Wrong to cut care for the vulnerable

IT was reported in October 2010 that Leeds City Council was planning to cut its children's services revenue by more than £2m.

The new director of Children's Services in Leeds, Nigel Richardson, has warned there could be job cuts in his department.

Grants will be cut to more than 50 organisations that run projects for children and young people, and will affect sports clubs and charities like Barnardos.

Earlier this year Councillor Brian Selby raised concerns about the overloading of workers: "There has been a severe failure of the elected members involved in running this service".

Cuts of almost 50 per cent to funds earmarked to refurbish children's play areas; old people's day centres closed down, adult health and social care budgets put under pressure. These are the types of cuts that Leeds City Council are being forced into.

Yet at the same time as these cuts, official photographs of the Leeds Lord Mayor over the last five years has cost the tax payer 8,599. The allowances/expenses given to Leeds councillors in the last five years have gone up from 3.5 million in 2005 to 4.2 million in 2010.

The travelling expenses of the Lord Mayor over the last five years has cost more than 30,000 – and that does not include the cost of the two official cars.

Why is Leeds twinned with eight cities all around the world? A city in South Africa, China and the USA.

Surely it's things like these that should suffer the worst spending cuts, not social care for the elderly and children's services. Children's Services has recently been criticised for poor performance; perhaps whilst our councillors are liaising with our twinned towns they are not concentrating on what should be their first priority – the vulnerable.

So this year, instead of spending 1,425 on official photographs of the Mayor, perhaps Santa will give the Mayor's chauffeur a digital camera?

N Bywater, Airedale Terrace, Morley

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strong>Take on Europe

IF David Cameron is so against giving prisoners the vote, he should take on the European Court of Human Rights. He has already admitted that the thought of prisoners having the vote makes him sick to the very stomach.

One of the reasons the European Court said they should be given the vote is because it has never been debated in Parliament.

David Davis, the Conservative MP and former shadow home secretary, however said on The Andrew Marr Show that they had not gone back in history far enough, as it was debated in 1867 and a decision was made, and the European Court did not have the power to overturn a decision of a democratic body like Parliament.

So come on, Mr Cameron, take some advice from a true Eurosceptic. Mr Davis said he would offer Parliament three options: give prisoners the vote, give some prisoners the vote or disagree with the court.

It's time we had proof that "in Europe but not ruled by Europe" was not just a pre-election vote-catcher.

If we get fined, just refuse to pay, like all the other countries do.

Terry Watson, Adel

How to restore our influence

AS we enter the new year, following months of greed by bankers and MPs and years of financial failure from an inept Labour government, would it be too much to hope for the changes which might, just might, see this country move forward to a position akin to its former power and influence, for the benefit of its inhabitants?

May I make a few suggestions which could put us on our way.

First, withdraw from that bloated, overpaid body of MEPs, the European Union, which is costing us 45 billion per day – paying more than any other EU country, yet gaining least out of it. Let's deal with them on a free market trading basis, which was the original concept. Remember the referendum promised by the Labour government?

Second, let us continue to press for the British Bill of Rights, promised by David Cameron in the run-up to the election, and ditch the ridiculous and illogical Human Rights Bill, which emanates from Brussels and to which we are more subservient than France, Germany or Italy.

Let us cut back on overseas aid (much of which goes to corrupt countries governed by despots and warlords), and put the saving into our cash-strapped National Health Service. It is criminal, for example, that our cancer survival rates are amongst the lowest in Europe.

Last, before helping others, let's bring home our troops who appear to be facing a drawn-out, losing conflict in Afghanistan, and ensure that our shores are safe to combat any bellicose threat, nuclear or otherwise.

There again, pigs may fly.

R MILLER, Leeds

Raw deal for pensioners

I AM fed up of the people who write to the YEP about what us OAPs get.

When I left school at 14-and-a-half, I had to bike to Leeds 12 miles to do a day's work, then bike home. We didn't have buses to take us to work. I would like you to do that. People have a bus every 10 minutes.

I was a bus driver on the No.1. I still work at 82 years old, distributing 1,400 Pudsey Times free papers and I pay tax, which OAPs in other countries don't. I would like to pay 10p instead of a free bus pass.

We don't like the cuts, same as you. A lot of OAPs die during the winter.

How would you like to do my job instead of sitting at home, warm or at work, warm? Are you jealous of what OAPs get? There are three OAPs, over 70, who do my job.

G Limbert, Pudsey

Bins disaster

WHAT a disaster Labour has been for Leeds since it regained 'control' of Leeds City Council, with the obvious complete collapse of the dustbin service.

In every district bins remain largely unemptied since new schedules were introduced, with householders at their wits' end trying to cope with continued incompetence whereby alternative collection days are repeatedly advised in various ways, yet no bins are ever cleared.

Neither Labour councillors nor Labour MPs seem to have any interest whatsoever in this problem, all stay silent on the issue, leaving only opposition Conservative and Lib Dems to voice any concerns at all.

Executive Board member for Environmental Services, Councillor Tom Murray, ought to have resigned long ago or been sacked by his party group leader; yet instead continues to draw his extra 'responsibility' allowances regardless.

The irony being that few if any council tax payers could care less who runs the council, only that bins are emptied each week.

We can only hope that 2011 will be a better year, but as long as Labour maladministration continues, I doubt it.

DS BOYES, Bramley

Caring service

RE the letter 'Ridiculous waste' (YEP, December 24).

Madge Meadows of Castleford should get her facts correct before putting pen to paper. The name is Care Ring, and it operates 24 hours a day, 52 weeks of the year. It helps thousands of venerable people and there is no charge at all on the rent or otherwise.

How can you contact emergency services yourself if you cannot get to the telephone, you have fallen and broken your hip or you are having a heart attack? How is the system totally inadequate? How do you know this?

I again suggest you get your facts correct before putting pen to paper.

Margaret Walker, Snaith

Waste of council planners' time

A FRAIL 90-year-old lady, whose few remaining pleasures in life include feeding the birds, is 'advised' by the council to remove her 13-inch square bird table because it overhangs the neighbour's boundary (YEP, December 29). What? This massive 13-inch colossus among bird tables?

How come that council officials can be expending their time, and our money, on such a piffling matter?

They surely did not arrive on this lady's doorstep by accident. There are far too many mean-minded wretches around who derive some perverted pleasure from informing anonymously on anyone they see as committing the most trifling of offences.

Apparently the lady has also been advised that her activities could attract rats. It certainly could, and not all of them will have four legs and a long tail!

T Crawford, Leeds

Defend values

MODERN social culture has a lot to offer ranging from the Buzzcocks to Star Trek and the Vesuvians, the new friends religion and the generation of McDonald's and Pepsi, Prince William and Kate Middleton and the FA Cup. But is change always for the better.

The Middle Ages and the Feudal Age have been superseded and now we have this new generation of forward-looking people; but are we producing a generation of junkies or good-living people?

Maybe we should challenge some of these values, and we should be zealous for what is right and make sure the change is for the better.

Coun JOHN D NOTTINGHAM, Mirfield Town Council

Flu jab blunder

DURING the autumn the ConDem administration scrapped the annual campaign to remind people to have the flu vaccine.

This past week has seen a dramatic rise in admissions to hospital and visits to GPs with serious flu symptoms. This lack of foresight and planning by the ConDems contrasts sharply with the swine flu preparations taken last year by the previous Labour Government.

The ConDems are literally bad for your health.

Stephen Clark, Bawn Approach, Leeds