YEP Letters January 5

Check out today's YEP letters

The benefits of saving for the future

Gregg McClymont, Director of Policy, The People’s Pension

As reports suggest that some workers will stop paying into their workplace pension following the planned increase to auto-enrolment minimum contributions in April this year, it’s more important than ever for the Government, employers and the pensions industry to highlight to workers in Leeds and across the UK, the benefits of continuing to save for their future.

People who had opted out of their pension told us in recent research that they wouldn’t have opted out had they been made aware of how much their employer and the Government also put into their pension. By opting out, they missed out on a top-up from the Government, and the contribution from their employer – so effectively passing up on a pay rise.

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With millions of people at risk of not having enough to live comfortably in retirement, it’s vital that savers across the UK have the full picture.

Time for a massive change of direction

GR Chapman, Garforth

Well said Roy Pearson and Terry Watson (YEP Letters, December 28 and 29). We as a nation are sleepwalking into a nightmare scenario of this Government’s making.

Christmas is now past, but for millions in this country it has been a dismal time, due to continuing austerity, benefit cuts and the introduction of the appalling and inhuman universal credit.

Millions now live not in poverty but in destitution, the likes of which has not been seen in this once great country since the days of the Victorian workhouses.

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Four million children in this country live in abject poverty.

One million children in this country do not have suitable footwear or a warm coat for the coming winter months. Food banks are at breaking point.

Hotels, schools and hostels opened their doors on Christmas Day to feed children, the homeless and others in need who would not otherwise have had a Christmas lunch. The list goes on and on.

And our Government’s answer to this appalling state of affairs? Increase the foreign aid budget to give over £20bn away per annum, year on year, to other countries. It really beggars belief.

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Theresa May will go down in history as this country’s worst ever Prime Minister. Her Government of lack-lustre Tories have done more damage to this country than any other since the Second World War.

May and her cronies need to realise they are the servants, not the masters. Surely it is now time for a massive change of direction in this country?

No right to arrange any compromise

Mr L Brook, Rothwell

I WAS brought up to believe that the UK is a democratic country.

When our country has been threatened with takeover by force in the past we have resisted, whatever the consequences which included much cost and the loss of many lives. We agreed to join a Common Market based on communal trading since which time there has been no further consultation with the people.

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Subsequently Brussels has proceeded to take full control of 27 other countries by friendly stealth. And successive governments have accepted it. The only time we have raised the slightest protest was when we had the backbone to refuse to surrender our currency. Their next plan is a “European” army. We were at last given a chance to waken up and have a vote on our EU membership and by a democratic majority we instructed the Government to leave. This was not a party vote nor a constituency vote so no individual had any right to arrange any kind of compromise. It does not matter how inconvenient the consequences of leaving are, they can never outweigh surrendering our country. Despite their democratic duty enough of those in power have ignored the instruction in favour of personal interest. Consequently, the rest of the world has witnessed our embarrassing, futile and shameful attempts to expect to leave “with benefits”.

Had our “leaders” left the EU immediately with no further payments, by now we would have had much time to begin building relationships with the rest of the world, but we lack government with honesty and backbone. Sadly, their behaviour does suggest they think we are incapable of controlling our own country.

No need to worry about WTO rules

Lord Bamford, Chairman, JCB.

JCB is the UK’s largest manufacturer of construction equipment. I have worked in the family business since the 1960s, taking over from my father as chairman in 1975, the year of the first referendum on our membership of what was then called the Common Market.

As the clock ticks down to our exit from the European Union, following the second referendum in 2016, I feel compelled to say this about a no-deal Brexit: there is nothing to fear from trading on World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms.

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I have decades of experience selling British-made machinery to WTO and EU countries. Nearly three-quarters of what we manufacture in the UK is exported. Likewise, my company buys components from all over the world. Trading with Australia on WTO terms is as natural to us as trading with Austria on EU single-market terms. To underline the point, 40 per cent of JCB’s exports go to WTO countries, 27 per cent to EU countries. We import components worth over £250m from WTO countries.

This two-way trading arrangement happens every day as a matter of routine for JCB. It can work just as well for other British businesses.

I accept that, after March 29, any changeover to trading on WTO terms will prove somewhat disruptive to businesses. My message is simple: businesses will adapt. It will not be the end of the world.

Ports will also adapt to the change in the regulatory landscape and, besides, Dover is not the only UK port. There are about 120 other commercial cargo ports. These will take up the slack if Dover can’t handle everything.

No concessions

A Lintott, Leeds

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Putin must be delighted to see a diminished Europe if we leave.

Trump is clear: he will make no concessions to the UK and he has his eye, they say, on hard bargains opening our NHS to their American healthcare companies.

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