LETTERS: Tax avoidance, school congratulations, and NHS funding - The Solihull Observer

LETTERS: Tax avoidance, school congratulations, and NHS funding

Solihull Editorial 2nd Dec, 2017   0


Has Julian Knight MP no sense of irony? His Westminster Diary (Nov 23) was filled with news about how he met with the Chancellor on the eve of the Budget, to raise the issue of aggressive tax avoidance and how it is bad for the economy. This, of course, is from the man who wrote the book on how to avoid paying tax, thereby denying the exchequer many millions which could used to fund the NHS, our schools, and other vital public services. His book suggests that tax dodgers should move, for part of the year, to “sunnier climes” in order to pay less tax. Which sunnier climes might these be? Panama or some other island paradise? How about closer to home in the Isle of Man? Not as much sun but a tax haven nonetheless. He now speaks about his “campaign against aggressive tax avoidance”. Is this a case of “do as I say , not as I do?”

Coleman Doyle



We read with interest your article on MP Nick Gibb’s unannounced visit to a school in Dorridge.

We would like to extend our congratulations to the staff and pupils at St George and St Theresa’s RC Primary on their successes in teaching and learning.

We would also like to express our disappointment in not being included in meetings with Mr Gibb or being given the opportunity to discuss the funding challenges facing Solihull schools. We have been criticised for lack of involvement in discussions with ministers and as such would welcome an invite to any similar visits in future.

There are over 70 schools in our borough – an area which encompasses families of all faiths and none, and many different socio-economic backgrounds. Next time a visit is arranged, please don’t leave us off the invites!

Claire Melia, Jeni Mills, Lisa Evans

Fair Funding for Solihull Schools


Extra funding for the National Health Service is welcome but the budget “bailout “ falls short of what is needed to reduce waiting lists and a halt to service cuts. Winter is approaching, and pressure mounting on our overstretched hospitals .

One of the main causes of this is “Bed Blocking “ , Mr Hammond’s answer to this problem is yet another review.

As a student nurse in 1971 and staff nurse working in Solihull hospital in the 1980s, I was witnessing bed blocking.

This is not a 21st century phenomena. How many reviews have there been in the last 40 years ? Yet the problem remains.

The answer lies in providing a fully integrated Health and Social Care Service funded by general taxation.

This needs to be staffed by professionally trained carers working in both care homes and the community.

Preventative measures need to be in place to maintain a healthy ageing population reducing the need for hospital admission.

This lack of support for a crumbling care system is a false economy as it ultimately leads to more stress on the acute service.

So Mr Hammond my message to you is more ACTION not more talk and reviews.

Gill Beyer

Broadoaks Road


Thanks very much for publishing the facts and figures on the crime rise in Solihull.

It’s appalling to see such daring acts of burglary especially during day time. There are scars left with families affected by these burglaries and leaving people paranoid after hearing about it.

Especially the daring car thefts at Lode lane, where a mother was driving with her young baby at the back. Imagine the trauma with such kind of inhuman act. The reality is the burglars are desperate to fulfil the orders of popular cars in other nations, in the black market.

Ever since we have moved to Solihull, thinking this to be a safe haven, its been, terror at the back of the mind always, being paranoid about burglary, reading them on newspapers and social media groups.

It’s scary to walk out of the house, leaving the car to warm during the winters, and these days even being inside the house because the thieves are daring to break open the doors with hammers, even if there are residents in side the house.

Residents of Solihull are deeply concerned about how their contribution towards Council Taxes are being spent, and how security can be stepped up smartly in the community.

The government/Solihull Council could make use of modern technology to trace such cars, introduce better camera systems in high risk areas, introduce efficient alerting system, scrutinise the UK borders from where the cars are exported easily, introduce strong Neighbourhood watch, encourage people to use bank lockers for their sentimental jewellery, introduce economical lockers, educating the members of the society the most common ways the thieves would approach a burglary and the things to watch out for, things to bear in mind if someone encounters a similar situation.

Its time for Britain to be harsh with such criminals with strong punishments like deportation if they don’t belong to this nation or severe imprisonments. This should be a step for a safer Solihull and a safer Britain.

Solihull Voice


Having read the moaning by Wendy Cottrell, Solihull, in the Solihull Observer ,does she not understand that the majority of UK residents voted to leave the EU?

It was not a small majority but ran into millions.

If she wants to change the rules of these referendums, then say so, but does she realise that the majority of people would be devastated? They voted to leave the EU and leave we should.

Further, during the last election polling two constituencies were won by Labour with less than 100 votes majority. Following her moaning does she suggest that the voting should be retaken or, and because labour won, does she conveniently forget?

Mrs Cottrell, it cannot be one law for one set of voting and even if it was not what you voted for, then, you should accept the result. It is called democracy.

Raymond S. Cliff



Our country’s disability benefits system is failing those who need it the most, as well as costing us an unnecessary amount of money.

Your readers may be shocked to hear that reassessing everyone with Parkinson’s who received Daily Living Allowance (DLA) for the replacement benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will cost the taxpayer £3 million. These pointless reassessments that are being rolled out across the West Midlands are happening despite the fact that people with Parkinson’s won’t get better.

The Government is throwing millions of pounds away on an assessment process that is broken. PIP is meant to help manage the extra costs of a condition, but in fact a quarter of people with Parkinson’s are losing some, or all, of their award. Why is the Government taking away the support they were previously told they’d have for life?

This is simply devastating.

That’s why Parkinson’s UK is calling on the Government to automatically move people with Parkinson’s on the highest rate of DLA to PIP, without the need for reassessment.

1,706 people from the West Midlands have already signed the charity’s petition, I hope your readers will join us by signing it here: www.parkinsons.org.uk/pippetition

Together we can help bring an end to a system that’s evidently not fit for purpose.

Sophie Phillips (Parkinson’s UK Local Campaign Officer in the West)



As the festive season approaches, we’re asking readers to help us raise money for some very special children during their Christmas celebrations this year.

The Children’s Trust is asking you to put on your seasonal smile, don your festive socks and frocks and show some Christmas spirit by getting involved in Festive Friday, a national dress-up day, on 8 December.

Haven’t got anything festive? The downloadable Festive Friday toolkit complete with DIY selfie props is the perfect accompaniment for your Christmas party and those festive party photos, in return for a suggested donation of £2.

Each pack includes classic Christmas pudding glasses, Santa’s hat and beard, a trendy holly bowtie and some naughty and nice signs to stir things up a bit! Money raised will help to support children with brain injury from across the UK.

Sign up today at www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk/festivefriday. Thank you.

Hannah Vince

Fundraiser at The Children’s Trust



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