YEP Letters: August 11

'Charging' Ahead In Crime Scene Investigation
'Charging' Ahead In Crime Scene Investigation
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Electric vans are wonderful idea

Jaimes Lewis Moran, Seacroft

In response to the article announcement that West Yorkshire police crime scene investigators are to receive two electric vans (YEP August 5), what a wonderful idea!

Especially because it’s done on a year-long duration/trial period; which will hopefully help the makers of this electric vehicle get all those important real-world stats.

I’m quite surprised they haven’t done this sooner, and why only two vans; surely they could’ve been given a few more by Peugeot?

Also, why don’t they do the same with their off-road pursuit motorbikes, basically phasing them out for electric counterparts? I admit they do have their restrictions, but at the same time though, don’t knock em until you’ve tried one out!

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Housing crisis is going to get worse

John Davies, Chair, Hands off our Homes

“Housing costs are stretching families to breaking point” reads your headline in YEP 9th August.

The article described how difficult it would be for those who lost employment to maintain rent or mortgage payments for more than a month. The government is urged to protect and improve the welfare safety net that helps families to stay in their homes.

Sadly this government has no interest in such a safety net and from November 2016 the overall household benefit cap will be reduced meaning that the housing benefit element of any payment is likely to be insufficient to meet the rental payments of families with children.

Using the government’s own figures it appears that in Leeds 3,600 households will be affected comprising 4,700 adults and around 12,000 children. If these families can’t pay the rent from their benefits then evictions are likely. Around 2,050 of the families are in the private rented sector where the landlord is likely to be less accommodating than the council or a housing association.

Can I repeat that one figure – 12,000 children are at risk of eviction this winter in Leeds. Should the breadwinner in a family become unemployed this sad situation will just make matters worse.

In the year from autumn 2016 we believe there will be a shortfall in help with rent from the continuing bedroom tax of £4.7m and £14.2m from the overall household benefit cap – a total shortfall of £18.9m against a Discretionary Housing Payment allocation of £1.89m.

And the Housing Act will cause further problems with the provision and security of social housing, but I leave that for another day!

The housing crisis is going to get worse unless the local council joins with all others in a “Northern Powerhouse” or elsewhere and tells the Westminster government that the forthcoming plans are unworkable and should be scrapped.

Bus lane fines

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning

I read Janet Porter’s letter (YEP August 3) on bus lane fines with interest.

Mrs Porter’s view – that we should ban all cars from bus lanes at all times - is definitely consistent. But it may be disproportionate and lead to situations where cars are backed up when there is a free lane. That doesn’t seem fair on car users.

Mrs Porter argues that the rules about when bus lanes are enforced overly complicated. We certainly don’t want that to be the case; that said from my experience the majority of people are able to follow these rules.

If there are any particular signs or bus lanes in Leeds that residents want to let me know about please feel free to contact me and I’ll look into it. However, my general advice would be “if in doubt, don’t drive in the bus lane”.

Bus lanes can make a significant difference to travel times for public transport users at peak times.

This only works if car drivers stay out of them. Enforcement is there to make sure that people are following the rules and to prevent them from being flouted. If the rules are followed there are no fines.That’s the situation we want to see - freely moving buses providing quick and reliable public transport to residents in the city.

Nobody entitled to free bus pass

Nick Keer, Cottingley

I feel I must reply to the recent letter from Pat Webster (YEP August 9).

How can she say OAPs are entitled to a free bus pass? Nobody is! If you’re using a service that’s provided by an operator then that operator can expect you to pay an appropriate amount for what you have used.

If everyone travelled for nothing how could any operator cover its running costs, pay its staff and make a bit of profit? The answer is simple - it couldn’t. This is why free bus passes need to be stopped. Those which want/have them are basically saying, “We want this, we want that, and we want someone else to pay for it all.” Surely an attitude like that is loathsome and downright selfish in anyone’s book, expecting someone else, in this case the government, to pay for you to ride around on buses. Then there’s prescriptions, tv licences, heating allowances and what not. Is it any wonder the basic state pension is so low when all this has to be taken into consideration?

If it wasn’t for Gordon Brown’s incompetent Labour government (the words ‘incompetent’ and ‘Labour’ always seem go hand in hand) introducing free bus passes a few years ago we wouldn’t be having all this hassle over them now.Some say it would be political suicide to withdraw them. I don’t agree, unless full fare was charged at all times giving them no discount at all. I would not expect OAPs to have to do that. Half-fare or £1 a journey would be more than reasonable as I’ve said before, and I’ve met a number of OAPs who would be more than happy with this should it be brought in. This should also discourage silly one-stop journeys which I find particularly infuriating!

Second referendum

John M Collins, Alwoodley

Baroness Wheatcroft has pointed out that the result of the EU referendum is not legally binding on the Government. That is undoubtedly correct. In law, it is simply advisory of our elected Government.

Yet John Downing (YEP August 9) describes this as “an abhorrent view from someone who was not elected by the electorate”, as if being a member of the House of Lords disqualifies her from expressing an opinion shared by almost half the voters in this country. After the negotiations with the EU have reached the stage when we can see what will happen if we leave the EU, it will be for the Government to decide what happens next. They may decide to leave or that it would be in our national interest to remain or - as I and many millions would wish - to call a second referendum.

How many of those who voted to leave will still so vote if, as seems inevitable in the light of the position taken by the Irish and Northern Irish governments, we will still have to have open borders and no control on immigration from Europe?

Brexit delay

Ernest Lundy, by email

As a regular contributor to the letters page, I always read those of other correspondents.

Therefore I have to agree with comments of Terry Watson (YEP August 10) on the way the country is being run, particularly on the enormous gap in the amount received by our pensioners compared with those of other countries, especially Germany and Spain. Why is this, when we are supposed to be high up in the wealth stakes?

However whether or not Baroness Thatcher would have sorted the delay in Brexit is open to conjecture. She wasn’t the favourite of most people in Yorkshire by the actions she took while in office.

As for the comments of L N Hirst, same edition, I too to have difficulty hearing the spoken word as delivered in the news reports of many announcers and in certain films.

So much so that I have to resort to the use of subtitles when watching TV, or become totally confused while losing the plot.

Background music can also be a put-off. My problems could be down to old age, but it’s pleasing to know others think the same.

Bring back the old type announcers and actors who knew how to speak clearly, slowly and distinctly, and help save the batteries in my hearing aids.

New colony of Humboldt penguins in the new Costal Zone at Lotherton Hall.
21st November 2017.
Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

YEP Letters: November 22