If the UK government is going to copy EU laws, it should at least give Europe the credit

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Wednesday 04 July 2018 15:14
Simon Calder: Package holiday changes to benefit millions of travellers

As we hurtle towards Brexit it is striking to note the Conservative government herald the fact that it has introduced new measures that will protect an extra 10 million UK package holidays a year.

One small problem. This isn’t a new law dreamed up by the UK, it’s actually an EU law, the package travel regulations 2018. This enacts the EU’s 2015 package travel directive.

In the small print, not only does the government admit it’s an EU law, it says it’s being introduced with only a “light touch” to “minimise” any change. It was therefore hardly jumping at the chance to implement it.

The regulations will massively extend the definition of “package holidays”, meaning that millions of people who book breaks online and via mobile, bypassing travel agents, will be protected just like people who walk into a shop.

In addition, money-saving websites that pull together lots of third party deals will now be responsible for the whole holiday if a hotel goes bust – under a new category of agents called “linked travel arrangements”.

Of course, this is not the first time EU rules have benefitted us, which the Conservative government have then claimed the credit for. Extra charges for paying by credit card were outlawed from the beginning of this year and the data protection act brings in a string of measures including the “right to be forgotten” and making it easier to withdraw consent for the use of personal data.

So, just as the UK leaves the EU to “free” itself from Brussels, the UK government is boasting about how those very same laws strengthen rights and protections for workers, consumers, and our environment.

Alex Orr

Jacob Rees-Mogg as the good Samaritan

Another moving, experience-based article from James Moore which gets to the heart of the issues facing the NHS, in particular the attitudes of wealthy MPs like Jacob Rees-Mogg who self-evidently do not believe in state provided welfare beyond the barest minimum “safety net”.

It seems the good Samaritan in Rees-Mogg’s version of the parable would have demanded to see proof of insurance cover before helping the unfortunate traveller. Sadly, as Moore points out, there are many like him.

Patrick Moore

Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson make a right pair

Once again Boris demonstrates his wisdom and highly-tuned perceptions by praising Jacob Rees-Mogg’s position: “...Whatever your position, I hope we can all agree that @Jacob_Rees_Mogg is a principled and dedicated MP who wants the best for our country.”

Two self-obvious truths we can all reject outright on the basis of the Babel-like tower of evidence to the contrary. It never ceases to astonish that a substantial percentage of the population of this country support either man’s suitability to replace the failure at the top. Ah, the three do have something in common after all.

Alan Mackay
East Lothian

Surely Jacob Rees-Mogg can’t be expecting no damage after Brexit?

Jacob-Rees Mogg has accused Theresa May of “damage limitation” by not pursuing a complete break with the European Union. But surely Mogg and his ilk are expecting no damage to the nation at all after Brexit – only a glorious, wealthy, free-trade future, unencumbered by interfering “foreign” courts. At least that’s what they told us.

But now he has inadvertently fessed up and admitted there will be damage. What is he suggesting – that he would prefer the damage to be total, rather than limited?

Michael O’Hare

Single use plastics should be outlawed in Australia for good

Australian’s vitriolic protest against plastic bag bans and the hurry to stock up and worsen Australia’s plastic glut(tony) is embarrassing.

Over the years we have been using durable shopping bags at the added cost of purchasing several of these once every year when worn out beyond repair. Many other shoppers accept without second thought the apparently free single use plastic bags that supermarkets are now keen to be rid of.

Some now demand a bag per individual item as they stock up to weather the calamity of an imposed plastic bag famine. We now hear that the supermarkets have gifted another month’s grace to make the less than difficult adjustment of taking enough durable bags to shop with.

As conscious consumers we were being doubly charged, once for our durable bags and also unfairly made to subsidise the plastic bag habit of others, with the latter cost being added to purchase prices of everyone’s groceries.

It’s time to wrap this argument up: those who decline bags should not be obliged to pay for the profligate addiction of others.

Joseph Ting
Brisbane, Australia

Those who want to reverse Brexit have change in mind

Dave Ellis is quite wrong in yesterday’s Independent to assert that those who want to reverse Brexit want things to go back to how they were. In fact that’s a more accurate description of many who voted Leave, who would take us back to a (not-so) golden age when Britannia ruled the waves. In my experience, Remainers would like us to remain in the EU in order that a fresh government can apply the obvious benefits to the whole of the UK, rather than London and the south-east of the country which has been the priority of this disastrous Conservative administration.

Patrick Cosgrove

Reconsidering Brexit

I have a significant level of sympathy with Dave Ellis (Letters) in that I also consider Theresa May has forgotten her promises made when she came to power, which were definitely related to why people voted against the recommendations of “the establishment”. The problem May has is that the Brexiteers want to crash out of the EU to be “free” and therefore no compromise is possible on the type of customs arrangement or relationship with the EU.

It is really obvious now that a proper assessment of the implications before passing the EU (Withdrawal) Act would have been a wiser course of action than our headlong rush to the exit.

I really consider the British people should have a chance to check the parachute before making the final jump out of the EU plane. Hence a second referendum may be a wise move.

Jonathan Heywood
Address supplied

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