YEP Letters: June 19

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Paramedics working under pressure

D S Boyes, Leeds 13

Although the record of accidents incurred by ambulance service vehicles might seem unacceptably high to the lay man, where any emergency service is involved it has to be put into the proper perspective.

Paramedics work under extreme pressure, saving life is a priority and on today’s very congested roads, many unimproved for almost 100 years or since 1945 with far more traffic than they were ever designed to carry, the odd scrape is inevitable.

Having been to A&E in an ambulance, twice, I know they are driven by skilled, experienced and considerate people.

For the size of the fleet and the work they do 365 days a year, I don’t think their record is too bad.

Compensation payments or repairs involved are just part of their normal operating costs.

Seek public’s views on transport plans

D Angood, by email

In the politics of today it seems that pleasing the minorities takes precedence over the majority.

So many groups have had loud voices and have managed to persuade others to act on their behalf to the disadvantage of the majority. Their argument being that the advantages and benefits gained by the minority outweigh the disadvantages wrought upon the majority. The unfortunate consequence being that it is only after the ideas are implemented we see the error and folly of such judgement.

One begins to wonder if the same can be envisaged with the far reaching plans for transport in the area. Coun Blake states: “All of the key elements of the programme reflect what people told us they wanted to see.” The trouble with such a statement is it does not enumerate upon how many were in favour of each of the elements the council and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) have opted for.

What requirements or prohibitions have governed their thinking and therefore the options? Have the results of the consultations been published and if so where? How many categories were dismissed out of hand? How many were dismissed because of cost issues? How many were dismissed simply because the council or WYCA did not like or approve? Will we get any answers from the board or will they just plough ahead like they did with the cycle highway and trolley folly?

Do they really believe that a halt on the Harrogate line will truly serve the airport, especially now as passenger numbers are shown to be increasing?

Will the people have a say in which plans are decided upon, it is only fair to seek such an option as it is some of their ideas that the council will be adopting.

Electorial reform needed

Martin Berger, Leeds 16

The Universities of Leeds, Beckett and Trinity have many thousands of students of whom very many reside in North West Leeds.

In the recent campaign, students were encouraged to register to vote which they did in record numbers.

Not surprisingly they voted to abolish university fees. This meant that Greg Mulholland a highly popular candidate lost his seat.

Students should be encouraged to vote in their home town and to use a postal vote. Postal votes are increasingly being used everywhere.

Electoral reform is needed here.

I remember that before 1950, Oxford and Cambridge and London Universities used to send two MPs to Westminster and that eight other universities including Leeds also sent two members. Public opinion was responsible for electoral reform here.

Open question on student vote

David Salinger, Headingley

Given Alex Sobel’s majority of more than 4,000 it must be an open question whether Greg Mulholland would still be an MP here if students didn’t have the choice of voting where they live for more than half the year.

However, I doubt whether the Lib Dem MP would have gained the seat in 2005—by a majority of less than 2,000—without student votes.

Go back to original Lotto

Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16

The National Lottery operator, Camelot’s takings last year were down by £600 million.

Camelot doubled the cost of a ticket in their main Lotto game while at the same time making it virtually impossible to win it by increasing the odds dramatically.

They did something similar with their EuroMillions game. The general public have a lot more sense than Camelot gave them credit and are less likely to have a ‘flutter’ when they odds are so stacked against them.

Camelot need to revert back to their original Lotto game and reduce the ticket price back to £1 and do a similar reversion with their Euromillions.

Fire is national tragedy

John Appleyard, Liversedge

I am the chairman of my local tenants’ and residents’ association and am appalled at the catastrophic fire in Grenfell tower block in London which has claimed so many fatalities.

This is a national tragedy and shows that the law around fire safety in buildings is not fit for purpose. The government have been warned time and time again of the fire risks in blocks of flats like this.

I have written to Alok Sharma the Minister responsible for our building regulations to ask that this tragedy is never repeated and to ask when he will publish the review of building regulations on fire safety.

Put Brexit on hold

John Cole, Shipley

readers will be familiar with the distinction between emergency surgery and “elective” surgery. The former deals with immediate crises (broken limbs, hearts needing attention, cancerous growths needing removal).

Elective covers such things as most cosmetic surgery, new hips etc. This is surgery that we can choose to go ahead with – or not.

Following the General Election, the new Government is facing a whole series of crises that need immediate attention. For example, funding for the NHS, social care and 
education.

