YEP Letters: April 25

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Litter down to personal responsibility

Hilary Andrews, Leeds.

the serious amount of litter in our public places is down to personal responsibility.

Sitting behind three young men at the Yorkshire cricket match last Sunday, we noted they were drinking cans of lager and throwing their empties on the floor. One of our party pointed out that the rubbish bin was only a yard away. “People are paid to clean up after me” was the reply and we moved the cans ourselves.

Councils can’t do much about attitudes like that.

Stadium plan : democracy isn’t being served

Coun Mark Dobson

Coun Sarah Field, Garforth & Swillington Independents

Coun Janette Walker, Independent, Cross Gates & Whinmoor

Along with The Green Party and The Morley Borough Independents we asked the council’s Executive Board that the decision to effectively underwrite a £35 million, 40 year, loan to Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rugby, when YCCC are already multi-millions of pounds in debt, was subject to the proper call-in procedures of the council.

This is where councillors have the opportunity to test the robustness of the council’s decisions and is an essential part of the democratic process.

Sadly the council’s Executive Board chose to ignore this request and passed the decision for implementation.

The Labour-controlled Leeds City Council have exposed us to a risk by supporting an, in a time of austerity, unnecessary debt with no attempt to allow a proper debate and a forensic interrogation of the evidence as one would expect for such a massive commitment.

Basically we are taking the head lease on the refurbished stands and the ground as, presumably, the lender doesn’t believe the recipient/s are in a position to pay back plus interest but, remarkably, we do?

At the very least councillors should have had the opportunity to look at the fine print rather than the Executive railroading this hugely risky commitment through?

Democracy in Leeds is not being served but Coun Blake and her colleagues can rest assured we will continue to hold them to full and proper account as the electorate would expect.

Challenges faced by Brexit

Ruth Sheard, Woolley

Since the negotiations on the terms and conditions for Brexit are still ongoing, and will probably be ongoing for two years, I would welcome the opportunity to give my take on the situation.

According to Jean Claude Juncker, President of the EU, two of the most pressing problems facing the EU today are what he refers to as ‘social dumping’ (the mass migration of people without regard to the effects on either their home countries or their host countries) and ‘tax dumping’ (the payment of taxes on profits in countries which offer the lowest rates regardless of where the profits were made).

In other words, migrants are moving in to countries whilst the money required to provide additional essential services is being moved out.

Prior to the referendum, Open Europe carried out a detailed study on the economic realities driving the mass migration to the UK - and yes, it was the welfare state.

The proposals in its report are still on the table, as it were, and therefore still relevant. According to the report, ‘EU free movement - make it fair to keep it free’, our non contributory social security scheme (child benefits, tax credits, social housing, medical facilities etc for all) is too generous. However, if we call the benefits social assistance rather than social security (as Germany and other EU countries do), then the UK could still pay them to UK citizens but wouldn’t have to pay them to recent arrivals and levels of inward migration would be cut in a flash.

We probably could thus access the single market whilst still reducing the rate of population growth, which has clearly become unsustainable.

But we have to choose between free movement and free benefits, we can’t have both. The transfer of profits is more problematic since it is not only a regional phenomenon.

Would international banks and corporations ever sign up to an agreement or treaty whereby taxes on profits are paid in the countries where the profits are made?

If they don’t then the economic world will surely collapse once again, and that wouldn’t be good for anyone, be they migrants or native Brits.

We need less bureaucracy

Judy Goodwin, Altofts

If devolution is granted in Yorkshire all it will be is another layer of bureaucracy with the long suffering tax payer footing the bill.

We will have executives coming out of our ears with that old chestnut that they have to be paid top money to get the best people. What’s needed is less bureaucracy in all government departments including the NHS with a cap on the money they receive.

More to life than mobile phones

A Hague, Leeds 9

SO Leeds City Council is trying to persuade our elderly to improve their digital skills.

It’s time they realised that many of them (like myself) just want to be left alone and do what they like best, like reading, writing and climbing or going on walks to keep fit. There is more to life than gossiping all day on mobiles so leave us alone.

Action to stop scam mail

Rob Jenson, Royal Mail Operations Director

I am writing to let readers know about another major initiative that Royal Mail has launched to protect consumers from scam mail.

Scam mail involves professional fraudsters sending, often convincing, letters that are designed to trick people out of money or other valuables.

Scam mail can include bogus competitions and fake prize draws encouraging people to buy products to qualify for a prize which does not exist.

Last November, Royal Mail launched an industry-wide code of practice in conjunction with National Trading Standards, to crack down on scam mail.

Since then, Royal Mail – supported by the National Trading Standards Scams Team – has successfully stopped more than 700,000 scam items from reaching its customers. Royal Mail has also started to proactively contact households it believes are receiving high volumes of scam mail.

The latest anti-scam initiative will initially focus on the most-impacted customers.

Under the scheme, Royal Mail will block and impound suspected scam mail at its major distribution centres before it reaches the customer’s letterbox.

Legitimate business and personal mail will continue to be delivered to customers as normal. Impacted customers will be able to contact a dedicated Royal Mail helpline at 0800 085 8003, for information if they have any concerns. They can also arrange a home visit from Royal Mail staff.

We are also relying on local communities to play a role in defeating the scammers.

We are supporting Friends Against Scams, a National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams by empowering communities to take a stand. The organisation provides lots of helpful guidance and advice.

If readers have any concerns about neighbours, friends or family, we would ask them to visit the Friends Against Scams website www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/.

This action could make all the difference in protecting people in our communities from these criminals, and defeating the scammers for good.

Leeds City Train Station. Picture Tony Johnson

YEP Letters: October 13