YEP Says, October 28: Why Leeds needs better trains today... and HS3 tomorrow

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...and foreign-born parents must insist children learn English

BEFORE he came too close for his security team’s comfort to a jogger, David Cameron got one thing right during his whistlestop visit to Leeds.

The Prime Minister accepted that it was a “big flaw” of the original plans for a new high-speed rail link between Leeds and London that they missed out connections to major northern cities.

It remains to be seen whether the fiercest critics of HS2 will be appeased by the new proposals for HS3 – but in terms of the Government’s insistence that it was serious about breathing new life into the North, this is at least on the right track.

Under the plan, there would be faster links to York, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle, while journey times between Leeds and Manchester would be almost halved to 26 minutes, creating more opportunities for employment across the Pennines.

However, the key sticking points on HS2 also apply to HS3 – these being affordability and timescale.

While we would all like to travel on brand new trains that get us to our destinations quicker, will we be able to afford a ticket to ride on HS3? And given that HS2 is not expected to reach Leeds until 2032, when will HS3 be ready?

The reality is that if they were given the choice, most passengers would rather see improvements now to existing services that are frequently overcrowded, unreliable and offer poor value for money.

Parents must insist children learn English

HEADTEACHER Georgiana Sales and her staff at Leeds City Academy are doing a remarkable job as they strive to give students who don’t speak English as their first language a decent start in life.

But the fact that fewer than a quarter of pupils are native English speakers underlines the scale of their task. It shows how important it is for parents to appreciate the importance of English language and culture and to encourage their children to learn English as soon as possible – both within school and in the family home.

Otherwise these pupils, and their English-speaking peers, run the risk of never fulfilling their potential.

Bernard Kenny, the man who risked his own life to try and save MP Jo Cox, has died.

YEP Says: Bernard Kenny, a real national hero