Readers' letters - February 11

The Museum of Lancashire is among facilities under threat in Lancashire  yet councils down south get financial help says a readerThe Museum of Lancashire is among facilities under threat in Lancashire  yet councils down south get financial help says a reader
The Museum of Lancashire is among facilities under threat in Lancashire  yet councils down south get financial help says a reader
The opposite of Robin Hood

The Northern Powerhouse is a sick joke.

The local government cuts have affected the poorer councils in the north far more than the south.

Northern councils under this Tory Government will be struggling to carry out their statutory duties by the end of this Parliament.

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In Preston, for example, cuts are having to be made to leisure centres, libraries, museums, parks, benefits and debt advice centres, to name just a few services.

Meanwhile, David Cameron has found £300m to help southern Tory councils with their cuts.


Because Tory MPs are threatening to vote against the local government cuts in Parliament.

So it is a sweetener for the MPs that represent Tory councils in the south.

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The five most deprived councils in the country – Hull, Knowsley, Liverpool, Manchester and Middlesborough – will get none of the £300m.

Eighty three per cent will go to Tory councils in the south – £24m to Surrey, £19m to Hampshire etc.

David Cameron is the opposite of Robin Hood.

He takes from the poor and gives to the rich.

Mike Turner via email

Bypassing local democracy

The Government seems in an indecent haste to start drilling for gas, don’t they? The so-called “dash for shale” seems to be, in the Government’s case, just that.

An ill-considered headlong dash into anti-democratic policy making.

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There is a concerted effort by various Government departments, using their considerable resources, to promote fracking for gas whilst subverting local democracy. The Government seems to have decided that the people of Lancashire are taking far too long making big decisions which will affect them and their family’s lives.

Government opinion also seems to be that Lancashire County Council has taken far too long while it carefully considered all the cases.

So they moved the goalposts.

On Lancashire Day, November 27, 2015, the Government announced that the public inquiry will be led by a Government appointed inspector, Wendy McKay LLB.

But the final verdict will be made by the Secretary of State of Communities and Local Government, who is a pro-fracking co-signatory to the leaked letter, published by The Sunday Telegraph, which contains Government plans on how it will introduce fracking on a national scale in the coming 10 years.

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The plans include the proposal to make fracking wells classified as nationally significant infrastructure, which would mean councils would no longer have the power to block planning applications for fracking wells in their local areas. The power to decide this would be given to unelected planning inspectors appointed and paid by the Government who, of course, have a mandate to carry out the Department of Energy’s agenda and not the locally elected county councils.

This is demeaning and a direct threat to local democracy and sets a dangerous precedent in which Westminster can use this to bypass the locally elected bodies and enforce its will without any local consideration.

The fracking companies have actively been assisted by the Government at a time when public services like the police, the NHS, as well as many council services, have been cut back, yet the Government is committing yet more money to it. The pig-headed arrogance of the Government is staggering. It is pushing ahead with a scheme that bypasses local democracy and misuses taxpayers’ money.

That is completely unacceptable .

Name and address supplied

I’m no fan of Cameronocracy

Personally, I’m not very keen on Cameronocracy.

You know, the kind of democracy that changes the rules to suit the will of the Prime Minister and his pals.

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Fracking decisions, once in the hands of local councils, are torn away and back in the hands of David Cameron and the Government, and now, with the European Referendum, Cameronocracy comes to bear again in an effort to secure an outcome preferable to the Prime Minister.

I don’t think there can be anyone working harder to get us out of Europe than David Cameron and, as for turning voters away from the Tories, Cameron is rapidly becoming a past master in the art.

Joseph G Dawson, Chorley

Change the sea water into fresh

Sea waters are set to rise dramatically in the next few decades, a worry for most coastal countries in the world.

Africa has the strongest case for concern, as it has more countries in desperate need of fresh water.

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The method of changing sea water into fresh water has become easier due to improved technology and is cheaper to


Why can’t the world’s rich and powerful countries bang their heads together, share the costs somehow, build desalination plants globally, change the sea water into fresh, and somehow send this water throughout Africa, thus enriching the land in drought areas?

Pete Dimmock via email

Improvements in cutting crime

I welcome the Home Secretary’s comments on developing the role of Police and Crime Commissioner, which is responsible for police budgets running to hundreds of millions of pounds.

This will create new opportunities to drive real change in tackling anti-social behaviour or cracking down on burglaries in the community and ensure that people’s priorities for policing are acted upon. If elected in May, I look forward to working with the Home Secretary and the rest of Government to deliver lower crime and safer communities across Lancashire, while providing value for money for hardworking taxpayers.

Andy Pratt, Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate for Lancashire