Workers unite for affordable houses

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REGARDING the remarkable latest Tory plan to evict 6,000 council tenants (out of 8m council tenants) who earn £100,000 pa.

This is like a superstore or supermarket banning its best and most loyal customers!

So working class people don’t dare be successful or you could lose your home.

Of course income didn’t prevent those in the best council homes in the best areas with the best incomes buying their council houses under a previous Tory administration which contributed to the social housing shortage.

Also the Tory government in the 1980s-90s in Leeds alone cut about £1 billion from its housing allocation – just imagine the number of homes that could have been refurbished and built anew and again this has added to the housing crisis.

The latest Tory propaganda is that ‘social housing’ (all housing is social) is subsidised by the tax payers but the eight million social housing tenants have been or are tax payers too!

The real subsidy is that of the rich – it is millions of people whose work creates the wealth and makes society work; the surplus from our labour is legally stolen by the rich and powerful and shared out amongst themselves.

It seems the Tory housing minister, millionaire Grant Schapps, has declared class war on council housing/housing association tenants but he should remember what happened to Margaret Thatcher when she brought class politics to a head with the poll tax.

Public sector housing is a right fought for by our forefathers and mothers to get themselves out of private sector slums but ordinary working people shouldn’t be divided by housing tenure – many owner-occupiers are struggling to pay their mortgages because of house prices, many other people are forced to rent privately and, of course, we now have these attacks on public sector tenants – so ordinary working people of all tenures should unite in the common call of decent and affordable homes for all.

R B STEWART, Adel

Cheap points

ANDREW Carter’s letter (YEP, June 5) demonstrates just how desperate the Leeds Conservatives are to score cheap points. After all, it is their Conservative Government in Westminster that is slashing the budgets of northern councils like Leeds, putting at risk vital local services like Bramley Baths.

Instead of playing politics in the letters page, I suggest that Coun Carter takes the time to see some of the good work being done by the local community to build a future for their local facilities.

I have organised a public meeting for Thursday June 16, 6pm, in Bramley Community Centre on Waterloo Lane, and it would be great if as many people as possible came along to have their say about the future of this historic and important local amenity.

Rachel Reeves, Member of Parliament for Leeds West

Bus renaissance

CUTS to rural and off-peak bus services are a major concern and we may not have seen the worst yet. Bus Users UK will be campaigning to retain as many services as possible.

However, it is worth pointing out that many commercial services in the UK are being augmented this year. Locally the Leeds-Harrogate-Ripon route has been upgraded to every 15 minutes and many Leeds and Bradford services have seen increased frequencies. In particular the Leeds Sunday daytime network is much improved, recognising the popularity of Sunday shopping. There are five suburbs with a 10-minute frequency service, seven with a 15-minute frequency and eight with a 20-minute frequency.

People who have bought a monthly or longer season ticket will be able to travel for around £2 per day and their Sunday travel will be at no extra cost to their weekly commute. A Dayrover ticket can be used by different family members at different times of the day making it a good bargain.

Finally, the Dalesbus service continues to run on Sundays and Bank Holidays so that Leeds residents can continue to have a day out in the wonderful Yorkshire Dales.

So while some bus users have real worries about future services, many will continue to enjoy better good value services. In many towns and cities where there are good partnerships with local authorities there is a renaissance in bus services and we must hope that this will soon be the case in West Yorkshire in order to combat congestion, air pollution and rising fuel prices.

Ray Wilkes, Bus Users UK West Yorkshire

Save your cash

THE adverts are everywhere with a simple message. For a small monthly amount you can rest peacefully knowing you can leave your loved ones a cash sum...and all that jazz.

After I was diagnosed with angina in the mid-1980s I took out a £5 per month plan with the cash payment, if I died, of £800. Can’t cash it in. Stop paying and it’s all gone – except my fountain pen free gift.

For my family to have benefited I should have died in 1990. Or, at the latest, in the mid-90s. Trust me, to be still alive and kicking, having paid in £1,320, to get £800 back. And I don’t plan on dying until I have past 90 years (I’m 78 in December), by which time I will have paid in £2,000.

