Banks should do charities a favour

THE cessation of cheques in 2018 will have a disastrous effect on small businesses and small charities.

I am the Honorary Secretary of the Friends of the Leeds City Museums, an organisation which raises money to purchase new items for the Leeds Museums and restore existing items in the collections. (Details of membership may be obtained from any Leeds Museum.)

Its income is derived not only from an annual subscription (which could be paid by standing order) but also excursions to places of interest in the north of England. Members send cheques for this latter.

It would be too costly to install a dedicated phone line for a credit card and this and other methods of payment are too time-consuming for volunteers to administer.

Although not ideal, a solution would be, perhaps, for the banks to put a small charge on cheques as there used to be years ago. This would deter people from using cheques where another method of payment was available but would act as a safety net where there was not.

Many of the banks have cost this country and its taxpayers dearly. I do not think it is too much to ask that they return the favour by looking after small businesses and charities.

Councillor Elizabeth Nash, Hon. Secretary Friends of the Leeds City Museums

The return of political spin

RARELY have I read such a load of meaningless twaddle than the letter from Timothy Kirkhope MEP in your New Year's Eve edition, which boils down to a statement that said TK is doing a splendid job. It sounds like a CV statement submitted by an Apprentice contestant.

Being an oldie myself, I don't mind his benign sentiments about the elderly and concern about the cold weather, but presenting the preservation of the Winter Fuel Allowance as a triumph for the ruling coalition, when it was part of the alleged mess inherited from the previous administration does seem a tad hypocritical.

He then goes on to repeat, by implication, the now hoary myth that Gordon Brown et al were so powerful that they caused the international recession.

It's equally arguable that the culture that led to investment greed stemmed from the USA, and that Labour's main economic failure was that they did not reverse the Thatcher regime's capitalistic strategies to any meaningful extent.

None of our major political parties has presented any depth of analysis to the crisis to the electorate, but have presented whatever distortion suits their argument, and meets the prejudices of the voters.

It's nice to know that Mr Kirkhope has visited more schools, local authorities and businesses etc. than before. This could mean that he visited one of each last year, and has doubled that number this year, or that the figures run into thousands. The statement is meaningless.

As for the statement concerning the demise of Yorkshire Forward resulting in a "new approach to economic development", it's a bit like stating that the crashing of many aircraft would lead to a new approach to aircraft design.

He then rounds up with a pious hope that his endeavours will result in a fair deal for the region. Of course, we all wish him success in that department. Little controversy there!

Mr Kirkhope presents to me as a somewhat intellectually tired and limited political spinner, but no likely achiever.

Tony Schofield, Pudsey

Uncollected bins

I KNOW you have been covering the recent issues with the refuse collection in Leeds (due to the change in routes) and thought you might be interested in our story.

Our black bins have now not been collected for over six weeks. We have emailed the council four times, and called three times. When emailing them you never get a reply. When you call them it takes around 15 minutes to get through. When we do finally get through we are told that our bin should be collected in the next 48 hours, but they never are.

When we called them on Wednesday which is when the sixth collection was missed we were told it was going to be escalated to person in charge of our route – but still the bins haven't been collected.

We live on a small street which has five properties, and all the other residents have also called and emailed the council to no avail.

We are now completely fed-up. We are tired of chasing the council for what we feel is a basic service that shouldn't be difficult to deliver. We have had no apology from the council. The council website makes no mention of these ongoing issues, or any guidance to deal with these issues.

James Townson and Sarah Genoves, Lower Wortley

Rubbish service

AS there are 13 steps to my property I cannot have a wheelie bin, but have black bags. Since the changes to Leeds's refuse collection I have not had mine collected at all. I think this is about seven weeks now.

They are supposed to come Fridays now – people lower down the street who DO have wheelie bins are having theirs emptied on Saturday or Monday, but never Friday – so bins are out from Thursday evening until Monday evening at times.

Those of us on black bags are being totally ignored despite the binmen coming into the street for the bins.

I intend witholding my council tax and charging the council for petrol to and from tip, plus phone calls (it takes half hour on hold on average to get through).

Mrs Coral Wheatley, Bramley

Stop sniping

ISN'T it time that Leeds city councillors started working together for the good of Leeds? The continual sniping from the sidelines when out of power is juvenile. Councillor Carter being the biggest culprit.

Walt Emsley, Leeds 8

Elitist honours

SO, the beginning of 2011 brings us the New Year's Honours List, a list which includes captains of industry, regardless of how successful they are, such as Martin Broughton, the British Airways chairman, who presided over record losses and the drive to reduce pay terms and conditions of cabin crew during the recent dispute, alongside Roger Carr, who, as chairman of Cadburys, oversaw the British company being sold to American owners, with thousands of job loses and who is now subsequently, the chairman of Centrica (owner of British Gas), which is giving us record fuel prices.

New Year's Honours Lists always include the director-general of the CBI, which currently is Richard Lambert, whose advice in relation to the recession was to tighten up anti-trade union legislation and either reduce, scrap of suspend the minimum wage.

And, to add insult to millions of ordinary people, Peter Bottomley, an MP, has been awarded an OBE for 30 years service in the most disgraced, discredited occupation in living memory, alongside bankers.

We are informed that the list includes many from the voluntary and charitable sector but it is not the unpaid charity shop workers, it is the overpaid directors, chairmen and chief executives of these organisations who are rewarded, along with the high ranked civil servants, celebrities and few sportsmen and women.

The rare one or two gongs that are awarded to ordinary, everyday individuals cannot hide the fact that the New Year's Honours List tells us that in 2011 cronyism and elitism are alive and well.

M Duffield, Gipton

Victorian values

THANKS to the reporting of newspapers such as the Yorkshire Evening Post, we now know that the increase in student tuition fees is aimed at filling the gap left by the shortfall in government funding to universities.

Is this the only reason?

David Cameron is a big fan of Mrs Thatcher, who was always talking about reinstating Victorian values (such as making little children climb up chimneys to clean them). In Victorian times the only people to attend university were the children of wealthy parents, i.e. the upper classes.

If only the rich can afford to go to university, they will get the best jobs and the highest incomes. It would appear, therefore, to be normal Tory policy, the rich getting richer on the backs of the poor getting poorer.

M J Phillips, Cookridge

Litter city

COULD the council please let us know when they intend to do a clean-up in Leeds now the snow has gone?

Just about every pavement and grass verge I saw yesterday was rubbish-strewn.

The worst spots were Scott Hall Road (particularly around bus stops), Stainbeck Road, Carr Manor Road and York Road opposite Asda.

And could the leaves that came off the trees in October also be cleared?

Will the council's well-intentioned plans to make Leeds Europe's cleanest city have to be abandoned now that public spending is being cut? Maybe we could all stop dropping our rubbish as we walk and drive along?

D Leek, Elmhurst Close, Leeds

Tory tinkering

RE David Cameron's intentions to close magistrates' courts. A disruptive procedure, particularly for Pontefract and noted listed historic architecture.

It is shameful that it will be meddled about with.

I was astounded next to hear that Cameron intends to create police commissioners, at a cost of 100 million. What are chief constables saying about it? What role will the commissioners enact?

Madge Meadows, Castleford

YEP Letters: March 20