North West Region

Tourism VAT should be cut

Tourism VAT should be cut

Aug 27, 2013

Aug 27 – to Blackpool Gazette Dear Editor, As your local MEP, I fully support the Cut Tourism VAT campaign that would see the rate slashed for the struggling catering and hospitality industry. It is utter madness that while we are struggling to attract visitors to the UK (outside of London) our restaurants, bars and theme parks are forced to charge some of the highest levels of VAT in Europe. This is restricting many businesses in seaside resorts such as Blackpool from expanding and taking on more staff. Much of continental Europe have been able to slash the VAT in the tourism and hospitality industry and as a result, business in this sector is booming, bucking the national trend. Blackpool as a resort has a number of attractions capable of enticing visitors not just from the North West but from across the UK and overseas. However, until VAT in the tourism sector is allowed to fall to more competitive levels, seaside towns will continue to be regarded as overpriced for family visitors. Yours faithfully Paul...

Should fracking be carried out in the UK?

Should fracking be carried out in the UK?

Aug 22, 2013

    The Case In Favour – Noel Matthews, Cumbria County Chairman, UKIP     Hydraulic fracturing, the process of extracting gas from shale rock by using pressurized liquids to fracture it and thus release gas and petroleum into a well, is a welcome development for UK businesses and domestic consumers because it potentially offers lower energy prices, increased energy security, and reduced dependence on imported gas, with a consequent saving on our balance of payments   The shale gas revolution in the United States has transformed US manufacturing and has resulted in their gas prices dropping to a fraction of those in Europe. We now have a report from the British Geological Survey indicating that shale gas resources in the UK are much larger than previously thought.  There is likely to be sufficient accessible gas for decades, perhaps centuries, of current consumption.   The Bowland Shale formation right here in the North West is also said to be three times thicker than the vast Marcellus field in the USA, suggesting not only larger volumes of gas, but more efficient extraction possibilities. Gas on this scale could well have a transformative effect on the British economy, and make us much less dependant on imports.  It will hopefully mean jobs, growth, and prosperity.   The prize, of total or partial energy independence, local industry and jobs, reduced imports, and lower energy costs, is so vast, we cannot afford to ignore it.  Energy availability and cost is one of the greatest economic problems we (and our children and grandchildren) face.  It would be an enormous dereliction of duty not to pursue every practical opportunity for indigenous energy.   There will be doubters. Alarmists from the green movement, Gazprom and others are already at work on this. We will be told about how fracking causes earthquakes which naturally brings images of falling buildings to mind. Fracking indeed causes seismic activity (which is not classified as earthquakes but as micro-tremors) but we are talking about tremors equivalent to the rumble of a truck passing your house.   We will be told that fracking is dangerous to residents and hazardous to health. In the US, perhaps the most litigious society on...

Sajjad Karim Remarks Slammed

Sajjad Karim Remarks Slammed

Aug 16, 2013

Aug 16 – Bolton News  Dear Editor,  The comments made by your Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim stating that opponents of the European Union are an ‘anti-EU Taliban’ are bang out of order and a smack in the face of the overwhelming majority of people who are unhappy with our current relationship of the EU. He should know that since 2010, poll after poll has shown that more voters support leaving the EU than those who believe we should opt to stay in. If he believes in comparing the majority view with that of the Taliban then he will certainly be in for a surprise when his party loses a record number of MEP’s come next May. Karim ought to be reminded that just a few years ago, only UKIP had the courage to even mention Europe amidst the suggestion that we were mentally ill. Perhaps now Karim fears losing his job in 2014, we should expect nothing less from a former Liberal Democrat turned Conservative MEP. Yours faithfully   Paul...

IEA Reveals True HS2 Waste

IEA Reveals True HS2 Waste

Aug 16, 2013

Aug 21 Dear Editor, The report by the Institute of Economic Affairs stating that the controversial High Speed 2 project is now expected to cost the UK taxpayer a whopping £80 billion is further proof that it is nothing more than a white elephant vanity project. These costs are already spiralling out of control and not a single piece of new track has even been laid. This summer, we have seen these costs rise from £30 billion to £42.6 billion and now £80 billion. I would imagine that come 2032/33 when the first trains are due to arrive into Manchester, the total cost will be much more than £80 billion. With train fares now expected to rise by 4.1% next year, far outstripping the rise in wages, I would be surprised if by 2032 there is anyone left able to pay for a ticket. This money would be much better spent on ramping up the improvement needed to local rail services, particularly in the north of England where commuters still face using an almost Victorian service. Yours faithfully   Paul...

Cameron Allows Sovereignty To Be Stripped Away

Cameron Allows Sovereignty To Be Stripped Away

Aug 14, 2013

Aug 14  Dear Editor,  To anyone that still thinks that our Coalition Government actually have the power to govern the UK (and that goes for the previous Labour and Conservative administrations) they should think again. Last week, as part of an ongoing propaganda campaign, the EU stated that in the near future the EU flag will appear on the birth certificates of all who are born within the member states, just as it does on our passports. Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has stated that we are powerless to do anything about it as it is written into the Lisbon Treaty that Gordon Brown signed while he was Labour Prime Minister. And also the European Union has now announced that “made in” country of manufacture tags will be banned in the near future. No doubt to be replaced with “made in the EU”. ! While we continue to have our powers and sovereignty slowly, but surely, stripped away, David Cameron does nothing to stop it, other than spout the usual nonsense about repatriating powers and promising a referendum. But only if he gets re-elected and then not until 2017. In accordance with the Lisbon Treaty many new powers will come into effect and by 2017 I suspect we will be powerless to do anything which is why Cameron is doing nothing. Yours faithfully,   Philip Griffiths, North West...