Don’t say that pensions are welfare

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith
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For how much longer, I wonder, are coalition ministers like Iain Duncan Smith and Steve Webb going to continue peddling the disgusting lies that the basic state pension and “welfare” are entwined.

Pensions are NOT welfare, never have been, never will be. The are NOT state handouts either.

They are retirement income accrued by people who have spent their working life paying National Insurance.

Pay nothing in get nothing out, that is the simplicty of the issue.

The UK’s basic state pension is, to this country’s eternal shame, the second lowest within the EU.

Little wonder then that more than one million people are still having to labour, on long hours, at 65-plus.

It seems to be a newly created catchphrase to lay the blame on the over-65s for taking bread out of the mouths of our grandchildren, a charge that is both insulting and untrue.

Pensioners were not responsible for creating the banking crisis or the financial austerity we are now under.

That charge can be laid at the door of the greedy, reckless, bankers aided by inept, incompetent, politicians.

So why should pensioners have to bear the responsibility of getting this country’s finances back on an even keel?

Those who got us into this mess should be made to pay to get us out of it.

Mr D S Lockhart


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Mr Hollobone not found wanting

Some little while ago, one Sunday, I fell foul of the recently introduced parking regulations in The Crescent, Kettering.

I had parked in a “Residents Only” area which had been newly restructured four weeks before my visit.

I had not intended to park in contravention of regulations, and felt that the signage in The Crescent was/is misleading by its inconsistency.

I also believe that Kettering Council (Environment and Parking Services Department) must have been aware of the cash potential of the situation given that they deployed a parking warden on a Sunday when the seemingly obvious reason for the restriction is to deter weekday commuter parking.

I entered into lengthy written dialogue with Kettering Council for more than four months during which time, in my opinion, they did not listen properly to my explanation, and made factual errors in their account of events.

I offered to meet with council representatives on site in The Crescent to explain my position and did not receive a response.

As something of a last resort I involved my three local councillors for Ise Lodge, one of whom is Philip Hollobone MP.

Mr Hollobone listened to my account of events and made representation to KBC on my behalf.

It is only with Mr Hollobone’s intervention that KBC reconsidered my position and cancelled the fixed parking notice.

This was the first time I had ever involved an MP in a local issue, and Mr Hollobone was not found wanting.

Ward Simpson


We need quality hotel in Rushden

I feel that I must put the record straight re your letter from Brian Gravestock.

1. I do not run Higham Twinning as a councillor, but rather as a private individual.

The Twinning Society has never received a penny of public money. It is done completely voluntarily and in my own spare time.

2. Mr Gravestock criticises me heavily for not knowing the name of the person we had booked into his B&B for the German visit at the end of July.

This is because he’s the bus driver, and even the Germans don’t know his name yet!

3. My interview related to Rushden and Rushden Lakes (not Raunds).

I also did not say that there were NO B&Bs.

There are several with two or three rooms each, like Mr Gravestock’s.

Rather the point was that we lack hotel beds in this area, especially Rushden.

I have had brilliant service from a B&B in the centre of Higham and an excellent small hotel in Stanwick as well, but that does not mean we do not need more capacity, especially if Rushden Lakes goes ahead.

Rushden Lakes will be a major tourist attraction, and we need to persuade those visitors to stay overnight and spend money in our excellent restaurants and pubs.

We can only do this if we have a reasonable size quality hotel.

The Rushden Lakes scheme will provide a 120-bed hotel/conference centre, which is one of the many reasons I have been campaigning so hard to get it passed.

Gill Mercer

Higham Twinning Association

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Thank you for your donations

Animal Aid would like to thank the people of Rushden for their generosity on June 8 when a grand total of £75.35 was raised in our street collection.

The money will help to fund our peaceful campaigns and educational work on all aspects of animal cruelty.

For more information on how to prevent animal cruelty please call Animal Aid on 01732 364546 or visit our website

Paula Ward

Animal Aid Collection Co-ordinator


Open up system to real scrutiny

I wanted to give my full backing to Corby’s Conservative councillors in their efforts to allow public filming of council meetings (Audit Report: Filming to be allowed at special Corby Council meeting – Northamptonshire Telegraph, July 5, 2013).

It comes following guidance from the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, Eric Pickles MP, on how local authorities should be open with the press and public.

I have to say that I was not surprised that Labour opposed the motion.

You only have to look at the way their trade union friends are hijacking Ed Miliband on the selection of his own candidates to see that transparency is not their strong point.

If we want people to feel confidence in politics we need to open up the system to scrutiny and this is something that I will always campaign for.

Thomas Pursglove

Conservative prospective Parliamentary candidate for Corby and East Northamptonshire

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Dickensian tale is still very relevant

Listening to bankers, town councillors, MPs etc justifying their expenses and also remembering St Margaret’s admiration of Victorian values, reminds me of Ebenezer Scrooge when he was asked to contribute to a fund to improve Christmas for the poor.

Being assured that the Poor Law and the Workhouses were still in operation but many of the poor would rather die than get involved with them, his response was “it would get rid of the surplus population”.

This is a perfect example of Victorian values. Perhaps it is not Marley’s ghost that is floating around the Houses of Parliament but Maggie’s.

It seems that Charles Dickens’ messages still apply. Yours apprehensively, a member of our nation’s ageing (surplus) population.

R Crisp


Weather brings noisy neighbours

With summer having decided to consent to make an appearance I felt it was time to dust off the garden loungers and get some serious sun worshipping in, but happens when the weather gets its act together?

Yes, you’ve guessed it, out comes the barbies and the DIY addicts.

So after a couple of weeks of Bob the builder banging away with his latest project and the obligatory Barbie, things went quiet, great I thought, get to loungers.

Peace? How wrong was I? After 15 mins Bob is back, after another few minutes Ringo Starr decides to give his new set of drums a try out, so Bob decides to up the beat in competition and there they are banging in stereo, nice if they were playing together!

However, this was not the last entertainer, the local DJ decided to get in on the act and has the boom box turned up to the maximum.

What is it about the British summer that brings the worst out of the neighbours, is it only me or does anyone else have the same problem? Roll on winter.

Ivor Watson


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No! £75,000 wage is not acceptable

£75,000 per annum is just too much for a politician to appear in the odd photoshoot or ribbon cut.

It’s time Members of Parliament were appraised as the rest of us in employment are.

Let’s say at least publish their achievements throughout the year and a grading system so we clearly understand the calibre of the person representing our community and thus letting us know whether they deserve to be re-elected.

Most politicians are wealthy enough not to take the salary at all, so we have to ask ourselves just what are these people’s motives?

The average working wage is enough, about £26,000, thus incentivising these members to work on behalf of everyone to increase it.

It is a privilege to serve and if you are in it for the dosh, then clearly you are in the wrong job.

No, £75,000 is not acceptable, you are only worth what WE the people who put you in the job think you are worth.

Tom Bingham