YEP Letters: July 21

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We need an underground line in centre

James Bovington, Horsforth

The fact that there is no plan for an underground line through Leeds city centre which would serve major destinations such as the new Victoria shopping centre shows a lamentable lack of forward planning on the part of local transport planners and their political masters led by James Lewis.

In Liverpool, Glasgow and Newcastle shoppers can gain fast access to central area shopping malls by underground. Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham have their tram systems.

While street running tramway is initially less costly one central area tunnel could link most key traffic objectives quickly and directly without needing to follow a Victorian street pattern.

Tunnels also allow more space for pedestrians at ground level. Underground stations provide greater passenger waiting capacity and shopping opportunities and can also offer seamless interchange with the national rail network.

One west to east cross city tunnel could be designed to link all the major central area passenger objectives including access within 5-10 minutes to the majority of the southern half of Leeds University aswell as serving the new Southbank developments including the future HS2 station.

In central Leeds the stations would be at Westgate/Wellington Street, Millenium Square, City Square, Southbank and Eastgate.

At a later date a similar tunnel could link the two central Bradford stations.

It’s an exciting and ambitious project which is why of course Councillor Lewis won’t authorise its evaluation despite the fact that similar systems work effectively in many other British and other European cities.

Indeed the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa is currently able to fund a central area underground rail network.

Why such a system can’t be evaluated for Leeds confirms the lack of ambition of our local politicians than any question of future government funding.

Strike is about more than pay

Kevin Wilson, Cottingley

Malcolm Nicholson excels himself yet again in his latest attack on ordinary hardworking people defending their pay and conditions (Tube drivers not under paid, YEP July 17).

He really scrapes the barrel this time by holding his granddaughter up as an example and comparing her low paid position, ‘less than £22,000 a year’, with that of the tube drivers.

This is typical Tory mentality. Yes it is disgraceful that Mr Nicholson’s granddaughter is so poorly paid for the hard work, responsibility, shifts and skills she undoubtedly possesses.

BUT it is not the tube drivers fault is it? For your information Mr Nicholson Mike Cash has NEVER claimed that the tube workers are underpaid. The strike is about more than pay. It is about stopping the Tory despots in London cutting pay and conditions, introducing night working without extra staff and resources, introducing pay cuts, job cuts, longer hours and generally poorer pay and conditions.

The strike doesn’t just involve tube drivers but ticket office workers, platform staff, office staff and others not all on the same pay as the drivers. It also involves a wide range of unions representing all the varied staff groups; RMT, ASLEF, TSSA and UNITE.

At the time of the last General Election Tories like Mr Nicholson were telling us we should aspire to better things.

These unions and people fighting to maintain their standard of living have achieved high living standards and they want to hang on to them.

The rest of us should use them as a beacon, a shining light for us to aspire to such high standards. That includes Mr Nicholson aspiring for greater rewards for his children and grandchildren and not joining the Tories race to the bottom where we all aspire to low pay and even worse working conditions.

While we’re on the subject of pay Mr Nicholson, perhaps you’d like to comment on our MP’s recent 10 per cent increase? If they are worth 10 per cent more so is everyone else. They are not exactly underpaid are they?

Thanks for MP’s support

Dr Brian May, founder of the Save Me Trust Campaign Team Fox 2015

I would like to say thank you via your letters page to all your readers who wrote to their MP in advance of the proposed and subsequently abandoned vote on fox hunting.

In the end, the Government decided not to press ahead with their thinly disguised attack on the Hunting Act, and although it has been reported - in some quarters - that this was due to parliamentary politics, I and Team Fox know that it was down to the huge dissatisfaction from the general public of plans to relax existing legislation on fox hunting.

Many MPs received over 1,000 emails within three days demonstrating how important animal welfare remains to this country.

The resulting swing of MPs intent guaranteed us a win even without the addition of the SNP vote. So in effect, it truly was the will of the British public that won the day.

However, translating that will into the victory we attained was due to the good faith and hard work of many people.

I would particularly like to thank your MP Stuart Andrew who I know indicated that he was going to vote against the proposals.

I have learned from my time inside Parliament lobbying on animal welfare that it is still hard for MPs to go against their own leadership’s plans, even when it is a free vote. Stuartwas incredibly brave to stand up for our foxes especially under real pressure from the pro-hunt lobby.

So a big thank you, and I’m sure your constituents will thank you as well for a Hunting Act which today remains intact.

Listen to PM’s answers

T Maunder, Kirkstall

If any readers want to know exactly what effects Cameron, Osborne and Duncan Smith’s welfare reforms are going to gave for vulnerable people, I strongly suggest you watch on whatever forum you can the questions Harriet Harman asked Cameron at PMQs on July 15 and listen very carefully to his answers.

If you don’t shiver with shock, you haven’t got a pulse and you lack compassion completely. These Tories are monstrous and, considering Osborne and Duncan Smith’s expenses “lapses”, utter hypocrites.

YEP Letters: August 18