Overseas aid increase led to ‘funny turn’

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

I THOUGHT I must be having one of those “funny turns” or that the need for an eye test was long overdue.

It was with considerable relief when my wife assured me that this wasn’t the case and I had correctly read the report in question (Yorkshire Post, March 29).

The report, which I found almost impossible to believe, was that the Government had given a commitment to raise overseas aid to meet a target set by the United Nations.

What will the increase be?

Will it reflect the current rate of inflation of about three to four per cent? No? Perhaps it will be calculated on the rate of inflation of an earlier period, similar to the increase of more than five per cent in the retirement pension, which David Cameron described as very generous.

No? Well, surely, at a time when hundreds of thousands of British people are losing their jobs; when hospitals are severely understaffed; when homes for the elderly are closing; when many are accepting pay cuts to keep their jobs or are “over the moon” to receive a modest pay rise; when pensioners will lose their age-related tax allowances, any increase in overseas aid must reflect the serious debts which Britain has accumulated and the precarious position we are in.

Well, no, it bears no relation to reality, how could I be so stupid to believe that this would be the case. The increase in overseas aid will increase by – wait for it – a staggering 37 per cent. Perhaps it is now clear why I thought I was having a “funny turn”.

It is, of course, very reassuring to hear that the International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, is defiant and said “the British Government makes no apologies for sticking to its commitments to the world’s poorest people”.

I guess Andrew Mitchell’s privileged lifestyle and comforts has isolated him from Britain’s present situation and he is still living in the days when Britain had an enormous Empire and huge wealth and he is still sitting at the table of plenty with an abundance of gifts to donate to other countries. Does this largesse give him the comfortable feeling of boundless superiority over others?

Can he assure us the aid money is truly necessary and properly used and that such an enormous increase is affordable?

The record of competence by the present Government is very questionable.

Sinister scam on drivers

From: Ken Holmes, Cliffe Common, Selby.

they are saying that gaffes by David Cameron’s Government have already earned it £32m in extra fuel duty as panic buying sweeps the country. Gaffe? It looks more like a diabolical, sinister, cunning, thieving, scam to me.

Incidentally, now Mr Osborne has found out that many motorists have funds available to fill up their tanks with liquid gold, he will know that he can skin them and the rest of us, like rabbits, with a fuel increase whenever he feels like it.

From: ME Wright, Grove Road, Harrogate.

MY vision of a Dads’ Army episode, with Lance Corporal Francis Maude yelling “Please panic, please panic” may have been attributable to holiday over-indulgence.

Alas, the frightening thousands who instantly obeyed him, did nothing to confirm the notion of British phlegm.

Of course, the prospect – and that’s all it is – of a fuel strike is worrying but also needless.

Isn’t the answer to let the tanker drivers go into a secret huddle to decide their own salaries and bonuses, with perhaps a pointer towards a few tax-avoidance scams?

After all, we are increasingly told that this is the proper way to do things elsewhere, if the nation is to revive and prosper.

Paving way for private health

From: Malcolm Naylor, Otley.

FOLLOWING an unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission at Leeds General Infirmary (Yorkshire Post, March 30), one ward was closed and two others severely criticised.

If health care is as bad as this now, God help us when the Tory Health Bill comes into operation. How will the CQC cope with surveillance of multiple care agencies?

Although Leeds City Council was aware of failings in care standards, they did nothing. Even if they have no powers to take action, at the very least they should have informed the public. But instead they waited until the CQC stepped in and in the meantime distributed propaganda in the About Leeds newspaper saying how wonderful everything is.

Very recently there was a big fuss over the introduction of the Dignity Code, which has already been forgotten. It is nothing but a public relations exercise and the LGI violates every recommendation it made.

And the causes of care failures at the LGI? There are many, including lack of funding, lack of staff, poor management, bureaucracy, employment of agency nurses, employment of nurses who can hardly speak English and graduate nurses who think they are too intellectual to change a wet bed.

Add to this privatisation and multi-agency care and we have a lethal mix that makes the future of the NHS bleak. But that may be all part of the plan to make the NHS so unpopular that when American-style privatisation is implemented public opposition will be muted.

But the worse aspect is the way in which elected councillors cover this up. And we call this a democracy.