Bury Free Press readers' letters
The Government's recommendation of a one per cent pay rise for NHS staff prompted letters this week.
ONE PER CENT IS SLAP IN THE FACE FOR NHS STAFF
If proof were wanting for the old saying ‘Fine words butter no parsnips’, we need look no further that the recent Budget and the proposed one per cent pay rise for those in the NHS.
Our doctors, nurses and support staff have stepped up to the line and have not failed us during this pandemic. They have worked over and beyond the call of duty – even to the point of some giving their lives; however, it seems in our ‘monetised’ society that they are not really worth more than applause once a week (which costs nothing). I am ashamed to be a citizen of a country where sacrifice and dedication to duty are worth so little.
It is my sincere hope that enough people will express their unhappiness, disgust and even outrage at such a ‘slap in the face’ for such dedicated professionals, and force our Government to reconsider its position on the matter; we have, after all, been an evolving democracy for over 300 years - now is not the time to turn democracy into kleptocracy.
Martin Webb, via email
OPEN YOUR DOORS AND SHOUT FOR JUSTICE
Just at the time the NHS came into being I was diagnosed with polio. From that time in the late 1940s until I was 12, I had to attend Great Ormond Street Hospital, sometimes three times a week.
In recent years I have had much need of NHS services, and currently I have a virtual season ticket to West Suffolk Hospital.
During this pandemic health workers have put their lives on the line, much the same as our armed forces, but I have yet to hear of a nurse being awarded a high ranking award or medal.
Government ministers have praised them, we residents have applauded their efforts, but at the end of the day these life-savers are being punished by having their just rewards withdrawn because allegedly there isn’t any money left.
It is now time for all those people who clapped at the doorstep, to now on a regular basis, open their doors and windows, and shout for justice.
Cliff Hind, Bury St Edmunds
PLANS WILL NOT BRING BACK PAST GLORIES
I am sure there are many older residents and visitors of Bury who have fond memories of the Suffolk Hotel, with its bar/restaurant and lounge areas in which to call in and while away a few hours after a mornings shopping or a hard days work as I did.
The front page of the Bury Free Press of February 26 shows what a lovely building it is and many of you must be looking forward to its grand reopening.
How thoroughly disappointed you all are going to be with no such plan to restore the hotel to its former glory.
In fact, the hotel will not even have a front entrance and use of the ground floor. What will happen if the plans go ahead is that two smaller retail units will remain at the front, with the Waterstones stairway to the cafe ripped out and closed off.
The plan is to open up a new entrance and refuse service area in the narrow one way section at the end of High Baxter Street at the rear of the building amongst the residential properties, with reception cafe/bar on the first floor together with plans for 30 bedrooms.
The ridiculous idea of putting the new entrance and service areas in this position will cause chaotic traffic congestion and illegal parking in the surrounding area and be a blight to all the residents living there.
So I am sorry sorry to say to all those looking forward to a grand reopening of the old Suffolk Hotel, more like the opening of a backstreet budget hotel.
O James Johnson, Bury St Edmunds
PM ALLERGIC TO ACCOUNTABILITY
Three days after the High Court ruled that Government had acted unlawfully by failing to publish Covid contracts, Boris Johnson stood up in the House of Commons and reassured MPs and the public that all Covid-related contracts were ‘on the record’.
However, the final order handed down by the Judge on March 5 shows that this statement by the Prime Minister was not true.
The judge confirmed: “The Defendant has published 608 out of 708 relevant contracts for supplies and services relating to Covid-19 awarded on or before 7 October 2020. In some or all of these cases, the Defendant acted unlawfully by failing to publish the contracts within the period set out in the Crown Commercial Service’s Publication of Central Government Tenders and Contracts: Central Government Transparency Guidance Note (November 2017).”
The Good Law Project, which achieved a judicial review, points out that the judge’s order is based on the Government’s own figures – 100 contracts and dozens of Contract Award Notices were missing from the public record.
Over the course of the judicial review, the Government kept getting figures on the number of contracts and Contract Award Notices that had been published late wrong – it was eventually shown that the Government had actually only published three per cent of Contract Award Notices within the legal timeframe.
The Government has not only misled Parliament, it has misled the country. Unless contract details are published, they cannot be properly scrutinized – there’s no way of knowing where taxpayers’ money is going and why.
Billions of pounds have been spent on questionable contracts and huge sums wasted on PPE that wasn’t fit for purpose.
As the Good Law Project has pointed out, we have a Government and a Prime Minister who show contempt of transparency and are apparently allergic to accountability. The very least that the public deserves is the truth.
Perry Morley, Depden
BILL IS OUR CHANCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
I was very pleased to see the republication of the letter to Jo Churchill MP regarding the CEE bill (Letters, March 5).
I myself have written to Jo Churchill twice about this bill. I totally empathise with the statements made in the published letter. I believe this bill is our greatest chance of saving society as we know it and possibly humanity’s survival altogether. As a health minister, Jo Churchill is likely more aware than most of the dire impact Covid19 has had on society. However, if we don’t take action against the climate and ecological crisis we’re in immediately, the problems facing future governments will be even greater.
