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Newmarket Journal readers' letters to the editor

The Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences again dominate this week's mailbag.


The more than welcome life-line offered by the present vaccination programme must not be allowed to cover up the human consequences of ‘too little too late’ Government action to contain the Covid-19 pandemic - with this country’s death toll now rising far above 100,000, and the health service overwhelmed.

Vaccine is a welcome lifeline
Vaccine is a welcome lifeline

Almost a hundred Covid-19 deaths were reported for West Suffolk Hospital during January, more than double the figure for December, despite everything that doctors and nurses could do. Mark Drakeford, Welsh First Minister, in saying that this Government has done ‘the bare minimum’ in response to the crisis, may have been too kind.

Shortages of staff and appropriate personal protective equipment due to economic austerity policies, inadequate attention to safe conditions inwork places, dangerously late lock-downs, and ludicrously delayedand ‘over-privatised’ test and trace arrangements tell just some of the grim story. The recent disclosure that one sub-contracted test and trace company has had to check out whether its call handlers were living abroad or not is just icing on this catastrophe cake. Hot air from Number 10’s ever-ready mouth cannot hide our Government’s monumental failure.

Over the pandemic period the number of people in the country, many of them working, who are claiming Universal Credit, has risen to almost 6 million, more than half of whom made their first claim during 2020.

And yet the coming Budget is all set to take away the £20 weekly rise in Universal Credit allocation granted last spring. To cancel this uplift is doing far less than ‘the bare minimum’: it is driving people into deeper debt and deeper desperation, and no-one should imagine that charity contributions, though vital, will go near to making up for this. Noisy and firm declarations of support from local Conservative MPs for keeping the £20 a week uplift would help. Silence about this and about Downing Street’s messy failure to rein in the pandemic, speaks louder than words. Wanted: acceptance of responsibility!

John Ellison, Secretary, West Suffolk Trades Union Council


Regarding my letter in the Journal on February 4 about the Covid-19 vaccination hubs.

In no way whatsoever was my letter intended as a criticism of or complaint against the NHS. I have nothing but admiration and thanks to all the NHS staff, volunteers and everyone else who are in the front line of this war our country is having against this awful, awful Covid-19 pandemic.

I was upset to see my words could be seen that way and am truly sorry if I have annoyed anyone.

Should I write again I will endeavour to very carefully consider the composition and implications of my words.

Mike Mingay, via email


During the pandemic, people have rediscovered the simple act of walking – the oldest, cheapest and greenest transport there is. It has allowed us to stay healthy, happy and connected to those around us.

But lots of us still struggle with narrow, cluttered, uneven pavements; crossings that prioritise cars rather than people; and growing numbers of speeding vehicles.

That’s why I support Living Streets’ Manifesto for Walking, which calls for candidates in our upcoming election to pledge to end pedestrian deaths and injuries on roads, tackle air pollution, make school streets safe and make walking easier by cutting the clutter on our pavements.

It is time we redesigned our streets around people not cars. That way we can all continue to enjoy the benefits of walking and healthier, happier communities.

Miss Fulford-Payne, Claire Close, Mildenhall


Like Jackie Goodridge, Letters February 11, I too was shocked, and disgusted, about the total lack of disregard for the current Covid regulations and the law by those vast numbers attending a recent funeral at Newmarket Cemetery.

I am equally shocked and disgusted to read in this week’s Journal that the police will be taking no action against all those concerned. Normal law abiding citizens can only be left assuming that this was a travellers’ funeral as the law does not apply to them. Again, a precedent has been set to tell everyone to ignore government’s instructions.

John Baynes, Corsican Pine Close, Newmarket

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