Fighting for a fair deal for Yorkshire

AS the year comes to an end, the main topic of conversation is the terrible weather we have experienced throughout December.

Although it is undoubtedly very seasonal and some children are loving it, it has caused real problems in our rural areas and for our farmers and, of course, those using our roads, railways and airports.

I sincerely hope all my constituents have remained safe and warm and have remembered to keep a look out for elderly neighbours.

The one bit of weather-related good news is that the Coalition Government is retaining the Winter Fuel Allowance. This is welcome news for many older people.

It has been a difficult year in the region economically and the Government cuts continue to put pressure on many people. They are painful but also necessary to deal with the huge deficit left by the Labour Government. But our region is resilient and I am confident that, working together, we can restore our fortunes and move ahead again.

In Europe I and my fellow Conservative MEPs have fought to contain the EU budget.

In my constituency I have been delighted to visit more schools, colleges, local authorities, businesses and other organisations across Yorkshire and the Humber, than ever before, this year.

I have been instrumental in gaining a large number of grants and other European financial support for projects in urban and rural areas across the region and will continue to do so in the coming year.

The demise of Yorkshire Forward, the Regional Development Agency, in a year's time, will result in a new approach to economic development in Yorkshire and the Humber. I will be monitoring the replacement bodies closely to ensure they deliver, but I will also continue in any event to ensure that this region gets its fair share of EU funds.

I wish every one of you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2011.

Timothy Kirkhope, MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber

Volunteer praise

WRVS would like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who have given up their time throughout 2010 to help us support older people across Great Britain.

Especially those who battled through the snow to deliver hot meals, to ensure shops and cafes at busy hospitals were still able to open and to help out at emergency rest centres set up for stranded motorists.

Our 45,000 volunteers make it possible for us to provide vital services such as meals at home, transport schemes, Good Neighbours projects and community centres – helping to make Britain a great place to grow old all year round.

Ray Koralewski, RVS Service Delivery Manager for Yorkshire and Humber

Left in the cold

I think it's disgusting the way the cold weather payment is paid. My parents are 82 and 81, they receive the winter fuel allowance, as all pensioners get. I phoned the cold weather payment helpline and they said they have to be on either income support, pension credit or income-based Jobseekers Allowance – what at 82 and 81? Another reason is when they were working they joined a pension scheme.

It's the same old thing. Work all your life, save up for your retirement and you lose out.

L Powell, by email

Help trace John

I AM trying to trace an old family friend by the name of John Daniels. He befriended my mother and father, who were students from Sierra Leone, in Leeds in the early 1950s.

I believe John's father was once the chauffeur of the Lord Mayor of Leeds. He later worked as an accountant at the Moorhouse Jam factory in Leeds. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who can help me trace John.

Dr V Labor, Eastmoor Health Centre, Wakefield

The Bronte Parsonage Museum, Haworth.

YEP Letters: January 16