Easy to check if holiday firm is protected

From: Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL, Civil Aviation Authority, CAA House, Kingsway, London.

CONAL Gregory is right to 
point out the importance of the ATOL scheme, which protects around 20 million UK holidaymakers each year against the risk of their travel company going bust (Yorkshire Post, December 15).

There are nearly 100 ATOL-protected travel companies 
based in Yorkshire and 
Humber, and any company licensed to sell ATOL-protected air holidays offers their 
customers the peace of mind 
that if something goes wrong, their hard-earned holiday will not be lost.

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As Mr Gregory highlights, a small number of companies have in the past broken the law by falsely claiming to offer ATOL protection.

Our recent prosecution of 
a director at Diving World 
Ltd highlights that this is an offence we take extremely seriously, and we are currently investigating a number of 
other companies we believe to be in breach of the ATOL regulations.

We will continue to pursue any breach of these regulations vigorously.

However, customers are assured that it’s easy to check 
if a company is licensed to 
sell ATOL-protected holidays 
or not.

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As well as looking for the ATOL logo on promotional material, customers can use the “check an ATOL” tool at www.caa.co.uk. And since October this year, anyone booking an ATOL-protected trip now receives an ATOL certificate as soon as 
they make any payment towards their holiday.

This confirms their protection and we’re advising all holidaymakers to keep it handy when they travel.

Unacceptable behaviour

From: Linda Lawson, Mill Lane, Foston on the Wolds, East Yorkshire.

IS it just me or do other people think that the point about Andrew Mitchell appears to have been totally lost – in that Mr Mitchell was asked (for whatever reason) not to use the main gate at Downing Street – whereupon (according to the Press) he became abusive and apparently swore at the police officers? Why is it acceptable to swear?

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He should not have used either word and just complied with the request. The police obviously had a good reason for wanting Mr Mitchell to exit through the main gates. It is a sad state that in this country that some swear words are so commonly used as is confrontational behaviour to the police – neither is acceptable (as is a false statement) but in the end in my opinion Andrew Mitchell got what he deserved.

If he had been a member of the public, rather than Parliament, he would have probably been arrested!

From: Frank Smith, High Street, Scalby, Scarborough.

I WAS interested to read about former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, and the allegations regarding a serving officer, purporting to be a member of the public. I would have thought that recent revelations regarding the Hillsborough tragedy, and the Miners’ Strike, would suggest that it is naive not to expect police officers to be singing from the same hymn book.

It is not entirely surprising, but nonetheless sad.

The problem with pensions

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

NICK Clegg has been attacked for saying that in the interest of fairness, pensioner perks should be means-tested (Yorkshire Post, December 18).

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The problem really has arisen because of the gimmick-orientated first government 
of Tony Blair and Gordon 
Brown. Instead of introducing free fares and heating allowances they should simply have used the 
extra money to increase the basic state pension.

That would have meant the poorest still not getting enough to pay Income Tax, while others paid the standard or higher rate depending on whatever private means they had.

As it is whoever decides to get to grips with pensioner benefits 
will face the flak of a highly-politicised active pensioner movement, even if they do so on the grounds of ensuring help doesn’t go to those who don’t need it.

Levelling EU playing field

From: David H Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.

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FRANCOIS Hollande, the French president, tells David Cameron that Britain can’t pick and choose which EU policies it wishes to abide by. Why not? As the second largest net contributor, it is a case of he who pays the piper plays 
the tune.

Instead of operating from a defeatist stance I expect the PM to tell the EU which rulings it will be negotiating on.

Any lack of co-operation will invoke the UK referendum with an in/out vote. This could be allied to a press and TV explanation to the German people that a resultant UK withdrawal would land them with the tab for the EU budget shortfall. The problems with the EU is its lack of respect to its member nations and thus the difficulty in sharing the financial burden. If Germany had any honour it would repay Greece its occupation loan from World 
War II currently at $153.8bn and war reparations of $332bn. Greece has asked for these monies on at least nine occasions to no avail.

Couldn’t an EU court demand repayment, say at a fixed sum per annum over 20 years?

This would result in Greece 
not looking like a busted flush and Germany not as affluent as they would like to appear. A levelling out, one may say.