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Threat of HS2

Representatives should represent their electors. Yet Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats are all backing the High Speed 2 railway scheme, hoping that a few minor tweaks and some double glazing will dull any resistance.

Representatives should represent their electors. Yet Labour, the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats are all backing the High Speed 2 railway scheme, hoping that a few minor tweaks and some double glazing will dull any resistance. It won’t.

Let’s be clear: there’s no scope to make any real change to the London politicians’ choice of route, and 250mph trains will have to cross the existing main-line near Balsall Common, on a track elevated 10 metres up in the air. What residents would like to hear from their politicians is “Sorry, it’s a non-starter - back to the drawing board”.

Unfortunately, the record of current politicans for protecting the Meriden Gap Greenbelt is less than sparkling. In the Balsall/ Berkswell area, we have an unwanted new roundabout on the A452, and there’s approval for a social centre on Greenbelt land, not to mention an out-of-town medical centre.

20 years ago, the eastern part of the borough could have been devastated by a massive coal mine.

The people united; they gave their time, their energy, and their money; and we won. HS2 is now an even greater threat. We’re told it’s Time for Change. I agree: your vote will really count if you support candidates who put your well-being before anything else.

Councillor Richard Lloyd

Balsall Common

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Pension target

One of the key debates at this election is provision in retirement for an ageing population.

The UK had a strong occupational and private pension regime until Gordon Brown began the raid of billions from our pension funds.

Now the Liberal Democrats will hit hard working middle-income families by imposing another significant disincentive to save through pensions by removing higher rate tax relief. This penalises those who have worked hard for taking a responsible and commendable action to save for retirement.

The basic rate tax the Chancellor collected from pensions in payment from people who belonged to company pension schemes and private pensions had risen from £2.7 billion in 1998/99 to £7.4 billion in 2008/09.

You see the exchequer actually reaps a growing reward, year on year from taxation on pensions in payment and others benefit from the tax so raised. So where is the logic in Liberal Democrat policy and why the relentless targeting of middle-income earners to squeeze more out of those who have worked hard to improve incomes. And one more point of interest, which is the billions of UK pension fund assets invested in the real economy, supporting national wealth creation and employment for the millions.

Nick Clegg seeks to strangle the pension golden goose even more after Gordon Brown has already decimated pensions in this country. So be mindful of your vote.

Councillor Alan Rebeiro

Knowle Ward

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Parking pain

Solihull’s Tory councillors have attempted to justify their above-inflation 10 per cent hike in short-stay parking charges by pointing to a recent drop in town centre parking revenue. Do they really believe this is the best way to attract shoppers?

Worse, they have yet again ignored the needs of nearby householders, who are likely to see another wave of spill-over parking outside their homes. Year after year, the Tories ignore Lib Dem proposals for residents to be protected by issuing parking permits. What will it take for them to listen?

Steve Green

Lib Dem candidate for Silhill

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Three keys

We have received an election communication from the Liberal Democrat candidate for Meriden.

It fails completely to mention three of their key policies – to scrap the pound and join the euro – putting Britain at the heart of Europe, scrap our Trident nuclear deterrent and introduce an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

J Cooper, Meriden

 

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