Help is at hand for those who have served country
At this time of year, our thoughts turn to the brave servicemen and women who made the ultimate sacrifice whilst serving our nation.
Recent conflicts have brought added relevance to annual acts of Remembrance. Increasingly we remember not just battles long past but families in our own communities who are mourning the recent death of a loved one. We also think about the bravery of those who now live with life-changing injuries, and the families that support them.
During the last century, British troops saw action in many different conflicts. But from the National Service generation fighting in Korea to those who served during the troubles in Northern Ireland, the Falklands War and the campaigns in Bosnia and Kosovo, many veterans feel their sacrifices and those of their comrades have been forgotten. The mental and physical scars of a conflict can last a long time after the battles have left the front pages.
The Northumberland branch of SSAFA Forces Help provides a lifetime of support to servicemen and women and their dependants. We’re here for them long after conflicts have become history.
So, if you have ever served in our Armed Forces, including as a national serviceman, or you know someone who has and you need some support then SSAFA’s local team is here to help.
FRANK M DEMPSTER
SSAFA Forces Help
The Barracks, Berwick
People of Berwick are neglected by the NHS
There are so many vulnerable people in this area – children, elderly, expectant mothers – with nowhere to get help unless they make a round trip of approximately 150 miles.
This is a terrible situation for people who are paying taxes. Don’t we count? Why are we neglected in this way?
The maternity ward at Berwick Infirmary is needed. There must be someone in authority who cares, surely, and will do something for us.
Make your minds up. Either keep it open and fully equipped – our need is great – or close it and save money.
We have donated many years to help the infirmary. We have ceased to donate. I wonder why.
F & M HIGHFIELD
Police commissioner is waste of taxpayers’ cash
In the present economic climate, why do we need to create a post for a police and crime commissioner? What is the person going to do? Sit in an office, drink coffee and solve crossword puzzles? Of course that person will have to employ a secretary, to help him solve the crossword and make the coffee.
Who is going to pay that person’s salary? Tax payers now need to find an additional £100,000 to pay the salary.
There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
I for one will not be voting on November 15, as I consider it to be a complete waste of taxpayers’ money and the person who thought of it should be given the boot.
Dualling of A1 at risk if Scotland is independent
Alex Salmond must be mad if he thinks the north east of England would benefit from the United Kingdom being broken up and Scotland going its own way.
We are the only region of the UK with a trade surplus, and a large amount of that trade is with Scotland. However, there is still real potential for further cross-border trade in future, to the benefit of both Scotland and the north east.
The one thing above all others that is holding back the flow of investment between Scotland and the north east is, as we Liberal Democrats will not tire of saying until something is done about it, infrastructure. We badly need the A1 to be dualled and we need to make better use of our ports.
The needed investment will only come if there is a strong case put forward by businesses on both sides of the border and, crucially, if there is sustained political pressure on both sides of the border as well.
The UK government is far more likely to listen to north east and Scottish politicians if they speak with one loud, clear voice. Destroy the Union and that voice becomes a feeble whisper.
Council executive member
Government to blame for wind energy acrimony
I would like to congratulate the editor of the Advertiser for orchestrating a full and proper debate in last week’s edition on both wind energy and the threatened closure of Berwick’s maternity unit, which I see also made the national press on Sunday as a result. The handling of both issues is a fine example of the powers of the press locally and nationally.
Both sides of the wind energy debate generally showed respect for each other’s positions and contributed more light than heat to the subject. Valuable factual information was conveyed by Simon Maden in his pro-wind piece , the anti-wind lobby made its points clearly and without undue acrimony, and your columnist Jackie Kaines, gave a well balanced, “everyman’s” view of the difficult trade-offs that have to be made.
In the interests of remaining as “engaged and informed as possible”, I would encourage everyone to look at their next on-line electricity bill, where the supplier (in this case British Gas) breaks down the cost of your electricity.
You will see that the wholesale electricity price is only 4.3p/Kwh – just 38% of the price that you are charged as a customer- whereas the Feed In Tariff (FIT) paid to Wind Energy producers is 28p/Kwh (reducing to 21p/Kwh in December – source OFGEM).
This FIT payment to wind energy producers is guaranteed for 20 years and amounts to a subsidy of more than six times the current market price of electricity (reducing in December to about five times market price).
You will also find a 19% levy for Government Obligations on your bill which, when you subtract the 5% VAT applicable to all electricity bills, adds up to a 14% surcharge on your electricity bill to pay for these green energy subsidies.
