Cut tax, do not add to bill
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner is conducting a consultation exercise on the future funding of the police via the council tax.
The commissioner is offering three choices which are to freeze the payment, increase it by two per cent or by five per cent. I wrote to the commissioner pointed out there is no choice option to reduce the payment.
I suggested the following option should be added to the consultation document and I quote.
“Perhaps the following question should have been added to the survey. Reduce by 10 per cent?
“If this happens we will pursue all methods to find significant efficiency savings thus reducing the ratepayers’ bills by approximately £15/year without reducing police effectiveness.”
My reply from the commissioner was as follows, and I quote: “Due to the cuts of £20m already being faced by Lancashire Police, the commissioner decided that consulting on a reduction in the precept is not something he could consider at this time”.
Consultation, commissioner, is what the dictionary states ‘to go for information or advice’ not to make sure the information or advice you receive ignores what you may not like to hear.
The survey is deliberately biased to ensure he gets a result which he wishes to hear.
This is the action of a official who arrogantly believes the only way to solve a problem of funding is to demand more money from the hard pressed taxpayer not to seriously face the economic realities of life.
Bernard Darbyshire, via e-mail
A terrible deal for our nurses
The article regarding foreign nurses, (LEP December 18) was interesting but unsurprising.
One of the main reasons people do not follow a career in nursing is the level of pay offered, to become a State Registered Nurse you have to have a degree and constant training, shifts are normally 12 hours and the conditions are usually poor.
Care homes are offering the princely sum of £12 per hour, NHS hospitals pay only slightly more, this equates to a take home salary of just over £1,300 per month, hardly the salary of a professional.
The work itself is extremely stressful and the extra burden of the litigation trend means hours of a nurses day is taken up with paperwork ensuring they are not liable to be sued by some ‘cold calling’ legal firm trying to convince everyone that they are victims of clinical neglect.
Most of the foreign nurses who come to the UK do so simply because conditions in their own countries are even worse and their training is generally on a par or even better than UK nurses.
The value the country places on their nurses is evidenced not only by the long hours, poor conditions and an insulting salary; but by the governments refusal to give them even the one per cent increase they were promised three years ago.
Nurses are the lowest paid profession yet are the most loved, trainee solicitors start on a salary of over £19,000, qualified solicitors earn between £25,000 and £75000, does this reflect society’s values?
Michael McCarthy, Ribbleton
Too quick to cut hedgerows
Yet again, I am sitting in a public place gazing at over-vigorous pruning of shrubs and hedges. Where berries and hips were available to birds at a time of great need, there is nothing but bare stumps.
Vital shelter and nest sites – lost. All councils, businesses, farms and many private houses are guilty of this.
Of course, some pruning and trimming must take place. But why destroy habitat?
Adding up to a regional divide
The Government cuts planned for next year are Lancashire £300m, Essex £27m – so much for the north/south divide and our local MPs bury their heads in the sand and hope no one notices.
So let’s try them with another question. When I started work 50 years ago I was told I would pay something called National Insurance.
This was to pay toward my health cost and my pension when I retire at 65. I’m fortunate in that I will still retire at 65.
I have recently seen an advertisement on TV whereby sole traders can claim up to £2,000 of their National Insurance payments back. Firstly, by what right does the Government misuse this money?
Secondly, is it legal for the Government to give this money back?
The Government has refused to give NHS workers a rise but they are willing to give sole traders a nice bonus. Why haven’t union leaders questioned this?
C Parkinson, Lancaster
Plumbing new depths for help
Need a local plumber? Best go national! Last week I was in need of an emergency plumber. I tried six local plumbers who all advertise in local papers and free monthly magazines.
In every case their phones went to voice mail. In every case I left a message.
Three days later and only one has had the courtesy to phone me back and that was to confirm that they had no one available for a week. Even the company who stated in their advert “....tired of plumbers who never phone back...?” didn’t phone back.
I fully expect plumbers to be busy in winter but some basic courtesy goes a long way. I eventually signed up with a national organisation and they came out the next morning.
Going local isn’t always the best option.
Chris Ruston, Catterall
Bring down the sky high eyes
With the rocketing growth in drone sales and a potential sky full of peeping Toms to come - how long before the Copter-Catapult becomes the next big hit?
I’m patenting my Copter Killer Dick Barton ‘death ray’ design as I write.
Joseph Dawson, Chorley