Readers' letters

Refugees are not to blame

Tuesday, 1st November 2016, 3:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 3:53 pm
Fireworks should only be sold two days before Bonfire Night says a correspondent. See letter

In response to a letter in the LEP asking for the truth about the cost of settling Syrian refugees in the UK and libraries closing in Lancashire, I’d like to offer some real figures (LEP October 28).

On leaving his position as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, following the change of British Government in May 2010, Labour’s Liam Byrne stated: “There’s no money left.”

Since then, the country has had over six years of ‘austerity’, courtesy of the Tory Government and George Osborne. Devolved monies to local government (for example, Lancashire County Council) have been drastically cut.

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Hence LCC has had to make some painful choices, including closing some libraries and reducing other services. Blaming Syrian refugees for these cuts in services is disingenuous and disheartening, when the blame actually lies much closer to home.

The refugees are not economic migrants. They have been carefully vetted by UK Government agencies and may well have lost their homes, businesses, possessions, had family members killed, and may be in fear of their own lives.

UK Government spending (central and local combined) for 2016 is estimated at £762bn and includes £155bn on pensions, £139bn on the NHS, £113bn on welfare and benefits, £84bn on education, £45bn on defence, and so on (all figures from UK Government website). The total cost of settling 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK over the next five years is estimated at £1.7bn (or about £0.34bn a year for five years), which is a tiny fraction of total Government spending.

Whilst one could argue that this money could be used to keep open some of the UK’s closing libraries for five more years, it would not keep them all open… and then what would happen after the five years is up?

The UK has the fifth largest economy in the world. Surely we can do our bit to help some of those in desperate need? With regard to charity, here are some of my favourite quotes:

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give,” Winston Churchill.

“It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of that he takes out of it,” Albert Einstein.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness,” Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Charity begins at home, but should not end there,” Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) British clergyman and author.

C J Spencer, Fulwood

Government cuts are cause

A reader asks if refugees are to blame for library closures in Lancashire (Letters, October 28)? The answer is no.

Library closures are caused by central government cuts to local councils and because libraries and museums are easy services to cut.

Refugees are people who have had to leave their homes and families because of wars and terrible suffering which are beyond our everyday experiences.

There was a time when England welcomed refugees from Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Uganda and elsewhere with kindness, sympathy and care.

Now, egged on by bigoted newspapers and cowardly politicians, we seem to demonise them and treat them cruelly and harshly. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Aidan Turner-Bishop, Preston

Stricter rules on fireworks

It’s about time that the shops started selling fireworks no more than two days before Bonfire Night. I was walking my dog when some lads let a rocket off.

My dog shot across the road, nearly getting both of us under the front of a car. There should be tougher laws against fireworks being sold.

Mrs S via email

Please help our Poppy Appeal

I am writing to you as Chorley’s First Citizen to ask for support from the local community for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

The Royal British Legion provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community – serving men and women, veterans, and their families.

They spend millions on welfare services and their beneficiaries are growing annually due to recent conflicts.

For just a small donation of £5, a handrail can be installed for someone who has been badly injured. A collective donation of £80,000 can fund a complete refurbishment of a bedroom at one of their many Poppy Homes.

The success of the Poppy Appeal relies on the committed support of its volunteers and the overwhelming generosity of the public.

This year’s appeal runs from October 29 to November 13 and I write to seek the continued support from the people of Chorley.

Coun Doreen Dickinson

Mayor of Chorley

Just a matter of consideration?

Shared space – it’s easy!

I can’t quite understand why there have been so many complaints about the shared space experience in Fishergate.

The other day I had reason

to take that route and there didn’t appear to be any problem at all.

All I did was enter Fishergate from a side road (easy when turning left and others are going in the same direction), drive slowly and observantly along (nice to go a bit slower for a short time), waving pedestrians across whenever possible (satisfying when they waved back and there were smiles all round).

As I neared the station area, I noticed the little roundabouts with their boulder-like sticky-out bits on them.

Again, there have been a lot of complaints about these (in fact some motorists have even knocked them down) but they are perfectly visible and all you have to do is drive carefully round them, allowing for a bit of give and take – and hey presto, you are on your way again rejoicing.


Maybe it is just a matter of consideration to others?

Dorothy Ritchie

via email