YEP Letters: April 21

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Common sense needed on flytipping

Geoff North, Leeds.

I recently attended a public meeting of my ward councillors where we were advised that the council will be shortly introducing a charge of £20 per item for special collections, from home owners, of large bulk items like furniture and fridges. It is a service which is currently free.

The councillors at the meeting explained that where this policy had been introduced in other adjacent local authorities it had not led to any great change in the incidence of flytipping and this charge would go part-way to covering the cost of this service. This measure, common sense would suggest, will certainly not reduce flytipping and can only tend to increase it.

While it is understandable that the council has to try to find as many ways as possible to save money, would it not be sensible for the council to introduce measures alongside this that made the disposal of large bulk items by households much easier?

They could allow small vans up to, say, three tonnes, to be treated in the same way as motor cars and bring waste items to the public refuse points at no extra charge, providing they had a Leeds Household Refuse Permit.

Part of solution to city’s school places crisis

Coun Dan Cohen, Shadow Spokesman for Children and Families

I was delighted to read your recent report that three new free schools are set to open in Leeds (“1,700 new places”, YEP, April 4).

In a way, what was even more pleasing, was learning that “Leeds City Council has welcomed the announcement and will help to deliver the scheme.”

I, too, welcome the announcement and I’m relieved that the council has finally come to the realisation that free schools can form part of the solution to the school places crisis Leeds has faced in recent years.

It is a long overdue course correction from this administration. At times it has seemed to many as though the council was so opposed to the idea of free schools that it was prepared to ignore the school places issue, squeezing ever more students into bulge cohorts, and failing to grasp the reality that, to quote a council leader in London, “Free schools are the only game in town” when it comes to wanting a new school within a locality.

I hope that the council will now do all that is necessary, including working with Free School providers, to plan more effectively and ensure we do indeed have the school places we need, where we need them.

The primary school place crisis reported in this paper will soon hit secondary schools unless the administration heeds our advice and acts. Hopefully this time they will listen.

Labour needs to win back trust

Jim Kirk, Middleton

In response to Yvette Cooper MP (‘Government needs to change track’, YEP Letters April 17)

Now that the Prime Minister has called for a general election, Labour will surely address all the complaints highlighted in Ms Cooper’s letter once they sweep to power.

The many points raised by Ms Cooper (education, policing, road repair, social care etc.) are forced upon the councils across the north by Conservative ministers wanting the public to blame local councils for these cuts.

Leeds City Council (Labour) wasted £70 million on transport meetings alone. A £19 million cycle path that is less than popular and action in the courts against several of its own elected councillors to recover money owed in regards council tax arrears (2016). That’s the real world we live in Ms Cooper. You can choose to be selectively offended, but the behaviour of your own party doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

And yes, I’m a Labour supporter, working class, a trade union activist.

Labour doesn’t stand for anything now, other than we are not the Conservatives. You say it is an outrage, and fail to use the opportunity to tell the disillusioned Labour voter the policies you will put in place to address your own complaints.

Labour does the same thing over and over, so how can you expect the results ever to differ? Let’s make it a fairer better world seems to be the usual mantra of the Labour party. No-one has a monopoly on genuine compassion for the injustice that exists in our world. Socialism is government subsidised theft.

If Labour’s only solution is to distribute the wealth by taking it from the wealthy, let me say this, it is immoral to steal from people even if you vote to steal from people.

Give us policies that create equality of opportunity so that we can strive to better ourselves and in so doing care for our own families.

A persistent message and strong vision to win back the trust in your party. Labour was once the party of the working people, not the entitled people.

London telling us what to do

Alan Disberry, by email

I couldn’t help but make a wry smile when I read that George Osborne MP is to give up his seat to become London Evening Standard editor whilst maintaining a commitment to the Northern Powerhouse.

So, as well as having a London-based government telling Yorkshire folk what to do, we are now going to have a London-based newspaper editor doing so too!

Living within our means

Ian Wilson, Leader of The UK Yorkshire Socialist Allliance Party

I SEE we recently had a party political broadcast by the Conservatives featuring Theresa May playing Harry Potter, uttering the spellbinding words that the we should all live within our means.

Yet Theresa’s means enable her to flaunt £1,000 trousers and £400 shoes whilst there are familes in Leeds who cannot afford sanitary products for their children.

In the very same week we learn of thousands of disabled people having their mobility vehicles taken away including individuals who will lose employment as a result of their loss of independence.

We may include facts about social care for the young and mentally ill who are not given funding for therapy and residential placements that have been recommended for them, and care home places for the elderly awaiting the best bids for the provider to open a new care home. Finally we have the nonsense of affordable homes.

Ever since Thatcher destroyed mining communities and in effect the last of the old industries, the door for the housing spiv opened and the banks sponsored the evils of mass lending and false lifestyle.

