YEP Letters: November 5

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United in fight to save green belt between cities

Councillors Andrew Carter CBE, Rod Wood, Amanda Carter, Graham Latty, Pat Latty, Paul Wadsworth, Dawn Collins, Dale Smith, Jackie Whiteley, Gerry Barker, Val Townend, Mike Pollard, Debbie Davies, Mike Gibbons, Martin Smith and Philip Davies MP.

The Conservative representatives of Leeds and Bradford residents are concerned that the local plans for the two cities do not do enough to maintain the ‘green belt’ between the two cities.

We believe that this is the result of inadequate and insufficient co-ordination of the local plan process between planners and political leaders in Leeds and Bradford.

From Tong and Pudsey in the South through Calverley, Eccleshill and Apperley Bridge to Menston and Guiseley to the North, we see local people on both sides of the city boundaries frustrated by inconsistency and the dismissal of genuine concerns about the impact of proposed development on communities.

National planning policy is very clear why we have a ‘green belt’:

-to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas

-to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another

-to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment

-to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns

-to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

It is our view that Leeds and Bradford, in developing their local plans, haven’t taken full account of these purposes and we fear that the result will be the virtual elimination of the vital ‘green belt’ between the two cities. We are calling on the leadership of Bradford and Leeds City Councils to take action that will protect this ‘green belt’.

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Wise up before it is too late

Alan Thorpe, Whitkirk

I am no supporter of the House of Lords (it should be replaced by a smaller, more accountable, elected body) but their recent revolt with regard the government’s tax credit reform may herald a softer approach by the Tories on the hardworking families, or will it?

Osborne and Cameron have been found guilty of telling us that they plan an ‘all out assault on poverty’. However I feel that the reality is that the Tories are planning a war against the poorest and not poverty itself.

The House of Lords surprisingly seems to have seen through the Tories smoke and mirror act and indeed this latest revolt could be the first of many against the government’s policies, which are aimed at the poorest in society.

It’s a case of forget the hot air and rhetoric from numerous Tory ministers but watch their actions/deeds. Within the government’s Welfare Reform and Work Bill there is a plan to scrap the Child Poverty Act, along with its targets, duties and commitments on reducing poverty as well as lowering the benefit cap, a four year freeze on most working age benefits and a two child limit for tax credits.

Worse of all there are plans to abolish the official definition of poverty, at a stroke reducing the official poverty count, a deed worthy of Margaret Thatcher ‘fiddling’ the unemployment figures in the 1980s.

The public need to wake up from their ‘it won’t affect me’ stance, one day these measures could affect them, their friends and family should circumstances dictate.

In the end it all boils down to what kind of society we want to live in, my own view is that the public should wise up quickly to the propaganda this government is eschewing before it is too late.

Help our steel industry

N Bywater, Morley

Terry Watson said in Monday’s YEP that green taxes are destroying industry, with the UK having the highest energy prices in the world. What a load of poppycock.

The UK charges a low VAT rate of five per cent on domestic electricity. Some other countries charge VAT on electricity at rates as high as 25 per cent, adding far more to the cost of energy. Germany, Spain and Denmark all have higher energy prices than the UK.

If Terry Watson is referring to the closure of the Britain’s steel plants, the international price of steel has plummeted over the past year, a 45 per cent drop in just 12 months – the lowest level in over a decade.

This is because steel markets around the world are oversupplied relative to current demand.In China the state subsidises its steel production because of its huge scale.

The economic depression in China has also added to problems of the steel crisis, with China lowering prices because its economy is spiraling downwards. We should either block the dumping of steel, or find more inventive ways to help our steel industry.

If Terry Watson does not believe in climate change, then perhaps he feels green taxes are needed due to the 2,567 deaths in Yorkshire and the Humber that are attributed to air pollution?

He should also not forget that many green taxes go towards helping house owners to make their homes more energy efficient.

Plea for support

Susan Dawson, Allerton Bywater

On 6 November, MPs will have the chance to support an important piece of legislation that could benefit hundreds of thousands of patients across the UK.

The Off-patent Drugs Bill would improve access to low cost, effective treatments for a range of conditions – from breast cancer to multiple sclerosis – and I would urge our local MP to support it. The Bill would ensure that drugs that have fallen out of patent, but have since proved effective for clinical uses outside of their original licence, are routinely available on the NHS. With these drugs often being very-low cost, it makes economic as well as clinical sense for them to be more widely available.

Backed by the UK’s largest breast cancer charity, Breast Cancer Now, along with a host of other charities including Prostate Cancer UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Bloodwise, the Bill needs 100 MPs to vote in favour to take it to the next stage. With just days left until the vote, more work needs to be done to secure the parliamentary support it needs to succeed. Time is running out, so as well as calling on our MP to back this Bill that would help hundreds of thousands of patients, I would ask others to join me and add their support to the campaign by visiting breastcancernow.org/unlockdrugs

YEP Letters: August 18