YEP Letters: November 6

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A welfare benefit by another name

Brian Johnston, Burmantofts

With the sustained outrage by the Left and much of the media over the government’s plans for tax credits, anyone would believe they were a universal human right enshrined in the Magna Carta.

In fact they were a calculated ‘bribe’ in a cynical plot to woo the Labour vote devised by Gordon Brown. Cleverly masked, it is a welfare benefit by another name, disguised and embedded in the taxation system to make it complicated for a future government to unravel, as the Tories aim to do.

Far from liberating the low paid, the chief benefactors are businesses to carry on paying out lousy wages, knowing full well the taxpayer will subsidise them. Starting out at £1billion, the cost now is a staggering £30billion, showing a dramatic rise in low pay, engineered by Labour’s profligacy. Seen now, tax credits are now ‘as of right’ that cannot be touched, all part of our growing welfare ‘entitlement’ culture.

And yet the Tories have made a complete mess of handling it. Osborne is a man in a hurry and has not thought this through. Only a slow, gradual reduction leading up to the living wage instead of cutting in one fell blow.

Nevertheless it is crunch time, signalling a collision between soaring welfare dependency and fiscal rectitude. The UK had to learn to live within its means or go bust.

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Trolleybus debate

Gary Scholes, Leeds 6

Sadly, Christopher Todd and Don Townsley (YEP October 29/October 30) undermine their case against NGT even further with incorrect assertions.

Mr Todd should know that the findings of the inquiry inspector cannot be published until the Minister announces his decision - a decision now delayed because of lobbying by anti-NGT campaigners to replace the Minister himself.

Contrary to his claims, my statement that: “overwhelmingly, the trees would be removed in order to make way for new lanes, bypasses and park and ride sites” is nowhere contradicted by NGT documentation. To illustrate the point: the comparatively modest Kirkstall Road Quality Bus Route development, which took place a few years ago, required the removal of well over a hundred trees without a single overhead wire in sight. Why? Because of the construction of new bus lanes etc.

Meanwhile, Mr Townsley insists on flogging the poor tired old horse of “250m for 20 trolleybuses”, yet the trolleybuses and their infrastructure will make up only around one tenth of the project’s cost. The new lanes, bypasses etc. will remain as a legacy long after the life of the initial project, to be used for whatever kind of transport is seen fit. Whether a viable, clean replacement for trolleybuses could be found by that time remains to be seen and although the UITP sensibly acknowledged the possibility, nowhere do they say this would be “soon”.In recent decades, transit authorities have been lured by the promise of alternative technologies which have been found wanting. Some of them have realised their mistake and are now considering the reintroduction of trolleybuses.

As a transport engineer jokingly once told me: “I know for definite that battery buses will be viable within the next five years, because people have been telling me that for the past 30 years”.

Politicians and poppies

B Smith, Leeds 7

The discussion concerning Jeremy Corbyn wearing or not wearing a red poppy has aroused much interest.

Last week we saw and heard George Osborne telling the nation that, despite being voted down in the House of Lords, he would continue to work for a high income/low tax economy and will target those who can least afford it. A fine young man is George and he was wearing his red poppy.

We saw Mr Ian Duncan Smith promising to station job advisors in food banks – ‘to get people back to work’. A good man and, of course, he was wearing his red poppy. Why are so many people in food banks? Then the Hon Member for Shipley, resplendent in red poppy, ‘spoke on behalf of the carers’ and talked down a motion that would grant free car parking at hospitals for certain visitors.

But this week we saw the best – they photoshop a red poppy on to Cameron’s lapel!

Had Mr Corbyn been our Prime Minister and had he brought Communist leaders to the UK and granted a contract to build a nuclear power station, what would have been the reaction? One wonders about our personal safety, national security and international credibility.

The discussions about Jeremy Corbyn wearing, or not wearing, a red poppy fade into insignificance, faced with those performances.

Looking for volunteers

Nicky Eades, group chairman, 12th Morley Scouts

Scout groups across the UK are reporting record numbers of young people wanting to join and here in Morley the same is true.

The 12th Morley Scout Group, based at Morley Victoria School needs new adult volunteers to help run our Cub Pack.

People volunteer for many reasons and it is a great way to learn new skills, join in with adventurous activities (if you like that sort of thing) or simply help young people in our community.

No previous experience as a Scout is needed and full training and support will be provide.

Without more adult volunteers, our group will not be able to grow.

Please contact us at 12thmorleyscouts@gmail.com if you would like more information.

Four and a half years to go

C Sharp, Leeds 25

In reply to Alan Freeman (YEP November 4) his hatred of the Tories is quite comical but he summed it all up with his final sentence.

We don’t sit back and take it Mr Freeman,we vote! And you lost to democratic process. Only four and a half years to go and you can have the opportunity to change things ..... again!

YEP Letters: July 21