The recent news that many Blackpool rail services will be downgraded by being provided with decades-old carriages is a clear illustration of the chaos and inefficiency of rail privatisation.
For example, in 2013 the Northern Rail franchise paid £36m in dividends to its joint owner Serco and Abellio, a unit of the Dutch national rail operator.
Abellio has just won the 10-year ScotRail franchise for running train services in Scotland. Arriva, which is owned by Germany’s Deutsche Bahn, runs five UK rail contracts, including CrossCountry and Arriva Trains Wales, while Keolis, controlled by the French state rail company SNCF, is the joint operator of four franchises, including Southeastern and London Midland.
You get the picture. Large sections of the British rail industry have been renationalised by Dutch, German and French state-run industries.
A similar story can be told about the electricity industry. The Tories told us that privatisation would unleash the efficiency and entrepreneurship of the private sector on these industries. That argument is now in tatters.
Shame on New Labour for not reversing this when they had the chance because you can bet the NHS will be next.
Ballroom cold in winter
With reference to the condition of the Tower Ballroom for the Pigeon Weekend dance (Gazette, January 24), I have been going to the ballroom for about 50 years and it has always been cold in the winter.
There have been heaters put in the ballroom for many years as the heating itself is not warm enough.
As for no-one complaining who had been there in the afternoon of the pigeon event, I don’t believe it.
I myself have sat inside there with my coat on during the winter.
Mrs P. Meakin
Many people have days when they don’t want to leave the house, but thankfully they are few and far between.
But for one in seven young people in the North West, these feelings of anxiety are overwhelming and they often struggle to step out of their own front door.
The Prince’s Trust Macquarie Youth Index reveals that unemployed young people are even more likely to feel this way, causing them to slip further and further from the jobs market.
Looking for a job isn’t just about getting the right qualifications.
Anyone who’s ever interviewed someone will know that a strong CV counts for nothing if the candidate can’t even look you in the eye.
Youth unemployment may be falling, but there are still thousands of young people who will struggle to find a job on their own.
Many of these young people are facing additional difficulties – from a troubled home life to bullying, health problems or being the caregiver for family members.
These problems can destroy a young person’s confidence and make leaving the house – let alone finding a job – a huge challenge.
At The Prince’s Trust, we know these young people need support to get their lives on track.
Our programmes help thousands of young people every year, giving them the skills and confidence they need to tackle the problems they are facing and take the first steps towards a job.
For these young people, the right support can open up a world of opportunities that would otherwise be closed to them.
Director for the North of England
The Prince’s Trust
Thanks to singers
Last Sunday I organised a ‘Come and sing Messiah’ at St Paul’s Church Marton, and I would like to thank all those people, whatever their role including the audience, who gave up their time to come along and make it such a memorable night.
Unfortunately one or two singers forgot to return music scores to us and I would be grateful if they could return them to St Paul’s Church.
The event was a great success and we are going to be able to send a generous donation to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation.
c/o St Paul’s Church
Loco Club closure
I was sad to see a photograph of a boarded up Loco Club (Gazette, January 29).
Residents in the area would like to see a new use given to the building.
It is up for sale and hopefully a new owner will come forward.
Members of the community have suggested it could be used as a youth or community centre.
That seems like a great idea, because it is a shame for a building like this to just lie vacant and unused.
Name and address supplied