YEP Letters February 25

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Make the BBC pay licence bills

Ray Marshall, Mirfield

SO the BBC bosses have been urged to be brave and tell the Government to take back responsibility for providing free TV licences.

I think the BBC can afford to fund this themselves. Easy!

Take say 10 per cent off the high salaries they pay to the so-called celebs.

They won’t miss it, but we will.

UK tax and pension rules hitting NHS

From: Dr Rajeev Gupta, Chairman, BMA Yorkshire Regional Consultants Committee.

AT a time when the NHS is faced with growing staff shortages, senior and highly experienced GPs and hospital doctors in Yorkshire are cutting back on their work or leaving the profession entirely, partly because of stress and an ever-increasing workload, but also because of damaging tax and pension regulations which severely penalise them for working longer hours.

The current lifetime and annual allowance pension limits are resulting in large and often unexpected financial burdens for the most senior and experienced of doctors, and the problems are made worse if they do more hours – to try to reduce patient waiting lists for example.

The knock-on effect on patient care in Yorkshire and the impact of the junior doctors, whom they help train to be our consultants of the future, cannot be underestimated.

Recent BMA research shows that six out of 10 consultants intend to retire before or at the age of 60, with only 6.5 per cent of consultants expecting to remain working after age 65, citing the pension regulations as a key driver for this decision.

A situation where the Government talks about increasing productivity in secondary care, while allowing extreme financial pressure on its most experienced doctors to force them to do less work and, in some cases, to leave the NHS when they do not want to, is clearly untenable.

The BMA Consultants Committee has written to both the Chancellor and the Health Minister highlighting the serious implications for the NHS, and calling for the removal of the annual and lifetime allowance cap for public sector workers.

We also called for the introduction of a national policy for trusts to begin recycling employer pension contributions to members who have already left the scheme entirely to offset the powerful disincentives that are forcing consultants to reduce and stop work.

Scrap waste charges to stop fly tipping

Coun Barry Anderson

Coun Caroline Anderson, (Con) Adel & Wharfedale

In response to your article on February 19 in relation to fly tipping incidents across the city we are pleased that this information has been made public.

For a very long time we have been raising this as an issue in our area and reporting a large number of incidents. This problem was inherent when the controlling administration on Leeds City Council decided to charge for waste to be tipped at the various “Sort” sites, having previously been free to all Leeds residents.

In addition the Bulky Waste Collection is no longer free. At last we can all now see that we have not been exaggerating this problem. A lot of our residents have been waking up to find waste tipped illegally in their driveways and in entrances to their private land which they then have to pay the costs of clearing up. Residents already pay council tax for a service they can no longer access for free hence we find that people are resorting to fly tipping rather than going to the Sort sites. It doesn’t take a genius to work out what the consequences of this policy decision by the administration would be. By the mere fact that the type of waste being tipped is building materials we know it is a direct result of the charges being imposed at the Sort sites. In addition the bulky waste being left on council land again shows it is a direct result of the policies of the controlling administration.

We urge the administration to re-think this strategy because it is a completely false economy. Not only are residents ending up footing the bill to clear up their land of unwanted and anti-social fly tipping, the costs of the council having to clear up fly tipping when it is on council land adds to the cost to the council taxpayer and it also makes Leeds look less than attractive which is a hidden cost to the economy. Every time we bring this up with the director responsible we are told incidences of fly tipping have not increased since these new charges were brought in. We beg to differ.

This will be the tip of the iceberg because a large number won’t get reported. You will see from the figures that Adel & Wharfedale has the largest number of reported incidents in the outer areas.

We encourage our residents to report all incidents of fly tipping and I am glad that they are doing so because we need evidence to ensure that there is some chance of the charges being scrapped.As the council quote in your article, there are penalties but most people are prepared to take the risk and the major culprits are difficult to catch in the act.

The Conservative Group will be proposing scrapping these charges in the forthcoming budget debate to try and resolve this serious issue.

Defeating own arguments

Andy Rhodes, Beeston

I fear that Adam Bricklebank (YEP Letters February 18) defeats his own arguments. He writes that young drivers are only 1.5 per cent of the country’s drivers and complains about insurance companies charging them “12 times more than the average driver”.

He says there were 146,000 personal injury collisions in 2012 (seven years ago, so hardly relevant to today). If 1.5 per cent of them involved young drivers, that would be about 2,200 but his own figures give the number as 30,750, over 14 times the rate for his “average driver”, so it actually seems that young drivers are getting a pretty good deal!

He also complains that “black boxes are a rip off”, based on the fact that when he went over his insurance mileage allowance he had to pay extra, missing the point that his premium was based on that allowance.

Once he went past it, he was breaking the terms of his policy, so of course a new payment was due.