This morning’s letters discuss the strategic defence review, pensions and retirement, and immigration.
Tory defence review leaves Britain at peril
Sir,-The government strategic defence review looks very much like the 1981 John Nott defence review all over again. Let’s hope 1982 doesn’t come around so quick this time.
The decision to phase out the entire Harrier force and the resulting 10-year gap in our power projection capability is a misjudgment of monumental proportions, which the government will soon come to regret.
Surely Mr Cameron can be made to see sense and keep just two squadrons of Harriers in commission (16 or so aircraft ), just to maintain a basic capability in this area and to ensure that the navy’s fixed-wing skillset is not totally lost in the intervening years?
On a similar note, it seems utterly bizarre to totally scrap the Nimrod MRA4 programme when the first aircraft are just entering service.
Do the Tories not realise that scrapping Nimrod serious undermines the security and viability of the Trident nuclear deterrent on which they are so keen?
The navy no longer has enough frigates, helicopters and attack submarines to de-louse the deterrent properly and now Nimrod is going too.
Just how do the Tories propose getting the single submarine that invariably bears the deterrent safely out to sea, with Russian subs lurking in the Firth of Clyde?
Likewise, how does the government propose coping with a civil maritime disaster mid-Atlantic, now that Nimrod is heading for the air museum?
Give me the answer to these questions and then tell me that the strategic defence review hasn’t been a Treasury-driven fudge.
(Dr) Mark Campbell-Roddis.1 Pont Crescent,Dunblane.
Private sector pension folly
Sir,-I am afraid the views expressed by Mr McLaren (October 18) owe more to tabloid hysteria than they do to reality.
He assumes all public sector workers retire at 60 with a fat pension paid for by taxpayers. This is simply wrong.
All public sector workers, with the exception of HM Forces, pay a substantial part of their salary towards superannuation up to three or four times more than a private sector employee would normally pay.
It is these contributions that pay for the pensions of the retired in the vast bulk of public sector schemes. This is how workplace pension schemes are supposed to work.
The sums received are themselves not great. The NHS pension scheme, for example, only entitles an employee to 1/80th of their final salary for every year they work for the NHS up to a maximum of 40/80ths.
A cleaner on £12,000 retiring after 20 years’ service would, therefore, only receive a princely £3000 per year to live on. As a result, most cannot afford to retire at 60.
These are the people who would suffer most if the beggar-thy-neighbour attitudes to public sector pension schemes were to prevail.
Contrary to Mr McLaren’s assertions, public sector schemes are generally well funded and are based on an individual’s contributions over many years.
The attacks on public sector pensions are merely a distraction from the poor state of private sector schemes as a result of employers taking pension holidays, raiding the funds in the good times and Gordon Brown’s punitive grab on pension funds. This is where people’s ire should be directed not at public sector pensioners.
Stuart Allan.8 Nelson Street,Dundee.
End police early retirement
Sir,-I have always been an ardent supporter of the police and a great admirer of how they cope so well with an increasingly difficult job in an often hostile society but there is a strange anomaly in the early age at which police can retire as compared with employees in other fields.
I can understand the need to take police officers off frontline duty when their age makes it difficult for them to pursue or deal with violent and physically active criminals but why is it necessary to give them retirement in their mid-40s?
There are many jobs connected with police work which do not involve direct physical contact with criminals.
We also have thousands of traffic and litter wardens out on our streets now. Their jobs are routine and not normally connected with dealing with violent criminals. These wardens could be dispensed with and their place taken by police officers no longer fit for frontline duty.
An added bonus would be that we would again have police officers with a highly visible profile on our streets.
With modern communications, older police officers on traffic or litter-warden duty witnessing a criminal offence being committed could quickly call on back-up from younger officers.
George K. McMillan.5 Mount Tabor Avenue,Perth.
Expect more from immigrants
Sir,-German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that attempts to build a multi-cultural society have utterly failed.
A poll showed that a third of all Germans viewed immigrants as nothing more than welfare cheats.
Mrs Merkel said that “those immigrants who come must adapt and learn German as quickly as possible and that those who do not accept this are in the wrong place.”
Very clear. I suggest that British politicians need to note this and that the British public have now had enough of multiculturalism and the tsunami of immigrants over the last 13 years drawn by our over-generous welfare system, NHS and access to social housing which prioritises those with large families.
Time for change. No welfare, no housing, no NHS until immigrants have paid taxes for five years.
Clark Cross.138 Springfield Road,Linlithgow.
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