Saying that the dualling the A1 “continues to be a priority” is just not good enough

Dear Editor,

Confirmation from Transport Secretary Chris Grayling that the A1 is to be dualled from Northumberland to Scotland is to be welcomed.

But forgive me for not getting too excited – there is still no firm timetable for the work to begin.

I appreciate that the work will need to be carried out in stages to minimise the inevitable traffic delays it will create but frankly just saying that the dualling work “continues to be a priority” is just not good enough.

I have been personally pushing for the A1 improvements for many a year, as have many others, and the announcement of a firm date for work to begin is beyond overdue. And I am also keeping an eye on the A19 improvement plans.

All government departments are under budget constraints and what is a priority today can easily get kicked into the long grass. I shall do my best to ensure this does not happen.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Does Newcastle City Council exist to serve local residents or their highest paid and most powerful staff?

Dear Editor,

I was amazed to read that the Labour-controlled Newcastle City Council has given Chief Executive Pat Ritchie yet another pay rise.   This latest pay rise will reportedly put Ms Ritchie’s (who was already paid more than the Prime Minister) salary at  £160,000 per year.

This Labour council have spent the last few years threatening local residents with cuts to everything from healthcare to school crossing patrols ‘due to a lack of government funding.’  Whilst there is no doubt that Tory austerity has made life difficult for councils, I admit that I find it curious that  even in the midst of savage cuts to frontline services, Newcastle City Council seem to have a limitless pot of money available  to fund pay rise after pay rise for senior council staff.

I for one cannot blame your readers for questioning whether this council exists to serve local residents or their highest paid and most powerful staff.

Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Do you want more prisons? Or more criminals on your street?

Dear Editor,

Due to mismanagement by successive Tory and Labour governments our country is in the midst of a long-running and high-profile prison crisis.

We do not have enough prisons or cells, and many of those we do are outdated and unfit for purpose. We do not have nearly enough prison staff and our prison system has a huge discipline problem extending from contraband (such as phones and drugs) being commonplace within our jails to full-scale riots which have been taking over control of prisons. This utterly unacceptable situation has taken a huge toll on the wellbeing of both prison staff and inmates.

Lib Dem MP Nick Clegg has proposed a ‘solution’ – reducing prison numbers by releasing criminals. I cannot speak for your readers, but if I were given the choice of building more jails or having more convinced criminals on the streets, I would build more jails.

We must address the prison crisis by building new, modern prisons; vastly increasing the number of cells available across the UK, and significantly increasing the number of staff in our jails. Whilst we are doing this I would also recommend reviewing sentencing guidelines and introducing harsher deterrent punishments where appropriate. If sentencing is robust and prison conditions are tough, hopefully there will be fewer criminals and a safer society for everyone. A disciplined prison system will protect hard-working prison staff and increase inmate security.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Impact of the Landfill Directive

Dear Editor,

As a UKIP MEP I obviously look forward to the day we get our country back and are free of the EU shackles.

Having to dance to their tune is just wrong and I am thrilled that we voted to make our own music in last June’s Referendum.

Meanwhile, though not everyone is aware quite how many aspects of our life they rule one that people are conscious of is the impact of their Landfill Directive demands.

The government is under pressure to meet the EU’s impossible recycling targets and councils are under financial pressure from the government.

I well recall when our household rubbish was collected each week but after recycling bins came in most local authorities seized on this as opportunity to introduce alternative week collections.

Now some areas of the country only get their household bins emptied every three weeks and, outrageously in my book, trials are now going on with just once a month collections.

That is iniquitous and will lead to fly tipping and rubbish burning, which ironically will worsen pollution which the EU’s targets are designed to reduce.

There are public health issues here and the government should stand up the local authorities planning this madness and ensure we leave the EU fast and set our own targets.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

LETTERS

Football must be a safe environment for our children

Dear Editor

I would like to take this opportunity to praise all those who have come forward to report sexual abuse suffered whilst taking part in youth football. This is an incredibly brave thing to do and not only does it ensure that we can punish those responsible for these despicable crimes, but it also means that we can take steps to protect children in the future.

It has been particularly worrying to hear reports of famous clubs paying large sums of money to victims in order to cover up these crimes.  The FA’s investigation must be thorough at all levels of football and it must ensure that from the largest Premier League club to the smallest local youth team, every club recognises its responsibility to protect its players.

Football is a key part of our national identity; it (and indeed every sport) must be a safe environment for our children.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Labour are worried that their pro-EU message may not be resonating with voters

Dear Editor,

The media has reported that senior Labour figures have blamed their poor performance (a drop from second to fourth) in the Sleaford by election on difficulties caused by voters’ focus on Brexit.

It seems that some in Labour are worried that the pro-EU, pro-uncontrolled immigration, anti-patriotic, anti-monarchy and anti-armed forces message so beloved by the disproportionately London-centric leadership of the Labour Party may not be resonating with ordinary voters across the nation.

Some commentators will no doubt suggest that voters across (the very much pro-Brexit) North East will be equally turned off by this modern Labour Party and its priorities. Scotland has already turned its back on Labour (even the Tories now surpassing them) and they have lost huge ground in their traditional Welsh heartlands too. If we in UKIP can get things right, the North East will be next.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East