Take my advice, put the money in a piggy bank or savings account.It won’t grow much but neither will it shrink catastrophically!

John Theobald, Garforth

Peaks challenge

AS an Olympian and patron of Meningitis UK, I would like to challenge your readers to do something incredible to help save lives from this killer disease.

The charity has two exciting events coming up involving the highest mountains in both Africa and Great Britain.

Both seasoned walkers and brave novices can sign up for either the Three Peaks Challenge in August or a slightly more awe-inspiring climb up Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2012.

The Three Peaks Challenge, between August 5 and 7, involves conquering the three highest peaks in the home nations – Ben Nevis in Scotland and Scafell Pike in England before finishing triumphantly at the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales, all within 24 gruelling hours.

The trip of a lifetime to Mount Kilimanjaro takes place from January 12 to 22 and covers a variety of diverse terrains, from jungle to volcanic craters, en route to the picturesque snow-capped Uhuru peak – the highest point in Africa at 5,895m high.

The challenges, called The Big Climb and The Big Trek, promise to push participants to the limit while helping to raise funds towards eradicating meningitis.

Thousands of people die from the disease each year and taking part in a charity challenge is one of the ways in which people can help raise money towards finding a vaccine.

I fell ill with meningitis and meningococcal septicaemia when I was 15, which left me in a coma for three days.

Thankfully, I was lucky to pull through and be able to go on to achieve my sailing dreams.

With your help, Meningitis UK will be able to beat this disease and spare thousands of families the heartache of losing a loved one in the future.

To find out more about these exciting challenges, visit www.meningitisuk.org, email toya.champ@meningitisuk.org or call Toya on 0117 302 6191.

Sarah Ayton, on behalf of Meningitis UK

Threat to poor

OXFAM has predicted significant food price increases in the next 20 years, a threat to poor people all over the world. They are probably right, but not for the reasons they cite.

Periodical global warming historically leads to rising cereal crop yields, as there has been no significant global warming since 1995 it would seem there will be no relief from that scenario.

However the massive shift to turning agricultural land over to bio fuel production, in short, burning food, has already seen a dramatic increase in food prices. Add to this the forthcoming increases in energy prices, mainly self-inflicted by a misunderstanding of politicians on its causes and effect, poor people are in for a bad time.

Godfrey Bloom, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire, environment committee in the European Parliament

Calling the shots

M NICHOLSON’S letter, (‘Oil and water’, YEP, June 6), has unwittingly provided a very useful analogy of the present coalition government.

In May 2010 the electorate gave the Liberal Democrats the opportunity to be involved in the governing process. The party rose to the occasion. Indeed, an ambition to engage in the leadership of the country at such a difficult time is far from reprehensible.

Since then the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives govern together. Like oil and water in a glass, they retain their separate identities and properties even if, from time to time as circumstances dictate, they are shaken sufficiently to blend together for a short while. Moreover, whatever the ratio, the majority cannot overpower the minority.

This holds true for the coalition. The Constitution Unit of University College, London reports that 75 per cent of Liberal Democrat manifesto items are in the coalition agreement compared with only 60 per cent of the Conservative manifesto.

Furthermore, commitments such as ending the detention of children in immigration centres, destroying the ID card database and removing three million people out of tax altogether are already implemented. Policies like these that embody Liberal Democrat principles of freedom, liberty and fairness show how successful the party is in calling the shots!

Ruth PECHER, Leeds 12

‘Luxury’ jaunt

WHILST we, the proletariat, here in Britain, with the unemployment rate soaring, are advised to tighten our belts and manage to survive as we are all in this together, yet the Sunday news sheets tell a very different story.

MP William Hague and his wife Ffion stayed in a hotel suite costing £1,500 per night on a three-day jaunt – the hotel owned by a Chester-based firm whose motto is “Beyond Luxury”.

Are we really all together, Mr Hague? Well, well.

REGINALD KIRBY, Stanningley

YEP Letters: March 24