EU funding is misleading

Dear Editor,

I am glad that rural projects in the county have benefited from receiving over £270,000 through the Cheshire LEADER programme, creating dozens of jobs in the process.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start patting the EU on the back for this success. Between 2007 and 2013, Cheshire received in the region of £150 million through EU structural and development funding. However in that same period, Cheshire had paid in £535 million, meaning that we were paying a whopping £3.58 for every pound we received.  Continue reading EU funding is misleading

Education needed, not bans

Dear Editor,

If killjoy former public health director Professor John Ashton had his way, not only would he ban the iconic Coca-Cola Christmas truck from Carlisle but I suspect he would ban the entire holiday season too.

Every Christmas, many of us overindulge on the mince pies, chocolates and an assortment of festive alcoholic beverages. Should we therefore ban Christmas as it encourages us to over-eat each year? Of course not. 

We all know that sugary, fizzy drinks are not the cornerstone of a healthy, nutritious diet but banning products we don’t like will only drive children into wanting them even more. What we need is to better educate children and parents on healthy alternatives to drinks such as Coca-Cola.  Continue reading Education needed, not bans

New Waste row

Dear Editor,

St Helens Council have some serious questions to answer after if was revealed that household recycling had been dumped into general waste following an unacceptable backlog resulting in some residents not having a collection since before Christmas. 

The council website is very clear that £100 fixed penalty notices are in place if waste is ‘deposited or fly tipped without due care’. Perhaps affected residents should have the right to fine the council the same amount per household for failing to provide a service that was promised to them.  Continue reading New Waste row

Wirral Council issues

Dear Editor,

It looks as though Wirral Council will not be reducing the number of councillors from 66 to 44 members anytime soon.  Pity they did not take the same protective attitude with staff numbers.

With that in mind, perhaps local residents, already feeling the pinch from rising council tax, sky high parking fees and a general decline in the quality in public services, would appreciate assurances that councillor allowances would remain frozen in the years to come.

More services such as waste collection are now pooled together with the rest of Merseyside but residents are not seeing any benefit whatsoever. Now it seems, the council are intent on introducing new parking charges on the borough’s country parks whilst hiking existing charges on the high street.

The Labour controlled council would quite happily tax the air we breathe if they had their way just so they can spend it on something daft like unnecessary newspapers that amount to nothing more than blatant vanity.

As the Liverpool City Region grows in power and importance, you do have to wonder whether 66 councillors in Wirral will be left twiddling their thumbs looking for something to do. Sooner or later, Wirral council will just become a scrutinising body for the Metro Mayor so it makes sense to adapt to the changes now and save money for the local taxpayer in the process.

Yours faithfully,

Louise Bours MEP

Criminal behavior in Crewe

Dear Editor, 

So Konnie Looms has finally received a criminal behaviour order that bans her from much of Crewe and Sandbach following a spate of assaults and criminal damage that has gone on for more than a year. 

Sadly, I fail to see what has really achieved here. You have a young woman, clearly capable of causing serious anti-social behaviour who has not really been punished for her actions but merely told to ‘move along’. 

People in Crewe and Sandbach are right to be pleased that she is now banned from their towns but what is to stop her from simply moving on to Congleton and Holmes Chapel? Will residents there have to put up with her nonsense for 12 months until she is banned again. Where after that? Nantwich? Middlewich?

Criminals such as Konnie Looms will carry on terrorising innocent people until they are taken off the streets and given the help they so desperately need – whilst serving a custodial sentence.

Yours faithfully,

Louise Bours MEP

Jobs boost in Bolton

Dear Editor, 

Forgive me if I am mistaken, but were we not told that a vote to leave the European Union would be so devastating to our economy that industry would pack up and leave, resulting in many people finding themselves out of work?lidl

Why is it then that Lidl have announced last week that they are looking to invest in a new regional distribution facility in Bolton at a cost of £22.5 million and create 500 new jobs in the process? 

I will tell you the reason. Because these so-called forecasts by the Bank of England and the ‘Remain’ camp turned out to be based on nothing more than pie-in-the-sky speculation.

Successful companies such as Lidl and its like-for-like rival Aldi know which way the wind is blowing. They see continued sky high youth unemployment in the ailing Eurozone whereas recent data shows our economy growing faster than any other G7 nation. Both companies, plus many more have pledged to invest heavily in the UK in the coming years, creating thousands of jobs in the process.

A convincing 58% of Bolton voters backed Brexit therefore I am glad that their courage seems to already be paying dividends.

Yours faithfully,

Louise Bours MEP

Give Liscard a boost

Dear Editor, 

Wirral Council’s decision to extend free car parking on Saturdays in their Birkenhead car parks for the rest of the month is fine and dandy for those traders – but what about Liscard?

For far too long Liscard has been the Cinderella in terms of investment and improvements on Wirral. Once upon a time the centre attracted shoppers from other parts of the peninsula but it has long since gone downhill and is used just out of convenience by those who live close by.

The Labour council always seems to prioritise Birkenhead over Wallasey and here we go again with this free parking venture. This will benefit the former over the latter and meanwhile shops are continuing to close in the Cherry Tree centre.

I assume the three Labour Liscard councillors fight for their residents but the council must think outside the Birkenhead box and actively encourage investment to the area. 

Plenty of attention has been given to New Brighton and it is good to see how it is flourishing. Now it is time for Liscard to be given a boost.

Yours faithfully

Louise Bours MEP

Voter ID needed

Dear Editor, 

Plans for voters to have to prove their identity at the ballot box has my full backing.

There have been squeals from some quarters about the government’s proposals but it is frankly overdue. Fraud may not have been widespread, though no one can say for sure, but any such dishonesty taints our electoral system.

I am not in favour of our first-past-the-post voting system but it is what we currently have and it is vital that it not only above board but seen to be above board. ballotboxpic

For those without photo ID two or three forms of proof, such as utility bills, could be used. All adults, rich or poor, should have the ability to vote.

The requirement for voter ID works in Northern Ireland and it should work here too. Continue reading Voter ID needed

Wigan bin collections slashed

Dear Editor,

Wigan council have announced that fortnightly waste bin collections are set to be  reduced to a three-week rota.

Like some kind of Bad Santa, Lord Peter Smith has delivered this troubling news just as the families of Wigan were just preparing for the festive season.  council-bins

He claims that the council needs to make budget savings – might I suggest that if the council spent less on politically correct billboard schemes and glitzy corporate branding, it might not have to make these cuts in the first place.

Residents dutifully hand over their council tax each month and in return they expect, and need, to have their rubbish bins to be emptied at least fortnightly. What next? Will council decide to save more money by making it a monthly collection?

Yours faithfully 

Louise Bours MEP

Abandon HS2 plans

Dear Editor, 

Wouldn’t it nice if the Chancellor’s Autumn statement this week announced the HS2 plans are being abandoned?

As well as all the homes and views that will be irrevocably destroyed or damaged by this huge white elephant just think what the country could do with the £55 billion that would be saved.

Everyone knows the NHS is seriously ill and needs an urgent infusion of cash to make it fit for purpose so the money not wasted on the high speed rail link could literally make the difference between life and death.  hs2

And the figures currently quoted will inevitably continue to rise and rise and the vast majority of people in this country rightly do not believe it is value for money. 

Many commuters already struggle to pay their rail fares and I shudder to think how much tickets will cost to travel on this folly.  Continue reading Abandon HS2 plans