Reader’s letters - Friday December 26, 2014

Are career reviews and older worker champions a good idea? One correspondent has his doubts. See letter

Are career reviews and older worker champions a good idea? One correspondent has his doubts. See letter

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Champs of older workers

A wondrous boon reached my ears today – news that unemployed over 50s are to be offered ‘career reviews’ and help using computers as part of plans to get more people of that age group into work. It is a trial that will include seven ‘older worker champions’ across the UK. Apparently, an estimated 1.2 million over-50s are ‘willing to work’, adding potentially, according to ministers, some £50bn to the economy. Wonderful news, but as a member of the above group I’m not too sure that I’d welcome the services of an ‘older worker champion’, especially one who probably 
already has a job or two and is being seconded or parachuted in at the last minute to sway voters.

Personally, I don’t need a ‘champion’ to act for me any more than ‘Manchester is a Northern powerhouse’ – these are just racy titles plucked from a political hat to impress the impressionable. I can use a computer standing on my head – and what worries me is why ‘help to use a computer’ figures so highly in the minds of politicians in connexion with the over 50s – don’t they know ‘skilled people’ can probably write too?

On a more sinister note, this idea smacks of something else, that one day Tory thinking may demand a full-time or part-time job become a prerequisite to drawing a pension. An outstretched hand and £50bn for the coffers may not be the whole story.

Joseph G Dawson, Chorley

No reason to fear fracking

Although I don’t live in Lancashire, the uninformed comments contained within the letter from Jasber Singh (LEP letters, December 22), may have an impact far beyond your local area.

Mr Singh states: “To achieve the levels of shale gas being suggested means there will be thousands of wells throughout Lancashire, continually flaring off gas and contaminating the air we breathe. If the industry is successful in obtaining consents to frack, we will all be living in barren wasteland of oil fields within ten years, while the fat cats get rich on our misery.”

The gas industry has no intention of drilling more wells than is necessary. Gas wells cost many millions of pounds to drill. Where might the incentive lie in developing more well pads than necessary?

A well pad would be small enough to take up less than the size of a football pitch during the drilling phase. Using international analogues of the latest technology, because wells can travel horizontally as much as ten miles, one pad alone has the potential to have dozens of wells running from it. My company has an onshore hydrocarbon exploration license application pending with the Department of Energy and Climate Change. At London Local Energy, our plan is to drain up to 200 square kilometres from one location within an industrial estate already serviced by far more trucks than we’ll ever use.

We have no economic incentive to inconvenience or devalue some of the most expensive properties in Britain.

Secondly, flaring gas off continually rather defeats the purpose of drilling for it. Flaring off natural gas may take as little as hours or days for technical reasons. For financial reasons, flaring off natural gas, or destroying the product, will simply never happen. This obvious fact brings into doubt the other assertions contained in Mr Singh’s letter.

An example is his confusion over who gains from shale gas or oil extraction.

The underground resources are common property of everyone in the UK, since they are Crown property in the same way that those in the North Sea and Morecambe Bay offshore are. Some 62% of the value will flow directly to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. What he or she will do with this bounty is not for LLE to say, although I think it makes sense to earmark a large portion towards both energy efficiency measures and renewable energy research and development.

That leads us to my final point: Although I live in London, it is also my gas Mr Singh proposes to leave in the ground. He has a right to his opinion, but so do the many millions of other co-owners in the UK. We all deserve a debate based on fact, not fiction and most of all, on hope not fear.

Nick Grealy, Kingston-upon-Thames

RPH staff are so wonderful

I would just like to express my thanks, gratitude and admiration to the Royal Preston Hospital and its dedicated team of specialists, whose care and attention I benefited from during my recent visit.

They cared and operated on me graciously and, for this, I am extremely thankful.

The dedication given to me was beyond excellent.

It saddens me that these wonderful staff are not always given the respect and rewards that they greatly deserve.

The compassion and love our medical assistants do on a daily basis, and in such a selfless manner as shown to me, provides me with so much hope and belief in society as a whole.

I believe we do live in a world of love, and the fact that I have received it at the RPH, influences me to give it

back.

It ensures me with hope that these and our actions will be rewarded and not forgotten as we pursue towards a better, honest, just world that everyone can harmonise within.

William Fisher, Ribbleton

Responsibilities as well as rights

On Monday, October 13, by a vote of 274 to 12, MPs called on HM Government to ‘recognise the state of Palestine’.

However, nowhere in the debate was it mentioned that statehood brings responsibilities as well as rights for the newly acknowledged entity.

One of these responsibilities is an obligation not to engage in unprovoked acts of aggression against one’s neighbours.

Another is not to allow one’s territory to be used for such acts.

On Friday, December 19, at least one missile was fired by terrorists in Gaza at a civilian community in southern Israel – the third such rocket attack since the end of the summer conflict.

Will those MPs who voted for the recognition of Palestine – and those who support this move – now condemn this attack?

Or does the aforementioned recognition confer only privileges with no associated obligations?

Clive Hyman via email