Letters - October 17, 2019

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Brexit comes early for disabled citizens

Since March 31, 2019, disabled people in the UK have lost their status of being European citizens for the purpose of the Blue Badge Scheme, even before the UK has left the EU.

The new blue badge, which is now being issued, no longer contains the European flag and can now only be used in the UK.

This has huge implications for the 2.35 million disabled blue badge holders, including disabled citizens being open to fines for illegal parking in other European countries.

Up to the end of March they enjoyed the same rights enjoyed in the UK in all other EU countries.

This is a premature and callous step on the part of the Government and illustrates the contempt shown to the more vulnerable members of our society.

This is the start of a steady erosion of rights which will arise as a result of the UK leaving the European Union.

It is all the more worrying because there has been absolutely no publicity given about this to disabled people or those who represent their interests.

The situation for EU Blue Badge Holders remains to be seen.

When last checked, Government advice on this was last given in 2008.

This clandestine and underhand attack on disabled persons’ rights is deplorable and the Government should be brought to task and

condemned for this.

Shirley Harrison

address supplied


The only shop left with a bit of class

Another kick in the teeth for this town, Leftons was the only shop here left with a bit of class.

Richard Lefton is right, this town has been on a downward trend for years and walking around it now resembles a bomb site and with the council pandering only to the incoming tourists.

Who on earth do the council think is going to keep coming here except the lower clientele, but of course they will still have the nerve to put the council tax up.

What a disgrace.




Importance of shaking hands

Handshakes are in the news due to a study that suggests that one lasting more than a couple of seconds is a bad sign for a friendship.

The handshake between Donald Trump and French prime minister Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit last year lasted ages, and had more than a few shades of Hollywood about it.

For most of us, a handshake is a form of endearment, friendship and congratulations – for men it is sometimes accompanied by a mini-hug, maybe for scoring a goal in extra time.

For me, a few years ago, I had what seemed to be a surprising experience. I offered the hand of friendship to the captain of a cruise ship one evening, when senior officers were mingling with ‘guests’, as we passengers were called.

He looked very sheepish, but we shook hands. Later I realised why he was hesitant – there was an outbreak of norovirus on board and it was spreading around the ship rapidly.

All food was served by catering staff wearing gloves and hand rails were constantly disinfected.

Needless to say, that handshake lasted less than two seconds!

Graham Branston

via email


Making dashboard work for everyone

With more than one-fifth of people across the North West with a pension admitting to having lost track of a pension pot, we were pleased to see in this week’s Queen’s Speech that the Government intends to introduce legislation to compel pension companies to provide the data needed to make the pensions dashboard – a place to see all your pension savings online – work for savers.

Without compelling providers to supply the relevant data, the dashboard would remain a pipedream. But there remains a package of measures necessary if the public are to have confidence in it.

More than seven in 10 people across the North West want to see all their pension in one place.

The dashboard won’t work unless this is the case, making it crucial that all pensions are available on the dashboard. Pension charges must be included from the outset to achieve transparency.

And if the Government continues to promote multiple versions of the pensions dashboards, it’s absolutely vital that a legal duty to

operate in the best interests of savers is placed on all operators.

Gregg McClymont

Director of policy for

The People’s Pension and former shadow pension minister