YEP Letters: February 16

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Sky-high cost of pay-offs hard on taxpayers

Vernon Wood, Garforth

Your news story “Handsome payments for council staff” (YEP, February 5) is incontrovertibly reinforced by the accompanying statistics.

It seems that over the past three years more than £75m of taxpayer funds have been handed out to “encourage” 2,298 council workers to take enhanced early retirement or voluntary redundancy.

This means that an average of £32,637 has been handed to each employee as compensation for loss of office – and this ignores the very generous pension entitlements enjoyed by all public sector workers.

The fact that only 12 employees have been given compulsory redundancy over three years speaks for itself.

If the same terms are applied to the 450 proposed redundancies up to 2016, this means a further £14.68m will be added to Leeds citizens’ already onerous council tax 
bill.

In the private sector, voluntary redundancy is a very rare privilege and compulsory redundancy is usually paid at the minimum legal requirement – under £6,000 for 19 years’ service in one case I know of.

It would be interesting to learn how many “retired” council employees have been re-engaged by Leeds or nearby councils in temporary relief, freelance, advisory or consultancy roles.

It also raises the question as to what on earth all these 2,748 jobs were that could be disposed of so easily?

Did you camp in a rail carriage?

Mike Fenton, Hereford

I AM writing a book on Camping Coach Holidays on the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) in the 1930s. This was a scheme whereby the railway company took old carriages out of use, converted them into holiday accommodation and installed them at country stations during the summer season.

I would like to find folk who used the scheme during 1934-40, who of course would now be in their eighties. I have a particular interest in the sites at Blackpool Squires Gate, which were used by many people from the Leeds area, and am also keen to talk to anyone who stayed in camping coaches at Coniston, Knott End and Ingleton.

If there is anyone out there who can help with holiday photographs and memories I would be delighted to hear from you. There were camping coach schemes after the war as well, but please note these are beyond my terms of reference.

If you had experience of such a holiday before the war and would like to contribute to the research, please contact me.

My address is Apple Tree Cottage, Locks Lane, Withington, Hereford HR1 3QE. My telephone number is 01432 851192, email fen.lonesomedove@virgin.net.

Old memories in new-look YEP

Simon Peters, Majorca

I LOVE the new-look YEP. Although I’ve lived in Majorca for more than 26 years I often think about those dance hall days in Leeds in the 1950s 
and 60s.

The Mecca Locarno featured the Benny Goodman Band (not the American one!) and the Ray Ellington Quartet.

The Majestic had the Johnny Wallaston Big Band, plus a trio. There was live music at the Astoria Ballroom and the Tower on Meanwood Road. I wish I could remember who played there.

I fondly remember every Saturday night at the Grand Hotel in Harrogate with the White Eagles Jazz Band.

Have any YEP readers got similar memories?

Promises made to be broken

N Knott, Bramley

JUST AS I thought, it will not be long before the Conservatives target the elderly and their pensions. That alone shows how low these people are.

We only have to go back to the 1980s or 90s to see what they will do for power. But don’t you forget the promises they have given and then broken.

Among the good things that previous governments have done for us is that they ensured we lived in peace and had the NHS, now in hardship through lack of funding by Labour and the Conservatives.

But what if that service is privatised as I and many others fear?

We have a service in this country head and shoulders above the rest. And our loved ones gave their lives for that service to carry on for our children and grandchildren.

All they want is your vote and once in power all promises will be forgotten.

Saving’s easier said than done

Ernest Lundy, Beeston

A FINANCIAL advisor suggests we could see some economic improvements in the not too distant future; possibly in 2015.

But this carrot has been dangled in front of savers far too often for them to believe it. He also suggests that it is always advisable to keep sufficient cash or other assets handy to meet with unexpected rising costs etc.

The trouble with that, of course, is that the savings of most are now worth only a fraction of what they were when saved. And if and when the interest rate does rise, many OAP savers will have already departed to a better place, where hopefully things will be more equal, leaving others of more tender years to benefit. Not forgetting the bankers of course, who always ensure they get the lion’s share of the cake.

Finally even if one attempts to take this gentleman’s advice, how many these days, unless on above average earnings, can take advantage of his suggestion of saving for a rainy day when, metaphorically, it has been raining now for at least seven years?

What we all need is a government more considerate of the British electorate; less concerned with overseas aid and other outside interests. Then and only then are things likely to improve.

Jack the lad’s a real talent

Mavis Harrison, Leeds

THE other day in Briggate, I stood for a half hour listening to a 14-year-old young man singing. Oh, what a voice!

His name is Jack Alistair. I know his age because I asked him and I turned to the gentleman next to me and told him that he was only 14.

“I know,” he said, “he’s my son. We’re from Lancaster and he is just in the process of putting his first album together.”

Well, he made my day and he should go far.

YEP Letters: July 27