YEP Letters: April 14

Millennium Square and Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds City Centre.
Millennium Square and Leeds Civic Hall, Leeds City Centre.
Have your say

Check out today’s YEP letters

The chief executive of Leeds Council Tom Riordan earns £202k the Taxpayers’ Alliance said this week. 
YEP readers gave their views online. Here’s what some of them said..

Chris Sharp, by email

Leeds City Council in one breath moan about cuts and in the next breath attempt to justify their ludicrous top salaries.

A reduction from 19 people paid £100k to 18 people paid £100k! Very clever. Tom Riordan on £202k plus, this is not only obscene it is plain stupid when council tax is going up “because of cuts”.

If you are going to pay these ridiculous salaries Leeds City Council, please find someone with some financial savvy, the current crop seem to be great at wastage and self enrichment but a little short on thrift.

Judith Rawlings

The fact is that this pay is low compared to an equivalent role in the private sector. Paying someone less who didn’t have the same skill set or scrapping the role would be hugely inefficient.

The role isn’t just about sorting out bin collections, but encapsulates schools, social care, libraries, parks, transport etc, as well as promoting our city to potential investors. We need to compete internationally and to do that we need the right person in charge.

Peter Mitchell

Absolutely disgusting. So that’s where my £750 a year tax bill goes on!

Was it the other year Leeds City Council was moaning about budget cuts? Get rid of this guy and you’ve just saved £200,000 which could be spent on improving the city infrastructure, but no they like to waste it.

Martin Procter

£200k isn’t that much for a CEO. Look at HS2, NR, Royal Mail, FTSE100 board member salaries, etc.

I think they deserve that salary for the pressure and the responsibility.

Whether they do a good job is another matter. A bigger concern is how the councils pay £50+/hour for freelance staff via a contractual arrangement for services to large consultancies when they could get them direct for £30/hour, but without the “secrecy” about taking on staff at the same time as enforcing redundancies.

Inefficient spending is the big issue and this is just one such example.

Mark Wolstenholme

The sort of money one executive is paid is about a tenth of a percent of the overall cuts imposed on the council by central government.

You’re angry at the wrong people.

Mark Boar Otty

To get talented people to run and manage public sector organisations, the pay has to reflect that.

If you were in charge of millions of pounds, dozens of services, hundreds of buildings and a lot of the Leeds workforce, you would expect to be paid accordingly.

Ann Dauny

That’s where all your rates and taxes are going, on exec salaries and big fat pension pots, nothing left in the pot to empty bins. Scandalous. What do they all do?

Bob McDougall

This person does NOT run the city. I believe our elected councillors are responsible for that task.

This person manages the workforce and budgets. Which are not set by this person.

The tosh about paying for talented people to work in this sector, is just tosh.

Gary Woolton

There is a fallacy that people on public sector should not be paid, do it for the love of it maybe. Sorry folks, wrong. As in any area you have to pay the going rate. Anyone would think local elections were due all the fuss going on.

Ann Mcguigan

Disgusting and the council are laying people off . There would be enough money there to keep at least four people still in a job.

Deborah Long

Checkout all the CEOs of academy school multi academy trusts in Yorkshire to see loads more who earn more than the Prime Minister.

Jason Logan

They’re so strapped for cash they can afford to pay these people vast amounts of money to make a poor job of running this city, well I know who I’ll be voting next time.

Andja Lesiak

It makes no wonder that they are all so out of touch with the common man.

Their monthly salary is often more than Joe/Jane Bloggs’ annual income!

Mark Eddleston

Welcome to modern England, rich get richer and the poorest don’t count.

Three new schools are set to open in Leeds next year creating more than 1700 new places for pupils the Government has announced.
A primary and a secondary and a sixth-form centre will be built in a bid to tackle the shortage of school places in the city. Here’s what YEP readers think about the plan..

Barbara Thomas

One primary school, but every area that has been inundated with new houses are crying out for a school place.

In Pudsey all our primary schools are over subscribed, and fields or playgrounds have been reduced so that extensions can be added.

Part of granted planning permission should be some money for schools, doctors, dentists and roads.

Aoi Yoshikawa

My daughter is now six and she still doesn’t have a school place. More primary schools are needed.

Catchment areas are a must, don’t allow non local residents to have a school place unless all local residents have a place.

