ELECTION: Issues to be addressed

At the ballot box.
At the ballot box.

The coming year brings possibly the most important election since 1951.

I expect that many houses in Northumberland carry a council tax of just over £2,000 per annum, equivalent to one month’s wages for many folk if pay is around £500 per week, and no doubt these are about to rise again.

Yet our county leaders are charging young people of 16-plus £600 per annum for transport to attend education (which will be compulsory from next year), give us the worse roads of any third-world country, a dustbin service and little else.

The way our council tax is developing, they will soon only pay for the expensive administration.

Any new government must promise to bring down the high cost of administration.

Bonuses must go; I can remember the first time this word entered the vocabulary, Christie’s I think. It had just sold an old master for a six-figure sum and shared a little of the unexpected profit with their workforce.

Just afterwards, my husband, a new young farmer with a shepherd who underperformed at lambing, achieved a hill lambing rate of over 100 per cent (ewes should have twin lambs). It was the early 60s.

Now, thanks to Germany, I gather from businessmen that if a bonus is paid once, it becomes automatic for the following years as part of the salary.

At the same time, top executives get paid greater salaries. It is wrong that bonuses should be given for just doing your job.

The second thing promised by candidates for our vote to be MP is the stopping of the export of British jobs.

Firms have reduced costs by taking work to India and China, thus the famous Wedgwood firm went into administration.

It is this export of British blue-collar and factory-bench jobs which have closed food production in Amble and Berwick, the fishing work in Alnwick, as well as the clerical work from the tax and agriculture office in Alnwick. It is not immigration that puts our capable workforce into unemployment.

The third problem they need to address is devolution of spending power.

This arose after listening to the dreadful remarks made by Scotland during their referendum month in September, about us, the English.

Just across the Border, we heard, on the final Wednesday, our top politicians make a promise they had no right to make, devolving to Scotland money-spending power that had never been in any manifesto.

There had never been any discussions with the other members of the United Kingdom, the Welsh, the Irish and, above all, us, the English, about any devolution of powers since the election of 2010, so they had no authority.

This must be cleared up next May.

I would like to see from all parties a much greater understanding of the hardship being inflicted on rural areas.

I would like to wish all my fellow Northumbrians a happy New Year and hope we will find some good promises come May.

Anne Wrangham,

By email