites.

In the UK we simply do not build enough houses (or other infrastructure) to support an ever growing population and our constantly growing immigration numbers.  So it is a damning indictment on our housing infrastructure in the North East that we are below even the national average.
A focus on brownfield sites has been UKIP policy for many years and would generate significant improvement in our region. Let’s make sure that this includes affordable homes for first-time buyers whilst protecting our cherished greenbelt.
Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East