YEP Letters: December 5

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Check out today’s YEP letters

High speed rail could transform the city

Councillor Andrew Carter, Leader of the Conservative Group

I was delighted to see the plans unveiled this week that will see Leeds become a transport hub for high speed rail (Revealed: Leeds City Centre set for colossal revamp to accommodate HS2 YEP 30/11/15).

It further underlines the government commitment to boosting growth in the north and in Leeds through the Northern Powerhouse agenda.

The coming weeks will see improvements to local rail services through the opening of new rail stations at Kirkstall Forge and Apperley Bridge, this will be backed by hugely ambitious long term plans to transform the south side of the rail station through one of the biggest regeneration schemes in Europe.

Leeds will be a centre for high speed rail connectivity providing a boost for employment, growth and putting our city at the heart of northern regeneration.

Despite recent criticism we will also see the electrification of the Trans Pennine route between Leeds and Manchester.

The government rightly paused the scheme to ensure value for money, but this scheme is going ahead in yet another growth boost from Leeds.

High speed rail will see billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure in our region, it is an opportunity not to be missed and one that could transform large parts of Leeds. The government has hugely ambitious plans which coupled with the devolution agenda offers a unique opportunity.

The council administration in Leeds now need to grasp the nettle and push for an ambitious devolution deal for Leeds that will see us at the heart of an area covering North, West and East Yorkshire.

Leeds will be a centre for regeneration and growth through these rail proposals, the only devolution model that matches the scale of these plans is the Greater Yorkshire region.


‘The whole thing is madness’

Tony J Homewood, Ossett

A former MP friend of mine once told me: “It isn’t until you get elected that you realise that most MPs aren’t that bright and happily go through the lobby, voting on things that they have no real understanding of, for reasons that often have nothing to do with the issue at hand.” That’s what happened when parliament voted to start bombing in Syria.

The addition to the current bombing capacity by France and the US, of a couple of GR4s and half a dozen Typhoons will make little practical difference but will give a little bit of extra specialist equipment.

The fact remains that this slight increase in bombing will make no real difference to the outcome. There needs to be a ground force and it doesn’t need to be of troops from Western nations. The supposed 70,000 troops that Cameron alleges to be bombing in favour of, is nonsense.

This is a disparate group of perhaps a hundred different factions who all have slightly different priorities. Their key one seems to be the removal of the Assad regime. There is no command structure over which we have any control and, to top it all, the Russians are bombing our proxy army at every opportunity. The whole thing is madness!

I would be happy to bomb ISIS morning, noon and night, if I thought there was any point to it. The Turks seem to be more interested in suppressing the Kurds for their huge army to be of any use at all. The Saudis are a waste of time and many in that kingdom are helping to finance ISIS to start with, but nobody in government dare say it out loud. The simple truth is that the vote in parliament was based on the premise of, “we must do something.”

As the late great Ronald Reagan once said: “Don’t just do something. Stand there.” Standing there would have been preferable to just doing something, when all logic and reason must tell you that it won’t work.

A bit more understanding

Phil Roche, Garforth

Walking up and down Shepherd’s Bush on November 28 it was fantastic to see and speak with such a varied mix of culture, a mix of humans getting on with their lives and daily tasks in apparent harmony and acceptance of each other especially in today`s climate of ISIS fears,abominations and atrocities

There were Albanians, Asmenians, Assyrians, Azerbaijanis, Balachis, Basques, Catalans and many, many, more. People who followed faiths in a variety of ‘isms’- Christianity (Catholicism, Anglicanism, Protestantism), Moism, Hinduism, Lutheranism, Judaism, Buddism, along with Agnosticism and many more beliefs and life choices.

However my joy was soon to be spoilt even in this bustling metropolis of understanding London, unfortunately for my “sins” I believe and follow Leeds Unitedism, and by the time the match commenced I was weary of been refused entry into local hostelries, tired of being searched and generally tired of such appalling and pathetic discrimination.

On reflection and based upon our performances on the field I am beginning to understand this reasoning and how society has difficulty in accepting this blind faith; my epiphany began when I heard the simple mystic chant of “we are Leeds ain`t we!” Playing QPR I thought this was quite apt and spelt out our rejection as Quite Pathetic Really! I have never looked back but wish others could be a wee bit more understanding!

Check your benefit

June Brain, Benefit Information Services

Many people who have been moved from the old Incapacity Benefit to its replacement, Employment Support Allowance (ESA), are being underpaid through no fault of their own. We have seen cases where people have been told they are not entitled to extra income related ESA when in fact they are.

The unsuspecting claimant knows nothing about this as they assume the amount they are paid is correct and have no means to check the figures. This could affect thousands of people nationwide who are being underpaid. We recommend EVERY claimant of ESA has their award checked. Benefit Information Services are offering a FREE check to see if your ESA is being paid at the correct amount. For further information ring 0330 606 1463, text “ESA Check” to 07833 491985 or email