Readers’ letters - October 5

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Bad publicity and an endless spiral of debt

I have one or two subjects to dwell upon that I am bothered about.

Why have the police got such a lot of bad publicity? They have to work in very difficult circumstances – they are the only people working in our favour.

What if they weren’t there? Hell and damnation would follow with the power-mad and money-mad people in control.

I have faith and respect for the police and I am not afraid of them – they are not ogres.

I might be needing their help in the future and I know I can depend on them. You should.

I am also worried about the young families who depend on their credit cards at Christmas to buy the kids the never-ending list of pressies they want and I know they let you know by screaming at you until, for a quiet life, you get your credit card out.

I have an inkling that a lot of the young families are still paying last Christmas’s debt, probably paying it off to a loan shark.

What will happen this Christmas? The kids will start again and the credit cards will come out and it will be an endless spiral of debt.

Tell the kids you can’t afford all they want. Tell them what is happening and you have not got the money for all they want. You will be surprised – they understand more than you think.

Ask your mum and dad or your gran and grandad how they used to manage their money.

I’m of the older generation and remember we never had any credit cards or any other cards.

There were cheque books then which did help. I can remember when I had to count the pennies in my purse to see if I had enough money to buy a loaf or some milk. I had to go to work when the kids were at school – part-time first and then full-time.

When I was little, during the war, I was happy to find an apple and an orange at the bottom of my pillow case from Father Christmas. Not much else was in – that was rationing.

PT

Address supplied

benefits

Scheme hurts vulnerable

Personal Independent Payments, known as PIPS, were introduced by the Tory Government in order to support disabled people living with long-term disabilities, such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, with more money.

Designed to improve their independence by helping with extra costs caused by long-term health issues, or disability, the scheme has been evaluated recently by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC).

The DBC surveyed more than 1,700 people, and found that applicants are facing unnecessary barriers to accessing the support they need.

It found:

n Almost three quarters (71 per cent) of respondents found the PIP application form ‘hard’ or ‘very hard’ and 11 per cent of respondents were unable to complete it at all.

n Over half (58 per cent) of people said that assessors did not understand their condition.

n Two thirds (64 per cent) of people who saw their claim form felt it ‘badly reflected’ the answers they had given in their face-to-face assessment.

As a result of this flawed assessment process, people are losing out on vital support, with half of respondents saying they were receiving less money under PIP than they were previously entitled to under the disability living allowance (DLA). Some had lost their award completely.

The report warns of the devastating consequences this is having, including:

n Becoming more isolated (40 per cent).

n Struggling to pay for food rent and bills (35 per cent).

n Not able to get to medical appointments (26 per cent).

The report also shows that the number of decisions overturned at appeal is increasing.

In 2013/14, 26 per cent of decisions were changed in favour of the applicant. In the fourth quarter of 2016/17 this had increased to 64 per cent.

This is a sad indictment on Britain. As the sixth richest country in the world, this hard-line government needs to learn that we are judged by the way the most vulnerable citizens are supported.

Marjorie Nye

via email

politics

What’s a traitor?

What is a traitor?

In 1931, Labour Prime Minister Ramsay Macdonald went into a coalition government with the Conservatives.

For my grandfather, a shipyard worker from Hendon, this was the great betrayal of the working class.

Now Len McCluskey, leader of Unite, declares any Labour MP not a faithful Corbynista to be a traitor.

So the ‘bully boys’ will be trolling you if you step out of line. The threat of deselection is always there.

But are you a traitor if you fight to save the party you support? To prevent Marxists infiltrating it and taking over?

In my lifetime Hugh Gaitskell, Harold Wilson and Neil Kinnock all had to face down the hard left.

In the 18th century Edmund Burke said MPs must make their own judgements and follow their consciences.

Who are the naive people who sing “Oh, Jeremy Corbyn” at Glastonbury and Durham Miners’ Gala?

Do they know the economic mess Socialists usually leave behind them?

Do they know any history of Soviet regimes?

I talked to one Corbynista before the General Election.

She more or less said: “Get out. Go away and vote Tory. We don’t want you.”

In fact, both the leading parties are in a mess over the way they select their leaders.

MPs choose the candidates, then activists and party members vote. It should be the other way about. It’s important MPs have confidence in whoever leads them in the Commons, otherwise you end up with disasters like Iain Duncan Smith on one side, and Messrs Miliband and Corbyn on the other.

C J Napier

Address supplied

BREXIT

Why EU wants UK to stay in

Of course the EU are going to try to upset our Brexit plans and try to delay the final departure. Don’t forget we are one of the donors rather than being a receiver.

There is also the fact that when, and not if, we make a success of Brexit, other countries will want to follow us and also leave.

Peter Hyde via email