£100m investment for Swarcliffe homes

N Richardson (YEP Letters, January 3) asks what the council is doing for Swarcliffe.

I'm pleased to say that we're doing a huge amount, not least the 100m housing regeneration scheme we have recently entered into under the Private Finance Initiative.

The money will be used to improve around 1600 council homes and will provide for ongoing repairs and maintenance to these properties and to the general environment in Swarcliffe for the next 30 years.

That averages out at over 60,000 per property – something Swarcliffe has never seen before and certainly not under the previous Labour administration.

This investment, alongside the other huge regeneration projects we are embarking upon in East and South East Leeds, means that Swarcliffe most certainly has not been forgotten by the Liberal Democrats.

As for the recent bad weather, Swarcliffe receives the same gritting service as everywhere else in Leeds. Because it's impossible for the gritters to spread salt immediately on every road and path in Leeds, we have to prioritise which roads and paths are gritted first, with main roads, busy pedestrian areas, and routes providing access to hospitals, schools and homes for the elderly being done first – then we turn our attention to back streets and paths.

To suggest that the council "can't be bothered" to grit any particular area is not true.

The public often compare our response to what they may have seen in other countries, for instance Canada or in Scandinavia. The question put is how do they keep their roads gritted and open with so much snow and ice, but in Leeds we struggle? Well I do not think we struggle, but I do accept it takes a few days to do everything.

However, if the public want us to invest in sufficient resources to grit and clear every road and path within 24 hours, where extreme weather is relatively rare, then the cost to the city will be immense.

Countries like Canada invest in state of the art road-clearing equipment because they have no choice but to do so, with snow and ice for weeks on end.

If anything, a far more potent threat to Leeds is the risk of flooding, which can cause millions of pounds of damage to property. Flooding incidents have become increasingly common in recent years, and are a serious problem that we need to address, and indeed we are.

Coun Mark Harris, Deputy Leader of Council and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Leeds City Council.

Why was Kennedy allowed to lead?

Over the last few days I and other members of the continuing Liberal Party have been hit with complaints about the treatment of Charles Kennedy.

We have sympathy to these views in that his drink problem was the worst kept secret in Westminster and therefore his colleagues using this to remove him shows an element of double standards in the extreme.

If his drink problem is such a hurdle why was he allowed to lead the Social and Liberal Democrats at the last election?

Could it be that leading a party with two different and conflicting political traditions led to political soft options.

How can the Liberal belief in Free and Fair Trade lie alongside the SDP obsession of a European Superstate? Surely it is the very hybrid nature of this new party which has stifled its progress.

However can we correct a lot of misreporting and state that Charles Kennedy has never led The Liberal Party but the new party created in 1988/89 called the Social and Liberal Democrats, later know as Liberal Democrats.

Therefore we cannot be responsible for the way he has been ditched.

Coun Steve Radford, President of The Liberal Party.

Are the Liberal Democrats' moves to rid themselves of their leader part of a wider English agenda to rid ourselves of the Scottish and Welsh MPs who are running (ruining) this country?

Rees never forgot his home city

With the death of Merlyn Rees, pictured above, Leeds has lost a man who served the city with distinction and who gave politics a good name.

Although he achieved the highest political office as Northern Ireland Secretary and Home Secretary, Merlyn never forgot where he came from.

His devotion to his constituents was repaid in equal measure by their great affection for him.

He will be much missed.

RT HON HILARY BENN MP for Leeds Central.

Water works will still go-ahead

Your article 'Water Carry-On' (YEP, January 5) states that Wakefield Council has ordered an 11th hour re-think of a flood defence scheme at Thornes Lane, Wakefield. This is not the case.

To avoid confusion, I would like to confirm that the Environment Agency work will go-ahead, as planned.

The work is expected to last 10 weeks and will mean one side of Thornes Lane being closed to traffic to provide working space.

The Chief Executive John Foster and I have met the Sea Cadets in order to clarify the issues and to look at the long-term aspirations of the Sea Cadets. We are committed to continuing to work with them to identify funding for a new building.

Tony Reeves, Deputy Chief Executive Wakefield MDC.

G ROWELL, Pontefract.

Milk – 'essential' for our children

Milk provides children with a nutrient-packed drink, but a new report has suggested that the school milk subsidies for primary school children in England should be abandoned.

Part of the argument for this appears to be based on data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), which shows that most children aged 4-10 years have sufficient amounts of calcium in their diets.

However, a different picture is revealed if you look at the NDNS data by age group and the amount of milk consumed. Children aged 4-11 who drank less than 50ml of milk daily were found to be deficient in some essential nutrients. Half failed to meet the recommended daily intake of calcium and riboflavin and more than 60 per cent of these children failed to meet the requirements for iodine.

Milk is an important source of calcium, riboflavin and iodine in the diet. These nutrients are not found in significant amounts in fruit.

Giving children a piece of fruit a day will increase the intake of vitamin C but will not increase intake of calcium or riboflavin.

Children who avoid or only consume small amounts of milk are much more likely not to meet the recommended daily intakes for calcium, riboflavin and iodine.

Milk is particularly useful for children with otherwise poor quality diets who are nutritionally vulnerable, so a glass of milk at break-time is a good way of providing children with a wide variety of essential nutrients.

Dr Judith Bryans BSc PhD RNutr, The Director, The Dairy Council London.

This show's a real Beauty

Regarding Sleeping Beauty at City Varieties. What a fantastic show this was: a great performance by all the actors, dancers, etc and it was so special for my little grand-daughter Tiffany Waite.

When the actors called out her name to wish her a happy fourth birthday, the joy on her little face brought a tear to my eye. It was her first pantomime and she loved every second of it.

Well done everyone, especially Nini Nana.

MRS DIANE WINTERBURN Temple Newsam, Leeds.