Fire service retirement an ‘outrage’

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From: Barrie Frost, Watson’s Lane, Reighton, Filey.

RETIRING at 50 with a pension pot of £265,000 and a lifetime pension of £36,000 per annum, no doubt index-linked, is the stuff of fairy tales and couldn’t possibly occur in the present dire financial climate, could it?

Well, yes, it can (Yorkshire Post, July 28), if you happen to be fortunate to be a senior officer in the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, for it appears they have an abundance of cash, provided by others of course, and are desperate to get rid of it. Have they found a bottomless pot of gold which they are keeping to themselves or can everyone share in their good fortune?

They seem able to ignore any criticism, condemnation and public revulsion at the amounts they award themselves as they are certain this will soon be forgotten, like all the previous astronomical payments they have made. It is like the ripples caused by a stone thrown into a lake, they will quickly disappear and become a distant memory.

The latest settlement made to Mark Rhodes beggars belief at a time of severe cuts to most services, including the fire service.

He is retiring from his post of assistant chief fire officer, less than one month after enjoying this temporary promotion, which has enabled an additional £29,500 to be stuffed into his pension pot. This is truly beyond the understanding of all decent, hard-working people with so many suffering reduced incomes, unemployment and very real worries about even being able to heat their homes and feed their families, to hear about such unjustified awards. They can only wonder how this can be sanctioned and then allowed, and the firemen in this authority must be very demoralised.

When the behaviour of strikers and unions was condemned in the 1970s, it resulted in government action to halt the spiral of greed, but this seems like petty-cash in comparison to the behaviour of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service. The expectation that better educated senior officials would behave more responsibly is evidently untrue.

This outrage must confirm in the clearest possible way why public sector pensions must be reformed, though the huge majority of normal workers will be penalised for the gross excesses of a few. Why is anyone able to retire and receive such a huge pension at 50 years old? In today’s workplace many would be glad to be offered work at this age yet some apparently believe it is time to give up working.

Humberside Fire and Rescue Service has occupied cloud cuckoo land for too long and must be evicted.

From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn.

IT cannot and must not go on. Nearly every week we read in the Press of public sector officials awarding themselves huge salaries while also enhancing their pensions. What does an ordinary fireman at Hull think when he reads the story of the boss who is getting a retirement payment 20-30 times what he would get after a lifetime with the service?

These men are desperately hanging on to their jobs after lay-offs and the pressure of government cuts. It must endow them with an awful sense of injustice. There does not seem to be any redundancies at the top of the tree, it is the people at the bottom who take all the flak.

Judges are threat to UK

From: Phil Hanson, Beechmount Close, Baildon, Shipley.

IT seems to me that the largest threat to our future in this country is attributable to the law and how our judges and others apply it. There have been many cases where judgments have been made against the national interest, by that I mean the well-being of every person living in the UK.

Whether it is illegal immigrants’ human rights being infringed by returning them to their own country or where they have killed innocent children through their driving behaviour, the law seems bent on bending over backwards to favour the wrongdoer at our expense.

Yes being an illegal immigrant is illegal. The case of a convicted Dean Aaron Gee being released on the grounds of his personal safety puts the whole question of how fit to judge are the judges and confirms that we need a complete overhaul of our laws to protect us and not the wrongdoers who do not respect our laws and our people.

How can the ordinary people of the UK take control of this mess and put it right? I see no political party with both the brains or the guts to take this issue up.

Today we are all Norwegians

From: Coun Dr Nader Fekrim, Mayor, Calderdale Council, Hope Street, Hebden Bridge.

I AM sure that many readers will share with me a sense of shock, disbelief, and outrage at the appalling events that took place in Oslo and Utoeya in Norway.

The horrors we saw unfold are almost unimaginable and our thoughts go out to everyone affected, the youngsters, their families, and the Norwegian people as a whole.

The response of the Norwegian people has been humbling, especially that of Jens Stoltenberg, their PM, who instead of vengeance has called for more democracy, asserting that their values would not be shaken by the politics of hate, in this we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Norwegian people. We have a small Scandinavian community here in Calderdale many of whom I know personally, and it is they and the many other good and decent Norwegians who have a place in our heart.

I dag er vi alle nordmenn.

Today we are all Norwegians.