Aside from social policy, there is the need to resource the fight against terrorism.

Brexit is not a matter of urgency. The referendum last year was advisory only and Mrs May had the choice whether to progress “Leave”, given the narrow 52:48 split. She chose to go for a hard Brexit.

She did not have to. Given the urgency of the crisis in areas that need time and attention, it would make good sense to put Brexit on hold – perhaps for four or five years.

The governmental time and capacity thereby freed up could then be put to better use in dealing with higher priorities.

And in the interim the penny might drop that Brexit is a bad idea anyway.

Some comfort in result

Don Burslam, Dewsbury

WHAT a unique situation! Every party has failed in some sense and some more than others.

Personally I draw some comfort from the result.

1. The drive for a hard Brexit has no backing in the country.

2. Such perks as we pensioners enjoy will presumably be preserved.

3. The Lib Dems maintain a presence which can be built on in the next election, particularly when the results of Brexit start to bite.

4. We have been spared a disaster in the shape of Mr Corbyn.

A last irony. The young seem to have asserted themselves, but it is difficult to see whether they will get much out of it.

Should students have the right 
to vote?

Robert Holman, Farsley

Regarding views on the student vote, should they have a right to vote as non payers of council taxes?

Over 90 per cent of Leeds 6 properties are zero rated full time student houses. They should only have a vote when they start paying their membership fees!

Friendship services

Jeanette Bates, Head of Wellbeing at Independent Age

At Independent Age, the older people’s charity, we’re always trying to help as many older people as possible.

Right now, we want to encourage older people in Yorkshire who may be feeling lonely to get in touch with us to find out about our friendship services, which could help to reduce loneliness.

We have friendly, trained volunteers waiting to make regular calls to the people who need them to help make a difference to their lives, so we’re keen to hear from people who may have lost touch with close friends or family and would like to find someone friendly to talk to.

One in five older people in the UK are in contact with friends, family and neighbours less than once a week, while for one in 10, it’s less than once a month. In addition to this, around 40 per cent of older peoplesay the television is their main form of company. We want to help all those who need us, but we can only help the people who get in touch with us.

Receiving a regular call can be invaluable to someone who is lonely. Having a volunteer for a regular telephone call can provide vital companionship for older people who are lonely, enabling them to feel more connected to their local community. Many of the older people we help have told us that it can make a huge difference to their wellbeing if they have a call to look forward to each week or fortnight. Chronic loneliness can be really damaging to a person’s health, so we hope to help make loneliness a thing of the past for Yorkshire residents.

Older people who would like to receive regular calls from a volunteer can sign up at www.independentage.org/get-support/receive-regular-phone-calls-or-visits or by calling 0800 319 6789.

Recognising vital help

Stephanie Stone, Revitalise

This month we mark Carer’s Week, a chance to recognise and celebrate unpaid carers right across the UK. With an estimated 6.8 million carers known to be looking after a loved one in the UK alone, it’s likely that as you’re reading this letter, a carer is too.

The support carers provide for their loved ones is made of utter devotion. Sadly, it’s also true that many carers live in hardship and with an estimated 1.4 million people providing over 50 hours of unpaid care per week, it’s unsurprising that many begin to feel the pressure.

Our own research found that over half of carers did not know how they would be able to cope if things continued the way they were.

Not surprising when you consider that more than 5 out of 10 had been caring for 10 years or more and 9 out of 10 carers are not able to access proper breaks away.

I work for Revitalise – an amazing charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers at our Jubilee Lodge respite holiday centre in Chigwell, Essex. We see for ourselves the vital importance of respite in preventing carers from reaching breaking point - to enjoy time away from the stresses and strains of everyday life. We recently launched our spring appeal to support disabled people and carers in financial hardship and in need of a break – with your generosity we can ensure we’re always there to lend a helping hand to disabled people and carers when they need it most. Please support our vital work.

To find out more about Revitalise, request a brochure or to support our appeal please visit: www.revitalise.org.uk or call: 0303 303 0145.

Drugs dangers

A Hague, Leeds

Why do people take drugs unless they are ill? Commonsense should tell them of the dangers of addiction, like smoking and drinking too much but worse.

The excuse of others doing it so copy them does not wash. Is the main reason that they can’t cope with the pressure of life so need drugs to cope? Education should include dangers to beware of.

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YEP Letters: June 20

A ballot box

YEP Letters: June 16