YEP Letters: January 23

Check out today's YEP letters

Saturday, 23rd January 2016, 6:00 am

Use overseas aid cash to help flood areas

Sam Hamblett, Leeds 15

the front page headline in the Yorkshire Evening Post January 21, “There’s No More Cash For Floods.”

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It was only a few years ago the government was warned about flood defences being urgently required for Leeds or there will be a disaster in the centre of Leeds if the River Aire flooded (River Aire floods on Boxing Day, 2015).

The government has turned down Leeds MPs and city councillors who asked for the River Aire to be safeguarded against future flooding with a £170m 12 mile stretch of flood barriers from Kirkstall to Woodlesford. Environment secretary Liz Truss said there is no cash available. Well I beg to differ. In fact there’s a big pile of cash called overseas aid £12 billion of it. At this moment it can’t be touched because it’s ringfenced by law by all the parties.

I think it’s time we pulled down that fence and distributed flood money from this giant pot and helped Leeds, York, Cumbria and any other flood area.

These businesses and private properties are people who pay their taxes that bulges this overseas aid. Did anyone notice this aid in any political manifesto? When the government talks about the Northern Powerhouse, power houses can’t drive forward if they are 6ft under water. They waste time and money trying to get back on track to keep on paying into the big pot of overseas gold. Come on MPs, let’s take this golden fence down.

River dredging does stop floods

John Wainwright, Tingley

In suggesting that river dredging would not have stopped flooding, Mr Bywater gives incomplete data to support his argument.

It is widely accepted that river dredging in the UK has virtually ceased since we were required to accept the EU Water Framework Directive into UK law in 2000. The one shining exception to that situation was the dredging of the River Parrett in Somerset in 2014 following the flooding of the Somerset levels the previous winter.

What Mr Bywater failed to mention was that that was only done in defiance of the EU directive and despite vociferous opposition from the ‘green lobby’ on the express orders of the then Environment secretary Owen Patterson – the only politician who seemed capable of grasping the problem. The result was that despite the exceptional rainfall in December 2015, one place which did not flood was the Somerset levels. Mr Patterson’s reward for his sterling work was that (again following pressure from the green lobby) he was sacked by David Cameron and replaced by Liz Truss.

A local expert in Cumbria has stated that since dredging ceased the bed of the River Derwent has risen by about six feet, so the subsequent flooding in Keswick and Cockermouth was almost inevitable. It is true to say that dredging in rural areas also involves building up the banks - which is not possible in a city centre like Leeds, but that is not the main reason it isn’t done.

Under the EU directive, soil dredged from a river and removed elsewhere has to be treated as ‘hazardous waste’ you really couldn’t make it up! So if you need a culprit for the lack of dredging I give you the jobsworth bureaucrats in Brussels – just one more reason to get out of the EU.

Good luck to junior doctors

A Shipman, Leeds 13

Are junior doctors’ contracts not covered by the Working Times Directive which limits employee’s hours? If not, they should be.

For someone in this day and age to be working 91 hours a week is unacceptable, especially when in a profession that demands peak performance, both physically and mentally.

So good luck with your strike action, you were left with little choice but to withdraw labour. Hopefully it will jog some sense of responsibility into the Tories who, as we all know, have opposed the NHS since its inception.

No tax for OAPs

Ernest Lundy, by email

Since taking the job, Bank of England boss Mark Carney has been waving the carrot of a higher interest rate in front of savers’ eyes.

Now it seems the economic situation cancels any hope. The age group suffering most from the lowest interest rate ever is the OAPs. We are told it helps the young to secure low interest mortgages; while it is obvious the other parties to gain benefit are the banks and building societies etc. Today one is lucky to get an investment offering two per cent. Yet when one is a taxpayer, tax is taken at source to the level of 20 per cent, giving a return annually of £1-60 for every £100 invested.

Whereas when interest was say eigth per cent, the return on the same amount would have been £6-40. Hardly a King’s ransom but far and away better than a meagre £1-60.

As many old people are barely above the level of non-taxpayers, and are dependent on income from savings to some extent, rather than penalise those who are taxpayers by deduction 20 per cent of their interest, surely the government (revenue) could cancel or reduce the 20 per cent tax as a means of recognising the unfairness of the situation as it now exists. In any event consensus of opinion takes the view that OAPs should not be paying tax at all. They have been paying all their lives.