Time to end scourge of the metal thieves

IT is a disgrace that metal thieves have got away with their ill-gotten gains for so long.

They are causing havoc with our communications, transport systems and hospitals with cable thefts, delaying trains and putting lives at risks because of power cuts.

These thieves are stealing from everyone from business to householders. I know through my own bitter experience.

The lowest of the low are stealing from our war memorials.

And it is costing us millions of pounds in the process.

While the Government is piloting a scheme in the North East in an effort to combat the situation, it is too little and will take too long.

It is therefore good news to see that police in Manchester have seized the initiative, and have started to target scrap metal dealers to check their yards for stolen materials.

Let us hope that other police forces follow suit, arrest those involved and put an end to this dreadful crime.

Philip Griffiths, North West Chairman, UK Independence Party

Pensions delay ignores a crisis

THE new timetable for automatically enrolling employees in company pension schemes represents a deeply disappointing delay which the Government has tried to hide under the disastrous news of the state of the economy.

Everyone agrees that we face a pensions crisis, with two out of three private sector workers not in any kind of workplace pension.

Yet successive governments have delayed the introduction of auto-enrolment and the new system will not now be fully in place until three years after the next general election.

Last week’s announcement does not just hit the staff of small employers.

What’s worse is that even workers auto-enrolled this year will now have to wait until the end of the staging process before they get their full contribution.

This is because contributions are being phased in, with the final stage delayed until 2018 – 13 long years after the Pensions Commission recommended auto-enrolment.

Derek Barton, Preston Trades Council

But it’s good news for us

CONFIRMATION that the Government’s auto-enrolment pension scheme has been pushed back for small and medium businesses, is welcomed by the Forum of Private Business.

Firms employing between 30 and 49 workers will not now have to enrol them until August 1, 2015.

Those businesses with fewer than 30 staff will not have will to comply until January 1, 2016, at the very earliest, but as late as April 2017.

We welcome clarification on the dates for auto-enrolment. This temporary delay will allow small firms to focus fully on running their business until the economy is back on firmer territory.

We believe this will also allow small business the extra time to plan for and implement the scheme successfully.

The level of pension contributions will also be phased in over time to help employers and individuals adjust. Full contributions will not have to be paid until 2018.

Phil Orford, Chief Executive. Forum of Private Business