YP letters: Battling to find funds for local needs

rom: Graham Stuart, Trade Minister and Conservative MP for Beverley and Holderness.

Should more EU funding be made available to bolster Yorkshire's sea defences?

I WAS disappointed by the recent news that East Riding Council’s application to the Coastal Communities Fund for this vital funding had been unsuccessful (Colin Mellors, The Yorkshire Post, December 11).

I had been working with South East Holderness ward Councillors and ERYC officials to obtain the funding through that process and am frustrated that Withernsea wasn’t taken forward to the next stage of the application. However, we are by no means giving up.

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ERYC has now applied to the European Regional Development Fund for the £5m it needs to extend the rock armour defences to the south of Withernsea by 400m.

Graham Stuart MP.

I appreciate some people may be confused that we are still able to apply for European development funding, but we are allowed to do so as the money for this fund was allocated years ago.

To support ERYC’s application I have written to the Ministers responsible for allocating the ERDF money, Jake Berry MP, Minister for Local Government and Lord Henley, Minister for Local Growth.

In my letters I argue that Withernsea should receive this funding as the ERDF earmarks areas for special treatment which are naturally disadvantaged by their rurality, and distance from other amenities or settlements.

I concluded the letter by urging the Ministers to do everything they can to obtain a positive funding decision and help Withernsea obtain the money it needs to protect peoples’ homes and livelihoods.

As we head into 2019, I am committed to obtaining this money for Withernsea. Together with South-East Holderness ward councillors, we will explore every avenue possible until we secure the necessary funding to prevent further coastal erosion in Withernsea.

From: Lord Porter, Chairman, Local Government Association.

THE recent Budget showed the Government is listening to the LGA’s call for desperately-needed investment in our under-pressure local services, such as roads and social care (Jo Miller, The Yorkshire Post, December 15).

Next year will continue to be hugely challenging for all councils, who still face an overall funding gap of £3.2bn in 2019/20. It is therefore disappointing that the Government has not used the settlement to provide further desperately-needed resources for councils next year.

Many councils will be forced to take tough decisions about which services have to be scaled back or stopped altogether to plug funding gaps. We must not forget that it is individuals and communities who feel the impact, whether it is through seeing their local library or leisure centre close, roads deteriorate or support for young people, families and vulnerable adults scaled back.

It is vital that the Government uses the final settlement next month to provide the further resources needed to protect our local services in 2019/20 before ensuring next year’s Spending Review delivers a truly sustainable funding settlement for local government.

As the nation continues to face huge uncertainty, it is councils who are getting on with the job of providing the services that matter to our communities. Investment in these local services, and councils’ prevention and early intervention work, is the only way councils can continue to make a positive difference to their residents’ lives.

NHS suffers
amid rows

From: Dr Helen Fidler, Deputy chair, BMA consultants committee.

WE are at the very beginning of winter and yet hospitals in England are already feeling the pressure, with demand reaching a record high for November as more patients attend and are admitted to A&E (The Yorkshire Post, December 14).

Despite the milder weather until now, the number of patients waiting in hospital corridors on trolleys this year has already exceeded the total in 2017 – with the situation only set to get worse in the coming month.

On top of this, November saw the number of patients discharged, admitted or transferred within four hours fall to 87.6 per cent – a record low for the month.

Last week we warned that 10,000 extra beds will be needed to guarantee safe care this winter, and with bed occupancy rates already topping safe levels, these latest statistics should set alarm bells ringing for the Government and health chiefs.

As politicians remain pre-occupied with internal politics and the mess that is Brexit, those working and being cared for on the frontline of our NHS are suffering.

And while we continue to wait to hear from the Government on how the promised £20bn a year will be spent in the NHS, there is an urgent need to address these issues now so that patients get the care they need this winter.

From: Peter Booth, Altrincham.

FIRSTLY George Osborne, and then Theresa May, promised a regeneration of the industrial and entrepreneurial heartbeat of the UK in the north of England.

What they have done is to engineer the permanent collapse of industries, such as steel, detergents and high technology by binding the UK into the EU. This means that we will have no right for international trade on our terms and will be open to massive competition from very poorly paid people from Eastern Europe who will secure contract after contract based on price and investment paid for by UK taxpayers. We gave them freedom and we want it back. Theresa May should leave now.

From: Henry Cobden, Ilkley.

CAN anyone explain what the Northern Powerhouse Minister does? He doesn’t seem to be doing much, does he?