Letters to the Editor, May 16, 2013
- Credit: Archant
WITH reference to Christopher Love’s letter in the Mercury of May 9, in 2010 local businessman Richard Nightingale and the respected firm Ferguson Mann proposed a tram system for Weston, with one line running along the seafront and a spur going to the centre of the town and beyond. North Somerset Council rejected the scheme.
Since then, it has become the council’s policy to provide both routes with the employment of land trains (if and when another one becomes available) of the kind which currently run along the promenade, one of which was depicted on the letter page of the same edition of the Mercury. Given that I can walk almost as fast as the tram train going at speed, it seems that someone in the transport executive of the council is having a laugh at Weston’s expense.
Meanwhile, in the north of the district on the fringes of Bristol, (as proclaimed by council leader Nigel Ashton in a recent North Somerset Life magazine) the North Somerset Council is throwing away millions of pounds of council taxpayers money on an unwanted bit of road and a crazy scheme to put buses in concrete troughs. At the same time, North Somerset Council is denying Weston a tram system which could be an asset to the town. One is led to assume that North Somerset Council is awash with money and that the austerity story is a myth.
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THANK you to Peter Jones of Hewish for bringing to our attention the outrageous amount of money North Somerset Council spends on subsidising trade union activities (letters May 9).
If that amount were paid by council taxpayers alone - which it probably isn’t - it would work out as follows: £124,000 over three years is £41,333 per year.
There are approximately 90,000 registered council taxpayers in North Somerset which means each of them is contributing 0.88p a week.
And for what? That esteemed think tank Monty Python might ask what have the trade unions ever done for us? Well not much really apart from retirement ages, maternity leave, two day weekends, equality laws, work place pensions, the eight hour working day, occupational health and safety, the right not to be sacked due to illness or pregnancy, paid holidays, the minimum wage, the right to organise, pay increases and a standard of living above that of 1850 together with a few other things. Oh and we don’t send children up chimneys anymore. This would all have been granted by the kindly (right wing) powers-that-be eventually wouldn’t it? So that 0.88p is a complete waste of money. To make things worse, as Peter points out, some of that 0.88p might make it into the coffers of the Labour Party. Before we know it they will be demanding that those nice corporations and wealthy people who cleverly avoid or evade paying billions in tax into the Treasury stop funding the Conservative party.
Atlantic Road, Weston
WE ARE writing as North Somerset Green Party members to express our concerns about the 22 per cent reduction to council tax benefit for North Somerset’s poorest residents.
We ask your readers ‘How little can you live on?’ There is some advice about this out there on the internet (for those with access), and many local families are being forced to find out. Already hit by frozen wages and below inflation benefit rises, the poorest 8,300 working age households in North Somerset are facing demands for an average of £3.56 a week extra for council tax. This compares with an average of £0.34 per week council tax rise for pensioners and better off households.
The Conservative executive of North Somerset Council is acting as if this gross unfairness is inevitable. It is not.
While it was the Government which reduced funding for council tax support by 10 per cent, there was a choice about how to pass this cost on.
Bristol and 20 per cent of other authorities absorbed the whole cost, so no low income resident of Bristol suffers. The majority of authorities tempered the rise by accepting a Government grant and putting in some match funding. North Somerset is amongst a minority which decided to dump the full burden on the most financially vulnerable families.
We could have halved their burden by the rest of us paying another 8p a week. What has happened to ‘we are all in this together’? Green Party councillor Tom Leimdorfer led the minority opposition to the Conservative’s hardline approach, but the majority of councillors turned deaf ears, with a few regretful words.
Many of the same local families are also hit by the Government’s iniquitous ‘bedroom tax’, also opposed by the Green Party nationally. Debt advisors and foodbanks are where we see real growth in ‘business’ and homelessness beckons for some. Green Party-led Brighton and Hove Council declared it will not evict any tenant who cannot pay as a result of the Government’s policy to take money from the poor, while at the same time propping up the banks.
We call on North Somerset Council to follow suit. We believe in fairness, especially in times of distress. We believe the majority of your readers would also wish their council to be fair.
EMILY BRADDOCK AND STUART MCQUILLAN
High Street, Yatton and Elmhurst Gardens, Long Ashton
THE Cinnamon Trust is the national charity for the elderly and terminally ill and their pets.
We seek to keep owner and pet together for as long as possible with the help of a national network of volunteers who assist when day-to-day care poses a problem.
Our aim is to relieve the owners of any worry concerning the welfare of their pets both during and after their own lifetime making us unique amongst charities.
We are urgently looking for dog walking volunteers to help a resident of Yatton.
All volunteers help in the ways that are most appropriate to them. Teams take it in turn to visit housebound owners, to take dogs for walks, volunteers foster pets as one of their family when owners face a spell in hospital, they take pets to the vet, clean the budgie’s cage out. We take any problem posed in day-to-day care of pets. Contact Sally direct on 01736 758707 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The volunteers can gain access to our volunteer page on our website or www.cinnamon.org.uk or by emailing us at email@example.com
Appeal administrator, The Cinnamon Trust, Market Square, Hayle, Cornwall
I WOULD like to thank the young woman and the couple who stopped their cars and came to the aid of my husband who had fallen in our front garden on Friday afternoon.
His mobility is limited and without their assistance I would not have been able to get him back on his feet and into the house.
Fortunately, apart from a few grazes and a sore shoulder, he doesn’t appear to have done too much damage to himself, so once again thank you.
Bransby Way, Locking Castle
I AM hoping that the honest, kind lady who found my purse and handed it into the reception at Weston General Hospital on Saturday May 4 will be reading this.
You did not leave your name so I have been unable to thank you personally.
Honesty such as yours is a heartwarming virtue that so often is missing in today’s society and I can’t thank you enough for what you did.
The Lawns, Worle
I USUALLY wash my car once a year whether it needs it or not. A couple of weeks ago I did just that.
On Tuesday, while driving along Upper Bristol Road, I needed to pass one of these large, left hand drive vehicles used to sweep the road. It was not raining, but the roads were wet.
As I passed, my windscreen was immediately smothered in what might be best described as a ‘slurry’ of dust and water which then dried.
Fortunately my windscreen washer bottle was well topped up. Once I’d arrived at my destination I was able to see the entire car was covered.
One doesn’t often come across these vehicles, perhaps just as well. At other times I have seen them in dry weather with a huge plume of dust emerging from the top similar to the smoke from an old locomotive.
One wonders if these things are fitted with filters, or perhaps this form of re-distribution is a means of reducing the amount of stuff sent to landfill?
Lyddon Road, Worle