Letters, Saturday July 18, 2015

Have your say

UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott claims the EU is trying to stop people taking pictures of landmarks. He’s wrong, as he so often is.

UKIP want to suggest that the EU has proposed this when in fact it is an amendment to a non-binding report of the Parliament.

Even if it went through at this stage it would not become EU legislation.

Highlighting the issue is the right thing to do but scaremongering is not.

UKIP loves to put forward stories like this presenting it as a done deal in order to do damage to the EU as a whole and unfortunately it seeps into people’s minds.

In the past pro-European’s have just rolled their eyes and got on with it.

Well, we just can’t do that anymore because we’re facing a referendum where the future of the country is at stake.

We’re talking about jobs and hundreds of millions of pounds of investment as well as our fundamental rights at work and as consumers.

If Jonathan Arnott is taking photos at landmarks around the region I do hope he gets the European flag in the shot.

The EU has been integral to the regeneration of the region over the past few decades.

The region gets more money back from the EU than it pays in and UKIP has to remember that without our EU membership there would be an awful lot less to take photos of in our region.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP,

via email.

Time to tax sugar drinks

With warnings that a third of the population will be obese by 2030, the British Medical Association is right to recommend a 20 per cent tax on sugar-sweetened drinks to subsidise the sale of fruit and vegetables, and help tackle the increasing level of obesity and diet-related health problems across the UK.

As a local GP I see a growing number of over-weight patients with diet-related illnesses and am increasingly concerned about the impact of poor diet, which is responsible for up to 70,000 UK deaths and £6bn of costs to the NHS every year.

While sugar-sweetened drinks are very high in calories they are of limited nutritional value and there is increasing concern about how they contribute towards conditions like diabetes.

We know from experiences in other countries that taxation on unhealthy food and drinks can improve health outcomes, and the strongest evidence of effectiveness is for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.  If a tax of at least 20 per cent is introduced, it could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people and reduce the harm of diet-related illness.

Dr Brian Balmer,

BMA representative.