Reader’s letters Wednesday November 26, 2014

The new Fishergate road surface by County Hall ...but is it a peril for authority workers?
The new Fishergate road surface by County Hall ...but is it a peril for authority workers?
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Flagging up a poor service

I don’t often get out these days due to my disability. However, this night was one. I met some old friends, had a good meal and some nice wine and then, being tired (unused to being out), I excused myself and made outside to get a taxi.

Unwell, and having to use a stick, I tottered to the main road. Numerous taxis passed me by, none of them stopping to my hailing them, despite them having a bright orange light lit up telling me they were “for hire”.

I asked Preston Council about this only to be told they did not have to pick anyone up on hailing. I wonder what the bright orange light is for then?

Perhaps it is something to do with the Christmas decorations? In Manchester, Leeds, London and Liverpool hailing a cab would result in the nearest taxi nearly taking your toes off to get to you and carry you on your journey.

Not so, it appears, in Preston. Perhaps Preston Council should be having a very good look at the licensing provisions?

A very wet, tired and cold Prestonian who wished he lived elsewhere!

K D Ashton, via e-mail

Better facilities are necessary

Just a thought, it seems some bus services are ‘overlapping’ causing misery. Over the past years bus stations have been abandoned in many places, one of the areas being Blackpool Talbot Road, now a car park and reportedly to be made into a hotel.

If public services, ie buses, are to be maintained with more connections and less overlapping in areas surely consideration should be given to bus station building, where members of the general public and the drivers (in their case a well earned rest) such as they do in airports and railways.

Name and address supplied

Fears at health service sell off

As an elderly person myself awaiting an appointment with a consultant at the surgery vascular Service RPH. I read with trepidation the letter from Jack Fairclough Houghton regarding Healthport (letters November 6) that after November 14 he would have to be referred by his GP again elsewhere, as Virgin was buying up part of the NHS.

This certainly is the beginning of privatisation by the back door. So are Virgin purchasing part of the NHS to privatise it so those who can pay for private treatment are OK whilst the little person whom has paid all his or her dues, worked all of their lives, not sponged on benefits is left behind.

I have written to Simon Stevens, chief executive NHS England, about an article in the Daily Mail, hundreds and thousands of patients face being struck off by their overstretched GPs and now this revelation at NHS being privatised by Virgin by the backdoor.

I will be sending the cutting regarding Virgin buying part of the NHS to Mr David Cameron.

What has he said all along the NHS is safe in Tory hands but for how long? Those on benefits qualify for all treatment and more free of charge.

Mrs M Fazakerley, Preston

Saving staff the peril of walking

Regarding the recent story of Lancashire County Council spending £84k on the refurbishment of their staff cafe. The council are only acting as responsible employers.

Since they have implemented the new traffic system they don’t want their employees going out into the city centre at lunch times and having to cross the busy road, that is a very dangerous manoeuvre at the end of Fishergate.

Just ask anyone from South Ribble who gets off a bus at the railway station.

John Sisson, Lostock Hall

Greed drives a customer away

Yesterday, I needed to post a parcel. The value of the contents were insignificant (about £5) but the quoted postage cost by Royal Mail was £12.98, which was outrageous.

I was forced to look at alternative means of sending the parcel and I ended up with Hermes at a cost of just £4.40 plus VAT – total £5.28.

So, the Royal Mail has not lost just one parcel, but now that I’ve done the research and learned the new ropes, I will never go back to the Post Office/Royal Mail parcel service again.

I send about 100 parcels per year and the average cost is about £6 each.

Therefore, there is a loss of revenue of more than £600 from just one customer – Royal Mail needs to stop being so arrogant, and get its act together!

RG Isle, address supplied

Reality of a zero hours lifestyle

Ed Miliband’s “Victorian management practices” speech reveals a gap, the width of the Grand Canyon, in politicians’ and media commentators’ understanding of what the reality is of being on a zero-hours contract.

In my own case, for example, at the end of September, I signed with an agency to do regular night shifts with a major supermarket chain.

I was given the assurance that this supermarket chain “does not do zero-hours contracts” and neither did this agency apparently.

Four weeks into my contract, of a guaranteed minimum of three shifts a week, the agency, by daily text message, cancelled eight consecutive shifts that I had been due to work.

With my last wage being for only two days worked the previous week and no surety of future income, I was forced to immediately re-apply for both Jobseekers Allowance, and Housing Benefit.

All that on top of threats and intimidation from my landlord. From November 4 to 17, I had precisely one week’s Jobseekers Allowance to subsist on.

From my Christian standpoint, zero-hours contracts are utterly morally abhorrent.

Some 200 years ago, politicians and informed opinion dithered and delayed inexcusably over the abolition of slavery.

Zero-hours contracts must be abolished, not 10 years from now, but now.

Louis Kasatkin, address supplied