Bearing the brunt of the council cuts

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The council needs to make efficiency savings but these should start at the top.

Before any services are cut, or staff made redundant, the council needs to get its own house in order.

We do not need more than one councillor per ward and the rest should be dispensed with. Elections for the council should be every two years, with a delay of three months in taking office in which the old and new councillors work side by side to ensure a smooth transfer.

When councillors are elected, they know that part of their paid duty is to serve on committees and attend meetings and there should be no additional payment for this.

Attendance at council meetings should be complusory. Failure to attend should incur a reduction in salary.

There is no need to supply food at council meetings and this should cease immediately. If those poor undernourished individuals require sustenance to see them through the meeting, they should bring sandwiches from home.

The leader of the council is only elected by voters as a councillor and he should only be paid as such. His promotion to leader is by his own political party to act as political spokesman, cut tapes and get photographed, so any extra payment should be funded by them, not the ratepayer.

A Shadwell council tax payer (name and address supplied)

At a time when local councils are deciding how they are going to make massive savings to their budgets, I am urging them not to forget how vital social care support is for people with a learning disability. Everyday activities such as washing, eating and dressing as well as using transport, going to work or buying food can become impossible for people if essential support is cut. Without the lifeline provided by social care services many people are at risk of reaching a crisis situation.

The Government has committed itself to fairness, dignity and respect for people with disabilities and has promised additional funding for social care – they have also stated that there is no need to cut support for social care. Any decision by our local council to cut frontline services would be a direct betrayal of the promises made to some of the most at risk people in our society.

On February 1, I will be supporting the Learning Disability Coalition's campaign to Protect the Frontline to make sure that our local Councillors remember how essential social care support is to people with learning disabilities as they set their budgets for 2011/12.

Sarah Hewitt, Fieldway Rise, Leeds,

Why left is not solely to blame

I had to comment on the rantings of M Nicholson in the YEP on January 11.

Why does this individual assume that all the problems of this country or in fact the world are caused by people from the left of the political spectrum? In his blinkered and politically myopic view, the left is responsible for everything that is wrong, and for encouraging rage and hatred.

What he/she conveniently overlooks are the problems caused to this country and the world by the greed and disregard for ordinary people by the power brokers in society, such as the bankers and their ilk, few of whom, I suspect, are left wingers. The recent furore over MPs' expenses left not one of the three major political parties unscathed including the Conservatives who M Nicholson would have us believe have a monopoly on moral values.

Britain is a caring society and the welfare state is a vital part of what makes this country a secure place to live, especially for those less fortunate in life. To attack it is an insult to the people who genuinely rely on it.

With regard to the university fees demonstrations, I doubt all the students involved were 'lefties', although I do concede that there was a minority of people involved who were not students and had their own political agenda, both left and right, but to suggest the violence only came from the left is quite frankly ridiculous. M Nicholson needs to understand that 'thugs', 'yobs' and people with polarised views such as his/her own, come from all sections of society and political persuasions and to suggest that any one ideology has all the answers is dangerously naive.

John Brown, Leeds.

How to find an NHS dentist

I read with interest the letter from Mr Watson (January 13) about the cost of dental treatment. I'd like to provide some information your readers might find helpful.

People in Leeds should not have to find and pay for private dental treatment as there are places available for them with NHS dentists.

I'd like to encourage patients who are seeking advice and information about NHS primary care dental services in Leeds to contact the Leeds Dental Advice Line on 0800 298 5787. Lines are open between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Alternatively people can complete an online form by visiting:

Damian Riley, director of primary care, NHS Leeds

Where did the leisure age go?

As engineering apprentices in the 1950s, we were given an annual lecture by the works managing director. Two lectures are still fresh in my mind, the first was a prediction of a vast increase in the number of pensioners by the turn of century. This has come to pass, and present predictions are that half of children born today can expect to live to be 100. Food for thought.

The second I remember, was what the effect automation and robotics would have on our lifestyles. I do admit that this left a feeling of anticipation that many social problems would improve or even disappear. There would be no shortage of labour, people required to work considerably fewer hours, or even job sharing, with much more leisure time resulting.The automation has indeed come to pass within the engineering industry with cars being produced by a fraction of the workforce of yesteryear. Mining has moved from a pick and shovel industry to near full automation. Even the fork lift truck and JCB have improved productivity tremendously, but at the expense of jobs.

So we can now produce everything we require with a surplus workforce of millions. So why are we not working 20 hours or so, and job sharing? Well under present employment practices it uneconomical to employ two people to job share. An alternative plan for the surplus workforce has been to push for more and more further education, with talk of 50 per cent of the young obtaining a degree.

In conclusion, I would like to quote a most poignant piece of graffiti seen on a wall many years ago, that I think has some relevance to increase of the unemployed, which said "two million unemployed in Britain – the rest working 12 hour shifts".

John McGuinness

Paying the price of the travellers

In these days of impending austerity, why is Leeds City Council recommending that council tax payers finance the provision of more gipsy and traveller sites? Most of these travellers do not contribute financially or in other ways to the societies in which they reside. Far from it, the illegal camps they set up are usually a blight for the local people amongst whom they live – I speak from first hand experience. It is time government introduced stringent laws making their unauthorised camps illegal and giving the authorities power to shut them down and remove their caravans and other vehicles immediately they appear. Rather than encouraging these people to live outside normal society they should be persuaded to live within it, in houses or other similar accommodation. If they must live a life travelling about, get them to join the caravan club and use the many touring sites around the country set up for this very purpose. However, if the council mistakenly decides on additional sites in the city, it should make sure that South Leeds is not made the dumping ground for them as so often happens; it should look to leafy glades of North Leeds and put them in the likes of Adel or Alwoodley where they will be more at home making bonfires with the trees and grazing their horses and other animals on the lush vegetation.

Name and address supplied

Launch of a new jobs stunt

David Cameron announces the new enterprise allowance scheme, offering loans allowances for people to set up their own business, which he says wildly, will create up to 40,000 new businesses.

Has he got any suggestions what type of businesses will and should be set up? Taking into account anything and everything we require in daily life is readily available in supermarkets, high street chains or from the internet.

Anyone setting up business in constructions, building or any service industry will have to be brave or foolhardy, due to thousands of unemployed people who are also available for work in ever decreasing markets, where there is less and less work available and more likely to get worse due to impending job loses, increases in VAT, reductions in pay and pay freezes.

Just another headline grabbing stunt by David Cameron which has no substance but keeps himself in the media sportlight.

M Duffield, Gipton, Leeds

YEP Letters: February 19