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Your views on pensions, politics and cannabis

Here are the letters from this week's Fenland Citizen...

Payments should be the same for all

We need fair pensions for older pensioners instead of the scraps that the Conservative government decided in 2016 that we get.

They decided we are worth less than other OAPS who were born after 1953.

We have signed the petition calling for the pensions to be unified.

We thought David Cameron was useless as a prime minister,but only to get a worse one in Theresa May.

You think no one can be worse but then we got Liz Truss.

Tony and Sue Wade


Pensioners are calling for equal payments
Pensioners are calling for equal payments

System leads to bitter legal arguments

The House of Commons’ Health and Social Care Committee said the current system was too adversarial, leading to bitter and long legal fights for patients.

More than £2bn a year is paid out on claims, but 25% goes to legal fees.An independent body should be set up to adjudicate on cases and the need to prove individual fault should be scrapped, the cross-party group said.

Instead, the focus should be whether the system failed, which the MPs believe would create a better culture for learning from mistakes.

The committee heard from families who had lost children or whose babies had been left with brain injuries from mistakes made during birth.Parents described how they had to fight for years to get recognition for the harm that had been caused.

One woman criticised the “complacent attitude” of the hospital involved, saying they just wanted to put it down to one mistake and carry on as normal.

Another woman whose daughter died aged 20 months after errors in her care said she felt lessons had not been learnt despite a settlement in her favour.

She said the whole process had left her feeling devastated.Under the proposals, before any court case there should be compulsory use of alternative dispute resolution through the independent body.

The government said it was already looking to change the litigation system and it would consider the recommendations. “The rising cost of clinical negligence is unsustainable,” a spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care added.

John White


UK should legalise cannabis

Ten years ago voters in Colorado approved a ballot measure called Amendment 64 that legalised cannabis for adult, recreational use.

This not only created a booming avenue of tourism for Denver but sparked a domino effect of similar reforms across the US, eventually leading 19 states to legalise recreational cannabis, and increase the number of medically legal states to 37.

Since then, Colorado has racked up $13.2bn in cannabis sales, which has gleaned $2.2bn in taxes and fees for the state.

Recently Joe Biden announced he would be pardoning all federal cannabis offences,

encouraged governors to do the same, and asked for a

review of its schedule 1 status, where it is placed alongside heroin and LSD as having “no medicinal value”.

Since Colorado legalised cannabis there has been no increase in teenage experimentation, no increase in driving while high, according to a state health survey of 40,000 participants.

Current Colorado governor, Jared Polis, is campaigning not only for re-election as governor, but for the federal passage of a banking bill that would allow cannabis businesses access to loans, bank accounts, tax deductions (currently they have none) and interstate commerce.

Before Amendment 64, even progressive Democrats like Barack Obama were mocking the idea of legalisation.

Fast forward a decade and the Republican Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, stands in a field of hemp in a campaign ad, boasting that hemp could replace tobacco as a Kentucky cash crop. When Gallup first began polling on this issue in 1969, only 12% of Americans supported legalisation of cannabis. At the time of Amendment 64’s passage in 2012, about half the country was in favour of the change. As of 2021, that number climbed to 68%. The UK should legalise cannabis.

John Smithee


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