Letters to the Editor

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European movement

Restricted access to benefits

Madam - Much of the debate about the current EU renegotiation by the Prime Minister has focused on restricting access to benefits for those from other European Union countries coming to the UK.

Some perspective is needed on this.

What tends to be forgotten is that there are c 2.2 million UK citizens living and working in the rest of the EU with, for example, just over 1 million British people living in Spain and 329,000 in Ireland.

Indeed, unemployed Britons in the EU are drawing much more in benefits and allowances in wealthier EU countries than their nationals are claiming in the UK.

For example, four times as many Britons obtain unemployment benefits in Germany as Germans do in the UK, while the number of jobless Britons receiving benefits in Ireland exceeds their Irish counterparts in the UK by a rate of five to one.

Contrary to popular perceptions, the figures for nationals of those ten East European countries drawing jobseeker’s allowance in the UK remain modest, despite the periodical outcries about “benefits tourism”.

There are only about 1,000 Romanians and 500 Bulgarians, for example, drawing jobseeker’s allowance in Britain, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

Of those EU migrants living here a mere 1.2% are not economically active, amounting to a miniscule number.

According to University College London, between 2001 and 2011 EU migrants made an estimated positive net contribution of £20 billion to the UK economy as they tend to be younger and more economically-active than our own workforce, paying more in taxes and receiving less in benefits.

Those from the EU who have made the UK their home make an overwhelmingly positive contribution economically, socially and culturally, and it is good to sometimes highlight the facts as well as remembering those UK citizens who currently live in other EU countries.

Alex Orr

Policy Adviser

The European

Movement in Scotland


You can make a difference

Madam, – With the start of 2016, many people will be making their New Year resolutions and planning to make a difference, either for themselves or for others.

Whatever the reason – be it getting fit, participating in a sporting event, signing-up for a once-in-a-lifetime challenge, like a trek to Everest base camp, or taking up voluntary work – The Children’s Trust would love to hear from you.

The Children’s Trust is the UK’s leading charity for children with brain injury and by taking part in one of our many fundraising events you will be helping to make a difference to some very special children and their families.

The Children’s Trust has lots of fundraising activities to appeal to all – with the ever popular National Doughnut Week in May, the fabulous Supercar Event in July and Humphrey’s Pyjama Week in October, as well as other regional and local activities taking place.

And, if you are planning to take on a new challenge to get fit, we have available places in many famous running events – including full and half marathons – and would love to hear from runners who would like to join-up to The Children’s Trust team for the Virgin Money London Marathon, the Great North Run, Brighton Marathon or the BUPA 10K.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a new venture, perhaps you would like to start a local supporter group to help raise funds.

If so, we can offer help and advice to get you started. For more ideas on how you can support The Children’s Trust, including becoming a volunteer at one of our charity shops, which I have enjoyed doing myself, please contact us via the website at www.thechildrenstrust.org.uk, email: enquiries@thechildrenstrust.org.uk or phone 01737 365020.

Amanda Burton


The Children’s Trust


Newly diagnosed with ME

Madam, – Your readers may be familiar, some at first hand, with the considerable challenges faced by those affected by the chronic disabling condition myalgic encephalomyelitis (M.E.).

That’s why our booklet, Newly diagnosed with M.E, shares key information and advice about the diagnosis, symptoms and management of M.E.

Endorsed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), it empowers patients to be an active partner in their own care.

Developed in consultation with healthcare professionals and our patient and carer reference group, the booklet is designed to be shared with your GP and can be downloaded for free at www.actionforme.org.uk or ordered by calling Action for M.E. on 0117 927 9551.

Sonya Chowdhury,

Chief Executive,

Action for M.E.


Seeking ex-servicemen

Madam, – The British Element Trieste Force Association was formed in 2004 for those ex-servicemen who served in the Free Territory of Trieste from1945 and 1954.

Although our average age is now 85 we are still hoping to recruit new members!

There are opportunities to meet old colleagues through the quarterly magazine and association website.

Trips to Trieste have been arranged and area meetings are held in various parts of the country.

AGMs are also held at different locations, the next being near Lichfield in March 2016: a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum is planned to coincide with the eighth anniversary of re-forming association in its present form.

If you are interested in knowing more about the association please get in touch with me by phone on 01665 589289, by email dagriggs@btinternet.com or write to Suilven, Ellingham, Chathill, Northumberland NE67 5HA.

We also welcome associate members for example, people whose relatives served there or who as children attended the Military School.

David Griggs,

Membership Secretary.


Television show appeal for help

Madam, – My name is Sam and I am an assistant producer working on a brand new TV series for Channel 5 – 100% Hotter.

We are looking for contributors to take part.

This is a brand new TV series and is a makeUNDER show.

We are taking extreme style and fashion disasters and putting them to our stylists and make up artists to make them 100% Hotter.

Do you know someone whose style is so OTT it leaves everyone saying OMG? We’re looking for people with standout shocking style to be restyled from head to toe.

Nominate yourself or a friend at casting@nakedentertainment.tv. Applicants must be aged over 18.

Samantha Heeler,

Assistant Producer.

Flood Alert


Madam - As a social mediaphobe I would be most grateful if someone could explain to me what exactly Craig Irvine & Stephen Jackson are being congratulated for? I don’t require such updates, I just need to go to the foot of my garden & look at the river!! Maybe I’m too practically minded but it strikes me that their time might have been better employed filling sand-bags & delivering them to the homes and businesses which were in dire need. Yours etc,.

Mhairi Leslie