Letter – We must provide proper facilities for our school children

Dear Editor,

I’d like to praise Central First School in Ashington, Northumberland, following their transformation of a double-decker bus into a classroom, as a cost-effective solution to their chronic lack of space.

However, does this not illustrate the sad state of affairs in our education system today?

The Labour Party failed miserably during their time in government trying to gain value for money for taxpayers on new school builds. This has ultimately left us with overcrowded classrooms and underperforming schools.

Only last year we heard how our government poured £388 million into the ‘Education for All’ programme in India – a report released by the Indian government highlighted how no less than £70 million for the programme had either been stolen or lost.

How can it possibly be right that our London-based political elite lavish millions into other countries’ education systems, when our own kids here in the North East are forced to learn in buses due to the lack of classroom space?

It’s high time we ensured that our children receive the best possible start in life.

Jonathan Arnott MEP, UKIP

North East Region.

Letter – Announcing my support for the Right Lines campaign

Dear Editor,

I would like to publicly pledge my support to the Echo’s Right Lines campaign.

Modernising and improving the North East’s railways is absolutely vital to improving the region’s future prosperity.  In recent weeks I have spoken about this issue multiple times and I am delighted to throw my full support behind your paper’s campaign.

Not only are our lines and stations in need of improvements but many of the local trains are both outdated and outrageously overcrowded.  We need to be able to provide faster, more reliable and more comfortable public transport for the people of the North East.

London spends 24 times as much per person on transport infrastructure as we do here in the North East.  Recent investment from Grand Central is welcome, but if we are going to fix this long-running issue then we need further investment both from the private and public sectors. I hope that your campaign brings us closer to the day when our local infrastructure is on a par with the rest of the country.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East region

Letter – Yet more evidence highlights the lack of recovery in the North East

Dear Editor,

Sadly, I was not surprised to read yet again, that the North East is lagging behind the rest of the country.  Recent reports show that while UK house prices are rising, prices in the North East are in decline.

This is yet another sign of the lack of recovery in the North East.   Unemployment is rising across the region, whilst it falls in every other part of the country. Meanwhile our local NHS at best is stagnating – while at worst it crumbles, areas of the region have among the highest percent of vacant shop fronts in the UK and our infrastructure is overcrowded and under funded.

The North East has been let down for long enough. It is the out of touch Conservatives and the Labour “one party state” in the North that have led us into this mess – they were the cause but they are not the solution.  UKIP are the true opposition in the North of England and we will ensure the elitist political classes are held to account on behalf of its citizens.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letter – Don’t believe Labour’s Lies

Dear Editor,

It was bitterly disappointing to see Labour’s MP for Hartlepool, Iain Wright, resort to gutter-style politics in Wednesday’s (Oct 15th) edition of the Northern Echo.

Labour seem completely incapable of debating UKIP on policy, so instead, have resorted to smears and lies, in a measly attempt to stop the UKIP surge in Hartlepool.

UKIP do not want to charge patients to see their GP and do not want to see the NHS privatised. In fact, it was Labour Peers Lord Winston and Lord Warner, who have suggested that individuals should be charged for use of the NHS. It was under the Labour Party that we saw privatisation of our NHS balloon in the form of PFI agreements.

How can Mr Wright possibly suggest that UKIP want to see tax rises for the poorest in society when it has been UKIP’s policy for years to ensure that those who earn the minimum wage don’t pay a penny piece in income tax?

Let’s hope in the run up to next year’s General Election Labour decide to debate policy and substance rather than misinformation and smears.

Jonathan Arnott, UKIP MEP

Letter- A long-term railway investment plan is required

Dear Editor,

Last week, Grand Central announced a large investment in the region’s rail network, but the Journal’s story today reinforced yet again just how much work is ahead of us before infrastructure in the North East is on par with the rest of the country.

Whether you are travelling to work, an event or just going to the shops, the railways are key to thousands of peoples daily commute.  Yet those same lines are plagued by outdated trains, over crowding and underinvestment.  This chronic overcrowding proves beyond any doubt the demand for rail services and the justification for further investment.

We need improved lines, updated trains and more seats.  A temporary fix it up will not be good enough, nor is maintaining the status quo.  London spends 24 times as much per person on transport infrastructure as we do in the North East, if we seriously want to tackle this vital issue, then we need to invest in our railways and put in place a long term solution.  Fixing this issue will make life easier for thousands of local people everyday whilst simultaneously strengthening the region’s economy.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East region

Letter – We need improved infrastructure to be competitive with other regions

Dear Editor,

I am delighted with the news that Grand Central have decided to invest in our regions rail infrastructure.  Our transport links, whether that is the road system (especially the A1 – which I am campaigning to have dualed), rail, buses or airports, are vital to improving the economic fortunes of the region.

I can speak from first-hand experience that the local rail system badly requires significant investment – not just the lines but also the trains themselves and these issues should be addressed via this investment.  I will be playing an active role in the local consultation and I highly recommend as many of your readers as possible get involved, this is your transport system and it should be designed to suit your needs.

Sadly our region remains massively under invested in – London spends 24 times as much per person on transport infrastructure as we do in the North East. This investment is a good start but we have a lot of work to do to put ourselves on an equal footing with the rest of the country.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East region