Reader’s letters - Friday May 23, 2014

The grand old Art Deco Co-op building on Lancaster Road, in Preston (see letter)

The grand old Art Deco Co-op building on Lancaster Road, in Preston (see letter)

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Bank is one worth saving

Don’t believe all you read, or hear from the media, especially when these adverse remarks are aimed at a movement born in Lancashire, with a long tradition in Preston, which was founded and is still supported and democratically supervised by ordinary people.

An organisation which, for more than 100 years, has been a pioneer and a leader in providing quality, value and an ethical service for its customers and members.

It has been such a beacon, of all that best in mankind, that it has been successfully, and often improved on, by a significant number of nations across the globe.

Most of the media and there backers are blaming the membership board of the Co-op for its current financial difficulties.

They want the main ethical and, until recently, sound Co-op to be privatised and run like most UK business, especially the Co-op banking sector.

A sector which came through the 2008 crisis without a costly Bank of England rescue fund needed by many big banks

Those attacking the Co-op are keen to divert attention from those wealthy, big bonus, financial businesses whose recent bad and costly advice helped to crippled the Co-op Bank.

Similar to the way they, in 2008, had a significant responsibility for the UK and world financial crash.

Few people know of the landmark report, by Sir Christopher Kelly, into the cause of the crisis at the Co-op bank. It does criticise this group’s recent poor management.

But it says a large deficit was blown into the Co-op Bank finances due to its planned takeover of the Britannia Building Society.

A takeover which was strongly recommended, to the Co-op, by two large, wealthy financial advisors JP Morgan and KPMG.

The Financial Services Authority, Bank of England and the Government jointly advised, they were content the merger with the Britannia should go ahead.’

In fact Sir Christopher says the toxic debts of Britannia blew a £1.5bn vast black hole in the Manchester-based Co-op’s finances.

This failure shows these finance business leaders and the Treasury have learned nothing from the banking crisis.

If this culture of greed, big bonuses and contempt for the welfare of the people of the United Kingdom by the big finance houses is allowed to continue all the sacrifices suffered by most of the population since the recession will have been in vain.

Peter Ward, former company finance director and works pension trustee

Beware of small print on policy

Looking at current television adverts that allow you to ‘look after your loved ones after you die’, I have come to the conclusion that they are of much greater benefit to the companies, than the policyholder.

The small print at the bottom of the screen warns, ‘You may pay more in than you get out’ and ‘You get nothing back if you stop paying the premiums’.

This gives massive potential for the scheme to be a moneyspinner for the companies because legally, according to the policy conditions, have no need to return a single penny if the policyholder defaults.

Indeed, default is actively encouraged because the premium increases every year, making it less affordable in these financially strained times.

Pensioners on a fixed income, would most likely reach a point where they are unable to keep up the payments.

After all, if they were flushed with money in the bank, they would have no need for such a policy.

I thought that the Financial Services Authority was in business to protect the public from unfair sharp practice?

Obviously, I was wrong.

Jim Walker, Preston

Care home help was wonderful

Having read the report about the Lodge Care home (LEP May 19) I am writing to redress the balance in some way by telling you of my family’s experience of the Lodge.

My late husband suffered from dementia and was cared for at the lodge for the two years prior to his death in December 2013. In all that time I have had nothing but praise for the staff there as he was cared for with kindness and compassion by carers who did a difficult job with enthusiasm and good humour.

I, as do all relatives of residents there, had a key job which allowed me free access at any time, and in all that two years, visiting almost every day, never once did I witness unkind or inappropriate behaviour by any staff even when managing challenging behaviour.

During the last two weeks of my husband’s life when he was dying, the care and compassion shown to him and our family was second to none. I will never, ever forget the kindness of the staff at the Lodge and can’t praise them enough.

Mrs Calderbank, Leyland

A hero never to be forgotten

I would just like to bring to your attention an error in the article written by Pam Norfolk (Retro May 21).Private William Young was not the only soldier to gain the Victoria Cross.

My grandfather (a Prestonian) the late James Towers was also awarded the Victoria Cross.

I would also like to ask what is Preston doing to commemorate the VC holders during this year as I understand that all towns were to have some sort of memorial to the heroes.

Glynis Castle, voa e-mail

Special clean up for poll day

As a wind of change blows fast and furious, down our way men in bright yellow jackets can be seen manually picking up litter on election day (litter that has lain forgotten in the gutters and hedgerows for months.

All part of the trappings of politics I suppose - but wait - have I been witness to ‘austerity in action’ as sticks with points replace whacking great diesel street sweepers so familiar on these occasions?

Joseph G Dawson, Withnell, Chorley