Government must come clean on their pension age plans

According to predictions by the Office of Budget Responsibility Brits born after 1989 may have to work until they are 74 before being eligible for state pension. Government must urgently give greater clarification as to the extent and speed at which they are seeking to increase pension entitlement age.

Andrew Charalambous, UKIP Work and Pensions Spokesman said, “Changes to the projected pension age mean that society as a whole needs to rethink the way we approach not only work but care , health and savings. It’s time government presented the British people with an honest timetable for state pension age increases. In so doing I hope government will bear in mind that there are significant variations in life expectancy across the UK.

“It’s unfair that so many people are having to live in an atmosphere of work uncertainty simply because the government is not willing to outline expected changes to state pension age due to their likely ballot box repercussions.”


Quite right that Shiner has been struck off

Former reservist West Midlands UKIP MEP James Carver has spoken of his delight that lawyer Phil Shiner, who brought abuse claims against British troops, has been struck off after a misconduct hearing.

The human rights solicitor admitted paying an agent to find him clients and acting improperly in claiming soldiers murdered and tortured Iraqi civilians. The ruling, by the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal, ends a career in which Shiner had been involved in a string of cases alleging systematic brutality and torture of prisoners by British troops.

Mr Carver said: “It is right and proper that Shiner should be struck off after the stress and anxiety he caused to so many of our loyal soldiers who were called upon to risk their lives in a most harrowing conflict.

“This leech went on to cause untold damage to innocent troops, turning their lives upside down and causing them and their families a huge amount of misery. I am delighted with the outcome.”

He added that Shiner’s actions had been a “shameful attempt” to use the legal system to besmirch the reputation of the British armed forces.

Shiner, whose Birmingham-based firm, Public Interest Lawyers, ceased operation after being stripped of its legal aid funding last year, had 12 charges of misconduct proved against him by the tribunal.


Transparent rail pricing proposals are warmly welcomed

Jill_Seymour.jpegPlans to simplify rail fares on cross-country train routes have been warmly welcomed by UKIP’s Transport spokesman.

Jill Seymour MEP described the Rail Delivery Group’s proposals as ‘a welcome dose of common sense’ and said they could save travellers hundreds of pounds.

A trial scheme will be launched in May, initially for people travelling between Scotland and the south west of England.

“I’m sure that this is going to be a success, and I’d like to see it rolled out across the whole of the UK’s railway network as soon as possible,” said Mrs Seymour.

“Anything which simplifies things for commuters – and has the potential to save them a great deal of money by making the cheapest price tariffs more transparent – should be warmly welcomed.”

According to the Rail Delivery Group, passengers using cross-country train routes could save up to £260 a journey under the trial scheme.

Mrs Seymour said: “I’m constantly being told by regular rail users that they find the current pricing system utterly baffling, and never really know if they are getting the best possible deal.

“Travellers who buy an off-peak return ticket can often be paying four or five times as much as they would be if they booked a series of individual single tickets to cover the very same journey.

“That’s because the cheapest prices are hidden away in the system, and this damages trust between travellers and train operators.

“It’s not fair, and makes no sense, particularly when you consider that the price of average train fares went up by 2.3% in January, while consumer prices rose by just 1.6% last year.

“Under this new clearer pricing trial, a potential saving of up to £262 will be offered to customers automatically – which is exactly how it should be.”


EU rules threaten Free range Egg farmers

images.jpgStuart Agnew MEP joins UK egg industry representatives today in condemning the European bureaucracy that could mean the impending loss of free range eggs from British supermarkets. Under emergency measures intended to protect flocks against avian flu, all UK free range chickens are currently being housed to reduce potential contact with migrating wild birds. If this housing period extends beyond 12 weeks, under EU rules these chickens will no longer be allowed to be called “free range” and their eggs sold as “barn reared” instead.

As Mr Agnew explains, “Whilst the technical standards are absolutely essential to allow consumers to have confidence in free range eggs and chicken meat, I think British consumers are more than capable of understanding that a temporary housing order for these animals own protection is an exceptional situation. Unlike barn reared birds, free range birds will be allowed outdoors again as soon as the danger has passed. That is a fundamental difference”.

“One irony is that organic chickens, supposedly a higher welfare standard than free range, are only required to spend “at least one third” of their lives outdoors. As a result, organic eggs in the UK will still be sold as organic even if they have been temporarily housed for periods in excess of 12 weeks.

“The double standard is confusing for customers and downright unfair for our dedicated free range chicken farmers” says Mr Agnew.

“Poultry farmers do not receive EU subsidies like other farmers, so any impact on the slim margins they are paid for eggs could be devastating for their businesses and extremely difficult for the egg retail and manufacturing sectors to cope with.

“We urgently need clarity and some common sense on this from the Commission, or a lead from Trading Standards in the UK. Give us a temporary derogation on the 12 week indoor housing rule before the free range eggs run out”.


