YEP Letters: December 24

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Real signs of care and support in city

Councillor Peter Gruen, Chair of Adult Social Care, Public Health and NHS Scrutiny Board, Leeds City Council

It was very timely to read your statistics about homelessness and empty homes in our region, especially at this poignant time of the year.

As so many of us go about chasing the last few presents, the next full shopping trolley and just preparing for the influx of family; it is absolutely right to reflect on the issues of our time. And I see some real signs of care, support and friendship by so many in our city for those in difficult circumstances.

Many people are organising collections so that more food than ever is finding its way to our food banks; these are staffed by volunteers and providing essential nourishment; the number of rough sleepers in the city is relatively low due to the continuous effort by the excellent network of homeless charities and our housing department working together; and our five year campaign to tackle ‘empty homes’ shows up very clearly in your stats- despite being the largest city, we have amongst the fewest empty homes; particularly in social housing where voids are at a record low.

We brand ourselves as being an ‘ambitious and compassionate’ city and so we know there is always more to do to eradicate inequality, hardship and areas of poverty. Christmas is the right time to take a few moments to give thanks for our blessings whilst also helping others in our own neighbourhoods who could do with a welcoming smile, a helping hand and a prayer for better times.


No justification for closure

Alain Fissore, Co-ordinator of Italy’s Partito Comunista in Britain, Leeds.

There is no hope, no future, no jobs with capitalism in the 21st century, and that is confirmed after the closure of Kellingley Colliery.

Some people blame the Tories, some blame Labour, I personally blame the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the EU, and the bankers as the only ones responsible for the crisis of jobs in the UK, in Western and in Eastern Europe.

The Tories and Labour do not have an interest in improving the living and economical standards of the British working class. They both care only about their highly paid political careers, and about being the next best servants for the greed of capitalism in Britain - the financial sector and the big multinational companies which monopolise the economy in every sector.

What is the solution against the dictatorship of capitalism? The people who create the wealth in a nation (the working class), must decide how and what to produce, and not the financial sector.

Kellingley Colliery has a reserve of coal for the next 30 years, the cost to produce coal from it is around £300 million, and not far from the mine there are already two coal power stations with a new one to be built in the near future.

Therefore, its closure cannot be economically justified, it can be only a political decision to weaken, again, the backbone of the British economy - the working class.

Socialism-communism is the only hope for the future of Great Britain.

Hearts go out to Kellingley miners

Jayne Evans, Aberhonddu, Wales

My father left Wales in his late twenties to join the mining department at Whitwood Technical College.

The son of a Welsh miner, he gained a degree at Cardiff University, and went north to the expanding Yorkshire coalfield.

When he became head of the department it grew, largely because of the expansion of Kellingley Colliery, from where students came in droves.

Therefore we cannot help but feel great sorrow at the closure of Kellingley, and the loss of jobs for all the miners who worked there.

Although it is clearly a complex subject we cannot help but feel that ‘market forces’ come at the expense of humanity.

Miners in Britain, thanks to the NUM, were reasonably well-paid for doing a dangerous, difficult and dirty job, therefore one wonders how it can be more cost-effective to import coal from half-way round the world without the certain exploitation of foreign miners.

We lived in Knottingley for over 20 years, and I went to school in Pontefract, where so many of my schoolmates were the children of miners or workers in associated industries.

Our family is now back in Wales and we are acutely aware of the crushed communities that have never recovered from the pit closures following the miner’s strike. Wales is massively subsidised by the EU but the Valleys are some of the most deprived areas in Britain. There are only so many call centres you can build in a small area.

It would be good to think that some of the boys remember my dad with affection, but, rest assured, our hearts go out to the good men of Kellingley, and we wish them and their families all the best for an uncertain future.