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From Our Files: digging for victory, cannabis in the Commons, and a rector resigns

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SIXTEEN million employees are going to receive a new Income Tax form. They do not have to fill it up and send it back: the tax offices have filled it up for them. Each employee is asked to check it and see that it is right. If he thinks it is correct then he need do nothing more about it. But if he thinks it is wrong, he should attend to it at once and get it put right by the Inspector of Taxes.

This new form is not a bill for income tax, nor is it a notice of assessment telling him how much tax he is asked to pay. Under “Pay as you Earn”, which comes into operation next April, the amount of tax to be deducted from the wages each week, or from salary each month, will vary with the wages or salary. When wages are higher, the tax deductions will be higher; when wages are lower, the tax deductions will be lower.

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I WORK an allotment of 20 rods, and when my daughter saw one of my usual weekly basketsful of green stuff that I brought home from it, she said that it would cost 15s. in the north of England, where she has been staying.

The Mayor of Lymington (Alderman E. Knight) quoted this little domestic incident as an example of the importance of allotments to the ordinary household, apart from the necessity of growing more food, at the annual meeting of the New Milton Section of the Lymington Borough Allotments Association, held on Wednesday evening. His daughter, now Mrs Herbert, was formerly an Army nurse in the Middle East.

Alderman Knight said that when he was first elected Mayor, he stressed the importance of digging for victory, and however optimistic a view one might take of the duration of the war, it was evident that the years 1944-5-6 would be critical ones in the history of our country, in view of the pronouncements made by the United Nations Relief Association and the United Nations Food Conference at Hot Springs.


STRONG criticism by New Forest MP Mr Patrick McNair-Wilson over the Wootton report on cannabis was heard in the Commons debate on Monday.

Mr McNair-Wilson said “This House is not a court of morals, but we do have a responsibility for certain things. In so far as the moral welfare of society is concerned, we have an obligation to protect man from the excesses of his neighbours and to ensure that evil does not flourish.

“We are facing a situation where we may well go down in history as the great appeasers,” he said.

Mr McNair-Wilson described as “highly dangerous” a passage in the report referring to the removal of imprisonment for people caught in possession of small quantities of cannabis.

“We all know that with cannabis one of the problems is that it tends to be a social act,” he said. “It is at a youthful and inexperienced level that the greatest danger exists.

“For the report to suggest that ‘trial’ (experiment) by young people should be dismissed is a most dangerous practice on which to build any sort of legislation.”

Young people should not be put at risk and cannabis should not be something which was pulled out of the pocket at a party and handed round as a social experiment. “It should be clear that using cannabis is a serious crime.”

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A DENIAL that there had been a deterioration in relations between the New Forest Verderers and the Forestry Commission was made by Mr Leslie Jenkins, chairman of the Commission speaking at Monday’s sitting of the Verderers’ Court.

“For 50 years the Verderers and the Commission have stood side by side in important aspects of the New Forest,” said Mr Jenkins, whose home is in Warsash. He understood that in the dim and distant past there had been differences between them, but today both recognised that their interests were constantly drawing closer.

“It is my conviction that our understanding of each other’s present and future problems has never been better,” he said. “I just do not believe the pessimists who have recently proclaimed a deterioration in our relationship.”

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THE intention of Christchurch Council to introduce car park charges at the central car park, Christchurch, to collect these charges by a system of ticket issuing machines and inspection by car park attendants, and to abolish the “first hour free” system, is justified on grounds of economy, according to estimates submitted by the Borough Treasurer, Mr H. A. Preece.

The gross income in a full year from the new scheme, as recommended by the Highways Committee, would be £7,500, states Mr Preece.


THE bitter dispute in Minstead over a seemingly minor proposal to alter All Saints’ Church to accommodate the children’s Sunday Club has resulted in the resignation of the Rector of Minstead and Copythorne, the Rev. Michael Delany. He revealed to the congregation at his Sunday services that he had tendered his resignation to the Bishop a fortnight ago – before last week’s heated public meeting when villagers turned out in force to voice their opposition to the Parochial Church Council’s proposal to wall off the south transept.

Mr Delany (59) was subjected to personal attacks during the row over the scheme, which was described by opponents as “a wall that divides a village”. Water was put in his central heating oil and posters calling for him to leave were erected around the village. Mr Delany, a former research scientist, and his wife, Bobby, are planning to leave Minstead as soon as possible. “I’m sad but I’m not bitter”, he told the A&T.

The proposal to sub-divide the transept to create a room for a Sunday Club / chapel was backed by the majority of the PCC. But long-time residents of Minstead believed Mr Delany and the other PCC members were newcomers trying to force changes on the village, and there was particular anger that if the wall was built, it would hide from view the Compton memorial window, donated by the Lords of the Manor of Minstead.

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THE New Forest Verderers have pulled the plug on plans by the Forestry Commission to put electrical hook-ups at Ocknell campsite, in the north of the Forest, following strong complaints from conservationists that campsites are becoming too “urbanised”.

The New Forest Association, the Council for the Protection of Rural England, the Commoners’ Defence Association and several parish councils joined the chorus of disapproval at last week’s Verderers’ Court. For the New Forest Association, Peter Frost said that the trend was leading towards more urban looking campsites, and if it had not been for the fact that the Verderers’ consent was needed for development on the open Forests, “we may have been faced with campsites many times larger and looking like holiday villages.”

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ALTHOUGH the crime rate in Bransgore has dropped by more than a third, unruly youngsters are still making life a misery for some local residents. However, a meeting in the village addressed by representatives of the police, youth service and crime prevention experts has been told that the problem is being tackled by extra policing and the provision of facilities for youngsters.

The discussion on crime was held at the beginning of last week’s parish council meeting and around 50 villagers attended. Ringwood police chief, Insp Gerry Thorne, said that overall, in the combined Sopley and Bransgore beat, there had been a “dramatic fall” in the number of reported crimes – 150 in 1993, compared with 220 in the previous year.

The most complaints he received were about the youngsters who congregated near the parade of shops and in the main car park. To combat the problem he always tried to ensure that other officers came into Bransgore when local bobby Nigel Linford was unavailable, but he had very limited manpower.

He had a great deal of sympathy with local residents who suffered disturbance and the real cause of the problem was the parents of the youngsters who allowed them to stay out until late in the evening.

“Nigel (Linford) has been round to see the parents but he often only gets abuse from them,” said Insp Thorne. “What chance have we got – what chance has the kid got?”

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