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

Save Crewe Town Centre

Dear Editor,

It seems to me that once again, residents and visitors to the Crewe and Nantwich areas of Cheshire East are footing the bill when it comes to council parking charges after paying a whopping £1.5 million.

Some may argue that Nantwich is a thriving market town, bustling with independent shops, nice cafes and well kept pubs; however, the same can’t be said for Crewe. The town centre of Crewe is on its knees and some parts of the high street now resemble an economic ghost town. crewewelcome

Meanwhile, more affluent towns such as Sandbach continue to enjoy free parking. Consequently, it is of no surprise that whilst Sandbach continues to thrive, Crewe is left to wither and die.  Continue reading Save Crewe Town Centre

Cheshire police praised

Dear Editor, 

As your local MEP, I would like to congratulate Cheshire Police in their successful raids across the county in an effort to stamp out modern day slavery and exploitation of foreign workers.

policepic

The recent case of Romanian workers at the Waves Car Wash at Congleton Tesco where employees were paid just £3.63, half the minimum wage, is sadly just the tip of the iceberg. 

Foreign workers often have their passports taken away from them whilst being forced to hand over their wages to brutal gang masters and exploiters. This is happening not only at car washes but on construction sites, warehouses and farms up and down the country. 

Continue reading Cheshire police praised

Save Crewe high street

To: Crewe newspapers

Dear Editor,

Once upon a time and not so long ago, Crewe town centre was home to a bustling high-street with the biggest household names, all with their doors open ready for shoppers to spend their hard earned cash.crewewelcome

Sadly, the Crewe high street of 2016 is nothing more than a ghostly shell of its former self as store after store either relocates to Grand Junction or more sadly, disappears from the town altogether.

In the last couple of years we have lost, amongst others, The Body Shop, Mothercare and BHS. Marks and Spencer will be merging its operations at Grand Junction next spring leaving yet another large vacant unit.

Tory dominated Cheshire East say they have plans to save the high street but unless these plans bear fruit soon, there won’t be much of a town centre left to save. Meanwhile, the opposition-less Labour Town Council has neither the teeth nor gumption to do anything to save the town.

Unless we see plans soon for a new department store or a raft of popular and upscale bars and restaurants soon, we may as well just pack up shop and turn the lot into new, quality flats.

Yours faithfully,

Louise Bours MEP