Reader’s letters - Thursday May 15 2014

On street parking by the Royal Preston Hospital is causing residents a headache
On street parking by the Royal Preston Hospital is causing residents a headache
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Tax deal needs overhaul

Gary Barlow may be a national treasure, but this week we all learned something about him that casts him in a different light.

A tribunal ruled Barlow, and many others, must re-pay millions of pounds of tax. An MP called on Barlow to return his OBE.

And then David Cameron went on TV to say he shouldn’t. To be honest, I don’t care too much about the honour, but I do care about the money.

I’m fed up with people moaning about tax and talking about our public services as if they’re a drain on our wealth. Public services are our wealth. They’re the thing that makes us prosper.

And paying tax is the social agreement we all have with each other to chip into the pot. When you stash your money away, out of sight of HMRC, you’re breaking that agreement.

Gary Barlow may be a millionaire, but presumably he went to school, uses our hospitals and police and drives on our roads? Our taxes fund all of these public services.

They’re the safety net that should ensure everyone in our society, whatever their needs, abilities or luck, has a decent quality of life.

Without the rich paying their fair share, it falls to us to pay more than ours.

A more progressive tax system is one way to make our society more equal. It must be fairer and it must also be more transparent.

Companies must tell us where they do business, the profits they make and what tax they pay.

Despite promises of action from the other parties, companies such as Amazon continue to get away with paying just 0.1 per cent tax.

Mr Barlow may well be writing a large cheque to the government sometime soon, but it’s time we took action to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.

Gina Dowding, Lancaster

Inconsiderate hospital staff

Woodlands Drive used to be a quiet residential street in Fulwood, with most cars parked on the drive or away from home.

But not since hospital workers decided to turn it into an all-day car park.

This is the scene from my driveway (see photo). Should I wish to reverse and go left towards South Drive, I would have to perform an impossible number of multiple point turns.

This despite putting a temporary sign on my wall asking people not to park opposite driveways. This is the so called caring profession, but not so caring when it comes to the consideration of local residents!

Fred Burnett, Fulwood, Preston

Worse practice than Halal meat

Your correspondent who is concerned about the slaughter of animals for Halal meat shows admirable concern for animal welfare and the production of food for human consumption (letters May 13).

However, I cannot be alone in suspecting his true motives may stray somewhere beyond worries over the way animals are killed to provide food and have more to do with his own prejudices regarding religion.

Close examination of the conditions in which animals are kept and reared for the food industry would turn stomachs far beyond the techniques used to finally despatch them for the butcher’s block.

We only need recall the horse meat scandal to see this.

His assertion that, ‘the vast majority of Christian customers’ would not buy Halal meat seems unlikely to me.

Thankfully, the vast majority of Christians - like the vast majority of Muslims - are tolerant people who wouldn’t countenance using a storm in a tea cup over meat production as a front to air prejudices which run much deeper.

Michael Roberts, Fulwood

Why not save all industries

The demand for building more new houses is based on the assumption that job availability will rise in line with these houses.

Having got rid of so much of our manufacturing industries which offered a great volume of job opportunities, where is the employment going to come from now?

It is incumbent upon the Government to study the viability and desirability of keeping certain industries going.

If the banking and financial sector can be propped up, then why not the likes of coal for a lesser amount?

Reasons against – coal is dirty and an air pollutant. It is cheaper to import from abroad.

Reasons for – carbon capture is available.

If Germany is proposing to build 10 coal-fired power stations then why can’t the UK have a few?

Close down the pits and the expertise goes for good.

The quantity of coal reserves is estimated at between 100 to 200 years, so we can be self-sufficient energy-wise.

The world’s instability should make us look inward as to what energy we can produce ourselves. There is no need for the lights to go out.

David H Rhodes, address supplied

Road tax is just revenue raising

Let’s stop trying to compare

bicycles with other vehicles for the purpose of raising revenue.

Forget the old idea that

vehicle excise duty was a device to help repair the roads.

Forget the modern “green” idea that you can get away with charging vast amounts of tax on ordinary cars by exempting vehicles which are powered, apparently, by a combination of willpower and rosewater.

And the idea that you shouldn’t have to pay tax on your bicycle because you already do so on your car is about as silly as saying “I’ve paid road tax on my car, so any other vehicle I own, such as a motorbike should be free from road tax”.

Just as the state derives income from your purchase of a tube of toothpaste, so it should levy some charge upon the use of a bicycle on public roads.

There’s nothing particularly unfair, ungreen or anti-cyclist about it.

It’s just revenue-raising for our ‘cash-strapped’ government.

Hugh Rogers, address supplied