Truckers allege that cyclists shouldn’t use the roads because they don’t pay taxes that pay for them. This is an outright lie!
A proportion of my council taxes go to pay for the roads I cycle on. County roads were expanded by Parliament in the middle of the 19th century when the turnpikes lost their traffic to the railways and consquently, having no income, went banrupt.
Government transferred the assets to councils to avoid increasing taxes upon their patrons, big landowners.
Vehicle Excise Duty was devised as a levy upon motor vehicles. It cannot be levied upon cyclists without an act of Parliament.
And if the Government tried I expect that Europe would veto the attempt. But, I wonder how many truckers pay council tax?
Besides this, councils have been excellent guardians of the road network. A little disinclined to invest, as per the National Cycling Charity’s campaigns to seal surfaces with tar to ‘lay the dust’. But once done costs plummeted when it was discovered that sealed roads needed less maintenance. And roadmen were found other duties.
Bill Houlder, Pontefract
Climate change is not an opinion
GLOBAL warming and climate change are facts, Terry Watson (Your Views, November 17), not a matter of opinion.
Civilisation was built using science. Without science we would still be living in caves.
Science is not just about Rosetta or landing on the moon. Without scientists we would have no electricity, internal combustion engines or the internet.
So when 93 per cent of scientists say global warming and climate change are happening and that mankind is at least partly responsible, then as far as I am concerned these are facts.
And we all need to act to reduce emissions if we care about the future of the planet.
While much money is made from coal, oil and gas this does not justify denying the inconvenient truth declared by Al Gore so many years ago.
Climate change deniers have done mankind a great disservice by delaying the move to renewable energy.
More and more countries are waking up to the dangers and pledging to increase renewables and reduce harmful emissions.
I can remember my mother talking about global warming and rising sea levels 45 years ago, but we were all too busy with jobs, children and the next meal to take much notice.
Now we cannot afford to put off action any longer.
P Lloyd, Farsley
Plea to solve war mystery
I write to you from Australia, seeking to solve a near 100-year-old mystery.
I am involved in a project to honour the men from a small farming community in south western Victoria in Australia who died in the First World War.
One such soldier was Henry Price, a 20-year-old lad originally from Essex and Forest Gate in London who came to Australia aged 17 and then enlisted in the war with the Australian forces. He was killed in action at the Second Battle of Bullecourt on May 3, 1917.
In war records for Henry Price, there is a letter from a Miss N Bird, who wrote to the authorities seeking word on ‘her young man’.
It seems Henry was her sweetheart and she had received a letter from him dated May 1, 1917 and then nothing further. At that stage she did not know he had died only two days later.
Miss N Bird lived at 6 Quarry Place, Woodhouse Street, Leeds. There is nothing further in her letter to indicate her full name, yet she was anxious about her young man.
It was another seven months before the Army wrote and confirmed to her that Henry Price had been killed.
I wonder if it would be possible to find out if anyone knows of Miss N Bird or her family. We would love to know what happened to her and if a photo survives of Henry Price.
We have not been able to trace any family of Henry Price. They lived in Forest Gate in London.
I would be most grateful for any assistance you can provide and I can share any material about Henry Price.
It would be wonderful if something came up to enable us to let the family of Miss N Bird of Leeds know that Henry Price has never been forgotten in Australia.
I can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Stephen Brooks, Bendigo, Australia
Murderer is not mentally ill
May I point out to Val Corrick (Your Views, November 19) that compassion is not the issue with regard to the sentence imposed on Will Cornick for the murder of teacher Ann Maguire.
She may have plenty of life experience and so forth but that has little to do with a murder being committed by a rational human being who planned it well beforehand.
He has been assessed by psychiatrists who have reached a consensual diagnosis of Personality Disorder.
This disorder is not considered to be a mental illness, nor is it considered to be suitable to treatment. That is why he is in prison and not a hospital.
That is a clinical fact and you don’t need a qualification in psychiatry to grasp this, it’s simple enough: he murdered someone, he is not mentally ill, he’s therefore gone to prison.
Incidentally, I am not a do-gooder and I don’t like people using that phrase to denigrate the opinions of others – it’s immature and destructive.
You cannot, however, ignore the reasons for his sentence because of compassion.
Terry Maunder, Kirkstall
Mansion tax is not the answer
I am underwhelmed by the televised debate that took place between Myleene Klass and Ed Miliband as reported in the tabloid press.
The fact is that every politician and every political commentator is ignoring the elephant in Westminster.
We have the situation of businesses owned by people with the mindset of being determined to pay their employees as little as the law will allow while they amass huge profits.
This is done in the knowledge that their employees can claim benefits from the state to compensate for their low wages, while at the same time these business owners are determined to avoid paying as much tax as they can possibly get away with.
At some point this arrangement is going to collapse because there will become a time when too many people are claiming benefits and not enough people are paying in a fare level of tax.
The mansion tax is not a solution, it is simply rhetoric designed to appease those who have been let down by the last Labour government for continuing with the former Conservative government’s policies.
At the risk of being labelled a communist, to me the solution is obvious – increase the minimum wage to £8.50 an hour now, not in 2020 when it will only be worth the same as £6.90 an hour is today, and have it index linked to protect it against inflation.
This will force tax dodging employers to pay a living wage to their employees and take tens of thousands of working families out of benefits and paying taxes to support the NHS and all of the other public services that our taxes provide.
In addition, the Exchequer will save hundreds of millions if not billions by not having to pay out benefits to subsidise the incomes of the ordinary workers.
As things are at present there are too many taking out and not enough putting in.
Capitalism can only work if the money supply is allowed to circulate not be left sitting in bank vaults, history tells us that this can lead to bloody revolution.
Derek Barker, Moortown