LEEDS CITY Council has recently been concerning itself, quite rightly, with the issues of isolation, loneliness and vulnerability among older people. I have been happy to make my own small contribution to these ongoing discussions.
Your readers might be interested to hear of the following experience of an elderly Alwoodley couple, aged 86 and 82, particularly as the lady is a dementia sufferer. Needing both physical and mental support, they moved from their bungalow of 30 years to a care home on October 28, and had been told by British Gas that a meter reading would be taken on that day.
Having recovered from the upset and strain of the move, imagine their alarm and distress when a letter arrived last week from ‘The Moorcroft Group’, a Stockport-based debt collection agency, demanding the payment of £150 (or else) on behalf of their client, British Gas. They were told that they had to prove that they moved on the day n question by posting their rental agreement to them. Their son took up the matter urgently, but could make no headway with this agency.
British Gas subsequently conceded that the fault was entirely theirs, that this large sum was not owed, and that the agency was to be stood down. These trying and exasperating discussions lasted a long time. As a result of these events, an elderly couple were left shaken and fearful.
I fully accept that the great majority of debtors will be scallywags, who should be robustly pursued, but the utility companies should surely be required to ascertain that they are not throwing vulnerable members of society to the debt collection wolves. This heavy-handed approach needs urgent review.
Coun Neil Buckley, Alwoodley Ward (Conservative)
Gas charge for an electric flat
I FEEL I must write about the unbelievable situation I find myself in. I live on the 15th floor of a high rise block of flats which is all electric. Imagine my surprise to receive a gas bill!
After contacting British Gas I was informed it was not for gas supply but the service charge for a meter in the property that incidentally has been capped for a number of years.
After a lengthy conversation with British Gas I was informed I have to pay for a meter that provides me with nothing and that I don’t want.
Do I pay for bus journeys I do not travel on or a car service when I don’t own a car? I think not.
Apparently British Gas think that yes, we should pay for things we don’t use.
Just call me Mr Bewildered.
John Davis, Burnsall Croft, Armley
Praise for Oliver Cross column
I WRITE regarding the book I purchased by Oliver Cross “Cats and Other Party Animals”.
I found it most amusing and hilarious sometimes. What a brilliant mind he has.
I personally would have cracked up with the experience he had letting his house to unsavoury tenants. At the start of his book he mentions his friend Ron and his comments. I related to that straightaway (although I cannot believe Mr Cross is dull in conversation!) It inspired me to get writing again although not on Oliver Cross’s level.
More recently I have enjoyed his columns so much I found myself saving them.
The piece about Angela Merkel struck a chord with me. I have always had much admiration for the woman – just plain speaking and such an aura about her.
I enjoyed his piece about Whitby fish and chips and heritage. It was an education for me (as most of his columns are) to learn about Captain Cook, something I didn’t know.
I also loved the thought of the Irish travellers around Leicester Square. I could go on but I’ll just say thank you to Oliver Cross for his contributions and also for mentioning my letter in his column quite a while ago (my claim to fame).
Miss Patricia Bentley, Bennett Road, Headingley
Miliband guilty of buying votes
AFTER THE head to head TV debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, the reaction of Ed Miliband has been amazing.
It seems that there is no limit to how much of our money he is prepared to spend to save his own political career.
He is considering re-nationalising the railways, giving £20bn to cities to create jobs and build houses to improve the infrastructure.
I wonder, will these be British jobs and houses for British workers being paid a decent living wage, or will the dozens of EU citizens’ job applications for every available job be given preference?
That’s if the jobs are even advertised in this country. I am old enough to know that election promises are hot air to buy votes, and I feel quite sure that the majority of the electorate have woken up to that fact.
Derek Barker, by email
Global warming fantasy world
HERE WE go again with another outpouring of overblown global warming scare stories led by its acolytes at the BBC.
Have they not yet realised that the reason so many people are sceptical of this subject is the fact that over the past 15-20 years the climate has stubbornly refused to conform to their earlier predictions?
Instead of the usual fantasy predictions we should consider a few facts:
1) There has been no statistically significant warming since 1998.
2) Polar ice is not vanishing – recent reductions of Arctic sea ice have been balanced by increases in the Antarctic.
3) Even the GW “experts” admit that there is no scientific evidence to link incidence of extreme weather events to man-made causes.
4) And finally, how much of CO2 is there in the atmosphere to cause all this? Just 0.04 per cent, that’s all.
And finally the IPCC spokesman who was wheeled out to deliver the latest statement (Rajendra Pachauri) has no qualifications whatsoever in climate science – he is in fact an ex-Indian railway engineer.
It seems impossible to have a fact-based, grown-up debate on the subject.
John Wainwright, by email
Danger road for pedestrians
ON READING the headline ‘Victory for a gran’ headline (YEP, March 24) about the pensioner who fell on her face on an uneven road reminded me of my recent letter stating that Harehills Lane from Compton Road up to Ashley Road must be the most dangerous road in Leeds for pedestrians as the top layer has come away on much of the road.
Yet it is still awaiting work. If it was a country road it would not be as urgent but this road is crossed by many, many people every day – it has 12 takeaways nearby which raises the footfall.
AE Hague, Bellbrooke Grove, Leeds
Pavement was on the move
I WORKED for the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) based in Whitehall Road and Thirsk Row, in the early 1960s. When the offices moved to the Merrion Centre (built on the site of Rockingham Street Bus Station, I believe) as, at that time, it was open to the elements. You often arrived rather dishevelled!
There was a moving pavement at the Merrion Street entrance (it didn’t always move!)I also remember taking a nephew to the cinema there, to see Mary Poppins.
Mrs J Finister, Pudsey
Full stop city
I knew it would happen!
I knew it would come someday to this grid-locked city – blanket 20mph speed limits – and I knew the ‘pie-in-the-sky’ cycle highway would bring this city to a full stop!
Bob Green, by email