Today’s collection of letters starts with a letter we received from our reader and correspondent Cllr Brian Silvester who asks a rather inconvenient question regarding the current Brexit negotiations:


Most non-EU nationals in the UK are not allowed access to “public funds” from the Government (such as jobseekers’ allowance or tax credits) – so why are EU citizens in the UK being allowed to draw UK benefits after Brexit? They will even be able to claim child benefits for children who have never set foot in the UK.

My view is that after Brexit, EU citizens in the UK should be treated the same as other foreign nationals in the UK. Why has the Tory Government treated them so differently and favorably? This concession alone will cost us £billions that could be spent on the NHS,schools,the elderly etc.

The Tory Government have adopted a position of supine surrender on the Brexit negotiations with the EU.

Respectfully, Brian Silvester, UKIP Councillor, Publicity Officer UKIP Crewe and Nantwich.

The next letter, sent in by our reader and correspondent Roger Arthur, also takes the government’s Brexit negotiations to task:


This article in the Guardian seems to assume that the UK will continue to maintain EU tariffs after Brexit and that tariff barriers will be erected between the EU and the UK. But since the EU exports over £60 billion pa more than we do to them, their producers stand to suffer far more than we do from a tariff war. But if both sides did decide to apply tariffs of say 20% then the UK would see around £12 billion pa more going into the U.K. government’s coffers.

The EU applies average agricultural tariffs of over 22% on imports. So EU food prices are higher than general world prices – 15% higher from 2002 to 2011. Once outside of the Customs Union the U.K. will over time be able to reduce tariffs and the cost of imports from beyond the EU, will fall.

UK farmers can continue to receive subsidies, because UK taxpayers stump up over £2 for every £1 paid them by the EU. Thus their subsidies could be increased. Landowners who get CAP funds for owning land should have to be more productive if they want to continue to get subsidies.

Our farmers should be encouraged to ramp up capacity, to improve our food independence. That along with cheaper imports from beyond the EU will reduce UK dependence on overpriced EU goods. Of course the French won’t like losing protection from competition by foreign farmers. But that is an EU problem, not ours. French farmers get very generous CAP payments and, in future the UK will not be funding that.

Yes it will take time for adjustments to be made and there will be short-term fluctuations. But there is nothing that the Government can’t deal with. Of course the value of the £ will affect commodity prices, but the £ has been falling for many years, due to the fall off in our foreign earnings. To arrest that fall, we will need to increase innovation and productivity by reducing the burden of EU regulations, which (according to a 2005 UK Treasury report) costs British business around £100 billion pa to comply with.That is in addition to the direct net cost of £11bn in EU membership costs, plus tens of billions due to tax avoidance allowed by EU regulations. There is certainly nothing in the article which might compensate the loss of our ability to have laws proposed in our own Parliament, by MPs who are accountable to us.

Respectfully, Roger Arthur

Finally, here’s a letter by our reader and correspondent Ceri Jayes which is self-explanatory:


I am intrigued to read that The Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project, thanks to a £785,500 Heritage Lottery Fund grant, is working towards sustaining Devon’s population of these animals. Numbers have plummeted to the point where it is now under threat of extinction.

The Government-subsidised bat-killing machines may be to blame. I refer, of course, to wind turbines.

An Exeter University survey of 29 wind farms found that 194 bats a month are killed by the turbines, and this is probably an under-assessment. Extrapolating that finding to all 6,954 of our onshore wind farms would indicate 80,000 bats are killed every year. The survey was published in November 2016.

In the UK, all species of bats are protected by law. If you or I were to harm just one we could face a prison sentence of up to six months. Many companies and house owners go to great lengths to preserve bats. For example, the reopening of the tungsten mine, Wolf Minerals, in Hemerdon, was delayed because roosts of many different species of bat were found in the old buildings. Three separate European Protected Species Licenses were applied for and granted before those roosts could be disturbed and new roosts created to replace the lost habitats. This is how strict laws are on bat preservation.

So when the Exeter University survey was published, where were the howls of protest from those who profess to love nature on reading of the wholesale destruction by wind turbines of creatures which have lived on Earth for 30 million years? What recommendations were made in the report? The scientists suggested that wind farm operators switch off or slow turbines on summer night when bats are most at risk!

The contribution of wind turbines to our energy requirement is negligible. On October 31 2016 the total amount of power fed into the national grid by wind turbines was just 0.6 per cent of the electricity we were using. On January 22 2017 it was 0.73 per cent. Not only is the contribution of the wind turbines negligible, but when the blades don’t turn they are actually fed electricity from the National Grid to keep them warm.

Brexit gives us the perfect opportunity to review our energy policy, and to prioritise lower prices and more secure supplies. The sooner the green energy policy is reviewed the better. It certainly can’t come soon enough for the bat population.

Respectfully, Ceri Jayes