YEP Says, February 4: Brutal council cuts are widening the wealth gap

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...and put gang in jail where they belong

LEEDS council leader Keith Wakefield describes the £45.4m annual budget cut for the city as a “near impossible” situation – and it’s hard to disagree with him.

The latest round of cuts means that council tax will have to go up to paper over some of the cracks, but it won’t be enough to save jobs or protect even the most vital services.

With costs going up, especially in key areas such as elderly care, the ever dwindling pot of cash given to Leeds by Whitehall simply isn’t enough for the city’s needs.

While the last Labour government must bear some of the responsibility for the economic crisis that dogs us to this day, questions must be asked as to whether the austerity measures are fair to all.

It has been calculated that urban councils in the North, such as Leeds, will have lost funding worth £665 per person by 2017-18, compared with just £305 in the South East.

David Cameron may promise that a Conservative government will rebalance the economy and close the North-South divide, but the reality is that the gap is widening under a Tory-led government.

The result is that councils like Leeds are being pushed to breaking point – and despite pledges to give big cities more say over where their money goes, their spending power is being wiped out. As it stands, we’re all likely to feel the impact over the next few years.

Put gang where they belong... in jail

IT’S every homeowner’s worst nightmare – a gang of violent thugs trying to batter down your front door late at night.

But the terrifying raid became reality for a couple in Pudsey who were threatened and then attacked in their own home as the robbers demanded cash.

Fortunately one of them managed to escape the house and raise the alarm. The gang of three fled empty-handed.

Also of vital importance was the fact it was caught on CCTV, raising hopes that someone will be able to identify the culprits.

The sooner they are locked up, the safer we will all be.