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

Letter – The NHS must put patient care above all else

Dear Editor,

Recent reports show that more than a thousand patients a day are taking up beds in NHS hospitals because nobody is available to look after them at home.

The solution to the NHS crisis is more than just throwing money at the problem – it is about careful management and spending money wisely.

In recent years the NHS has spent millions on art, and local hospitals employ huge amounts of back end staff in non medical functions, many doing what has been referred to as “non jobs.”  Whilst cutting services and medical staff, NHS hospitals have hired huge numbers of spin doctors, an “EU office director” and an “arts in the hospital co-ordinator.”  The NHS is currently advertising a “Senior Media Manager” position for which they are offering an annual salary of £53,367 – enough to hire 2 nurses for the year.

The NHS needs to be refocused upon patient care.  Is it acceptable for the NHS to lay off medical staff, shut A&Es and cut down key services but spend millions on art and hire legions of PR staff that do nothing to deliver frontline patient care?  I don’t think so.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East