This surcharge will only become greater as more wind and solar systems come on stream and we will live with them for 20 years since the subsidy payments are contractual obligations, not influenced by technological advances. Small wonder then, that there is often more heat than light generated by debates on wind energy.
Successive governments have set up an unrealistic subsidy framework which pits turbine developers against the economic interests of the rest of us.
We pay the bill and the poorest households are disproportionately affected by this very regressive form of taxation that does not correlate in any way to their ability to pay.
Such subsidy schemes could only be considered sustainable if governments project average household energy costs of more than £5,000 annually in 10-15 years time, based on wholesale electricity price forecasts.
Unsurprisingly, government’s have not been delivering this unpalatable and unlikely message.
So if you are frustrated by yet another turbine planning application in your area and are tempted to unleash a salvo at the developer, hold fire for a moment – and turn your anger on a misconceived government policy.
The Dovecote, Lowick
Stanks parking measures due to health and safety
Permit me to comment on the observations of some readers on the consultation of traffic calming measures on Golf Course Road, Berwick, near the Stanks and Berwick Bowling Club
The reasons for taking action owe to health and safety issues, in the main caused by people parking their cars to avoid paying parking charges.
Monitoring of Traffic Movement has taken place over a prolonged period of time by officers of Northumberland County Council.
Personally, I am regularly in this area particularly in the morning when around 8.45 am there are in the region of 16 cars parked outside the bowling green the owners are not bowlers.
Before taking these measures the bowling club were asked to discuss the problem and failed to respond, despite several visits by myself to the club, at the same time the problem was discussed with Les Chappel of the Berwick Charities Cup.
Les can confirm a confrontation that took place when a fire appliance had been tasked with removing water from the Stanks to assist in allowing the continuation of the competition and at the same time allowing a charitable event on behalf of Bark which was then re-arranged to another venue.
The bowling club has also had confrontations with people parking in front of the entrance and refusing to relocate and allow access for deliveries, as has happened recently.
Reference has also been made to a sign intimating “private parking” in the golf course compound. I understand that this was advised by health and safety officers of NCC’s concerns.
People familiar with the layout of the Stanks will know that the road is supported by a single stone wall; this has given way in the past and required re-building in support of the road.
The camber of this road falls towards the playing area and the wear and tear can be observed in the tracks of vehicles and threatening the stability of the wall which may be part of the town walls’ defences, the playing field would seem to be in the ownership of the Berwick Freeman Trustee’s. The question then becomes who is responsible should the road collapse?
There are more pressing reasons that could be highlighted for bringing in the restrictions and a problem long since being overlooked by the authorities.
Having discussed at the request of the members I was contacted by a committee member to discuss the various reasons and observations. I believe this was followed up by a phone call to the respective officer of the council dealing with this matter and that we can come to an acceptable solution in everyone’s interest.
It should be noted that much of Berwick’s traffic problems are caused by the introduction of car parking charges far in excess of those charged in other parts of Northumberland, and despite the opportunity to abolish charges our county councillors failed to support a strategic change which would have provided an even playing field for Berwick citizens.
COUNCILLOR BRIAN DOUGLAS
Cutting parking charges will boost businesses
I am delighted that Northumberland County Council will be cutting parking charges in Berwick so that they are the same across all market towns in the county.
This decision shows that the Liberal Democrats running the county council are willing to listen and to engage with local residents, businesses and visitors alike to find a way forward that is both sustainable and fair.
We Liberal Democrats recognise that times are tough for many people and for many businesses, and while it would be irresponsible to do as Labour and the Conservatives have done and make a rash promise to scrap all charges without telling anyone where we’d find the extra money, we are doing what we can to ease the financial burden of parking charges. As we have consistently said, despite what our political opponents might say, parking charges are there for traffic management purposes. They are not, and never have been, a licence to print money.
Berwick West with Ord
Thanks for an ‘Amazing’ Berwick welcome
As ‘Amazing Grace’ ended its 10-venue, 23 show tour of the region in Whitley Bay on Saturday we couldn’t have envisaged a better last week to such a successful run.
Last Thursday and Friday Amazing Grace played The Maltings and everyone concerned with the production talked about the fantastic “Berwick experience”.
The staff were so helpful and enthusiastic and the continued support we have had from the Berwick Advertiser has been brilliant; so enthusiastic and supportive.
However, the 300-plus people who spent their hard-earned money to see ‘Amazing Grace’ in the afternoon and evening shows were the real stars. The response to all three shows was fantastic and we are grateful.
ED WAUGH & TREVOR WOOD
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Weather for Berwick-Upon-Tweed
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South west
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 21 mph
Wind direction: South