North West Region

Tobacco Duty Needs Reform

Aug 14 – to Bolton News  Dear Editor,  I fully sympathise with local shopkeeper Dilip Trivedi when he says that some convenience stores in Bolton are at risk of closure due to the increased proliferation of counterfeit and illegally imported cigarettes. Duty on tobacco products have skyrocketed to the point where a pack of 20 cigarettes have become so expensive there is a black market with fakes being smuggled into the UK through our airports and ferry terminals. Increasingly, in many cases these cigarettes contain  dangerous concoctions of chemicals that you would not find in duty paid products. These duties are not putting people off smoking as government figures might suggest but instead pushing smokers into the arms of smugglers who import fakes from places such as Turkey and Egypt. While these duties remain high, there will always be a demand for non duty imports, making a mockery of those who pay full whack. Perhaps now is the time we start looking at reforming how duty is paid on tobacco products in order to reduce the temptation for smuggled cigarettes.   Yours faithfully   Paul...

North West MEP List

North West MEP List

Aug 14, 2013

In August UKIP announced the successful candidates who will go forward to a national members ballot for selection for the MEP list in the North West. The list of the selection panel, based on the scores achieved in their candidate assessment is as follows: 1. Paul Nuttall 2. Michael McManus 3. Louise Bours 4. Shneur Odze 5. Steven Woolfe 6. Lee Slaughter 7. Peter Harper 8. Simon Noble Members will be called upon to vote for 8 candidates in a national postal ballot to be held in September. The full list of candidates can be seen...

Rail Price Hike Slammed

Aug 13 Dear Editor, January marks the start of another new year but tragically for many who commute to work by train, the month also signals yet another above inflation increase to the cost of their vital rail journeys. This week it has been revealed by the Office of National Statistics that RPI has remained stubbornly high at 3.1% for July meaning rail firms can hike their already extortionate ‘regulated’ fares by a whopping 4.1%. Unregulated fares will no doubt also see an inflation busting increase perhaps in the double digits. Our rail network is amongst the most expensive in Europe yet with average earnings struggling to keep pace they risk becoming a travel option for only the super wealthy. If I travelled from my home city of Liverpool (Lime Street) tomorrow morning to London Euston I would be expected to pay up to £289 for a return journey. I could travel outside of so called ‘peak time’ but ironically the first off peak and supposedly cheaper services are standing room only whilst many peak trains run half empty. I cannot even begin to fathom how expensive High Speed 2 services will end up especially when you consider there is bound to be a price premium necessary in order to pay off the projected £42 billion being wasted on this white elephant. Yours faithfully   Paul...

Mersey Tunnels Toll Should Be Scrapped

Aug 11 – to Liverpool Echo and Daily Post Dear Editor,   As a long standing campaigner for the scrapping of the toll charges for motorists using the Mersey Tunnels, it comes as no surprise that the extra 10p charge introduced in April is already causing problems, with money buckets unable to recognise lighter 10 pence coins.   Motorists are already hard pressed to fund these increased tolls which amounts to nothing less than daylight robbery, but now many are finding their journeys to and from work are delayed due to the lack of foresight by the bosses at Mersey Travel who no doubt should have tested the use of these new, lighter coins.   These charges, which are as high as £6.40 for heavy goods vehicles, have paid for the cost of the tunnels many times over and have become nothing more than a cash cow for Merseytravel. It is high time that the tunnels were fully integrated into the national road network so we can give motorists a break.   Yours faithfully   Paul Nuttall...

Cumbria Council Chief Salary Cut Welcomed

Aug 11 Dear Editor, While I am glad that new full time Cumbria County Council Chief, Diane Wood, has reduced her salary by £30,000 a year, you cannot escape the fact that public sector pay amongst senior managers has risen to levels where they are often paid more than Prime Minister David Cameron. Sadly, many authorities believe that amongst rising cuts to front line council services, the pay of senior managers should rise regardless. When hundreds of the lowest paid council employees face the axe with little or no notice period, it is clear that priorities have to change. I hope that Cumbria County Council can use this £30,000 a year saving to protect some of the lowest paid jobs that are under threat. Perhaps if other senior managers were to bring their salary in line with their private sector counterparts more front line jobs could be saved. Yours faithfully   Paul...