Letters - November 28, 2016

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivers his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivers his Autumn Statement in the House of Commons, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

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ECONOMY

The Tories will not chage their spots

For the sake of political balance, can you explain why The Gazette chose to follow the Conservatives’ agenda in its response to Philip Hammond’s Autumn Statement (Fylde coast reacts to Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Gazette, November 24)?

You blandly report an increase in the so-called, ‘living wage’ when, in fact, a higher increase had already built into the next rate review by Hammond’s predecessor George Osborne. What the current Chancellor was doing here was actually reducing that pre-planned rise. Under the circumstances, this hardly counts as a positive announcement that will provide “jam tomorrow.”

Again, you flatly report a “raft of investment programmes,” without any acknowledgement that most of these were not new at all – simply programmes that have been previously announced.

It puzzles me how Paul Maynard can talk about “measures which... would help the less well-off working families on the Fylde coast,” when the stark fact is that there will still be a £3bn cut in the work allowance that Universal Credit claimants can earn before their benefits are withdrawn. Couple this with the fact that Osborne’s previously planned four-year freeze in most in-work benefits will still go ahead, and I can’t see how ‘just about managing’ Fylde coast families will be jumping for joy.

The Government used one of Parliament’s set piece annual finance statements to announce the allocation of £7.6m for the restoration of Wentworth Woodhouse; a mansion that may (or may not) be the inspiration behind Jane Austen’s Pemberley. I can just see readers up and down the Fylde whooping with delight over that one, whilst we shell out for higher insurance following an increase in the insurance tax premium.

Meanwhile, the amount that businesses are required to contribute to the public good is set to fall as Corporation Tax is reduced yet again, to 17 per cent, the lowest business tax-take of all industrialised nations on Earth.

It doesn’t matter how often Theresa May or her minions deliver heroic speeches about helping the less well off. The Tories will never change their spots… it will always be tax breaks for the rich and living standard cuts for the rest.

Steven Scobie

via email

TRANSPORT

Thanks for restoring community lifeline

In April this year, The Gazette featured issues I raised about severe financial cutbacks and the restrictions caused to public transport in the area between Poulton and Knott End.

Letters to Lancaster County Council and the local MP produced no solutions. The most serious issue was not the limits imposed on social and recreational activities, but safety and health was compromised as we had no transport available at all on Sundays and could not access the Victoria Hospital emergency services or the drop-in centre.

However, I cannot express my thanks enough to Catch 22 bus services, who are extending one of their existing services to run on from Poulton to Knott End on an hourly basis on Sundays beginning on Sunday, December 11, giving access to other buses, particularly the 2c to the Victoria Hospital and Blackpool. So thank you Catch 22, I hope your initiative will be supported so the service remains financially viable.

Mrs Rennie Fry

The Crescent

Stalmine

ENTERTAINMENT

We need some top touring musicals

There has recently been mixed reports of shows featuring local artists. First, one of the Nolan dynasty, Maureen, was to have appeared in Great Expectations at the Opera House, but apparently the production didn’t attract the public and has had to be cancelled. Then comes news of another of our own leading ladies, Jodie Prenger, in Shirley Valentine, but alas, no mention if the Winter Gardens supremo has booked this for a local staging.

This has long been a sore point with me, as I’ve previously expressed disappointment at the number of top musicals that manager Michael Williams has failed to book. To rub it in, these have regularly turned up at Liverpool, Salford and Manchester.

For 2017, I am delighted he has booked La Cage Aux Folles with John Partridge and Marti Webb. I saw this wonderful musical on Broadway in New York in 1981.

I am still hopeful we could be getting Funny Girl, and even bigger hope when I read Miss Saigon is touring – what a great summer attraction this would be at our beautiful Opera House.

Finally, will another Nolan, Linda, get a home booking when new show Our House tours from August.

Neil Kendall

Stamford Avenue

South Shore

ANIMALS

Don’t give a pet as a gift this Christmas

We all tend to receive a Christmas present we really want at some time in our life – it’s just one of those things, but just supposing that unwanted present was a pet.

Think of the dilemma this would cause, not only for the recipient but for the pet which could end up unloved, unwanted and be sent to one of our already overburdened, hard working local sanctuaries for re-homing or be cruelly abandoned.

Animals are live, sentient creatures, not stuffed cuddly toys and cannot be taken back to the shop for a refund or credit note. Nor are they disposable objects.

So please do not surprise anyone with a gift of a pet for Christmas.

May I suggest you buy them a book about caring for it as a present instead with a promise that the pet will follow later when they have read all about what is involved in its day to day care, if they are still interested.

Christmas is a totally unsuitable time to bring any new pet in to an unfamiliar household.

Pets are for life, not just for Christmas.

Josephine Harwood

Moor Park Avenue

Bispham