This is what you have been writing to us about this week.

To send your own letter, email bfpletters@london.newsquest.co.uk.

Please note, any letters sent to the Bucks Free Press office are only being picked up periodically during lockdown.

How can it cost that much?
Your article about this development [temporary hostel in Desborough Road, High Wycombe, BFP front page, July 24], and the costs estimated for the 'temporary' buildings seems excessive.

May I, through the auspices of BFP, ask the relevant authority if the unit cost of approximately £130k is accurate?

This is almost exactly the build cost of a modern, modest two-bedroom house. How can a temporary building possible cost so much?
Paul Sutherland, address withheld

A sign of things to come?
Without any notice or consultation whatsoever, residents living under the flight paths of Heathrow’s northern runway have found themselves under a constant barrage of noise with no respite from all day flying.

Heathrow has closed the southern runway for repairs – they have had 16 weeks to do this work, whilst there was a 97% decrease in flights – and, as any ‘good neighbour’ would, they have initiated this repair work as flights are starting to increase!

Where is the Independent Heathrow Community Engagement Board? Not a word from them. They are the organisation that is supposed to be holding Heathrow to account, yet there is nothing on their website or even their Twitter feed about this issue affecting so many residents living close to the northern runway or under northern runway flight paths.

This is what mixed mode would look like – relentless noise with all day arrivals and departures on the same runway with no break from noise, which is what so many residents expect from such a noisy neighbour.

We will continue to highlight the effects of Heathrow on residents and we will make sure that this mixed mode operation is not a prelude to expansion by stealth, which is what Heathrow could seek as a consolation prize were their bid for a third runway not successful at the Supreme Court later this year.
Geraldine Nicholson, Stop Heathrow Expansion

Marking their own homework?
RE: ‘The EU has improved’, BFP letters page, July 24

According to the EU's Court of Auditors, it would appear the EU's accounts have been accurate since 2007 and in the "most recent year a significant part of spending was largely error-free for the first time", the inference being that prior to this a significant part of spending wasn't.

The EU's Court of Auditors is funded by the EU. In its own words it, regularly signs off the reliability of the accounts themselves, which seems to me that they are marking their own homework.

Prior to 2002 the Court of Auditors reported on the EU budget as a whole but it became obvious that the books weren't balancing.

So, since then, although they have continued to audit the budget annually, they no longer sign off the accounts as a whole; instead it is split into two sections, i.e. the part to which they are willing to give a clean bill of health and the part they are not.

The Auditors refer to this second part as "its opinion on the underlying payments which have been negative or adverse".

In other words, payments made which may or may not be due to error, fraud or incompetence. It is true that many large organisations have a recognised error rate.

It is also true that in 2015 the amount not "not signed off" was "only" around four per cent of the budget. Since 2006 the error rate has been between three per cent and seven per cent. Above two per cent is categorised as "material error".

The EU budget for 2019 was 168 billion euros. I am sure readers can work out for themselves that although the EU may be improving, it still has some way to go.

As for the farcical situation where the EU parliament regularly up sticks for a trip to Strasbourg.... what a waste of time and money, in excess of at least £100 million euros annually.

At least we won't be helping to fund that particular jaunt in future.
Tony Grange, via email

‘Shrill voices of the minority mob’
It would be informative if all those advocating the use of common sense for what they tell us to do would explain what they mean by common sense.

It is certainly nothing to do with our five common senses. Nature is absurd to them, it deludes them continually with ease by illusion.

The common sense people advocate as the basis for their pronouncements seems to be what they have been led to believe without having to attain the ability to reason, presumably because they find that too hard to acquire.

That would mean having to learn things. Much easier to repeat like parrots what they have heard someone say or, more usually, what they have heard other people say.

As children we used to play a game called Chinese whispers that should have taught us the futility of this, yet that is the basis of what now passes for news and even education. Even writing things down in an attempt to redress this problem is fraught with problems.

The news media this week was full of the shrill voices of the minority mob demanding their chosen leader tell them what to do (wear masks in public or not). A real-life example of a scene directly from the satirical comedy film Life of Brian.

If that, and listening to politicians, makes me depressed from feeling I’m losing a little bit more of the will to live, I’m told its because I have “mental issues”.

These, I’m informed, could be cured by either being indoctrinated to believe the myths (otherwise known as lies) created by illusionist control freak politicians or being prescribed brain altering pharmaceutical “goof balls” to make me feel happy.

Whoops, there goes another bit of the will to live.
Mr P.D. Somerville, High Wycombe

Support for businesses
With an increasing number of people out of work and business owners in the process of making difficult decisions about workforce redundancies, the team here at Buckinghamshire Business First is working closely with partners to ensure that support is available for anyone who is affected.

Support is available for employers who are reviewing alternatives to redundancies, and if they are unavoidable, business leaders can help support people through the process by signposting to useful resources and local opportunities. The government’s Employer Help website is full of advice and resources that can ease the redundancy process and help people find a new job, access financial support, identify their transferable skills, and get hints and tips for their job search.

There is also a Job Help website for individuals who have been made redundant to help them improve their CV, learn interview techniques, identify expanding sectors and stay motivated throughout their job search. Avenues such as the National Careers Service and The Skills Toolkit offer training courses and upskilling advice too.

BBF is collating a wide range of redundancy support from both local and national partners online at bbf.uk.com/redundancy-support.

When assessing their next career move, some will explore the idea of starting their own business. Through our start-up business support service Be Your Own Boss, we run events and offer advice and support to help turn business dreams into reality. The programme will help you understand more about the ins and outs of starting up, equip you with the skills needed and connect you to a network that can help. Visit bbf.uk.com/BYOB for further details.

No matter what you do with your career, you must look after your mental health and wellbeing. This is important 365 days of the year, with or without a pandemic, so whether you have been made redundant, are running a business and struggle to make time for your own health, are finding things difficult right now or have been struggling since long before Covid-19, it is important that you know where to turn for support.

Visit bbf.uk.com/workplace-wellbeing for tools and resources for staying mentally healthy and information on where to get help if you’re struggling. There are also resources for employers on how to manage their own mental health, change attitudes to mental health in the workplace, support employees, and much more.
Philippa Batting, Bucks Business First

Thanks to our NHS heroes
Kew Little Pigs would like to send our gratitude and thanks to our incredible health service.

They deserve praise and recognition for the selfless hard work they provide our country each and every day.

We'd like to offer all NHS workers and their friends and family 50 per cent off our most popular Piggy experience, piggy pet and play.

Located in Amersham, Kew Little Pigs in the UK's largest and most popular miniature pig experience. We have three glorious acres of farm to be enjoyed by guests.

Mental health and wellbeing is so important to us, therefore the incredible NHS workers who have given up so much for so many deserve to be treated in return.

Our outdoor space is a tranquil environment of calm. Come and pet and play with our pigs and unwind with mother nature.

This offer lasts until April 2021. Up to six tickets can be purchased providing one valid NHS ID is shown. This can therefore be enjoyed with family and friends.

Thank you to our heroes!
Michelle Saban, Kew Little Pigs, Amersham

Celebrating Wanderers’ amazing win
Badge for Life is raising funds for five charities affected by Covid-19.

One hundred per cent of the profits will be shared by Communities 1st, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity and Marie Curie.

We have created a series of social distancing and celebratory designs to be worn to high-light the importance of social distancing.

You can visit our website: www.badgeforlife.co.uk to see our numerous designs designed with the general public at large.
Annette Dore, address withheld