Fruitless search for military answers

WITH the continuing saga of troops' equipment being highlighted almost daily because of poor quality or not fit for purpose, you'd think our leaders would look seriously into the issue.

I was employed for 18 years at a Leeds uniform manufacturers (Turner-Virr Leeds) until this company started to move its manufacturing offshore, for the benefit of just three men and the loss of over 200 jobs.

Since then, I have been trying to get answers from the Government/MoD as to the procurement policy for military equipment.

Time and time again the MoD refuses to answer any questions, and I receive the same comment "We have to ensure the best deal for the tax payer, or EU rules state it has to abide by their rules for open and fair competion".

This is a whitewash, as these uniforms and other equipment are now being manufactured in China!

My MP, Rachel Reeves, has stated that it is totally unacceptable for the MoD to refuse to answer questions.

In addition, another MP was only last week in the Daily Mail having the same problems with the MoD refusing to answer questions re troops' kit.

In the meantime, British jobs are once again being outsourced to China, troops are receiving overpriced poor quality kit, (it was recently reported how General Dannatt had paid 1,000 for an off-the-shelf uniform, yet these are allegedly costing our UK suppliers less than 5 from China), and, again, a tiny minority of business leaders are lining their own pockets at the expense of the majority.

M Norris, by email

What a letdown

WHEN I look back over the years it makes me wonder how on earth we have lasted so long with all the money-grabbers that have run this country.

We have Labour blaming the Tories then the Tories blaming Labour then they both blame some other poor chap.

But what really happened?

I remember Labour ditching the TSR2 project that put 170,000 people out of work; these people were some of the most highly skilled that you could find so it cost this country millions in lost revenue and decimated our aircraft industry. Most of these skilled folk went overseas to work.

Then we found the Tories needed to sell off the railways because the government couldn't make them pay, but, all of a sudden, private owners are making huge amounts.

The same goes for the gas, electric, the water, phones, coal.

The biggest joke was the London Dome – it was almost given away but look now, the O2 Arena is making a tidy profit.

We have councillors spending cash on the most stupid projects, and who is paying for it? Once again it's Joe Public and the poor souls that are losing their jobs and the old and infirm who need the help but no, there is an arena to build, so suffer on.

J Weston, by email

Tough job

I READ with interest the letter from "a Shadwell council tax payer" and the comments regarding the need to cut the amount of councillors representing wards across Leeds.

I wonder if the letter writer has any idea of the workloads that most conscientious ward councillors get through and to suggest that these duties could be carried out by just one member per ward is absolute nonsense.

As well as holding regular surgeries, dealing with case work, attending meetings relating to council business and sub-committees and some still in employment elsewhere, many councillors serve on school governing bodies, attend many varied local community groups on a weekly/monthly basis across their wards.

I wonder if the writer would be prepared to work such long hours without remuneration – I would suggest not, nor should he/she.

Also, to address the point that the leader of the council is promoted by his own party and not the electorate of Leeds as a whole, how does one then explain how David Cameron is now leading a coalition that is able to inflict such savage cuts without a mandate from the whole country?

Would the writer suggest that Leeds be left without someone taking responsibilty for tough decisions affecting the whole city?

If the writer feels that he/she is not getting value for money from the members representing Shadwell, I suggest they put a cross against a candidate that is committed to work hard for their constituents.

Mary Harland, Kippax

Excellent service

I HAVE read with interest the articles in the YEP and some other newspapers and the readers' letters, some verging on the hysterical, about refuse collection, or lack thereof, in some areas.

This has prompted me to wonder if we are in a unique situation in the Fearnville area. Following last year's strike the backlog in this area was cleared with remarkable speed and efficiency and we continued to receive an excellent service throughout 2010.

When the new working system came into force we continued to receive an excellent service, merely on a different day of the week. Furthermore, during the various disruptions caused by the bad weather and the holiday season we have continued to have our wheelie bins emptied on the days stated with the efficiency we now take for granted, and yes, we did receive notification of holiday changes in ample time.

To conclude: in this area we have had no grounds for complaint regarding refuse collection and we can only hand out bouquets, not brickbats: so well done, lads, keep up the good work and thank you from the Fearnville residents.

Philip Sykes, Fearnville Terrace, Leeds

Taken for a ride

WITH big rent rises on the horizon, prices on all commodities hiked up due to increased petrol and oil costs and VAT increases, rail and bus fares now extortionate, the hard-working people in our country are being taken for a ride – an expensive one at that.

Unlike the affluent leaders of our country, we cannot claim anything on expenses.

Another fine mess they have got us into. "All in it together"? We don't think so.

M Harrison, Saxton Gardens, Leeds

Sickening attack on pet dog

MY 72-year-old mother returned home from the park this morning in a state of utter shock and horror. I looked down and my little 14-year-old Jack Russell was covered in blood and puncture marks from where he had been savagely attacked by two Staffordshire bull terriers on Harehills park this morning.

The owners of these dangerous dogs looked on and did nothing as my little dog was savaged. My mother was screaming to them to get their dogs on a lead.

Gangs frequently use Harehills park as a dog fighting ground and this is not the first case of people being attacked by these types of dogs. Other dogs have been killed and ripped to shreds, luckily a neighbour was in the park during the attack on my dog, he managed to fend off the two Staffs, which ultimately saved my dog's life.

The sickening thing about this is when the police were informed they simply disregarded the attack because it was merely a dog attacking another dog. The police had taken no interest in the attack but of course, 15 minutes later there was a police officer in a van on the same street doing nothing but watching out for motorists.

I'm sure that if politicians had to live on my side of town instead of their leafy-laned side of town they would prioritise the use of the police to stop violent crime and anti-social behaviour before using the police merely as a stealth tax-collecting agency.

I'm sick of this country. Nothing changes whoever is in power.

John Purchase, Foundry Approach, Leeds

Dim view of lamps

Regarding new lamps in Leeds, I am beginning to see the light. Although they are brighter, we will see less of them.

Take Oaktree Walk, Gipton, where there used to be 18 lamps, there are now only 12 new ones and all on the same side of the road. Many streets near to Harehills Lane that had four lamps now only have three lamps and all on the same side, leaving the other side dim.

My back street was bright until replaced bulbs reduced it by about 50 per cent. Has anyone else noticed this manoeuvre?

A Hague, Bellbrook Grove, Leeds

Anger over fuel price rises

ONCE again, fuel is on the increase. We Brits just seem to take it on the chin – or should I say hard on the pocket and do nothing about it.

May I suggest that all drivers just use, say, Asda and Morrisons – and keep using just these two. This would then force BP and Shell to lower their prices in line with supermarkets at least.

The only other way is to take a leaf from the lorry drivers and block up the roads.

The choice is yours, we drivers have been hit time and time again. I think its time to do something about it. What say you, readers?

L Parrish, Rothwell

Playhouse grant queried

FINE words by the Artistic Director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse suggests "success" when he gets a "cash boost" of 1 million plus. On the basis that they and the Armouries were built with public money, they get no support from me.

The Artistic Director suggesting "success possible" on receiving this cash, what has happened to past success that leaves them seeking more?

Let's face it, both places are complete failures. They can never replace the past.

Georgina Fry, Leeds 9