Urgent need for low cost homes

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I READ recently that one of the major post-war achievements of the Conservatives was that, by the end of the Thatcher era, two-thirds of the population owned their own home.

Oh no they did not. They had a mortgage millstone around their neck for many, many years.

By the end of the Thatcher era home repossessions were at an all time high and a new Rachman era of rogue landlords was created.

Today one has to feel sorry for many people aged 20-35. Many of them have already been pushed into debt by the Tories turning tuition fees into a kind of mortgage.

There are few jobs to be had that pay a decent wage in our part-time service industries, banks demand thousands of pounds deposit before they will offer a mortgage.

These banks carry on robbing small savers on a daily basis with their miserly interest rates and most young people have little or no prospect of owning their own home.

The answer would be to start building 250,000 low cost social dwellings, allowing developers a fair profit and giving an option to buy after 10 years.

What we have got is a Prime Minister whose stated aim is to bring council rents to the level of private ones.

Stupid. If, as claimed by newspaper editors “the people have the right to know”, could one of them answer me this question. How many former council houses, here in Leeds, now belong to people who do not live in them but own them for profit? Conservatism and capitalism side by side, who will protect the NHS from this madness?

ROY PEARSON, Leeds 9

Wasted expense

BOTH parties, when in power, have spent billions of our money on an IT system for the NHS which experts in computer science have warned from the beginning wouldn’t work and was not fit for purpose.

This week I have personal proof that communication between the Leeds hospitals still depends on cumbersome piles of notes being driven around the city.

On June 8 I saw my neurologist at Seacroft. She had a letter from Opthalmology at St James’, where I had an appointment on March 18, informing her that I have cataracts on both eyes. Nobody has told me this and I have none of the clouding of vision which points to the formation of cataracts.

When I phoned St James’, I was advised to wait for my next appointment (June 30) to find out what the position was – because they couldn’t tell me anything until my notes came back from Seacroft.

I shall, of course, continue to ring up. I need to know whether or not I have cataracts.

Meanwhile it is interesting to know that, on a practical level, all the money spent on a computer system for the NHS has so far delivered a set-up which cannot even track patient histories.

Carol Brown, The Laureates, Leeds

Lotto windfall

THANK you very much for the article ‘Young and old click’, by Juliette Bains.

It was such an upbeat story, about my charity’s inter-generational computer project for older people. This has been a joint initiative between City of Leeds School, Leeds Metropolitan student volunteers (CALM) and Caring Together in Woodhouse and Little London. It has seen young people giving up their time to teach our members (older people) basic computer skills.

The one omission from the article was the funding. We are extremely grateful to the Big Lottery Fund for a five-year grant, to not only facilitate the computer classes but other good things involving volunteers of all ages and local older people. It allows us to employ the effervescent Lisa Hutton, who has so skilfully married young people and their older counterparts in some very interesting, stimulating and life enhancing initiatives.

Cherril Cliff, manager, Caring Together in Woodhouse and Little London

Energy inflation

YET again the utility companies are targeting the consumer with their above-inflation, hiked up increases in charges.

Scottish Power announcing that they are increasing their charges for gas by 19 per cent and electricity by 10 per cent due, they say, to increased wholesale costs to them.

Surely the size of such increases to customers cannot be justified, just watch for the profits, they will post them in the near future.

Other similar suppliers will no doubt follow suit so it’s a waste of time customers looking for alternative ones. Where will it all end? Surely it’s about time the Government stepped in and put a cap on such practices. But can you see it? After all, it would mean that their cut of the revenue would be reduced.

I cannot see this happening.

G FLAHERTY, Woodlesford

Criminal matter

INTERESTING though it is to read in the YEP of the opposition on Leeds City Council berating the current administration over the continued and escalating cost of clean-ups in the wake of increasing invasions by travellers, they did nothing about it either.

However, until Parliament legislates to make unauthorised occupation of private land a criminal matter rather than a civil one, the problem could go on indefinitely.

Although there are myriad laws in existence already, ones that the settled communities of tax payers have to abide by or face draconian action by local authorities et al.

Could this be the key to this problem, as Leeds City Council and other agencies e.g. West Yorkshire Police, HM Revenue and Customs, the VOSA and DVLA etc might have a field day with travellers if they audited them both personally and relating to vehicles etc, plus allege fly-tipping or unlicensed waste carrying and deter them from coming to Leeds.

But none of this is likely to happen, as travellers demand and usually get their rights while apparently evading the responsibilities the rest of us have to put up with.

All that is needed is the political will to do something positive for once instead of whingeing and each party blaming the other.

DS BOYES, Rodley

Call in the PM

WE seem to be getting nowhere regarding gipsies etc camping on private and public land.

I haven’t noticed any remarks of how say the French or the USA handle this problem.

Do we need to send a group of council officials (at tax payers’ expense) to learn something about law-breaking, when a phone call or two from our Prime Minister might suffice?

In the not too distant past you could get shot or hanged for stealing a few pence.

A HAGUE, Leeds 9

Happy waiting

I ENJOYED the YEP articles on Tetley’s Brewery, which we are losing after many years, especially the one on June 8, as it brought back many happy memories at the mention of the Market Tavern, the “Mad House”.

I spent my 21st birthday at the Mad House as a full-time waiter. Back in 1957, I really enjoyed working there for the many different people I met. Each day was different, with all the different barrow boys as our regulars, the most popular of these being Mrs Marks, Henry and Selwyn. The colourful stories we listened to, the bargains that were struck.

It was the best pub I had worked at and there were numerous – the Corporation on Camp Road, the Brunswick, the North Tavern, the Golden Lion, the Golden Cross, The Eagle.

Then there was the Grey Goose the day it opened, the Kings Arms, the Robin Hood and many more.

These were a mixture of full and part-time working but never out of work.

I suppose there are many of your readers out there who remember these places and the many happy hours they spent in them. I say thanks to you all, who bring back many happy memories, not forgetting those words “Get yourself one, waiter”.

LE SLACK, Lingfield View, Leeds

Zombie deadline

I READ a small news item in your paper on June 11 which chilled me to the bone. It appears that, following a request from a “concerned citizen”, Leicester City Council had to admit they had no plans to deal with a zombie invasion.

This is ridiculous and it led me to thinking perhaps Leeds City Council don’t have such plans either. I demand to know if the council if they do or do not. What are we paying council tax for if not to be protected from such horrible things as zombies?

If anyone remembers the old Hammer horror film Plague of the Zombies they will know how nasty they can be.

I hope Leeds City Council take heed and implement a contingency plan immediately. That is if we don’t already have such a plan, which I am sure we have.

D Gibbs, Savile Road, Leeds

YEP Letters: October 19