UKIP underlines its support for the NHS

gFrSqwQl.jpgIn a hard hitting speech attacking the many Labour failings over the NHS Suzanne Evans the UKIP spokeswoman on the NHS underlined UKIP’s full support for a Health Service free at the point of delivery.

She said “If Nye Bevan were here today, I think he’d be disgusted with the Labour party, given the number of Labour policies that have helped bring the NHS he inaugurated to the brink of destruction.

“Neither he, nor William Beveridge, the Liberal politician whose vision for the NHS Bevan enacted, ever imagined our NATIONAL health service would be allowed to become an INTERNATIONAL health service. The NHS wasn’t set up to provide free healthcare to the world. It wasn’t even set up to provide free healthcare to Europe. It was set up to provide free healthcare to UK citizens”.

“While we recognise the impact of mass immigration on our delivery of services including the NHS, Ms Evans was unequivocal as to where the blame lay,

“Immigrants are not to blame: Labour is.

“There was Labour’s stupendously stupid ‘buy one hospital, pay for six,’ idea.

“Yes, that’s the upshot of Labour’s great PFI swindle… Labour rebuilt hospitals using private loans at credit card rates of interest, signing contracts that would cost the NHS dearly, but make billions for the private sector. In this hospital trust alone, we’re talking about a build cost of £415m, with total repayments reaching £2.7 billion. As I said, more than six times the original construction cost.”

Paul Nuttall, UKIP leader and candidate in the Stoke Central by election said,

“Yes they may well have founded [the NHS] in 1948, but today they have come to resemble an abusive parent.

“I refuse to be hectored by a party that oversaw the Mid Staffs scandal. A scandal for which no one in senior management was sacked!

“I refuse to be lectured to by a party that allowed MRSA to become commonplace on our wards.

“I refuse to be accused of wanting to privatise the NHS by a party that actually did privatise 5% of our health service when they were in power.

“I also refuse to take criticism from a party whose two most prominent members of the House of Lords – Winston and Warner – have called for people to be charged to see their GP.

“And finally, I refuse to take lessons from a party that has saddled the NHS with a debt of nearly 80 billion pounds through the signing of crazy PFI contracts.

“I now want to make something crystal clear: UKIP has never and will never – under my leadership – enter any election calling for the privatisation of the NHS. Full stop.

“I want to repeat this: UKIP will never – under my leadership – enter any election calling for the privatisation of the NHS. Period.”


Defence spokesman condemns Iran missile test

bill2.jpgBill Etheridge, UKIP Defence Spokesman, has condemned both Iran and the outgoing Obama administration in the wake of a ballistic missile test by the fundamentalist state.

In a breach of United Nations security resolution 2231, that “calls upon” Iran not to undertake any activity related to “ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons”.

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu called it a “flagrant violation” and added “Iranian aggression must not go unanswered”

He also said he would discuss the renewal of sanctions against Iran when he met President Trump during February.

Mr Etheridge, UKIP MEP for the West Midlands, said “This has caused a lot of concern in the world, and not least in Israel, a country that Iran has threatened to wipe off the face of the earth.

“It is important that the Western world hold Iran responsible and tells them “We will not stand idly by and watch you demonstrate your ability to annihilate your neighbours.”

“To the people of Israel, I would say we are watching this and we share your concern. This nuclear sabre-rattling is totally unacceptable.

The UN security council is to hold an emergency meeting at the request of the United States to discuss the missile test.


Health trusts to spend £15m on private consultants for advice how to save money

download.jpgIt is reported that health trusts are to spend £15 million on private consultants for advice on how to save money. UKIP have previously stated that integrating Health & Social Care teams would help prevent people attending expensive A&E departments. This is not happening due to the appalling Government shortfall in Social Care funding reported to be £3.2 billion. The NHS also needs to prioritise and divert funds into social Care it has been proven to save money and divert people away from acute care.

Cllr David Sprason, UKIP Social Care spokesman said ” It is absolutely ridiculous for Health Trusts to waste taxpayers money on yet more consultants. I personally led a Social Care department rated one of the best in the country, I know that if you invest in Social Care & prevention services you reduce the pressure on acute hospital care”.

“It is time this government and the NHS got a grip and invested in Social Care interventions that actually deliver effective and efficient solutions. This will ultimately save the NHS much needed resources. UKIP are calling on the government to implement the Andrew Dilnot recommendation for health & social care now not delay it until 2020. It is time for the government to recognise they are overseeing a post code lottery when it comes to the level of services available to the elderly in this country. They are seeing Social Care rationed with more seeing their savings & homes disappear to pay for their Care”.


Margot Parker backs Bill to ban the term ‘honour killing’

download.jpgUKIP’s women and equalities spokesperson Margot Parker MEP has backed a call to ban the term ‘honour killing’. The East Midlands MEP said she supported the proposed Bill by Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani, which is due to be put forward tomorrow, (Tuesday).

She said: “Last year my colleague Jane Collins MEP started a petition for a ban on the use of the term ‘honour killing’ by all BBC outlets which are funded by the license fee and on other media outlets to follow this policy voluntarily.

