YEP Letters: December 11

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Care homes: we are out of easy options

Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults

I was very interested to read about Andrea Jenkyns MP’s intervention in the ongoing consultation about Siegen Manor care home.

Although Ms Jenkyns took her seat recently I am sure she is aware of the background of this consultation, including that we have looked with staff, managers and Trade Unions to try and find a way to make the centres financially viable. That exercise, after nearly a year of trying, has confirmed that decommissioning had to be considered for the care homes that we are now consulting on.

Considering whether to decommission centres is never easy and I want to thank Ms Jenkyns for her comments and for trying to ensure the community is aware of the ongoing consultation. However, what she fails to state is that the need for this comes directly from the year on year cuts in grants for council services over the last five years, with even worse cuts yet to come following George Osborne’s spending review meaning we have to consider things we would previously not.

The amount government say we can raise in Council Tax for Adult Social Care covers about a quarter of our existing social care pressures and expectations of extra demand, made worse by cynical government cuts to local authority public health budgets that help to prevent long term illness and disabilities. As the King’s Fund have pointed out, the councils who most need funding are in northern or deprived areas that will collect the least from the extra funds. We are out of easy options and we have to look at the more difficult ones. No decision has been made about the future of these care homes, but what Andrea Jenkyns needs to realise is that if savings are not made here they will have to be made elsewhere in our social services as we cannot continue to provide existing levels of support on less and less funding. Just like David Cameron’s letter to his council leader, there seems to be a disconnect between what happens in Westminster and what the impact of central government’s policies are on the ground. I hope that Ms Jenkyns now stands up in Parliament to support proper funding for social care.

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Charge for using cycle lane

P D Hainsworth, Armley

Surprise surprise, Leeds City Council tax is to rise again in April, despite £29 million being spent on a cycle lane from Leeds to Bradford that hardly anyone will use and has disrupted traffic for nearly a year, forcing elderly and disabled people to walk hundreds of yards to relocated bus stops. Why don’t the councillors take a cut in their expenses? Why aren’t “benefits tourists” charged for their accommodation? Why aren’t council tax defaulters pursued through the courts for payment and finally, why not charge cyclists for using the cycle lane?

Tax system has become lottery

Dave MacFadyen, Crossgates

I have wondered recently if anyone else has noticed how the National Lottery has become a stealth tax, whilst the national tax system has become a lottery?

If you wanted to do the Lotto and Euromillions regularly it now costs £416 a year. You have more chance of being struck twice by lightning than you have of winning the jackpot. Much of this money is used to fund services which ought to be funded through taxation.

We, the not so well off, have paid our taxes faithfully expecting to see a return for this investment. However, our government have no such plans for our tax £s. Instead, they create endless ways of syphoning off as much as they can, in the form of profits, to private companies.

Oh I know the theories, that you need a profit motive in order to create innovation and that making tax payments optional for the rich brings in more to the Exchequer’s purse.

I think you’d have to be a simpleton to believe either theory. I know the sort of ridiculous comments that my theory is likely to attract, but, they are more likely to prove than disprove my point.

Memories of Lennon’s death

T Maunder, Kirkstall

Having just read the light hearted letter I wrote about The Beatles (YEP December 8) I suddenly realised that the 35th anniversary of Lennon being shot was December 8.

I can’t believe it, where has the time gone?

I was living in Finsbury Park, London at the time, undertaking a sociology segree in the sociology department at what was at the time The City Of London Polytechnic, a department described by one of Thatcher’s cronies as a “hotbed of Marxist - Leninism” which needed closing.

Never had I seen the student union bar so quiet.

I first heard it on the 6.30am news on Radio 2 and the DJ was Ray Moore, normally very funny and ironic but not that moment.

As I recall he played “Imagine” straight after, predictable but appropriate.

Compare today’s so-called musical “giants” and “celebrities” to Lennon and you see just how much standards in much modern/pop/rock music have declined. Leaving aside the “Sometime In New York City” album, of course.

Thankfully I don’t have an elephant’s memory for exactly how bad that one was.

Support kids with cancer

Lindsay Kay, Fundraising manager for Yorkshire & Humber

In the run up to Christmas this year, 200 children across the UK will hear the devastating news they have cancer. CLIC Sargent is appealing for you to help us be ready to support those families who will need us.

Through our specialist social workers, nurses and free accommodation near hospitals, CLIC Sargent provides vital emotional, practical, financial support for children and young people coping with cancer, and their families. Our staff, who are based at hospitals or within the community, provide the help families need when their lives are turned upside down by cancer. Last year in the Yorkshire area your help meant CLIC Sargent was able to support 535 children and young people.

You can help support children and young people with cancer by making a donation at www.clicsargent.org.uk/donate or text GIVE to 70030 to donate £5 To find out more about how you can get involved in fundraising for CLIC Sargent in the Yorkshire area, please get in touch with me at lindsay.kay@clicsargent.org.uk or on 07771 968129.

YEP Letters: June 21