YEP Letters: February 22

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Check out today’s YEP letters

NHS: no light at end of tunnel

Coun Peter Gruen, Chair of the Adult Social Services, Public Health & NHS Scrutiny Board, Leeds City Council

Can I congratulate your journalists for their thorough, well-researched and broadly based reporting of the current state of our NHS here in Leeds - and of course nationally.

At a time when uncomfortable reporting is dismissed as fake news, your investigation took in all aspects of those willing to contribute: importantly you reported not just my view as a local Scrutiny Board Chair, but more fundamentally we also heard from clinicians, GPs, the BMA, the Medical Committee, Trust officials, patients, and bless him, even the author of the West Yorkshire STP was quoted. Perhaps the Secretary of State is on extended leave, but his silence is deafening.

The news does not get better, does it? Today my Health Board heard about the chronic shortage of well qualified and experienced nurses in both hospitals and community, the continuing adverse trend of not good enough standards in private residential homes and the dire financial situation in our Adult and Social Care budgets. Leeds Hospital reported a 114 per cent (!) occupancy rate of beds against a norm of 85 per cent and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Mindful of the fantastic efforts of all staff in A&E, well above any expectations we have a right to have, we sent our heartfelt thanks to them all and I hope your readers will endorse this.

What you think about the council tax rise

Leeds’s annual local services budget is set to be rubber-stamped today with a five per cent council tax rise forming part of a £492.67m overall financial plan for the city in the year ahead. There is a small ray of light for council housing tenants in non Private Finance Initiative areas who will see their rent go down by one per cent. Here’s how YEP readers have reacted to the news on Facebook..

Karen Lazenby

Everyone is complaining about the unemployed etc, to be fair it is only £6 per month which I don’t think is too bad. My gripe is our local councillors’ expenses. How much will they go up by?

Claire Rose

Did you know that for every £1 the council raises itself, it used to get £2 from central government? Thanks to the Tories’ devastating cuts that figure is now just 70p for every £1. Unless you want services for the elderly and children to start being shut down I suggest you acknowledge the fact that an extra £6 per month on your council tax bill - less than the cost of half a pint of lager a week - is a small price to pay, and start blaming the real villains of this piece - Cameron, Osborne, May, and Hammond.

Duncan Morris

A NOTE to the people of Leeds, council housing is self funding and does rely on the tax payer, it is the same in Harrogate?

This Government has done its best to show the people who live in social housing are all spongers, well there are honest decent people paying full rent and council tax and do not depend on benefits.

Caron Andrade

Sorry. Don’t agree. If my council tax goes up then so should everyone else’s in the city. Appalled that social housing renting is going to fall. It stinks.

Victoria Wood

All well and good but where’s the wage increases to weight it out? What a joke this country is! Don’t mind paying as long as wages go up too but LCC employees haven’t had a rise in wages for 10 years now!

Chez Louise

This is the only bill I really despise paying, the amount we pay, do we really feel we are getting value for money? What a joke!

Andy Britton

Council tax bill rising but services getting cut across the board, where is all the money going Leeds City Council?

Neil Papworth

But they can offer free broadband and tablets and spend a small fortune to be a capital of culture, madness!

Clothing and home retailer Next has announced the opening of a huge new flagship store in the White Rose Centre. The chain is investing £6 million into converting the former BHS unit into a two-floor store which will open in June. Also in autumn an 11-screen Cineworld IMAX cinema will open alongside six new restaurants.Here are some of our readers’ reactions on Facebook.

Alastair Barrie

It ticks a box does the White Rose, easy to park and has a decent selection of high street brands. Glad it has always stayed small and left Leeds to have a great retail centre. You only have to look at what Meadowhall did to Sheffield.

Cheryl Day Dockerty

Well this is a start to making it better .. let’s hope there’s enough parking to cope with the increased amount of people that are going to be using it. I think a TK Maxx would have been better than a Next as Next is already there .. looking forward to trying the new cinema and added restaurants.

Alika Innocent

Don’t know why people are always slating the White Rose. I love it, out of town shopping is nice, no car park fees which is a bonus and a good range of shops.

Mike Blanshard

For disabled people and wheelchair users, WR ticks a lot of boxes. Navigating around the city centre is a little more tricky so please don’t knock it down! Keep the investment going, and well done to whoever decided to add ‘leisure’ instead of a load more shops.

Linda Walbank

There is already a Next in the White Rose. It would have been better to have another big store like House of Fraser/John Lewis. Hope the Cinemas has separate parking.

Amy Davenport

Loving the idea of the cinema but would rather more shops than food places as there’s already loads .

Martin Walker

How many Next stores does one city need. Huge one in Trinity. Why do they need another large one at White Rose Centre?

Chris Petticrew

It needs nothing doing to it, cos it isn’t going to be able to compete with Trinity or John Lewis quarter, to do that it needs building up and not outwards.

Immigrants are not to blame

Alan Slomson, by email

Ernest Lundy (YEP Letters February 21) is right to say that geriatric should not be blamed for the problems of the NHS, but I was sorry to see his suggestion that immigrants might be to blame.

All the evidence suggests that there is no truth in this. Immigrants are, on average, younger than the general population, and therefore make less use of the NHS than the average citizen.

Academic studies indicate that immigrants are a net benefit to the economy, and make a positive contribution through the taxes that they pay.

The NHS depends a great deal on immigrant workers. The last time I was in the LGI I was looked after by a nurse from the Phillipines.

The dental practice I use is entirely staffed by dentists from eastern Europe. I am sure that examples of this kind could be multiplied many times. Without immigrants things would be much worse.The problem is that we are not spending enough on the NHS, largely because affluent people (I count myself as one of these) are not required to pay enough tax, and many very wealthy people avoid paying taxes. Also the NHS “reforms” brought in by the last coalition government wasted a lot of money without doing anything to improve the service. It is our recent governments and the people who voted for them who are to blame.

Blair’s gall is gobsmacking

B Duffy, by email

Once again Tony Blair raises his head and attempts to lecture the British public on where they went wrong!

Did he listen to the two million who marched and the millions who argued against his illegal war in Iraq?No. This man’s gall is truly gobsmacking.

The referendum has been held, the democratic majority have spoken and the result is binding. The word democracy is alien to this man.

As David Cameron said a majority,of one will suffice!’

If you don’t like the result,please go live in some tax exile paradise and leave us in peace.

Will no one rid us of this interfering ex- Prime Minister?’

Time to go Tony, the worst PM this country will ever have.

YEP Letters: June 21