Two recent YEP news stories serve to reveal the kind of contradictions that lie at the heart of municipal decision-making procedures.
On the one hand, 475 council staff redundancies, rent and rate increases, roadworks reductions, closure of child and elderly care resources etc will be implemented as economy measures to help achieve the stipulated £76m budget cut for 2015-16.
On the other hand, the council persists in pursuing its senseless scheme to place 20mph signs at 120 zones throughout Leeds – at an estimated cost of £6m.
If these signs are placed at the same density as the Grange “zone” in West Garforth (29 double-sided 20mph signs imposing urban blight on a quiet residential area), then my calculator tells me that the following costs will apply.
120 zones x 29 signs = 3,480 signs at an estimated cost of £6m means that each double-sided sign will cost £1,724.
Happily, I believe that includes installation, although I am less pleased that my annual corporation tax will only buy two-thirds of a sign.
Perhaps this is one area where a review of priorities may be considered appropriate?
I wonder how many of Leeds’s 99 councillors would agree?
Vernon Wood, Leeds
No saving grace to be found...
The Government, through the auspices of the Financial Services Authority, is increasingly more than keen to inform those with savings in banks and building societies that they need have no fear should any of these institutions fail, and guarantee that sums up to £85,000 are secure.
To those with savings accrued over the years, in some ways this appears to be an apology by government for the drastic loss of value of the pound sterling since, for example 1980, when, calculated on the value of £1,000 today it was worth in excess of £6750, a reduction in purchasing power now of £5,750.
In addition, at the same time any such savings put aside by savers now in old age in the hope of accruing interest to help in their retirement, are now suffering the effects of the lowest returns on savings for many years. So much so that savings of any kind in either fixed rate savings bonds or Isas are hardly worth the effort. For observers who may say “why worry, it is still there to spend” don’t forget that when and if the time comes for older people to be taken into care, any unspent savings will be taken to pay for such care, including property.
So no wonder government (through the FSA) are offering crumbs of comfort by securing some of our savings when they have the older generation hogtied. Thank you very much!
Ernest Lundy, Beeston
There is a need for boundaries
I agree entirely with the points made in the letter challenging the assertion in another letter espousing that in a “free” society people can display what images they want and if other people don’t like it then they can look away.
Freedom of speech/opinion does not mean (as internet “trolls” and certain artists/advertisers believe) that you can say or display what you want in whatever way you want with impunity.
It carries with it a responsibility and also accountability,as some of these “trolls” are now finding out.
This particular “liberal” claim that anything goes and tough luck if you don’t like it because we have to celebrate diversity has as its logical conclusion the acceptance of all sorts of human behaviour that are abhorrent to most of us.
There have to be social boundaries to a degree in order for some sort of social stability.
Terry Maunder, Kirkstall
Green supplier ...of fossil fuel
Your correspondent P Lloyd makes statements and calls them fact.
Here are a couple of undeniable facts. An October 2014 report quotes climate change scientists as being confounded because computer models have predicted that Antarctic sea-ice would decrease over the past 30 years.
The scientists admit that the Antarctic sea-ice has been growing over the last 30 years.
Arctic sea-ice comes and goes (and has done for years before the global warming scare stories) with a NSIDC report of December 2014 showing that Arctic sea-ice is greater now than in 2006.
The last three years have seen the warmest Novembers for a long time. The scientists use this as a “trend”, and extrapolate that we are now experiencing substantial global warming, and that the UK is about to turn into an arid desert.
There may be more CO2 in the atmosphere than in many thousands of years, but in dinosaur days Antarctica was apparently ice-free and populated by dinosaurs.
I agree with P Lloyd that we should be using carbon capture or some other method of making coal-fired power stations cleaner.
This is because coal-fired stations are so much more efficient than wind turbines.
Ecotricity is mentioned as a safe supplier of electricity, and that more people should join them. The Ecotricity website states that their theoretical maximum output is 60MW.
The generating output over the past few days has not exceeded 40MW.
This 40MW figure is less than one tenth of the output of just one generator at Cottam power station, built in the late 1960s.
Cottam will give 2000MW 24/7 if required, and has probably been doing that since it was built.
Conversely, the 40MW being supplied by Ecotricity (as I write) is being generated by 43 of their 55 wind turbines.
Imagine that, 43 turbines blighting the landscape, and next to useless eyesores at that!
I suggest that if a lot of people buy electricity from a supplier such as Ecotricity then demand will exceed the supply and Ecotricity will have to buy electricity from another generator, most likely a fossil-fuel generator.
This means that those who wish (with the best intentions) to buy green electricity will very likely be using fossil-fuel electricity.
Phillip Marsden, Leeds
Spare your time for needy kids
Christmas is a wonderful and magical time of year for children across the UK. But sadly, it can also be a difficult time for those families struggling to make ends meet and those who are facing unimaginable hardships.
Barnardo’s works with some of the UK’s most disadvantaged children and families and sees firsthand the difficulties they face, such as homelessness, poverty and abuse. We work with more than 200,000 children, young people and their families each year and run more than 900 services across the UK.
We need help from people across Yorkshire to make a difference to the lives of these vulnerable children. With your support we can be there when we are needed most and turn young lives around.
If readers can spare some time this Christmas to fundraise for Barnardo’s, we are offering a whole host of support to make your fundraising a success. Readers can download packs at www.barnardos.org.uk/getinvolved/fundraise/runyourownevent
By taking part you will help to raise awareness of those young people who may not have anyone to turn to this Christmas and help provide funds to ensure Barnardo’s can be there for them instead.
By fundraising for Barnardo’s you’re joining an amazing community of people doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged children across the UK.
Please help us to transform the lives of the UK’s most vulnerable children and help thousands of families to build a better future. We can’t do it without you. A huge thank you and a Happy Christmas.
Steve Oversby, Barnardo’s Director in Yorkshire
Bob Geldof is widely regarded as nothing short of a saint for his Band Aid work.
He has been at the forefront in the fight against famine and now Ebola.
Geldof seems to feel this high-profile philanthropy gives him a kryptonite shield against criticism.
Let us not forget that it is our hard-earned money, not his, that is going to help those in need
He is not a saint,but a millionaire non-dom.
The mantra of men like Bob Geldof is do as I say, not as I do.
Malcolm Nicholson, Barwick-in-Elmet