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Letters on the cost of living, the war in Ukraine and a new pergola in Chatteris

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Here are the letters from the Fenland Citizen of Wednesday, March 16, 2022...

Where do they get the money from?

Yes the UK is set to take in 200,000 Ukrainian refugees, plus the 60,000 illegal English Channel migrants – £300million in financial aid and millions worth of munitions.

I just wonder who will be paying to keep them in hotels etc during this cost of living crisis.

Even if they come to stay with family, they can still apply for council housing and a job.

Despite not going to war with Russia, Westminster will increase military spending by three per cent to rebuild our land-based army. Despite the UK being one of the most peace-keeping nations, the crony munitions manufacturers are already queuing up for lucrative tax payer-funded contracts. While child poverty, food banks and homelessness becomes the normal reality, with National Insurance increases, 10% public sector pay increases, three per cent MPs’ pay increases, council tax, gas and electric, fuel, water, rents, mortgages, credit debt and loan repayments, road tax, food and the general cost of living increasing and biting our pockets.

It amazes me how Government can just get money from nowhere at a moment’s notice when we can’t even afford free school meals, or give us a £20 uplift benefit payment.

How can we step up humanitarianly when we cannot even resolve homelessness and poverty in our own country?

The Home Office typifies our bureaucratic exercise in chaos just like the DWP will with mass Universal Credit claims.

Our politicians are impressing the world with their grandiose ambitious ideas to the point tax payers can no longer finance them.

Mark Burton


Mrs E. Little, of Sutton Bridge, sent us this lovely photo of her orchids in bloom (55393408)
Mrs E. Little, of Sutton Bridge, sent us this lovely photo of her orchids in bloom (55393408)

Government needs to give financial help

At the start of April, spikes in global oil and gas prices from last year start to feed through to our energy bills and the energy price cap jumps up.

You should have had a message from your provider by now explaining what’s happening to your particular bill and warning about an increase to your direct debit. That will be hard enough for many households, but we’re also now seeing record prices at petrol stations due to the war in Ukraine.

The Resolution Foundation is also warning the conflict will bring more price rises, with inflation peaking at the same point as the price cap goes up.

The only saving grace is the time of year. At least if the weather improves, we can then start using less energy and leaving the car at home becomes easier for many.

That could help people to divert cash to cover the rising prices in shops, which we will have to pay whatever the season.

The government needs to assess this situation and give more financial help to reduce our national burden in order to level the financial help given to other countries.



Their people are so brave

Whilst our hearts weep, and our minds struggle to make sense of the enormity of the horrors being played out across Ukraine, our thoughts, simply go to those peace-loving people that are suffering so badly at the demented behest of Vladimir Putin.

They are either having their homes, towns and cities bombed into nothingness, or fleeing the country, with, at the time of writing, over two million Ukrainians have escaped to other, hopefully ‘safe’ countries like Poland, Moldova, Latvia etc.

That’s two million out of a country of less than 50,000,000 people.

Those that chose to stay behind, many to bravely fight the Russians, and quite a number of those forced into remaining, have no electricity, water, medical supplies, very little food, and no form of heating during these harsh months, where the temperature drops well below freezing, and with the threat of thermobaric weapons, cluster bombs, and several nuclear sites, compromised, or at risk.

But, still, with everything going against them, they still carry the fight to their tormentors, and give them bloody nose after black eye, suitably, ably, and heroically led by their own President Volodomyr Zelenskyy.

Like many others, my heart has sank as he demanded NATO allies declare a no-fly-zone over Ukraine, because it really would help their cause, but in reality, we cannot declare that without symbolically declaring war on Russia, Belarus, China, Syria, and any other nation that comprises the ‘axis of evil 2.0’ because that would be the beginning of the end, and World War Three!

By using cluster bombs, vacuum bombs (thermobaric), Putin has most likely broken the rules of war as laid by the terms in the Geneva Convention Agreement, and must, if proven, face consequences for his actions, and stand trial at The Hague, but can anyone really, ever, see that happening?

I would love to be able to envision a future in which Ukraine exit this illegal invasion as victors, and with Putin ploughing his furrowed brow through the remaining years of his life, in prison for war crimes.

Ashley Smith


£400 and it didn’t keep the rain out!

It’s nice to see the new pergola at the top of Huntingdon Road in Chatteris.

My daughter had one put up in her garden several years ago and invited us over to see it.

I think I upset her when I called it a fancy rose arch!

She said it cost them £400... the longer one was nearly £1,000.We sat down on the chairs with the sun beating down on our heads and relaxed in the cool, breeze blowing through the pergola. Later that evening it started to rain and my daughter said: “Come on dad, let’s get inside.”

Slightly confused, I said: “Won’t this new pergola keep us dry then?”

My daughter replied: “No dad, it’s not got a roof on it, has it?”

I then said: “Okay love, let’s go inside to keep dry. £400 you said you paid for it?”

Two months later she asked me if I could lend her some money to put two new tyres on her car. What else would you expect a dad to do for his daughter?

As they won’t grow roses up the pergola because they are prickly and need pruning, I now call it ‘The Folly’.

Mr Johnson


Tories have worked closely with their money

Russia’s elite got rich off privatised property – so it’s only natural British politicians want a share of the spoils.

Robber barons or “oligarchs” as they are known, became notorious as the Soviet Union collapsed in Russia and eastern Europe between 1989 and 1991.

For bailing out then Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, oligarchs were allowed to buy huge natural resource companies at rock-bottom prices in rigged privatisation auctions.

These were accompanied by a wave of intimidation and murder.

It was only in cases where an oligarch had fallen out of favour that they were convicted of any offence or fled abroad.

Putin came to power in 1999 with the support of oligarchs, promising stability and increased Russian influence.

The oligarchs are a cash cow for Putin when he needs quick funds.

But mostly the wealth flows up and out. And he has a habit of falling out with them, as thieves often do over spoils. Some oligarchs are in Britain to launder money. Some are

here to launder money and avoid Putin.

The super yacht and the mansions are just the trappings of the trillions shipped into offshore bank accounts.

The Western rich follow exactly the same process. The oligarchs gained their initial wealth through the type of asset stripping of the state that the Tories could only dream of.

The Tories have worked closely with Russian money to escalate a process started by Labour’s Tony Blair to open up the fancier bits of London as tax-free bolt holes.

Labour’s government set up a visa scheme that meant you got a British passport if you threw £2 million in the tin.

It was dumped in 2017, but it opened a lucrative line in political donations and has kept Chelsea and Surrey estate agents in business ever since.

John Smithee


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