Readers' letters - December 16
Vandals spoilt others' pleasure
Chorley town centre and the markets are always a pleasure to visit.
This is especially so at this time of year, with the Christmas lights in place, the ice rink under construction and the Santa Express ferrying families to Astley Hall.
Here the children can share in the delight of seeing Santa, and, no doubt, lodge their special requests!
Even the covered market has been specially decorated, largely by the traders themselves.
What a pity that on Saturday, a group of youths, or so-called young men, decided to rampage through the covered market, ripping down decorations as they went.
The traders were left alone to defend their work and the stalls.
Where were the police at this time?
Not a single one visible in the town centre!
They were probably all on stand-by in their vans to support those who follow football.
If these vandals were football supporters, I can only say that I hope their team lost, because they certainly don’t deserve success if they behave in this way.
Shame on you for spoiling what gives pleasure to others.
Name and address supplied
I’m calling for a breathing space
As we approach the Christmas season, a time when many families are struggling financially, I’m supporting The Children’s Society campaign to protect the estimated 64,000 children living in problem debt in Lancashire.
Children living in families in problem debt are five times more likely to be unhappy than children in families without debt troubles.
That’s why we’re calling on the Government to introduce a ‘Breathing Space’ scheme – to give parents time to get their finances back in order and repay their debts in a safe and affordable way.
Too often families fall into debt because of unexpected life events. They need time and space to get their finances back on track to repay their debts, rather than being chased by bailiffs and having fees and charges added, pushing them ever deeper into a perpetual cycle of debt.
At a time when some families are being forced to cut back on essentials like food and heating, we need our politicians to get behind this campaign to help protect families in Lancashire from falling further into the debt trap.
Paige Thompson, Chorley
Raw deal for pensioners
One of the glaring omissions from the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement was the future funding of social care.
In the weeks leading up to the statement, various health organisations, charities, think tanks and campaign groups had been calling on the government to close the funding gap. Since 2010, social care budgets have been cut by more than £5bn and experts say that next year there will be a £1.9bn shortfall which will increase to £2.3bn by 2019/20.
It is well documented that the system suffers from a postcode lottery of charges, limited access to services, badly paid and poorly trained staff, a lack of proper regulation, low standards, inadequate “flying” 15-minute visits and a lack of dignity for both staff and residents.
As a result of the cuts to funding, well over 1m older people no longer get the help and support they need in their own home. Everyone knows there is a real crisis in social care, but the Chancellor didn’t even mention it. Yet the general public know that more of the same just won’t work.
We need a new approach to social care that makes it part of the NHS and funds it through taxation.
Lancashire West Pensioners/North West Regional Pensioners Association pensions
We’ve earned our ‘freebies’
I, and no doubt many pensioners like me, are getting a bit fed up of the sniping we’ve to put up with regarding our ‘freebies’.
Many of us – teachers, miners, nurses, bus drivers and many other professions – not only paid our NI stamps all our working lives, but we also contributed to our works pension schemes.
Our retirement pensions, therefore, bring us well above the basic tax allowance.
Quite simply, as a very large group, we pay millions of pounds in income tax which not only more than pays for our free TV licences, prescriptions, bus passes and winter fuel allowances, but also contributes towards those many state benefits that our younger brethren enjoy.
David T Craggs
Sad world with no animals
Recent news reports are full of the fact that the giraffe population has dropped by 40 per cent in recent years.
The same is true of other large animals that we rather take
The Asian rhinoceros, snow leopard, tiger, orang utan and sadly, the black rhinoceros is now extinct in several African countries.
How about, as a change from the usual Christmas (or, indeed, birthday) presents, readers take out a subscription with World Wildlife Fund or an organisation like the RSPB – as plenty of British birds are under threat – or undertake to “adopt” an animal for their children, to instil a sense of global and local ecological care in the next generation?
They are the future, to use a cliche, and how sad would the world be without this wildlife.
R K via email
Please help out Rainbow Trust
After a year that seems to have passed in a flash, I am looking forward to a calm Christmas with my family.
This festive season Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity – the charity which I am proudly a patron – will be helping families across England who have a life threatened or terminally ill child. For these families, quality time together is an absolute luxury.
Caring for a seriously ill child often means time apart to cover emergency trips to hospital, to attend numerous appointments or to attempt to keep life functioning for the other siblings in the family.
Rainbow Trust helps families at home, in hospital and in the community, wherever and however the family needs support. The charity’s dedicated family support workers will be working tirelessly throughout December to help give these families a Christmas to treasure. Visit rainbowtrust.org.uk/donate or text RAINBOW to 70111 to make a £3 donation.
Former British No.1 tennis player and broadcaster