Elderly pay price for political excess

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ONCE again the elderly and disabled are being used as an easy target to pay for the financial excesses and incompetence of politicians.

This time it is the local politicians who control public transport in West Yorkshire. From January 2012 the concessionary fare on rail services in West Yorkshire will increase to half-fare. This is a massive hike considering it was only 35p per journey not so long ago.

West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority blames central government cut-backs but this is not the only reason: WYITA have wasted between £50 and £100 million on prepartory work for Supertram and trolleybus systems, which, to anyone with an iota of common sense, were hare-brained schemes from the start and would have done nothing to improve public transport. They are trying to recoup their losses from those least able to afford it.

WYITA argue that the elderly and disabled can still travel free on buses but it isn’t that simple. For example, the journey time by bus will greatly exceed those by train, which can be a worry for those concessionary travellers who need regular access to toilets. Trains and railways stations provide these facilities.

It may actually prevent some people making a journey at all, forcing them to remain housebound and thus reduce their quality of life.

If these local politicans are not prepared to think again in light of opposition to this fare change, I suggest they start to look for alternative employment, as they are unlikely to be re-elected at the next election, given the number of elderly and disabled voters.

Martin J Phillips, Cookridge

No change

COUNCILLOR Alan Lamb accuses me of inaccuracies with regards to trade unions funding political parties.

If he had read my letter clearly, it outlined how this was done but sadly due to his and the Conservative party’s stance on workers’ rights and trade union representation he only sees it through ideological, blue-tinted glasses, with no mention of a defence in relation to financial institutions saved by taxpayers also funding a political party.

Likewise, Alan Lamb accuses me of delving into the past to support my argument, a past under a Tory government many of us remember – and subsequently he is not prepared to admit – but many Tories would love to go back to.

Only recently Christopher Chope, Conservative MP for Christchurch’s parliamentary bill for numerous changes to the minimum wage was fortunately defeated. A bill which would have reduced the hourly rate, and let’s not forget recent comments by Shipley MP Conservative Philip Davies, suggesting the most vulnerable people in society should be able to offer themselves to work for employers for less than the minimum wage.

The Conservative Party today has different faces but the same ideology. Same old Tories.

M Duffield, Gipton

Memory lane

YOUR correspondent, J Stead, is amiss, I think, in placing the Corporation pub on Compton Road.

The Compton Arms was the only pub on Compton Road and is now demolished. It was an Ind Coope house.

I doubt if Compton Road is a quarter of a mile long. Starting at its junction with Harehills Lane and going toward the city centre, it crosses the bottom of Hudson Road and just beyond here, it becomes Stoney Rock Lane.

The nearest cinema was The Western (aka The Bug Hutch) on Florence Street.

At the junction of Harehills Lane and Compton Road, there was a tobacconist’s shop and I well remember standing with my father and a large crowd of other people, to hear Neville Chamberlain announce over the wireless – which was on loud for all to hear – that we were at war with Germany. We didn’t have our own wireless at the time. The rest is history.

W James, Horsforth

YEP Letters: July 24