Letters, April 19 on potholes, pensions, and anti-semitism

Photo Neil Cross'Lancashire's pot hole blackspots'Station Road, Bamber Bridge
Photo Neil Cross'Lancashire's pot hole blackspots'Station Road, Bamber Bridge

Potholes

Prevention better than cure

Yur recent letters pages have raised the issue of holes – potholes that is.

The recent rain has added to the problem. Estimates that there are many years’ worth of repairs are surely well short of the mark now. Indeed, some of our local roads are close to being washed away.

As a medical practitioner, I know that prevention is better than cure.

So while it is important to repair the damaged roads, it is just as important to try to prevent the damage which is no longer just wear and tear but is exacerbated by man made changes in our climate.

The repairs are the responsibility of our local and national governments.

They need to invest more or else our economy will be brought to a halt by the condition of our roads.

But climate change is the responsibility of us all.

As individuals, we should do all we can to reduce our carbon footprint and we should be pressurising our elected representatives to ensure that environmental considerations are a primary consideration in all their decision-making.

Andrew Murday

Address supplied

Pensions

A rise but taxed more

As a local OAP I’m grateful to David Morris MP for pointing out that I will be receiving an additional £190 in State Pension this coming year.

Some of us, not wishing to be a future burden on relatives or on the state in our old age, have tried to make savings from income during our working lives.

The tax allowance of dividend income arising from investments has been reduced on April 6, 2018 from £5,000 to £2,000, the difference being charged at 7.5pc or £225.

Nice one Dave.

Ian R White

Webster Grove

Bare

Morecambe

Anti-semitism

Baseless attack

As a member of the local Jewish community, I know all too well that anti-Semitism is a real issue and found in almost every area of British society.

That over half a million members of the British public have become members of the Labour Party does not magically guarantee them to be free of anti-Semitic views.

Therefore, the Labour Party, and all sections of society, need to remain vigilant and act against those who would spread this hatred.

However, your nameless correspondent (April 12, Concern is not a plot) does this struggle few favours.

Suggesting, without any shred of evidence, that anti-Semitism is “now part of the infrastructure and ideology” of the Labour Party is a disgraceful claim – and the sort of hyperbole which undermines the serious task of tackling the hatred of Jewish people.

Had your anonymous letter writer been more concerned with the issue, and less with political point scoring, they might have learned some facts before attacking my wife – Cat Smith MP. They might then have discovered how she’s been a strong ally of the Jewish community on this issue, is an active member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism and regularly works with the national representative bodies of the Jewish community. All people of goodwill should join the struggle against anti-Semitism – but if your interests lie in exploiting this issue to promote other agendas, please leave us out of your games.

Ben Soffa

Lancaster

Full address supplied

Animal welfare

Stick to live exports ban

I hope that calls by Michael Gove for industry experts and campaigners to submit evidence about the live export of animals is not just another Tory sound-bite.

EU rules currently prevent the UK banning exports of livestock but plainly after Brexit that is something we would be free to do.

It is estimated that 20,000 live sheep were exported last year to Europe and like many I think that is 20,000 too many.

We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world but putting live sheep in transporters for slaughter or fattening hundreds or thousands of miles away is not good enough.

The environment secretary is said to be considering a ban but all other options will also be up for discussion.

Obviously those involved in the industry may have a vested interest in the status quo but a firm stand needs to be taken over this issue.

Paul Nuttall, North West MEP

UK Independence Party

Cancer support

New Action to offer help

For more than 30 years, the Lymphoma Association has been supporting people affected by lymphatic cancer (lymphoma). Our Lancaster support group meets regularly in this area for individuals who are, or have been, affected by lymphoma in some way including patients, family members, partners, friends and carers.

We are incredibly excited to announce that as of April 18 we changed our name to Lymphoma Action and unveiled a new logo and website. As the UK’s only charity dedicated to lymphoma, the UK’s fifth most common cancer, our mission – to give anyone affected by lymphoma the specialist and dedicated information and support they need – will stay exactly the same.

Our refreshed brand reflects the progress we’ve made and our new website, which includes refreshed content, will make it easier for people affected by lymphoma to get the help they need.

Anyone in Lancaster who is affected by lymphoma can visit www.lymphoma-action.org.uk or call 0808 808 5555 and continue to access our information and support services including a Freephone Helpline.

Simon Hills

Interim chief executive

Lymphoma Action

Policing

More police plea too easy

Criminals never believe they will be caught. Whatever police numbers are, may be or should be, it doesn’t make a scrap of difference – thugs will still go out and rob, injure or kill. Because that’s the way they are.

In one of my former careers as a customs officer, I was often asked whether we had enough people guarding our coasts against smugglers.

“How many is enough?” I would reply. “If we had sufficient numbers of customs officers to stand arm in arm around the coast, smugglers would still get through, so instead we adopt an intelligence-based approach designed to target our resources – which in a free society will always be limited – against the most likely threats.”

The plain fact is that unless there is intelligence that a crime is being planned, there is nothing that any police officer can realistically do to stop a youth arming themselves with a knife and going out to stab someone, whether in London, Lancaster or anywhere else.

Hugh Rogers

Address supplied

Social care

Stop cutting the budgets

In the continuing debate about social care funding and ideas to improve funding, forgive me for being obtuse but the straight answer is taxation and National Insurance.

We have paid it all our working lives so why do we have to pay again? We are taxed to the hilt as it is. Oh I forgot, apart from those who get tax breaks – supermarkets, big businesses and such like.

I am not elderly but I do have home care and one gets an annual financial review. Once we get to keep what we are allowed to live on, social services take the rest. It’s a fallacy that sick/old/disabled people get care for free.

Nor are we getting pots of money and living off the fat of the land. The care providers work hard on a tight budget and are obliged to provide endless training on a three-year cycle.

The answer to the question of new ideas to fund social care is to stop the Government from cutting council budgets to the bone

and give us back the taxes we

pay.

Jenny Dent

Address supplied

Bottle deposit plan

Give it time to get right

I suppose there will be some people who will diligently load up their cars with empty plastic bottles (washed, of course) and lug them to their local supermarket in the hope of getting a tuppenny ha’penny voucher in return. The effect on the environment will be minimal, but hey, it’s the thought that counts.

In the real world, most of us will simply go on dumping used plastic in the bins which most councils already provide for recycling purposes.

Understandably traders seem reluctant to provide costly facilities which the bulk of the public might be unlikely to support without legislation to encourage them to do so.

The Government is right to carry out a “thorough” consultation before embarking upon legislation.

If that takes a little time, then so be it – we need to get it right, not rush into measures which are badly thought out or impracticable, just to please the media. The plastics problem has evolved over many years, what do a few extra months matter?

Hugh Rogers

Address supplied