YEP Letters: April 15

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

There’s a better way to help city’s homeless

Lauren Baker, Armley

I HAD to sigh when I read about the setting up of a petition targeting the so-called “homeless spikes” outside McDonald’s in Leeds.

As one who works in the charity/outreach sector I’m afraid Isobella DeMartino’s good intentions are somewhat wide of the mark.

There are actually very few genuinely homeless people seen begging on the streets of Leeds but I concede it can be difficult or impossible to tell who is who.

Many of the individuals who beg on Boar Lane and the surrounding streets, commonly next to cash machines, are certainly not homeless – they are professional beggars who make a very good living from relieving well-intentioned people of their spare change.

If people genuinely want to help they should consider donating to one of the local charities who support the homeless in Leeds and do outstanding work every day of the year.

When somebody asks for money so they can buy a cup of tea, or some food for their dog, perhaps buy them a tea or a tin. Those in need will welcome you with open arms.

The giving of cash to people on the streets can often be counter-productive and the odds are high that you’re simply helping somebody on their way to a new iPhone.

This may sound harsh from somebody working in the sector but there are better ways to help, both in the support of genuinely homeless people but also in removing the incentive for professional con artists to sit on our streets every day.

I was once in need of help from homeless charities and I owe them a debt of gratitude I can never repay.

Help them to help the people who really need help.

Pedestrian role in accidents toll

Ernest Lundy, Beeston

A LOOK through any dictionary reveals that the words accident and misadventure mean almost the same thing.

But a few words added in explanation are: bad luck, failure, mischance, mishap, disaster and others.

But something seems strangely amiss when, in almost every accident, mishap, failure, call it what you will, we never read or hear of pedestrians being charged with responsibility.

We all see jay walkers crossing roads with sound systems blocking outside noise, completely oblivious to traffic and other things around them. Many cyclists are observed doing the same.

Why should this be so? Accidents or misadventures can be and are created by all sections of the community, so it is hard to accept why anyone who causes injuries and death through carelessness should escape scot free.

That they should do so is an injustice. We must all accept responsibility.

Workers and wages in focus

Derek Barker, Moortown

The Labour party’s manifesto rightly claims that Britain succeeds when the workers succeed but fails to emphasise British workers.

It also fails to recognise that a minimum wage of £8 an hour in 2020 will only be worth approximately £6.50 an hour in today’s values, if that.

It promises smaller classroom sizes but fails to say if this will be achieved by building more schools and employing more teachers 
or by stemming the uncontrolled flow of migrants from the EU.

It also claims it will have this country’s deficit paid off over the term of the next parliament, when the Conservatives promised to do it over the term of two parliaments and we are now deeper in debt than ever.

But of course this is all going to be overseen by an independent audit by the Office of Budget Responsibility, so they can take the blame when it all goes wrong.

Council’s binned online reports

John Sutcliffe, Leeds

Having unsuccessfully attempted to report, by telephone, to Leeds City Council several instances of 
fly-tipping and overflowing waste bins due to being constantly told that “all our customer service advisors are busy”, I am wondering if this is a ploy to reduce the number of reports made.

In the recent past, it was possible to make such reports via a dedicated form on the council website.

This was convenient because it meant you were able to make a report at any time, plus it was free to use. Alas this is no longer available. Progress?

Our battle for a living wage

Andrew Carter, leader of the Conservative Group, Leeds City Council.

FURTHER to your article regarding low pay at Leeds City Council (YEP, April 9), my colleagues and I have been calling for the living wage to be introduced for over two years.

It is true that the ruling administration has now, finally put its money where its mouth is and agreed to take action to address low pay at the council, but really this should have been done much sooner.

In my group’s proposals for the 2013/14 budget we had a policy to introduce the living wage. These were rejected and this year we had similar proposals again rejected by the ruling administration.

By removing hourly rates of £7.05 and £7.10 they have taken a step in the right direction but is it enough?

Their commitment to introduce it over the next year is a welcome one but we have been here before.

In February 2013 the council leader, Keith Wakefield, said: “By working with trade unions to make more savings, this council will become a fair wage council next year so we can help our low paid staff.” Yet for two years nothing happened.

I can only hope that the ruling administration is prepared to deliver this year.

Leeds City Council should be leading by example and ensuring that all workers employed by the council receive a living wage.

Monarchy has no modern use

A Hague, Harehills

I FULLY agree with the recent letter from J Rusby, who does not approve of the monarchy.

In this day and age we are ruled by a group of people we voted for, not a king or queen who live a life of luxury at our expense, and look down on us.

The cost of supporting them could be far better spent on people in need, and it is time this antiquated regime was terminated.

courage: PC Martin Willis holds on to the van. @WYP_PCWILLIS/PA Wire .

YEP Letters: December 5