It seems that all it took to become an expert on the complex subject of homelessness and begging was to join a team from West Yorkshire Police as they went on an early morning ‘sweep’ (yes, sweep) of the city centre.
This appeared to be the claim of Juliette Bains in her article (YEP, August 7), which Paul Abraham (YEP, August 9) referred to as ‘brilliant and eye-opening’.
‘Prejudiced and simplistic’ would be more my description. If Nigel Farage ever needs a speech writer I will be happy to point him in the direction of Ms Bains. She wrote: ‘Right then and there, I saw for myself that there is help to be had – if, indeed, they wanted to be helped.’ The real world is not that simple.
I do have knowledge of this subject, gained from considerably more experience than having a little two-hour jaunt with the police as they ‘sweep’ the garbage from the streets before the good people have to see it.
I spent two hours waiting to be seen by my GP once. So am I now an expert on the NHS?
Dave MacFadyen, Cross Gates
We should get the living wage
I read AE Hague’s letter (YEP, August 9) about the pitiful state pension with incredulity.
Why on earth would he want to be forced to live on £80 a week and get his clothing from a charity shop?
What about other expenses such as gas, electricity, dental treatment or holidays?
The minimum wage is £260 per week and the living wage is £306 per week. These are the rates we should be receiving, having paid into the system all our lives.
David Packham, Chapel Allerton
In reply to AE Hague, what he says only applies to council house tenants. I am 71 years of age and have never been out of work but cannot claim a sausage because I have a private pension. This applies to millions of other pensioners too, so get your facts right before bragging.
Ken Norrie, Leeds
Contradicting emissions vote
It was interesting to read the comments made by Leeds City Council’s Director of Public Health (YEP, July 30) on the issue of charging motorists for pollution. It was a relief to hear Dr Cameron appear to rule out such charges, yet this does seem to contradict the position taken by the council’s ruling administration, which earlier this month voted on a policy that could actually lead to low emission zones being installed in Leeds.
The White Paper motion debated and passed in the council chamber on July 2 included the following: ‘This council still believes that Low Emissions Zones which prevent the most polluting vehicles from entering the city are a viable option to secure health and environmental benefits in Leeds.’ To me this suggests that some kind of charging might be on the agenda in Leeds.
While I am of course mindful of the impact air quality can have on health, Leeds does currently have broadly acceptable air quality standards. Low emissions zones, in my view, would be difficult and expensive to implement and police and could also have a negative impact on Leeds businesses as well as on public transport, which might see increases in fares as companies could pass any charges on to the customer.
Indeed it seems that Dr Cameron and I agree it would be far more sensible to encourage more environmentally friendly modes of transport, park and ride, walking and cycling amongst other things to improve air quality in Leeds.
Given this apparent confusion it might now be time for the ruling administration to speak up and rule out pollution charges altogether.
Councillor Paul Wadsworth, Guiseley and Rawdon Ward
Scottish MPs’ impact on UK
MEL Smart (YEP, August 9) bemoans the fact that should Scotland vote to leave the UK, Labour would be deprived of 76 MPs, has a very jaundiced view of democracy. He seems quite happy to accept that, for many years, these MPs helped Labour to dictate English and British politics, often to the detriment of the majority of the UK.
Many millions of voters in England would contend that this is truly undemocratic.
Had Clegg not reneged on a coalition pledge on revising constituency boundaries, Labour would have been even worse off, as they would have lost another 20 MPs.
In typical Labour ideology, democracy is only right when it benefits Labour and disadvantages anybody else.
Roy Dilcock, Leeds
Venomous view of vegetarians
I was shocked and disappointed at cafe owner Ira Silverman’s statement (YEP, August 6) that she hates vegetarians and her mantra is never trust one. On behalf of the many vegetarians in Leeds, I would like to say that I would never patronise her deli, nor use her for catering, now that I know her venomous views on vegetarianism.
All we believe in is the sanctity of life, not killing, preparing and eating living beings for profit, or for our own so-called ‘pleasure’, and for this we are not to be trusted?
Brenda Blair, Moortown
Bus scheme affects region
I agree with the sentiment behind Holly Ridge’s letter (YEP, August 11) about the destruction by the trolleybus scheme of Headingley’s historic buildings, green landscape and local businesses (not to mention those of Lawnswood, Weetwood, West Park, Belle Isle and the city centre).
However, I must disagree with her that it does not concern the residents of Cross Gates, or those of Seacroft, Bramley, Armley, Horsforth, Wortley, in fact all of Leeds and West Yorkshire.
All districts of Leeds and West Yorkshire will have to contribute to the £250m estimated cost of the scheme which is for a single North-South route in Leeds.
Local taxpayers are responsible for £77m of this sum, which is an estimate. If, as is likely, the final cost of the scheme is more (the Edinburgh tram scheme is currently double its original estimate, which was £375m, but now expected to reach £1bn), any extra costs will have to be met by local council taxes.
Also, if the trolleybus venture is a failure, council taxpayers will have to continue to meet the costs (this proposed, unfit-for-purpose, trolleybus scheme is intended to last for at least 60 years).
If, however, there is a revenue surplus, the Government will claw back some of that surplus.
These facts, together with other, quite astonishing, revelations about flaws and errors in the work done by consultants and the admission that the scheme will not reduce congestion but may actually increase it, have come out in the public inquiry, which begins again on September 2.
Susan Sleeman, Headingley
Getting rid of hard-workers
Having read the letters of support for school caretaker Portas Ongondo, I can’t help but think that all the jobsworths in Home Office would welcome him to stay if he had spent a few years in jail because he could play the Human Rights card. After all, it took 10 years for us to get rid of hook hand Abu Hamza to America to stand trial. It seems all the people that do wrong can stay in this country but if you work and don’t claim hand-outs they want rid of you as fast as possible.
Barry Leonard, Leeds