The evidence of climate change is all around us. Last year was the hottest year on record and the penultimate year to the hottest decade on record. In the last few months we’ve experienced torrential rainfall. The ditch in front of our house has flooded six times in the last winter and still retains rainwater now. This is three times more than all the previous six winters we’ve lived here, put together. Previously it’s only flooded twice. According to an article I read in BBC Countryfile, a one degree Celsius increase in climatic temperature is linked to a seven per cent increased chance of rain. Thus we can anticipate much greater chances of flooding due to climate change. By both introducing new targets for reducing carbon emissions and restoring natural habitats such as floodplains, the CEE bill would be instrumental in introducing measures that would mitigate the worst effects of climate change.
For anyone concerned about citizens assemblies due to a lack of faith in ordinary people’s ability to truly understand complex issues, I’d just like to mention that a citizens assembly on climate change was successfully held last summer. Its recommendations were surprisingly similar to the policy changes suggested by the government’s own Committee on Climate Change (CCC). This suggests that there is little reason for concern that policies will be watered down or otherwise twisted by citizen participation. The government has failed to meet all but one of its 25 targets, set out by the CCC, for reaching net zero carbon emissions. By engaging ordinary citizens more with creating policy changes around climate change, could potentially lead to the government feeling more empowered to make the necessary changes as well as making the government more accountable.
The CEE bill is a cross party bill. This means that MPs from all and any political parties can sign it so signing the CEE bill will not endanger Jo Churchill’s seat as a Conservative.
I appreciate that not all Bury St Edmunds constituents have the time to write personal letters in support of the CEE bill. Therefore, to enable people to easily show their support, I created this petition calling on Jo Churchill to sign the CEE bill https://www.change.org/p/jo-churchill-mp-calling-on-jo-churchill-mp-to-sign-the-climate-and-ecological-emergency-bill
Rosalind Amor, Stanningfield
PICK UP A PEN AND PRACTISE HANDWRITING
With so much time on their hands, both children and grown ups could do a lot worse than spend an hour or two each day given to the lost art of handwriting which, since the emergence of laptops, tablets and mobile phones, has deteriorated at an alarming rate.
Coming from an age when writing was one of ‘the three Rs’, if schoolwork wasn’t well written and legible your submission was thrown back at you, with a curt ‘do it again’ until the teacher was satisfied, not only as to content, but legibility as well.
There is something rather special about finding a hand written letter on the mat.
I may well be biased, having spent a number of years at boarding school, followed closely by 10 years in the Army where – in both cases – there wasn’t anything to compare to receiving a letter from home. Priceless!
Ditch the laptop, forget the phone, dig out the pen and ink and surprise a distant friend or relative with a nicely worded hand written letter, sit back and await the response. You might be very surprised at what reaction you generate.
Brian Davies, Bury St Edmunds
GOVERNMENT FAILING TO TAKE ANY ACTION
In truth, Members of Parliament will not vote for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill because it would be a confession of incompetence and burst their bubble of self-importance.
The Government’s own Public Accounts Committee says ministers have ‘no plan’ to meet climate change targets even after two years of setting them in law. Its Business Committee says the vital United Nations Climate Conference, scheduled for Glasgow in November, will fail unless its goals are made clear.
The recent Budget failed on any action to fast-track the switch to a low-carbon economy.
In light of these facts and the complete failure of society as a whole to admit to the seriousness of our predicament I feel terrified for the well-being of future generations because of the Climate Emergency.
Malcolm Searle, Bury St Edmunds
THANK YOU FOR HOSPITAL CARE
Much has been said in praise of West Suffolk Hospital, but never by me before, fortunately, as it has never necessary, but recently I had an emergency admission to A & E for an overnight stay with severe tonsillitis, and getting worse.
While a great shock at the time, but absolutely critically necessary, the shock was sweetened by the brilliant friendly and caring support and attention I was given, greatly appreciated, and knowing I was in safe hands.
I would just like to record my grateful thanks to all the nurses and staff who cared and looked after me with such dedication and professionalism on Ward F3.
Great acknowledgement has been made over the last year, rightly so, for the fantastic efforts and dedication of the mighty NHS, but it is the front line people you meet who really deserve the thanks most.
Especially: Ulo (favourite expression ‘Okey Dokey’), Helen, Emma and Gavin, on behalf of them all.
David Yates, via email
FREE KIT AVAILABLE FOR LITTER PICKING
In response to Willoughby Goddard’s letter of March 5.
If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise –no, not a Teddy Bear’s Picnic but litter, litter everywhere.
In our many walks during lockdown I am sure we have all seen bottles, cans, sandwich cartons and discarded masks spoiling our beautiful countryside.
I have been taking a litter picker with me and a plastic bag, and my kind friends who accompany me will vouch that we have picked up many bagfuls.
So, Let’s do it! Let’s pick it up!
To obtain your litter picker and accoutrements go to: www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/lwyl/arrangelitterpick.cfm
Click on: Arrange a litter pick as an individual
Fill in the application form
Click on hi-vis jacket, litter picker, approved waste sacks or approved recycling sacks – or whichever piece of equipment you would like and the council will give them to you for nothing. It’s a steal!
Vivien Gainsborough Foot, Bury St Edmunds
STUDENTS, PLEASE CONSIDER OTHERS
You can tell they are back at school and college because if you decide to walk to Asda, The Range or B&M, it’s unpleasant as students walking to these shops are in groups and don’t move out the way, not even for a mobility scooter. They take up the whole of the path.
It’s ironic – it seems if you are a student it’s okay to be in a group, but anyone else has to keep their distance and not mix.
Come on students, have a bit of consideration – you get to see your friends, we don’t.
David Flaherty, Bury St Edmunds
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