Dear Editor, Philip Bradbourn is absolutely right when he says that discarding Regional Development Agencies will benefit local people.

Unfortunately, such is the secretive nature of Advantage West Midlands that people simply don't realise how much of their money is being spent and how many decisions are being made by this unaccountable quango.

Advantage West Midlands (AWM) is given at least £300million of taxpayers money every year to spend as it sees fit. It claims to control around £2 billion per year in funding to local councils.

AWM can compulsory purchase your house in the name of regeneration and if it decides to compulsory purchase your house then its employees also have the right to enter your property to value it without your permission. This kind of power should not be in the hands of an unelected quango.

After the devastating floods last year, AWM of-fered assistance to local businesses affected by the flooding. Businesses were offered flood assistance money but to get it they had to use some of the money to purchase business advice ... from AWM.

We all benefit from the demise of Advantage West Midlands and the return of its money and powers to elected local councils where they belong.


West Midlands NO! Campaign


Supporter of the city will be a hard act to follow

Dear Editor, It's the end of an era! Nearly all of us in the business world have dealt with John Duckers over the last 18 years and many of us have all also been the butt of his sledgehammer wit wearing his "John Bright" hat - and it is strange and somehow unsettling to know that he is no longer Business Editor of The Post.

John inherited a tradition founded by one of the great Midlands business journalists, Ian Richardson, and he has been a worthy successor: often grumpy and challenging he nevertheless had a great feel for a story and he was remark-ably fair to the people and companies he wrote about.

He had many opportunities to go for the jugular but rarely did so: letting the facts tell the story instead of emphasising the sensational aspects.

John has also been a great supporter (though never a blinkered one) of Birmingham and he was a huge help to Bir-mingham City 2000 (now Birmingham Forward) in its formative years.

But his greatest quality was to cut through the business bullshit and report things as they really were... what you might call "Emperor's New Clothes" journalism. Trying to pull the wool over JD's eyes was never a wise move.

I'm glad that he is staying to poke fun at us in the John Bright column but I think it's a sad day both for The Post and for the Midlands business community that Duckers is moving aside as Business Editor. His will be a hard act to follow.

John James


Showing strong leadership on landmine treaty

Dear Editor, Many remember the successful campaign to ban landmines over 10 years ago. Cluster bombs, similarly indiscriminate and hideous weapons, may have received less media attention, but a major step forward was taken in Dublin yesterday when 109 governments agreed a treaty to ban them.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister committed to removing all remaining UK cluster bombs and work towards the strongest possible treaty. This was great news as a major sticking point of achieving a global ban had been the UK's insistence on retaining two types of cluster bombs.

Up until now Britain had insisted it keeps two types of cluster bombs, the M85 and the M73. The M85s were used by the British in Iraq in 2003. Britain never deployed the M73, but it has been used by the Americans in Iraq. It does not have a self-destruct or deactivation mechanism.

It is great to see that the UK has shown strong humanitarian leadership on this vital treaty, which will protect civilians around the world from these horrific weapons. This goes to show that pressure put on the government to ban these weapons by ordinary people in the UK, including residents of the Midlands, has really worked.

Maya Segas

Oxfam Campaign - Midlands


Families needed to road test new and current products

Dear Editor, The BBC is currently looking for charismatic and straight-talking families to try out all kinds of products from brand leaders to those new on the market.

The families will road test products each week and give their honest, no-nonsense feedback on new and current products before confronting the designers to save the rest of the nation from bad design.

Your family will have the chance to road test everything from face cream to the latest innovations in technology, letting the nation know what you think and giving your feedback to the manufacturers.

Products will be scored out of ten by our families based on a range of criteria such as user-friendliness, value for money, desirability and specialist claims before they meet the makers face to face. Your family could try out the next big thing before it's even launched on the market.

If you would like to find out more information please call Emily Green on: 0121 567 6089 or email:


BBC Birmingham


Mediocrity follows the glitzy prize

Dear Editor, The presentation of a Golden Cap, glass encased, to David Beckham by Bobby Charlton, was pure entertainment, glitz and indulgence... something now, it seems, English football only has to offer.

Watching the match on Wednesday evening, England versus the USA seemed to be yet another replay of the 101 matches Beckham very fortunately, I think, has played in, when we have won nothing of consequence.

The replay included Rooney being booked, seen to be using his usual foul language to the referee and being substituted for his own sake; where has the predicted "genius'' gone? Or was it ever?

To finalise the picture of England's repeat performance, we had John Motson, presenting his usual nonsense and remembering happenings 101 years ago, to give some deviation from watching the poor play by the England side against a very new and naive American team.

It is now beyond the time when Beckham must go to Room 101, or is his place in the side perpetual?

It seems the only difference in what we watched and witnessed on Wednesday night was a new foreigner managing the English team.

I hope that even the spurious appearance of Beckham will not take the critics eye off the ball of yet another England mediocre performance... despite those mammoth wages: (and season ticket prices next season).

"You pays your money and takes your choice.''

The rich get richer while the poor get poorer.


Salford Priors Nr Evesham


In hope of finding my four brothers

Dear Editor, My name is Ronald Osborne and Ilived at 1,533 Pershore Road, Stirchley. I emigrated to Australia in 1949.

In the early days I travelled around Australia with work and after a few years Ilost contact with my four brothers and parents.

I am the eldest in the family and I'm now 78 years old. I would love to get in contact with my brothers Raymond, Reginald, Royston and Lawrence who may possibly still be living in the Birmingham area.

Iwould love to return to UK and catch up with my long lost family. I have tried to search for them via the internet but with no success.

I would really appreciate it if you would print this story in the hope that we may be able to make contact.

I may be contacted at: PO Box 514, Bathurst NSW 2795 Australia or



Seeking Michael Peckover

Dear Editor, Iam seeking information about Michael William Peckover, born June 17, 1939 in Sutton Coldfield.

His mother's maiden name was Davis.

He emigrated to Australia, departing Southampton aboard the ship Fairstar on December 6, 1964, arriving in Melbourne January, 1965.

I would like to know what happened to him after that.

Did he stay in Australia, or perhaps return to the UK and settle down to have a family?

Would love to hear from any of his descendents.

BERNIE SHARMAN 18 Coventry Road, Shoalwater,

Western Australia. 6169.


Chattaway clues sought in Midlands

Dear Editor, I have been attempting to trace every Chattaway since the late 1500s to present date and put them all on one big family tree.

This project has taken nearly 30 years, and will culminate soon with a website with all the data and Chattaway interesting info on it.

The tree is getting there but still needs data on families in Birmingham and in particular Coventry and Nuneaton, from 1670 to present day The Chattaway name originated in Berkswell and was then chetweye.

All living Chattaway descendants go back to there.

Help has come from many people from Australia to USA and Canada, Bradford and London - which are the main Chattaway hotspots.

It includes Jay Chattaway in the USA who composed the Star Trek theme.

But the Midland ancestors are where most help is needed.

If you think you can help email to