Unfortunately all schools surrounding us are full and have been full since day one.

She could go to another school elsewhere in Leeds that may have a place but who knows how far we would have to travel to get to and from it each day.

Leeds City Council admissions tried to help but unfortunately even they can’t find her a place anywhere.

Eugene Morice

Why more free schools when academies and local authority schools are being drained of cash under the new funding formula?

If the school places are needed then fine... but free schools are just a government vanity project.

Lyndsay Kay

We need places NOW.

The problem with these new schools is that they only open for reception classes initially so it takes seven years for them to open fully. It’s ridiculous! There are new schools in over subscribed areas who have 30+ children on waiting lists for every school year but are half empty!

So all the other schools in that area are under pressure to take more children.

A wasteful consultation?

D Angood, by email

Having read through the transport features in the Route to 2030 consutation document composed by the LBA executive to outline future development of the airport, I would like to make some criticism.

The document says the airport execs have a vision, “to be an outstanding airport connecting Yorkshire to the world”. Surely the first priority should be to connect Yorkshire to the airport. You have to be able to walk before you can run.

The provision of a new and improved road and rail access to the airport is a long held aspiration of Leeds City Region. It has been held so long it has lost any movement. The Leeds Core Strategy has a long term vision that by 2028 Leeds will be better connected by an accessible and integrated transport system, (“whatever that will be”, to quote Coun Lewis). Another long held but no action option.

WYCA is pursuing the development of a direct link connecting the airport with the Leeds-Harrogate and Bradford lines. Said to be delivered by 2030, if they are pursuing such a scheme why not as soon as possible, or now.

It seems both LCR and the WYCA are both sitting on their aspirations or pursuits without making any exertions to move anything forward. WYCA should produce a plan of action to set in motion that direct link between the Leeds-Harrogate line and the Wharfedale line via a station at the airport not sit on it for another 13 years.

It is all there, the technology, the equipment and the expertise, so go and fight for the funding. Does anyone feel inspired by this document? Is it just another wasteful consultation that produces nothing but a load of waffle and figures that should be consigned to the dustbin by half past eight?

Historic anniversary

John Appleyard, Liversedge

The name of Ellen Nussey may not be too familiar to many readers but she was a life long friend of the author Charlotte Bronte whom she met at Roe Head School, Mirfield in 1831. Ellen was the 12th child of John Nussey a clothing merchant of Birstall Smithies, near Gomersal in West Yorkshire.

In the 1840s Ellen and Charlotte were regular visitors of Oakwell Hall a young ladies boarding school. Ellen Nussey’s early home was the Rydings at Birstall which partly inspired ‘Thornfield Hall’ in Charlotte Brontes Jane Eyre.

The Rydings property is still partly visible on the Leeds road(A62), near the crossroads with A652 Bradford road.

The Nusseys last rented home, where she died aged 80 years old in 1897 was moor lane house, which is now the Gomersal Park Hotel.

After Charlotte Bronte’s death in 1855 Ellen defended her memory and reputation in a number of letters, some of which can still be seen in the University of Leeds. April 20 is the 200th anniversary of Ellen’s birth, she is buried in the graveyard at St Peter’s Church in Birstall.

MyMarathon heart challenge

Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation

Keeping physically active is vital to maintaining a healthy heart. However, last week we revealed new statistics which showed that 1.7million adults in Yorkshire and the Humber are failing to meet the recommended level of physical activity, significantly increasing their risk of heart disease and early death. In the UK alone physical inactivity causes one in ten premature deaths from coronary heart disease, and one in six deaths overall. So it’s never been more important to get your heart pumping.

But getting active doesn’t have to be difficult. With the British Heart Foundation’s MyMarathon challenge you can complete the 26.2 miles in your own time, whether it’s over four hours, four days or four weeks. Run to work every morning, jog during your lunchbreaks or run laps around the park in the evenings; you decide the place and you decide the pace.

More than 30,000 people of all fitness levels took part in MyMarathon last year, raising over £1million for the BHF’s life saving heart research. Why not take on the challenge this May and help give your physical activity a boost.

Every pound raised could help us accelerate the right against heart disease, and make a real difference the 616,100 people locally that are living with its burden. You can sign up to MyMarathon by visiting where you will find helpful tips and advice on how to get started.