I WRITE in response to an article in the Wigan Evening Post on November 9 which reported the short shrift given by the majority of councillors at Wigan town hall to a proposal to cut their number.
It is disgrace that the motion by Gary Wilkes was heavily defeated, and I would hazard a guess that the Labour Party were mainly responsible for this self-preservation vote , and the derision it was met with is typical of the party in power in Wigan, and this from a party that subscribes to the DO MORE WITH LESS theory.
Gary Wilkes and his party are not alone in the two councillors per ward policy, it is the official policy of the local UKIP party, and with the support that UKIP have experiencing in recent polls, I would imagine it is popular amongst the Wigan electorate.
Just compare neighbouring boroughs of similar size, St Helens and Warrington. St Helens has 48 councillors and Warrington 50 compared with Wigan’s 75, which underlines the case to reduce the numbers in Wigan in line with UKIP policy of two councillors per ward.
It is high time councillors did their bit in saving the borough some money by reducing their numbers in this time of cuts.
We don’t want tolls
The last Government backed down after 1.8 million people signed a petition against road pricing.
Although the current government assures us that our existing major routes will not be privatised or tolled short-term, it also accepted ‘the Cook Report’ proposing that they be run by a company with commercial freedom to sweat assets.
It now proposes to set up the Highways Agency as such a state-owned company.
To hold it to account for the driving public, it is interesting that the government sees as possibilities a railways body or its own motoring forum – which curiously represents groups that make money out of drivers, such as insurance companies.
Some of its appointees have actually lobbied the government to bring in road pricing as a means of making money out of drivers, and one has even supported workplace parking charges and opposed reducing fuel taxes!
Drivers already pay around a massive £50billion a year in taxes.
Enough is enough!
Proper safeguards are needed against an important loophole. I urge readers to respond to the consultation by December 20, making it clear that any new company should not have powers to lease-off our roads to road tolling interests.
Please write to:
Roads Reform Consultation
DFT Zone 3/23
London SW1P 4DR
Alliance of British Drivers, Manchester
Charity not the only way
I wonder if the many viewers, myself included, who watched Children in Need were rightly gratified by the huge amount of money donated.
This highlighted the fact that it appears charitable contributions are totally supporting hospices and other vital organisations. The work done by hospices for our terminally ill children and adults is priceless. We have successive governments who choose to happily allow the generosity of the public to keep them functioning.
This government spends £10bn on overseas aid, much of which goes to countries who would rather criticise than praise us. Our most vulnerable are forced to exist in a world of uncertainty. We live in a time where food banks are becoming the norm.
We need a government which takes it responsibilities seriously and addresses these funding issues as a highest priority.
Norman Abram, Cottam