Dear Editor, It is hard for me to support the bail-out of Jaguar Land Rover, as much as I want the West Midlands to succeed.

This is a luxury car-maker and fails to gain my vote. Its products are of questionable value in the 21st century and are, in fact, doing more harm than good. For the government to allocate scarce funds to prop up petrol-supercharged Jaguar is a crime.

The huge carbon footprint of each vehicle should send alarm bells ringing for every Birmingham citizen if we really do want to be a responsible global city.

I know full well that the UK car industry employs hundreds of thousands of people directly and supports several hundred thousand more, once components and retailing are taken into account.

But if the government is to underwrite this industry, it should harness such public funds as are available to develop green transport methods so that we can take the lead globally in a worthwhile venture.

The fact that we just have too many car companies scattered around the world seems to have been overlooked.

If we are to stand any chance of saving the planet, we have to accept that luxury cars, designed and operated for the very few, just do not justify taxpayers pumping in money to rescue the venture.

I am also very concerned that a very rich Indian company, which paid $2.3bn for Jaguar, is now asking for such a handout. It is surely capable of putting up the money itself. Tata is one of the wealthiest companies on the subcontinent .

This is very much a case where the market economy needs to be allowed to operate without the British government propping up an elite and harmful niche market, that is simply not sustainable, in any way shape or form.

Audrey Miller,


Dear Editor, I was dismayed to walk past a Birmingham bus this morning and see that the maximum fare will be going up from £1.50 to £1.70 on January 2.

On my calculation that’s an inflation busting 13.33 per cent .

Unless my memory is going, the fares went up from £1.20 to £1.50 (25 per cent rise) last time – so us poor sods who are trying to save the planet by using public transport are hammered again – these fares have gone up by over 40 per cent in two goes – my earnings certainly haven’t!

So come on bus company and regulator – show some compassion!

Anthony Taylor,
Lordswood Road, Harborne


Dear Editor, The decision by Virgin Trains and Chiltern Railway to increase fares by seven per cent and 7.5 per cent respectively demonstrates that, when fares are unregulated, train companies can get away with unrealistic increases.

Government- regulated fares will also suffer an inflation-busting price hike of six per cent by Virgin and Chiltern from January 2009.

Train passengers are being hit for six at a time when they are struggling with the impact of the recession.

Price increases such as these will lead to more people using their cars which, in turn, will cause more congestion and pollution.

If the Government is serious about encouraging travellers to leave their cars at home and use public transport, they should ensure that train companies cannot get away with these unrealistic price increases.

Coun Jerry Evans,
Lib Dem, Springfield Ward