Your Views - here are the letters published in the Harborough Mail on January 9, 2014.
As usual, there are lots of views and opinions on a host of subjects in this week’s Mail.
POLITICS: New year brings many challenges
I’d like to wish everyone a very happy new year. This is a good time to reflect on the successes of 2013 and the challenges that 2014 will bring.
Despite our funding problems, the county council made headlines for the right reasons in 2013 – for making a real difference to people’s lives.
When we’re losing £110m over the next five years, the only realistic option is to think radically, prioritise and work even more closely with partners.
The success of Supporting Leicestershire Families – an initiative to turn around the lives of our most vulnerable people – illustrates this.
It’s an approach we’re adopting in other areas, especially health and social care, where closer working creates the potential to improve services and save millions of pounds.
We’ve improved our relationship with the city and district councils, as shown by our co-operation around King Richard III and the city deal bid, both of which should boost the economy. Increasingly, our role is to kick-start things that the community can take forward.
So we’re supporting mortgages for first-time buyers, working with BT on superfast broadband and investing £1m in business loans – all of which can support growth.
And we mustn’t forget that the council is still ideally placed to champion public concerns. That’s why we’re fighting HS2, which will result in all pain but no gain for Leicestershire.
Let me return to the budget. This summer, more than 7,000 of you told us which services we should protect and which we could save more from. This has informed our budget proposals (see page 17).
There’s no doubt that we have to take many painful decisions and the council will change.
It’s also clear that communities will have to pitch in themselves, if they want some services to continue.
But I’m certain that, despite the challenges, the council will still play a key role in improving people’s lives.
It’s going to be a tough year but, if you work with us, we can make a real difference.
Cllr Nick Rushton, leader of Leicestershire County Council
IMMIGRATION: Astonished at the views of UKIP
I was astonished to read the letter by our two UKIP MEPs in the Mail on the topic of immigration for three reasons.
Firstly, the Democracy Institute is not an independent research organisation as they claim, but a right-wing think-tank devoted to the notion of small government and free markets.
Secondly, its report the MEPs refer to uses an untested model to project immigration figures for the future. Why should we trust a model that has not been subject to any kind of professional peer review?
I would rely on data from University College London’s Migration Research Unit, which uses peer review tested methods to predict migration trends.
Finally, they recommend the UK breaks EU law – and therefore also UK law – by “contradicting EU law” to block entry.
So our MEPs recommend we pick and choose the laws we obey or choose not to obey?
That is the path to anarchy and arbitrary dictatorship, not social order and democracy.
Professor Charles Oppenheim, by email
THANK YOU: Generosity is a big help to Oxfam
I’d like to thank all the people who supported our Oxmas lunch sold just before Christmas to raise money for Oxfam. Particular thanks must go to Wesses Bakery who, for the third year running, donated their tasty bloomers.
So far this financial year we have been able to send Oxfam £4,000.
A number of people expressed an interest in the soup recipe. If you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I’d be happy to pass it on to you.
Judith Rout, by emaill
POLITICS: Blame IPSA for MP pay increases
While we all abhor the proposal to increase the salary of our Members of Parliament by a staggering 11 per cent, it is completely wrong to suggest it is the doing of this Coalition Government or, indeed, David Cameron.
Condemnation and wrath would be better directed at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the so-called independent body which oversees the business of MPs’ pay and pensions.
This action by IPSA has proved they are nowhere near in touch with the ordinary man and woman in the street and have become as discredited as the House of Commons Fees Office, the body which used to perform this function.
It is an absolute farce for IPSA, set up via the Constitutional Reform & Governance Act 2010, as there has been little reform involved by this action. Have they really learnt nothing?
Not only are the elderly insulted by this proposal, the majority of workers in the country feel a great sense of injustice and unfairness, particularly as the vast majority have either had to endure below-inflation pay awards or none at all since 2010.
What we might also care to do is write to our MPs and ask if he or she will accept this iniquitous remuneration package or, instead, lead by example in these times of austerity.
David Hankey, Great Easton
TESCO: Store would help create car spaces
Further to my recent letter supporting the proposed new Tesco store on the old Focus site, another plus would be it would alleviate the problem of the present car parks which are filled to capacity most days.
Those of us who want out-of-town shopping would not be taking up spaces used by people who want supermarkets and other small shops in the town.
Hopefully, the new store will provide a cold meat and delicatessen counter which the present store can’t provide.
Planners, say yes, there are more advantages to this plan.
Mary Punter, Market Harborough
PLANNING: Chairman’s role has no bearing
We were horrified to read your headline regarding the planning application for houses in Drayton Road, Medbourne.
We fail to see why the fact that the land is owned by the present chairman of the parish council has any bearing on the application as he has purposefully absented himself from any discussions on the matter.
That land, although outside the building line, is not in a sensitive area and would have, at least hopefully, added to the chance of younger families moving to the village who would have worked to help maintain the village ethos.
There are those who talk and those who do and Paul Polito has always been one of the latter – he has always had the care of the village at heart by helping with any fund raising in the church and the sports club and by the mowing of the towpath all through the summer after the county council used to shave the grass.
Much of the work of the parish council goes unsung but is a necessary part of the village to make sure that the majority views are heard by the town and county.
We would not like to see the village totally changed but would regard that a small building extension was an asset as he also offered to donate land for allotments which has been on the wish-list for a number of residents for long time.
Laurie and Bryan Smith, by email
TOILETS: Do your business with decorum
I popped into Waitrose in Harborough to pick up some provisions and was somewhat caught short. I went to the in-store facilities, only to be gobsmacked with the filthy state they had been left in.
Fighting through an ungodly stench to the throne itself, one can imagine my suppressed shrieks as my posterior was met with a soggy seat.
Then, to crown the experience, I was left without tissue.
An all-round rotten visit to the loo!
One can hardly blame the lovely folks at Waitrose, who are rushed off their feet by complimentary coffee guzzlers.
I am by no means one of these snobs who says Waitrose should be reserved for those of us who always shop there.
But, if the good people of Market Harborough cannot look after the facilities, we risk going back to those dreadful pre-Waitrose days.
So, Harborians, if you can’t relieve yourself in a dignified way, I really must humbly insist that you take your ‘business’ elsewhere.
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