We now know the knock on effect, that the banks own your home and you and the government will deny responsibility for this in the guise of social mobility and of course the government can never live within its means.

Volunteer to help Barnardo’s

Steve Oversby, Director Barnardo’s East Region

Barnardo’s is appealing for people to take part in its first ever large-scale volunteering event to help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the UK.

On May 4, 5 and 6 the UK’s leading children’s charity is asking volunteers to help repair, repaint and rejuvenate Barnardo’s-run children’s services across England.

We would like people to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty to help brighten up the places where we support some of the most vulnerable children and young people in the country. Some of the children we support have been through very traumatic experiences and by giving up their time, our volunteers will be helping to make the Barnardo’s services they use look as welcoming as possible.

The day will see hundreds of volunteers across England lending a hand to redecorate care leavers’ flats to make them more welcoming, transform rooms at supported lodgings centres to make them feel more like home, or pitching in with some gardening to help brighten up outdoor areas.

Barnardo’s is especially keen to hear from people aged 50 and over who would like to volunteer but wants to receive applications from all age groups. People who would like to give their time for Barnardo’s first big volunteering event should email volunteeringdayinmay@barnardos.org.uk or visit https://www.barnardos.org.uk/get_involved/volunteering/volunteering_in_may_2017.htm and they will be matched to a convenient time and place.

New speed penalties will have little effect

Shaun Kavanagh, Leeds 27

Reading YEP Traffic Watch (April 17) many will feel it was only a matter of time until the new speeding penalties were announced for motorists, as drivers are their own worst enemies, though I doubt the changes will have a significant effect on the motoring public.

The main reason being the obvious lack of policing. Unless more traffic officers are available to police the road networks or more camera are introduced, perhaps on motorways, the changes will only apply to those who get caught, the numbers of which will be minimal when compared to those who don’t. That is a fact and always will be.

It has been previously mentioned that one stretch of the M621 between the Leeds United stadium and the Stourton exit is nothing short of a racetrack, yet nothing is done to police the notorious stretch of road where excessive speeds, and near misses, can be witnessed on a daily basis, yet still no deterrent of any kind.

No motorist can say, with hand on heart, they have never broken the law regarding speeding but will the new penalties change that? I doubt it. Many vehicles have a cruise control feature and when used properly it helps in adhering to speed limits. Should this feature be introduced into vehicles at the manufacturing stage? Should manufacturers be pressured into fitting the equipment as standard then the question, would manufacturers take advantage financially, unless forced otherwise? I fail to understand why future driving tests are to include an element whereby a person has to know how to use sat nav equipment. What is the point when many future motorists will not have a sat nav system? In the majority lower cost vehicles, sat nav is not included nor does everyone have a mobile yelephone with an in-built sat nav feature.

This appears a driving test inclusion gone barmy, unless manufacturers are indeed forced into providing a sat nav system to all new vehicles which would significantly increase purchasing costs.

Then, what about the thousands of vehicles already on the roads without a sat nav system, vehicles which a newly qualified driver might buy?

It may strike many people that there are individuals sitting in offices with nothing better to do but introduce harebrained ideas into the driving test which are unnecessary and making no sense.

Decision should be reconsidered

Alan Lauder, via email

Wakefield CCG has announced that it intends to stop gluten free prescriptions following ‘public consultation’.

I find it difficult to believe that any reasoned response to such a consultation would back an action like this, and would appreciate a breakdown of the responses it received.

At the recent council meeting where this was approved I attempted to speak to correct some of the council members who believed that such prescriptions were being written not just for diagnosed coeliacs but also for gluten intolerance, but I was not allowed to do so.

I was dismayed that the CCG representatives, at least one of whom was a GP, did not correct this misapprehension - I suspect because it did not fit their narrative. Because I was not allowed to speak I could not point out that gluten free products, such as bread and pasta, cost around three times more than their equivalents and shop-bought varieties such as bread rolls can have substantially more sugar added than prescribed goods.

As a coeliac, I feel that the CCG has let both me and other coeliacs in Wakefield down. It has chosen an easy target to save a small amount of money to spend, in the words of the CCG rep at the council meeting, on meeting obesity targets.

Gluten free prescriptions cost a fraction of the money that is spent on smoking cessation and obesity management - both of which are largely due to lifestyle choices and not the result of a debilitating auto-immune disease which is what coeliac disease is.

I realise that to the people who made this funding decision the extra money this will cost to hard up working families with coeliac children is loose change, but to some of those families it will be a significant financial burden.

It’s all very well saying that exceptions can be made, but why should coeliacs be targeted with what is effectively means testing when other groups with auto-immune diseases are not?

I would ask the CCG to reconsider this decision, and to be honest I’m appalled at the insensitivity which allowed it to be made in the first place.

YEP Letters: August 23