YEP Letters: December 17

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Coal mining entering the history books

Nigel Kemp, by email

Tomorrow, December 18 2015, Kellingley Colliery closes its gates for the very last time, bringing an end to deep coal mining in Great Britain.

The workforce that are being thrown on the scrapheap tomorrow are bitter, and rightly so, there are still 60 million tonnes of reserves at Kellingley with a energy policy for the next 10 years that needs to burn coal to produce 25 per cent of the country’s energy needs.

This means another 25 per cent of the country’s energy will be supplied from foreign parts, what sort of energy policy is that? It won’t be long before Mr Cameron will be announcing that we have to drop the Great out of Great Britain.

The UK Government along with the owners UK Coal should hang their heads in shame for letting this industry die, a little bit more effort and determination two years ago would have seen Kellingley producing coal next week and for the next ten years.

Back in the autumn of 2013, UK Coal asked the government for a loan of £30 million to secure the future of Kellingley and Thoresby. This was deemed to be poor value for money to the tax payer even though they had just taken another £700 million out of the miners’ pension scheme that amounts to £6 billion so far, they don’t deem that to be bad value for the public purse.

It didn’t stop UK Coal setting on 13 employees promising them 10 years’ work, what happened after that was nothing short of a disgrace, months and months of dithering between the government and company whether or not to apply for EU state aid, before you knew it it was then going to cost £300 million to keep the industry open.

You can ask anybody who was involved and each one will tell you this was a set up and had been planned for years before, they saw a chance to kill the industry off and took it with both hands.

Over the last 32 years I have worked with some magnificent men showing outstanding comradeship and bravado, something that will die with the coal industry and will never be experienced again by anyone anywhere.

Each man that walks out of that pit tomorrow and the men that have gone before us over the last 18 months can do so with extreme pride knowing that they have made every effort to keep the industry alive, they should not bear any doubt whatsoever. Good luck lads, each and everyone of you, you deserved better.

On Saturday 19th December two of the miners’ wives have organised a march from Knottingley Town Hall (congregate at 12.30) as a mark of respect and solidarity of the mining industry and everyone who has worked in it.

Everyone is welcome to join the march and show your support to the industry that enters the history books.

Come along and show your support.


Cycleway: waste of money

Melvyne Smart, Farsley

My wife Jean and I were driving along Stanningley Road to see what progress has been made with the new Leeds-Bradford cycleway.

When finished, what was a reasonable roadway will not leave room for traffic to pass in each direction. This is particularly so at Stanningley Bottom where the pavement has been extended on both sides of the road and the cycleway has not yet been put in. There will barely be room for two No.72 buses to pass, let alone overtake.

Jean wonders where people who live by the roadside will be able to park their cars. The answer is nowhere near where they live. All this for the benefit of the six cyclists per day who are going to use it.

God knows what it is going to be like when they work their way up to Dawsons Corner which is already a shambles for the traffic from Stanningley.

Jean says if she were in charge she would sack the planners for wasting ratepayers’ money. I must say I agree with her.

Back to the Victorian era

Derek Barker, Moortown

So once again we are all upon Christmas, the season of good will and peace among men, what a load of old rubbish.

It would be hard enough for me as one of the working poor to have a Christmas that came anywhere close to those that we all used to enjoy many years ago, but unfortunately my soon to be ex-energy provider Scottish Power is soaking me with completely unrealistic monthly direct debit of £285, in order to claw back the difference between the tariff that I would have been paying and the specia low tariff that I was paying over a period of two years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

Surely just because a person has been fortunate enough to have not so far died and continued to work for a pittance, why would that give any energy provider the right to take an unreasonable amount of money out of that person’s bank account without first notifying them and coming to some form of agreement?

Thanks to 35 years of right wing government rule both Conservative and Labour we are now back in the Victorian era where employers and businesses can behave in any way they like. The only thing that has altered over the last 100 years is that the style of clothing worn by the elite has changed, their greedy mentality and disdain for those who actually do the work that makes them their money has not.

Managing asthma at Christmas

Kay Boycott, Chief Executive, Asthma UK

One in 11 of your readers has asthma and sadly there are warning signs that more people than usual, including children, are seeking help from their GP and NHS 111 because of worsening asthma symptoms.

There is nothing as terrifying as watching a child or a loved one struggle to breathe and sadly this Christmas Day someone will be having a potentially life threatening asthma attack every 10 seconds.

Asthma UK has five top tips for managing your asthma at Christmas on our website: www.asthma.org.uk/xmastips and I want to remind your readers that they should not be afraid to call for help if they need it; if you are having an attack and your reliever inhaler is not helping, you should call 999.

I hope that you and your readers all have a very happy, and healthy, Christmas and New Year.