ON MARCH 20 you carried an almost full page advertisement from the Department of Works and Pensions regarding the removal of the spare room subsidy. This is, in fact, the same old Bedroom Tax which was introduced in April 2013.
One year after its introduction the law must be considered to be a failure. Clearly tenants of social housing have not wanted to move or have been unable to “down size” and so the DWP has to spend more money on adverts in an attempt to make people give up their homes.
The DWP have not mentioned that since the Bedroom Tax was introduced, tribunals have made decisions that support tenants. Just two examples are, firstly, the fact that separated parents are entitled to a “family life” and need a spare room for contact visits from their children and secondly that if a room is not furnished as a bedroom and is used for purposes other than sleeping then it is not a “bedroom” and the bedroom tax will not apply.
Hundreds of tenants were placed into high rise properties and the council knew full well that the second room was not to be a bedroom so any classification to the contrary needs to be appealed.
We in Hands Off Our Homes have, with limited resources, been trying to make tenants aware of their rights which is something that cannot be said of the DWP or the local councillors.
On the anniversary of this despised tax we will be demonstrating for its repeal, meeting at 12 noon outside the Art Gallery on Saturday April 5. I urge your readers to join us.
John Davies, Chair, Hands Off Our Homes, Leeds
Celebrations of rugby’s 150th
MAY I respond to the recent letter from B Raftery? The celebrations planned throughout this year for the 150th anniversary of Rugby in Leeds certainly include Hunslet, as well as Bramley, all the schools and community teams in the area – of both codes – and even those that have, over the years, ceased to be. I was delighted to be amongst those who kicked off the celebrations yesterday at Woodhouse Moor and to find myself talking to some of the greats from the glory days of Hunslet, including “Ginger” Burnell who at 90+ years old is still as bright as the Hunslet badge he was so proudly wearing.
You also won’t find anyone more supportive of Hunslet than the President of Leeds RL, another wonderful nonagenarian, Harry Jepson. Our next event is a lunch for ex-players of Leeds, Hunslet or Bramley on Saturday 29 March and tickets are still available so come along and support your club – whichever one it is! There will also be some terrific displays of memorabilia throughout the year at Leeds Libraries and Museums that will feature as many teams as we can find – more details on the Leeds Rugby Foundation website.
Dr Neil Kaiper-Holmes, Chairman, Leeds Rugby Foundation, Rugby League Foundation of the Year 2013
Paying tribute to family doctor
I WOULD like to pay tribute to Dr Ian Adams who has died recently. He joined his father’s practice in Beeston in 1960 and became a most respected and well loved family doctor in that area. He had an amazing memory for each patient’s medical history without the need of notes. We were all very sorry to see him go when he left to run a Sports Injuries Clinic at St James Hospital.
Hyacinth Gregory, by email
Refurbish old YEP building
I am just reading your article about the former Yorkshire Evening Post building. I think that demolition and rebuilding would cost a fortune. I think if it was refurbished and turned probably into a shopping centre or alternatives it would be more viable than demolition and rebuilding.
Mr JB Carder, Bridlington
Looking out for sugar in our diet
DO WE need sugar? Yes! Sugar is a type of carbohydrate and an essential part of our diet. It provides fuel for our bodies and glucose in particular is essential for brain function and our muscles when we exercise.
An intake of 5pc of our food daily is equivalent to around 25 grams (six teaspoons) of sugar a day for a healthy adult. The WHO’s suggested limits apply to all sugars, including “hidden” sugars added to foods by manufacturers, as well as sugars that are naturally present in fruit juices and honey.
How to spot hidden sugars in foods. Ingredients are listed in weight order, starting with the largest, so if sugar appears near the top of the list, the product is likely to be high in added sugars – and remember, added sugars are disguised by many different names including: sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch, glucose-fructose syrup, invert sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup and honey.
Here are some ways to reduce your sugar and calorie intake. Dilute fruit juices with sparkling water. Rather than spreading jam, marmalade, syrup or honey on toast, try a reduced sugar spread, sliced banana, low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter instead. Choose cans of fruit in juice rather than fruit in syrup. Switch to wheat biscuits or porridge for breakfast instead of cereals coated in sugar or honey. Swap cakes, biscuits and confectionery for naturally sweet fresh fruit.
Peter Baxter, Springate Road, Southwick, Brighton
Question Time put to the test
AFTER READING Malcolm Nicholson’s letter (YEP, March 20) I thought I would check out the left wing bias on Question Time (BBC1) as reported by him. I had noticed myself that since the coalition the panel always has a Tory and a Liberal Democrat so that always seems to give them a good start in supporting each other. Well tonight may I say they excelled themselves with a bit of “Right Wing bias”, we had a right wing Tory MP, a Government minister of the coalition, a lady from a Right Wing think tank against an author who was slightly left and a Labour MP.
The audience did seem well balanced with one of them who posed a critical question to the Government admitting that he was a Tory when pushed. Malcolm was correct in that the more obvious right wing in the audience did seem a little ‘stunned’ and quiet when subjects such as the NHS, student grants, zero hour contracts and cost of living were mentioned, perhaps they too realise that these subjects are not safe in their hands and were not mentioned in any pre-election manifesto. Some of the right even managed a yawn or a boo when Danny Alexander brought up the well worn red herring that the global crisis was the result of what “We inherited from Labour”. This was nicely answered by the author asking if politicians ever considered writing a Statute of Limitations. Sorry, I’m afraid on what I saw on Thursday it’s ‘case not proven’!
Derek Goodman, Ashwood Grove, Morley
SURPRISE, SURPRISE, Le Tour is going to cost £2m more than originally planned. We’re getting used to this. We all know, from past experience, that projects are going to cost more than we are originally told. It will be the same with HS2 and Trolleybus. Why don’t planners just over-estimate in the first place – and then we’d get a pleasant surprise when the project came in under budget!
Lynne Pullein, by email
FIRST BUS apologise for any inconvenience due to the closure of the bus station at Seacroft centre for resurfacing. Does this company only employ one man and one wheelbarrow because to take 14 days to do an area about 50 yards square, borders on the ridiculous?
G Varley, Belbroke Towers, Leeds