Time to end the tax merry-go-round
Kim Critchley wrote an interesting piece in your “Politically Correct” column this week (Gazette, July 15).
In that column she states that reducing tax credits will affect hard-working employed families. This is quite correct, and without the moderating effects of the coalition partners in the Liberal Democrats, this was an entirely predictable path that the Tory party would take. However, she misses a number of important points.
n The Conservatives only achieved 37 per cent of the popular vote, and yet they have a majority in parliament – this can hardly be counted as a mandate from the public.
n The National Minimum Wage was one of the first measures the last Labour Government introduced in 1998. Initially, it was kept low at £3.60 in order to introduce the concept. Seventeen years later it has only increased to £6.50 per hour. Many recognise this is insufficient, and even Blackpool Council pays the National Living wage of £7.85 per hour.
n Even on the National Living Wage, employees have to seek help from the Government in tax credits.
n Employees are therefore forced to pay Income tax and National Insurance on their wages and receive tax credits from the Government. A truly ridiculous merry-go-round that wastes time and money.
Therefore, the real answer to the reduction of tax credits is for an increase in the National Minimum Wage far more than the amounts proposed by the chancellor. This would mean employers will have to meet the actual costs of employing staff, rather than having wages subsidised by the Government.
Kim also covers the problems with zero-hour contracts.
There are also ways with dealing with them. The restrictions made in zero-hour contracts should normally be illegal, if they had not been written in such a way that employees are being asked to sign away their legal rights. For example, an employee should be recompensed for having to be available to work for specific times, even if they are not actually in work.
Only specific full-time employees should be restricted from taking up other employment/self-employment. The Government should restrict companies from requiring employees sign away of legal freedoms. This is specifically restricted in other contracts.
Douglas Green (former Liberal Democrat Councillor)
Stony Hill Avenue
Why not report the positive news?
I’m sick to my back teeth of being confronted by the Gazette’s incessant headlines of bad news about Blackpool.
Every day there’s another problem or event to remind us what an awful place it is. Rarely is there anything good and uplifting to report.
Today’s edition (July 15) really put the top hat on it for me. Another bad news story – four local food establishments given a zero food hygiene rating! Yet it could have so different. Why couldn’t you have the headline that, of 772 eating places in Blackpool, almost half of all those surveyed achieved the best rating of five stars?
You state that the Gazette has been campaigning for the the Fylde coast since 1873, well I believe I’ve seen precious little of that – all I see is a pointing out of all that is wrong with Blackpool and no evidence of encouraging anything that is good.
For sure, the town has some real problems, but it deserves a newspaper that also reports and encourages the good aspects of the resort.
Fans playing into the owners’ hands
Having supported Blackpool for a number of years, I feel entitled to have my say. Much as I understand the fans’ frustration, invasion of the pitch in playing into Karl Oyston’s hands.
He is not a football man, so he cannot understand the passion of the supporters. If actions don’t improve, the Pool will shortly be out of the league, because surely points will be deducted if there are any further incidents. Is that what the fans really want?
Come on you supporters, give the new manager and players your backing.
Blackpool (See Gazette opinion p18)
Allowances rise will hurt the council
I write regarding your story on councillors voting for an increase in their allowances (Gazette, July 10).
What a kick in the teeth for the people of this town by all the councillors. This country is in austerity and people have been accepting wage rises between three and five per cent, and then you come along and pay yourselves 33 per cent, not by taking annual incremental payments of 10 per cent, but by paying yourselves in one lump.
Is there no person in council and the council officers clued up enough to warn you that this move is over the top?
I know some of you, and thought you had more sense than this. Make no mistake, this move has badly hurt the people of this town, It could get worse – this council will probably backdate this rise to when they took office.