“It stated, quite rightly, that to use the term ‘honour killing’ when describing the murder of a family member – overwhelmingly females – due to the perpretrators’ believe they have brought ‘shame’ on a family normalises murder for cultural reasons and sets it apart from other killings when there should be no distinction.

“Murder is murder, whether it be for cultural excuses or others. The term ‘honour killing’ is a euphemism for a brutal murder based on cultural beliefs which have no place in Britain or anywhere else in the world.

“There is nothing honourable in the brutal torture and murder of predominantly women for cultural reasons.”

In the Bill, the Tory MP for Wealden is proposing a ban on the term ‘honour killing’ in official publications.

She said the Bill would also strengthen support given to women who are subjected to domestic violence and even killed while abroad.

The Bill will be presented in the House of Commons tomorrow and Mrs Parker said she wished it every success.

UKIP Home Affairs spokeswoman Jane Collins MEP, who last year started a petition calling for the same ban, said “to use the term ‘honour killing when describing the murder of a family member – overwhelmingly females – due to the perpetrator’s belief that they have brought ‘shame on a family normalises murder for cultural reasons and sets it apart from other killings when there should be no distinction,” she said.

The MEP, whose region of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire has suffered some of the worst child sexual exploitation in the country which was perpetuated by a fear of ‘rocking the multicultural boat’ in the words of former Rotherham MP Dennis McShane, said “murder is murder, whether it be for cultural excuses or others.”

“The term ‘honour killing’ is a euphemism for a brutal murder based on cultural beliefs which have no place in Britain or anywhere else in the world.

“There is nothing honourable about killing someone for wanting to shape their own destiny.

Mrs Collins’s petition was also backed by Sarah Wilson, a victim of CSE in Rotherham whose sister was killed by her Muslim boyfriend.


Councils must be prevented from ‘demonising’ diesel car drivers

38qr96Hi.jpegUKIP Transport spokesman Jill Seymour has called on the Government to prevent councils from ‘demonising’ drivers of diesel vehicles with massive rises in parking charges.

Her comments follow the launch of a pilot scheme in central London which will see Westminster City Council charging an extra 50 per cent on the normal hourly parking charge – just for diesel vehicles – starting in April.

Mrs Seymour said: “The Government needs to step in and nip this money-grabbing scheme in the bud, before it spreads like wild-fire across other parts of the country.

“It is totally wrong for the authorities to be demonising drivers of diesel cars, just a few years after they were actively encouraging the very same people to buy them.

“These drivers bought diesel cars in good faith, on the back of incentives which were promoted by the Government.

She added: “Politicians who seem to sway with the wind want to damage the family finances of people who purchased diesel cars on the strength of Government advice. This is a case of disgraceful double-standards, and is simply not fair.

“Instead of trying to penalise them, they should be focusing their attention on removing the diesel trucks, buses and taxis, which create far more pollution in our towns and cities.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, along with BMW, Ford, and Jaguar Land Rover, have echoed Mrs Seymour’s beliefs that fears over diesel are misplaced.

“Today’s diesel engines are the cleanest ever, and manufacturers have spent billions of pounds reducing their emissions,” she said.

“It is not the modern car which is causing poor air pollution in our cities. It is large diesel engine vehicles such as buses, trains and trucks, which are typically much older.

“When drivers of diesel cars are driven out of our towns and cities, is anyone pausing to think of the damage this could be doing to retailers who rely on them for their business?”


MoD not fit for purpose

Bill.jpgUKIP Defence spokesman Bill Etheridge MEP has said the report by the National Audit Office into defence funding “should make the government hang their heads in shame at their negligence of our Armed Forces.”

“I am strongly in favour of a properly financed defence budget, above the current levels where we fudge the figures to reach the 2% target requested by NATO,” he said.

“For too many years, the job of defending our country has been Cinderella with the ugly sisters of foreign aid and throwing money at unreformed projects soaking up billions of taxpayers money.

“Report after report has shown the Ministry of Defence is not fit for purpose yet Mr Cameron rewarded the Secretary of State for Defence with a knighthood, probably for backing ‘remain’ in the referendum.

“National strategic interest should be the only relevant factor in deploying troops and a significant uplift in tanks, air defences, artillery and infantry numbers are needed before we can attempt anything like we did in the 1990s.

“It is clear to me that our Armed Forces are woefully underfunded with rock bottom morale and a crisis in recruitment. We could not defend ourselves against an attack from a country like Russia and we have spent the last few years running down our defences at the expense of tying ourselves into arrangements with other countries, predominantly France, and yet still acting as global policeman following the disastrous Blair doctrine of interfering internationalism.

“It is time defence of the realm was the government’s number one priority and that means proper equipment, stopping the harassment of our troops by IHAT and a massive uplift in defence spending.

“I look forward to the government replying to my colleague Lord Pearson of Rannoch about any future plans for upgrading our infantry fighting vehicles.”