Gambling hysteria

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I ATTENDED the Full Council meeting last Wednesday as reported in Monday’s WEP. I have never seen such an ill-informed debate in a long time.

This debate was based on hysteria, prejudice and facts that were just plain wrong. I had a bingo list of all the phrases that would be used by the Labour Party and they didn’t let me down; crack cocaine of gambling, targeting areas of depravation and a proliferation of bookmakers on the high street. All absolute nonsense. What was interesting was that one Labour councillor could tell us how many betting shops were in Newham in London and how many in Liverpool but could not tell us how many we had in Wigan. That is strange because I thought that is what was being discussed! Well I can tell the ill informed Labour councillors in 1998 there were six and at the end of 2013 there were six. With just one more given a licence to open another one in 2014 making a grand total of 7. This is hardly an explosion of betting shops!

The plain fact of the matter is that Betting shops have had to change with the times and if people are betting via these machines it is because they like them and they are popular. The people have spoken. If Labour got its way and banned these machines and reduced how much could be won and lost it would have a devastating effect on bookmakers – it could lead to half of all shops closing nationally. Here in Wigan in the region of 600 people are employed directly by bookmakers. This Labour proposal will lead to people being made redundant. It is an attack on a legitimate business who pay tax and employ people. It will also threaten horse racing and other sports who rely on them for financial support and sponsorship.

Labour voters who enjoy a flutter need to know that the Labour Party want to close their local betting shop. You should now what the Labour Party are trying to do in your name. If you are opposed to what they are trying to do then contact your Local labour councillor and MP and tell them to support local businesses instead of attacking them.

Michael Winstanley

Chairman Wigan


No trust over greenbelt

The Conservative-led coalition certainly have a lot to hide when it comes to rural areas and the preservation of the greenbelt.

First, it was disclosed that there are plans to build tens of thousands of new homes in two new cities, in the south.

Now, they are drawing up, what will be an assault on planning laws which will undermine the environment and council approval,and allow developers powers to bulldoze through their plans.

The reason for this is simply uncontrolled immigration which has caused a severe housing shortage and a demand for new homes.

That will increase overcrowding, the demands on education, healthcare, energy, water, transport and every other part of our infrastructure, which is already struggling.

Despite their election promises to protect the green-belt, the latest disclosures simply confirm that they cannot be trusted on anything.

Cllr Louise Bours

UKIP North West MEP candidate

Arts degrees no award for work

I could not agree more with Nigel Taylor (letters January 13). My husband was a qualified chartered electrical and mechanical engineer.

When he was studying he had to attend lessons from 9am till 5pm, five days a week. Then he had to go back to his lodgings and do extra studies.

Most university and college students only do about eight hours a week. These are mainly “arts” students. Tell me, who needs a degree in dress making or cooking?

I know someone who has just got a Phd in poetry – what next! No wonder the can’t get a proper job

Mrs V Ormerod