LEEDS CITY Council has recently been concerning itself, quite rightly, with the issues of isolation, loneliness and vulnerability among older people. I have been happy to make my own small contribution to these ongoing discussions.
Your readers might be interested to hear of the following experience of an elderly Alwoodley couple, aged 86 and 82, particularly as the lady is a dementia sufferer. Needing both physical and mental support, they moved from their bungalow of 30 years to a care home on 28th October, and had been told by British Gas that a meter reading would be taken on that day.
Having recovered from the upset and strain of the move, imagine their alarm and distress when a letter arrived last week from “The Moorcroft Group”, a Stockport-based debt collection agency, demanding the payment of £150 (or else) on behalf of their client, British Gas. They were told that they had to prove that they moved on the day in question by posting their rental agreement to them. Their son took up the matter urgently, but could make no headway with this agency.
British Gas subsequently conceded that the fault was entirely theirs, that this large sum was not owed, and that the agency was to be stood down. These trying and exasperating discussions lasted a long time. As a result of these events, an elderly couple were left shaken and fearful.
I fully accept the majority of debtors will be scallywags, who should be robustly pursued, but the utility companies should surely be required to ascertain that they are not throwing vulnerable members of society to the debt collection wolves. This heavy handed approach needs urgent review.
Coun Neil Buckley, Alwoodley Ward (Conservative)
MPs unite and fight for city
THE REASON for Leeds being disadvantaged in terms of facilities and prestige projects is the inability or impossibility of our MPs to secure funding.
In other cities MPs combine and liaise among themselves and with other interested parties to represent their city’s needs to Westminster. Our MPs, however, restrict their efforts as individual petitioners on behalf of their constituencies. Why?
If toilet repairs are not being done in Holbeck, it is the council’s business not Westminster’s, and benefits will accrue to Holbeck if the city benefits.
The constituency MP is an obsolete electoral arrangement. Three MPs would be sufficient to represent the ‘greater Leeds’ area in Parliament.
So the lesson is: combine, liaise and widen your brief.
Those who vote for you because you seem honest, decent, prefer your party and assume you’ll be working for Leeds not Crossgates.
PAUL KILROY, Spennithorne Avenue, Leeds
Put homeless in empty houses
LEEDS CITY Council are complaining that they have two, three and four bedroom houses or flats available but can’t find takers. Probably due to high rents. Why not put homeless people in and they will find this will give them confidence to get work as they are settled with a roof over their heads. It would be unacceptable to put immigrants in these properties as they would have to go on benefits.
Better the devil you know.
J SHEDLOW, Fir Tree Vale, Moortown, Leeds.
Needs of today more important
WITH REGARD to Councillor Wakefield and his request for comments on his suggestion of a new airport, the needs of today are more pressing than a very distant objective. There are plenty of ideas that have been put forward but because their proposers have no “clout” they fall by the wayside.
The present airport needs a link to the rail network which itself needs to be upgraded with a few alterations, eg linking the two Bradford stations, opening the Spen Valley line again, amongst others. All ideas need to be appraised as to their viability and feasibility and their potential in supplying the demand and it is the panel that does this that needs the expertise, knowledge, experience and credibility to justify their decision.
It is wrong that the politicians who put forward ideas also have the power to ratify those ideas so the panels should be independent of any political persuasion.
D ANGOOD, by e mail
Band is still a mystery to me
I KNOW you won’t print this on your letters page, as it is a criticism, but here goes...
You had a two page spread by “music writer” Jon Cronshaw. It was about the female band Warpaint, who were due to play the O2 Academy. Quite right of course, to feature any band visiting our city, but guess what? I hadn’t heard of them before. Nonetheless, my curiosity was aroused, and I was genuinely considering going to see them.
So - I read his article in its entirety. Twice in fact. But I was still none the wiser! I would ask you to read it yourself. Where does it give even an inkling of what kind of music they play? Are they pop? Are they rock? If so, what style (in pop and rock there are a HUGE number of genres). It didn’t even refer to their style by likening them to someone else. Read it and you’ll see I’m right!
I certainly wasn’t going to pay good money to see a band who could be “anything”, so they lost a potential ticket there. I came to the conclusion that the article was not meant for such as I, but existing fans (in which case, nearly all that content would be things they knew already, I’d wager).
It just seemed a totally useless report under the circumstances. The band remains a mystery to me. No doubt you and Mr Cronshaw will disagree, but hey ho.
MAX WEBSTER, Armley
Welcome back to Corrie Bill
THE NEWS that Bill Roache has been found not guilty of all charges, and that he can now try and get his life back together after the trauma of this trial is fantastic.
And what of his accusers, do they just walk away without any charges brought against them for putting him through hell.
Best wishes Bill, and welcome back to Corrie, we have missed you.
M MEESON, Leeds
Let Tories clear up Balls’ mess
THANK YOU for the photograph (YEP, February 3), showing Ed Balls being guided around Morley town centre with the aid of a guide dog. Laudable though the sentiment was, Mr Balls never misses a photo opportunity, at least once a week in the YEP, to convince his constituents of his hard work!
Hopefully the photograph will not prove prophetic, come the next General Election, if Labour creep in, that we are once again being led by a blind Chancellor, with no idea where we are going and what direction to take. Mr Balls was Gordon Brown’s right hand man, along with Ed Miliband, responsible for causing this country to become bankrupt before the banking crisis, with their catastrophic handling of the economy and their disastrous PFIs with schools, hospitals etc. which our grandchildren will still be paying off!
Mr Balls’ only solution to clearing up his own mess is to borrow more money, piling on yet more interest to the National Debt.
He will shy away from the really difficult decision of proper cuts to the Government’s budgets, especially the welfare bill, which Labour inflated beyond the claimants’ wildest dreams. Let the Conservatives finish clearing up Labour’s and Mr Balls’ mess.
Hopefully the constituents of Morley and Outwood will see sense this time and get rid of our useless Shadow Chancellor, instead of following like sheep, because Labour used to be for the working man. Miliband and his cronies don’t know what one looks like!
B DUFFY, by email
Con Dems are causing misery
M NICHOLSON is at it again. Week after week he condemns the last Government for the misery his own beloved party are causing to millions of hard working parents and families and the most vulnerable with such savage cuts.
Obviously they will not hit the millionaires and banks who have caused the misery because they are millionaires and bankers themselves.
Their children and grandchildren will never have to suffer in the future.
The ones who should resign and not fit to govern are the Con Dems.
Live in the real world and stop turning a blind eye to what is going on under your beloved party.
The sooner they are voted out the better.
Roll on the next election. I will vote for the many, not the few.
PETER BAGNALL, Barfield Crescent, Leeds