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Letters to the Fenland Citizen editor: March 24, 2021



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Labour no longer represents its people

I commend John Smithee and his campaign for a massive increase in social housing. What he is doing makes me weep for the Labour Party. John has come up with a policy that everyone in that party should already be identified as fighting for, but I think most of us would be hard pressed to discern what Labour stands for now. It was clear, though, in 1945.

I am a grateful beneficiary of the Labour created Welfare State. I had a free education all the way to degree level with fees paid and a maintenance grant to live on.

Even when working, I received grants to extend my qualifications. Trains and buses were subsidised so fares were cheap and travel to anywhere was attainable by all.

Other benefits of that period were the nationalisation of public transport, of energy and water and some manufacturing, notably steel.

This created hundreds of thousands of dignified and properly paid work for ordinary people.

The Conservatives to their credit did not undo nationalisation or the welfare state but added hundreds of thousands of new homes – a programme that, again, Labour started. We kept through all of this our freedom of speech and freedom of thought.

Thus Socialism then was not a dirty word – it had significance behind it. In contrast the ‘Socialism’ of the modern Labour party is an empty vessel.

Andy Burnham during the leadership campaign to
replace Ed Milliband came up with the idea of the care system being part of the NHS – a National Care Service if you like.

Another example of a policy that the mediocrities on the Labour front bench ignore in favour of culture wars and identity and gender politics and cancel culture and other ‘woke’ fixations.

The Labour Party no longer echoes the concerns and needs of the people it was set up to champion. They don’t have the stomach any more.

Too many of them have never had a proper job and are too cosy on their expenses. No wonder they languish in the polls!

David Silver

Wisbech

John Elson's Fenland Citizen cartoon.
John Elson's Fenland Citizen cartoon.

We should not be adding armaments

Just as the Government says there’s only money for a 1 per cent pay rise for NHS workers, it unveils a 40 per cent increase in nuclear warheads.

Its plan for war and waste is called the defence and foreign policy review and will see the number of warheads rise from 180 to 260, enough to obliterate hundreds of millions of people.

Each warhead is estimated to have an explosive power of 100 kilotons – nearly seven times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima at the end of the Second World War.

The review also demands more weapons to target Russia and China.

It claims this is “in recognition of the evolving security environment” and the “developing range of technological and doctrinal threats”.

Incredibly, the review believes that hurling more money into weapons of mass destruction will “strengthen the union”.

We should be abolishing armaments, not adding to them.

John Smithee

Wisbech

This is result of selling off council homes

“The Government promised that no one will lose their home because of coronavirus, but holes in their so-called evictions ban mean thousands of people have been made homeless at the height of the pandemic.”

Shelter’s frontline services data shows two-thirds of calls answered by its emergency helpline in the last year were from people already homeless or at risk of homelessness. The results of a survey of more than 3,500 adults in England, published by Shelter, reveal 14 per cent said the current economic situation had made them more worried about losing their homes – which when compared to the wider population amounts to more than six million people.

Of private renters surveyed, 27 per cent said they were concerned about becoming homeless and that they had seen their income decrease in the last six months.

One in four said they had to borrow money in order to pay their rent and 18 per cent reported having to cut back on meals. Landlords are currently required to provide a six-month notice period to evict tenants – a measure that was introduced in response to Covid-19 and is due to end on May 31.

Campaigners warn that once the measure is lifted, thousands of people will lose their homes, and are calling for the Government to provide more financial support to tenants to ensure they can pay off their rent arrears.

Some letting agencies illegally evicting people during the pandemic. The Government was warned of a spike in homelessness – unless special pandemic measures are extended, the renters face homelessness as evictions are set to resume within days.

Charities say many people have already fallen homeless despite the ban on evictions, where, for example, their
accommodation was linked to their job or where they had precarious living arrangements that have ended during the pandemic.

This is the fall-out of Tony Blair Labour party’s selling off council houses to private companies. Fenland District Council instigated this too.

John White

Wisbech



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