YEP Letters: August 3

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Broken promise on train services

John Appleyard, Liversedge

The Government has broken its promise to fix train services in the north of England.

In the same week the government promised billions to improve train services 
in London. For years the government has pumped money into transport in London, while people in the north have been left with slow services and uncomfortable 

I don’t begrudge people living in London having fast, reliable trains, its about investment being shared fairly around the country and us all having a decent transport system, wherever we live.

Beechwood House deserves more recognition

Michael McGowan, Leeds 7

the reference to the “Royal and anti-royal house of Leeds” by Neil Hudson (YEP Retro, July 24) about the former home of the Lupton family of Leeds omits an important chapter in the history of the house.

That Beechwood House has links to Kate Middleton and the current royal family and with Sir William Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell of the English Civil War is only part of the story.

In the 1970s the house was an important centre of the co-operative movement and known as Beechwood College. It was the national headquarters of ICOM (the Industrial Common Ownership Movement) set up to support the creation of new co-operative businesses.

As education officer of Leeds Industrial Co-operative Society I organised conferences at Beechwood College on co-operative development in Africa led by speakers from Africa and the Co-operative College near Loughborough.

An international conference held at Beechwood College in January 1980 on “What we can learn from Tanzania and its co-operatives” attracted speakers and delegates from across Europe and Africa.

I worked for ICOM later when it moved from Beechwood College to the Corn Exchange in Leeds based in a first floor office in that wonderful building. ICOM has since merged with the Co-operative Union now named Co-operatives UK with head office at Holyoake House in Manchester.

Granted that the republican Oliver Cromwell is worth a mention surely Beechwood College for years an international centre of co-operative business and education deserves more recognition than our royal friend Kate Middleton.

Worries on devolution deal

Geoff Holloran, Richmond Hill

I read with great interest the YEP report of the recent meeting of 17 leaders at a “landmark summit” to discuss making a renewed bid to win devolved powers to Yorkshire.

I would like to ask the following questions. Why did it take so long for our council leaders to get around the table for meaningful talks with other interested parties? Other areas of the country ie Manchester have had a deal in place for months and have accessed funding from central government for the Greater Manchester area.

Who were these 17 leaders who attended this meeting and which areas of Yorkshire do they represent?

I, like Leeds chief executive Tom Riordan, am “hopeful” that we can get a deal but I fear that this inept Labour-led council are not up to putting together a proposal that will be acceptable to central government in the foreseeable future as it seems to be obsessed with putting together a bid for Leeds to be the 2023 European capital of culture.

Hazards of superhighway

Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16

Having read the waffle from John Dennis, Chair of City Connect (YEP Letters, August 1) it is clear he is not a cyclist.

If, as he claims, the Cycle Superhighway is ‘safe’ and ‘making a real difference’ why are so few cyclists using it? (I don’t know where he gets his statistics from but I have yet to see anybody using it.)

As many cyclists have already stated, they feel safer cycling on the road alongside other traffic rather than on the cycle highway.

The cycle superhighway has also created additional hazards for pedestrians and people boarding and alighting buses.

Mr Dennis is clearly living in a fantasy world.

Tackle city’s problems first

Carol Lee, Cookridge

I agree with the sentiments of D S Boyes which he wrote in response to a recent TV documentary which showed some poor states of housing in this country.

He has hit the nail on the head when he suggests that Leeds should spend more time on attracting industries to give jobs to ordinary workers rather than promote the glitz of designer shops (I prefer scouring the local charity shops to walking round these soulless shopping malls which are just encouraging overspending and credit card debt.)

Leeds used to be a big clothing manufacturing city. There were also many printing companies. Wheras many ordinary people used to work happily in the factories enjoying the camaraderie and receiving their well deserved pay packet (always cash in a little brown envelope) at 5pm on a Friday, many of these people are now on benefits thus the creation of our so called “benefit culture” and a decline in self esteem and an increase of apathy.

This becomes apparent when you look at the state of the gardens of rented properties. The blame here has to be put on the tenants aswell as the landlords.

As for his mention of chasing the Capital of Culture title, I don’t want to appear cynical. I do love living in Leeds and I am proud of our parks, museums and theatres and all the cultural events in and around our city.

But I would be so proud of our city if it was to be put on the map as the first city to tackle the problems of drug abuse, begging on the streets, homelessness and prostitution.

I understand that help and support is available for all the victims of the above but not enough is done to encourage them to accept the help offered.

I do not think that this city should become a City of Culture until there are no beggars on the streets of Leeds and the “managed area” of prostitution just south of the city centre comes to an end.

Ignore advice at your peril

John Cole, Shipley

George Bernard Shaw once tartly commented that “if all the economists in the world were laid from end to end they would still not reach a conclusion”.

This quip arose from the generally observed tendency for economists to disagree.

Unusually, Brexit has had the impact of uniting the profession.

Over ninety percent of academic economists have stated their belief that Brexit will cause economic damage to the UK. (Incidentally, this puts them onside with Mark Carney our very able Governor of the Bank of England).

Whilst forecasts are only forecasts, what has been emerging in the last thirteen months are some of the bad outcomes that most economists had predicted.

The most recent example are the figures for growth in the economy in the first half of 2017 that has been virtually non-existent.

To this can be added the rising inflation caused largely by the 14 per cent fall in the exchange rate of the £ (also predicted by economists).

In the run up to the referendum Michael Gove said that “the country has had enough of experts”.

This was music in the ears of Brexiteers. What we are now discovering to our cost is that you ignore expert advice at your peril.

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YEP Letters: March 16