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Cut in duty for vehicles in Budget is essential

By Our Readers

The average UK driver now pays more every year in fuel duty and VAT than for their gas and electricity bills – and that's just the tax, not the fuel.

Having the highest duty for diesel and the second-highest for petrol in the EU is disadvantaging millions of families and businesses across the UK and reducing consumer spending power.

We've repeatedly asked the Treasury to challenge findings from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research that a 3p cut in duty would create 70,000 jobs and increase GDP by 0.2%, but they refuse to rebuff these figures.

So far, the nascent economic recovery has been bankrolled by consumers, rather than industry and having the highest fuel taxation in Europe will reduce any further flows of disposable income into the UK economy.

More than 60% of consumers do essential food shopping by car and 50% use cars and vans to commute to work. Restricting both of these activities by high fuel taxation threatens future growth and causes misery to millions.

A 3p per litre duty cut for all vehicle fuels in the Budget isn't just prudent fiscal planning; it should be an essential pillar of the Government's strategy for economic regeneration.

Any financial recovery begins through increased consumer spending. The Treasury must not ignore this essential fiscal truth.

NIGEL DODDS MP, NAOMI LONG MP, SAMMY WILSON MP and 11 OTHERS

(For full list of signatories see www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/letters)

Are DVA testing stations next for the hit list?

The matter of the Driver and Vehicle Agency (News, March 13) defies logic. After 1920, licence-plate numbers were issued using the letters allocated previously to each county and each collected the road tax.

The Northern Ireland Ministry of Home Affairs was in charge of driving licences and, in 1955, it introduced driving tests and urban speed limits. Now, it seems, Britain has repatriated road tax and licence plates, but on what basis? Should we now expect them to close the vehicle testing stations and appoint designated garages to do the testing?

SENEX

Portstewart, Co Londonderry

Allow direct GP admissions to solve A&E crisis

The recent problems with A&E at the Royal Victoria Hospital have, very likely, complex systemic and even society-wide causes.

However, our family's experience of A&E throws some light on one problem that had nothing to do with delay, or quality of treatment.

My father was recently taken acutely ill and taken to out-of-hours. We saw a very experienced GP, who stated that he needed to be admitted to hospital for IV antibiotic treatment.

We headed to the Royal casualty with a GP letter. At 11pm, we were seen by a triage nurse. She agreed he needed to be admitted. We then saw a junior doctor who ordered further tests and an X-ray.

Finally, after being moved to Outcomes, my father was seen by another doctor at 4am, who also said he would be admitted.

Four medical people who all came to the same conclusion. Surely, the best way to avoid A&E is to allow direct GP admissions?

ACR

Hillsborough, Co Down

Language now a thing of the past

I think C S Lewis once asked: "What has happened to the pluperfect subjunctive?"

I don't know the answer, but the present subjunctive has disappeared from the pages of the Belfast Telegraph.

Alf McCreary (Saturday Review, March 15): "If St Patrick WERE to return ...", please.

ERGO SCRIBENDUM EST

Belfast

Message on GM crops is not safe

Here we go again. There is no compelling evidence, we are told, that GM crops are dangerous.

The fact there is no compelling evidence that something is not safe does not mean that it is safe.

Even when there is compelling evidence, we are given the same message by government and some of the scientific community.

Even after Windscale, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl there "was no compelling evidence" that nuclear power stations are not safe.

The way to ensure an adequate food supply is to cut down on meat production, stop the growing of biofuels and develop sustainable energy.

JIM McCLUSKEY

By email

PM ignoring killings in Israel

It's not unusual for a British prime minister to express unswerving support for the state of Israel, but this should not come at the expense of overlooking serious human right issues.

David Cameron's effusive speech to the Knesset referred to the foundation of Israel in "international law", yet the less rosy truth is that Israeli soldiers regularly act unlawfully in shooting unarmed protesters in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Last year alone, 22 Palestinian civilians, mostly teenagers, or people in their early-20s, were killed by Israel's forces in the West Bank, with several of the victims shot in the back. Mr Cameron's rock-solid commitment to Israel shouldn't mean ignoring the concrete reality of human rights abuses being committed by Israel's forces.

KATE ALLEN

Director, Amnesty International UK

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