YEP Says, March 29: Time to stop treating drivers as cash cows

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Council is using parking fines and charges to plug black hole in its budget.

IT’S hardly surprising that Leeds is among the highest-earning town halls in the country when it comes to raking in money from parking fines and charges.

As one of the UK’s biggest cities it attracts millions of people into its centre each year – meaning the scope for making big sums from parking increases.

Critics of such charges should also consider what would happen if restrictions weren’t in place.

The resulting free-for-all would leave our roads even more congested and dangerous because an inconsiderate minority of motorists would park wherever they felt like it.

That’s not to say, however, that drivers should be treated as cash cows – and that is precisely what many believe is happening.

It’s a belief reinforced by Leeds City Council’s recent decision to introduce parking charges for evenings and Sundays, a move that’s hardly going to help the local economy.

Some will welcome the Roads Minister’s suggestion that local authorities should now be forced to give motorists a five-minute lieu period before they’re fined.

It would certainly be a start, but the best way for the Government to make sure councils show greater leniency is by relaxing the cuts to their funding.

This would make them less likely to use motorists’ pockets as a way to plug the black hole in their budgets.

Hospital flower ban is blooming ridiculous

NO, it’s not an early April Fool’s joke. St James’s Hospital has just taken delivery of a silk flower vending machine.

The idea is to allow hospital visitors to get round the problem of a ban on flowers on some of the wards.

A staggering 92 per cent of NHS hospitals now have such bans in place, apparently because of concerns over the risk of them causing infections.

But are the flowers really to blame? Was there a mass outbreak of infections before the bans came in?

The benefits flowers can bring in terms of improving well-being and health surely outweigh any risks and concerns over safety.