Readers' letters - August 8

We must unite to fight pension plans

Just 24 hours after Sir Michael Marmot’s report showed increases in life expectancy had come to a grinding halt for the first time in a century, the Government made a breath-taking announcement that the state pension age (SPA) would be increased to 68, seven years earlier than previously planned.

Under existing legislation, all those born after April 6, 1978 already face a SPA of 68, but now around six million men and women born between April 6, 1970 and April 5, 1978 will see their SPA of 67 rise incrementally to 68.

This group is currently aged between 39 and 47.

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However, officials have confirmed that the final decision on this proposed change is likely to come before Parliament in 2023.

All the evidence shows that the UK suffers from massive health inequalities and millions of people will find that they are too old for work and yet too young to retire.

We must unite the generations to fight this proposal and continue to make the case for a more flexible approach to retirement that recognises not everyone is able to keep working.

Prof Marmot’s report said that one of the main causes of a slowdown in life expectancy was dramatic cuts to health and social care.

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And now we hear that women between the ages of 60 and 62 will lose £30 per week pension when they retire.

What next?

Derek Barton

Preston & South Ribble Trades Council


More expensive at hospitals

I was intrigued by the LP article regarding the 50 per cent increase in car parking charges at Chorley Railway Station (LP August 3). Some may well consider this excessive but the following may have those views quashed.

Just up the A6 from the railway station, the charges for parking at Chorley & South Ribble Hospital (pictured) have also increased.

I was there for an appointment which lasted over two hours and, on returning to the car, had to pay £5.50 for the privilege, whereas before the increase, it was only £3 and that would also have allowed me much more time.

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Now, assuming that Arriva Northern profits from its charges for car parking, what does this say about the charges for parking at both the afore-mentioned hospital and also at Royal Preston Hospital?

Any suggestion that these hospitals are not profiteering from their car parking charges would be a ridiculous one.

Thus it follows that the ‘philosophy’ that the NHS is free at the point of delivery has been blown out of the water by this revelation and it could be argued that the patients arriving by car are being discriminated against by being charged extra for having the temerity to use their vehicles as ambulances in order to get to A&E or appointments.

Thus the question needs to be asked of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, if Arriva Northern can still make a profit by charging just £3 (or even the lower £2.50 for parking after 9.30am) on its car park for the whole day, why can’t the charges at your hospitals be an equivalent figure for an equivalent length of time?

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Or do you want to be accused of not providing NHS care free at the point of delivery?

Oh, and don’t bleat about the fact that the car parks have to be maintained, because Arriva Northern also have that ‘problem’, yet they can still make a profit from their car parking charges.

You have also argued in the past that any extra raised from the car park charges will go into patient care.

How exactly?

And does it ALL go to patient care or is some used for yet more administration?

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Now, if one could see that the profit was visibly being used to, say, provide a multi-storey car park, then I would not begrudge the charge.

But I do begrudge paying extra for parking when your administration appears to be in turmoil, leaving me waiting to be discharged for far longer than necessary.

A ‘Private Ambulance’ Patient


Give police more powers

It’s a bit rich for fracking protesters to complain about Cuadrilla’s breach of planning rules, when they continue to cause the massive disruption to Preston New Road.

While Cuadrilla decided to deliver its drill outside permitted hours to avoid disruption, the activists have shown no let up in breaking the law, with their tactics of lying in the main road and ‘locking on’.

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This has done little to delay Cuadrilla going about their lawful business – but it continues to affect the daily lives of Fylde residents who have no alternative but to suffer on this route to work, school or business.

Am I the only person who is thoroughly fed up with the anti-social behaviour?

Is there a definitive legal description of what constitutes a peaceful protest?

The police should have more powers to clear the road quickly and efficiently.

After all, it is a main route for the emergency services.

B Coope

via email


House safety is more important

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With regards to your article, although it is nice to see flowers and cut grass on the roadsides, I live in Harling Road facing the park and the trees there have not been cut back in nearly 10 years (LP August 4).

This, I have been told, is due to lack of funding.

In my opinion, the safety of my home is more important than a grass


The trees are blocking out light and shedding dead branches.

What does the council think is more important?

A nice grass verge or a tree falling onto my home?

Name supplied



Great Britain’s ‘joined’ the euro

There has been a distinct silence from political and economic pundits, particularly Brexiteers, now that the UK has effectively joined the euro. The current exchange rate puts us on a par or near par with the euro such as makes little or no difference.

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Just a few years ago, these same experts were predicting the imminent demise of the euro.

This collapse may happen, but our currency will burn alongside of it, joining the ashes of the many failed promises of the Brexiteers.

Denis Lee


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