Dear Editor, Your recent article headlined 'AIM v PLUS v Investbx', (Post Business, February 21), carried several misleading inferences about the PLUS-quoted market, operated by PLUS Markets Group. In particular, I believe it created the false impression that the PLUS market was not an efficient equity fund-raising venue for West Midlands companies.
PLUS was described as being "self-regulating, where AIM is regulated by the LSE".
In fact, the PLUS-quoted market is regulated by PLUS Markets Group plc, a public company. The AIM market is regulated by London Stock Exchange plc, a public company. Both are Recognised Investment Exchanges regulated by the Financial Services Authority. There is therefore no difference in this regard.
A reference to Weetabix as a PLUS company was erroneous. It was an Ofex company until it left that market in 2003. It has never been a PLUS company. Additional references to large PLUS companies such as Daniel Thwaites & Arsenal FC included the comment that none of these companies used PLUS to raise money. That is true of those two firms but totally unrepresentative of most of the 220 companies on the PLUS-quoted market, where the average market capitalisation is around £10 million and new funds of anywhere between half a million pounds and over £10 million are routinely raised. Nine of these are thriving West Midlands enterprises.
One Midlands company that came to PLUS last year, Early Equity, raised money to invest in businesses in the Midlands and is chaired by Sir Bernard Zissman, the well-known Birmingham entrepreneur and chairman of Advantage Business Angels.
PLUS Markets Group plc
Post Office hypocrisy on 'a grand scale'
Dear Editor, The recent publicity about the hypocrisy of Labour Cabinet Members who support the principle of the Post Office's Network Change Programme but are against individual closures in their own constituencies, comes as no surprise to me at all.
We, in Edgbaston, experienced exactly the same from our Labour MP in the last round of Post Office closures, entitled the Urban Post Office Reinvention Programme.
During the Commons debate on this on October 15 2002, the then Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness, Stephen Timms, stated quite clearly that the programme to close urban Post Offices "cannot start until the House has given its approval tonight". The House's approval was required to pay a large sum of money to the Post Office which could then be used to pay compensation to those post masters whose branches were to be closed.
Mr Timms made it crystal clear that without the House's approval, the closures couldn't start, and Edgbaston's Labour MP, Gisela Stuart, duly voted with the Government that day to give approval so the programme to close urban Post Offices could begin.
Not surprisingly this programme resulted in the closure of several urban branches in her own Edgbaston constituency - including Moorpool in Harborne and Templefield Square in Edgbaston. When these closures were announced, our MP then campaigned to try and save the branches, just as Labour Cabinet Members are doing now.
The current round of closures hasn't reached Birmingham yet (Post Office officials are due to arrive here on March 10 to decide which branches to axe this time) but it is already in full swing across other parts of the country.
A look at the www.theyworkforyou.com website (which reports on matters in Parliament) shows that in constituency after constituency, Labour MPs, argue that while they support the principle of "rationalisation" (ie the programme of cuts) the consultation in their own constituency has been flawed and a particular branch needs to be saved.
This is hypocrisy on a grand and breathtaking scale. Why won't they accept that if there are good reasons why individual branches across the whole country should be saved, then perhaps it is the grand plan which is at fault, rather than just the consultation in their own back yard?
Coun DEIDRE ALDEN, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Edgbaston
Transport black hole
Dear Editor, The headline grabbing "Vision for Birmingham" did draw my interest as intended (Post, February 28).
I was particularly interested to see where transport came in Coun Whitby's great idea. Good heavens, it's the Metro. So far our "dear leader" has demonstrated, shall we say, er... "tunnel vision" as far as this area is concerned.
In all the debate for and against the Metro the problem is no one has come up with a viable alternative, except for buses. Unfortunately these seem to go from bad to worse, so the idea of getting people out of cars (and many want to if there was something half decent out there) is not happening.
The trouble with (yet another) new vision is that it is just that. Our life spans are limited and so there is not going to be time for many of us to enjoy the fruits of these dreams.
When I took on the role of cabinet member for transportation in 2003, I had to hand a "transport plan" for the region. It seemed to me of great importance to advance what was already in hand. To start again would mean extra delays and nothing ever getting done.
I attended many meetings leading to a public enquiry on the Metro that seemed to be getting things under way. To my logic, route 1 of the Metro was put in place in 1990s so what would be the purpose of dreaming up something new? Let's get on with it!
Now it's 2008 and we are in something of a transport black hole in the Midlands. What is being advanced has merit, yes, but the problem is that it's piecemeal. New Street will deal with passengers, at least for a while, but it leaves the problem of trains. While intercity travel is getting faster capacity, or lack of it, means that something has to give. So the train, another useful alternatives to buses and cars, is compromised.
Thanks Mike for the vision, but from my point of view you've stopped progress for four years on the existing vision which you now incorporate into your plan. For heaven's sake get something done.
JOHN TYRRELL, Handsworth
A well-respected manager
Dear Editor, Mr Plumley should get a reality check (Smarten up Mr O'Neill, February 27).
Martin O'Neill is one of the most respected managers in the Premier League. Tracksuits on the touchline do not matter, results do. And O'Neill's results speak for themselves.
Here is a man who has brought self respect and excitement to the club and and to our city.
Granted, smart suits are not a bad idea, but there is no justification for the personal and vitriolic jibes that Mr Plumley has directed at Martin O'Neill.
Perhaps he should just focus on watching the post-match interviews instead.
Real football fans are interested in the hard work of our managers, not the celebrity obsession Mr Plumey seems to be promoting.
Keep up the great work Mr ONeill, there are plenty of real fans out here who will shout your name from the rooftops.
MOHAMMED HASAN, Birmingham
It's success not dress sense
Dear Editor, Given the current success of Aston Villa being greatly attributable to the management and coaching skills of Martin O'Neill, I am not in the least concerned as to his attire on match days (Smarten up Mr O'Neill, Post Agenda February 27).
Please compare his touchline image to that of his predecessor David O'Leary who rejoiced in "immaculate pitch-side dress" but who singularly failed to inspire either the team or the supporters.
PAUL THOMSON, Hall Green