Check out today’s YEP letters
Women need state pension security
Maggie Smallwood, by email
I do find it very hard to stomach MP Craig Whittaker’s hypocritical campaign on pension security.
Bringing together the hard-working public and voluntary sector organisations that support older people is great, but using them to gather votes for a government that has attacked the livelihoods of older women is just not right. Women tend to be worse off than men in both state and private pensions. The Tories made this even worse for women like me who were born in the 1950s. They changed the relatively gentle slope increasing women’s pension age to line up with men to a cliff - and then didn’t even quite get round to telling us. Those short notice changes have affected the lives of some 2.6 million women, and it has been shown that it is women who are already disadvantaged who are most likely to be badly affected. The government that Craig supports said that the ‘women would go away sooner or later’. What a disrespectful attitude to citizens who have worked, often unpaid, all their lives. The WASPIs (Women Against State Age Pension Inequality) aren’t going away any time soon.
Make sure our countryside areas are saved
Coun Tom Leadley, West Ardsley
until March 4, Inspectors’ main modifications to the Leeds Site Allocations Plan (SAP) will be open to public comment.
An important turning point should be confirmed, which was reached in September 2017 when Leeds City Council finally gave way on its long-held claim that it needed to build 74,000 houses in 16 years, or 70,000 net of demolitions.
Much pressure has been exerted since publication of the draft Yorkshire and Humber Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) in 2007 first promoted those targets, by some members of Leeds City Council and by many members of the public and community organisations.
The last straws came in the late summer of 2017 when the SAP Inspectors and new government statistics converged to question severely the wisdom of Leeds’ housing targets and the grave threat that they posed to the green belt.
My favoured target for many years has been 46,000 net, which would save 2,400 acres of land across Leeds, mostly green belt, when compared with the original Leeds figure.
Following those pressures, the city council backed off and lowered its aim to more realistic levels. What the current consultation seeks to do is to confirm limited incursions onto greenfield land to tide everyone over until 2023.
In the meantime, there will be further study and consultation to carry housing land allocation forward until 2033. Already large acreages of green belt seem likely to have been saved, the most notable of which is Parlington Park near Aberford.
In Morley we are likely to save land at Westfield Farm in Drighlington, three sites in Gildersome near East View, Highfield Drive and Woodlands Hotel, more than half of a large area at Blackgates in Tingley, the reservoir gap on Haigh Moor Road at West Ardsley and land along the southern side of Westerton Road straddling the boundary between West and East Ardsley.
To make sure that these green areas are saved, citizens need to make a last effort to write to support these SAP changes. Information can be had at Leeds public libraries and community hubs, or online at www.leeds.gov.uk/yourcity
Comments should be sent by post to Programme Officer, Leeds Site Allocations Plan Proposed Main Modifications, Policy & Plans Group, Merrion House, 9th floor east, 110 Merrion Centre, Leeds LS2 8BB, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org We’re entering one of the last battles in a war which I’ve been fighting since 2007 alongside many others.
All those who value our countryside should make their opinions known by March 4.
Dick Lindley, Altofts
AT last we, the British, are able to see the true face of the unelected bureaucrats who rule the EU. The mask of reasonableness and decency has slipped away, and the hatred with which these charlatans regard our beautiful country has been exposed.
Donald Tusk seems certain 17.4 million Brits who voted to leave the EU will be cast into hell come judgment day. I know that he and his colleague, Guy Verhofstadt, seem to have a very special dislike of the British.
Fortunately neither of them, despite their powerful positions within the EU hierarchy, have the God-given right to cast all Brexiteers into the fiery pits of hell.
It is truly astonishing that the President of the EU would even consider using such disgusting language to express his obvious hatred of the majority of the British people who want to escape from his regime. To say that his language is undiplomatic is to underestimate the damage he has inflicted on our national pride.
Outcome could lead to break up of the EU
Shaun Kavanagh, by email
Reading a recent article by businesswoman Karren Brady, she made some valid comments which scaremongers and those doubting the benefits of leaving the EU might wish to consider.
Since the commencement of the Brexit negotiations, and before, many people, myself included, have said the EU needs the UK more than we need the EU. What will the French farmers do when they realise they cannot deliver their cheeses and other items to the UK and they’re left with rotting produce?
Then the Spanish who export more produce to the UK than they actually buy and will be left in the same position as France and of course Germany with a diminishing UK market for car sales which will be created by tariffs introduced by the EU ensuring German vehicles are too expensive.
The above countries are just the tip of the iceberg which will result from the stance taken by the fat cats within Brussels.
There is the possibility of a revolt within the EU when countries start to suffer and then the likes of Barnier, Juncker and Tusk will feel similar pain to that they have inflicted on our PM. The outcome could easily lead to the break-up of the EU and all because of their stupidity.
HS2 is waste of money
Terry Watson, Adel
When will Theresa May realise what a disgraceful waste of public money HS2 is? The cost has now been estimated to top £100bn when finally completed. We do not need HS2 and we cannot afford it, Britain isn’t big enough anyway. Our present pathetic rail system needs billions spending on it.
We need longer platforms and longer trains so that passengers paying the highest fares in Europe can have seats. There seems to be no control of spending on the project with a staff of 1,346 with 46 on more than the £150,000 salary of the Prime Minister, and 15 on £250,000. Time to scrap it, Mrs May .
Margaret Thatcher used to say “If we can’t afford it, we can’t have it.”
Our neighbours in Europe are our allies
James Bovington, Horsforth
Your correspondent Graham Hill of Wakefield (YEP Letters, February 5) has a few years on me but writes as if he is stuck in the century when the good ship Britannia ruled the waves and probably could find any port in a storm given Lord Palmerston’s penchant for gunboat diplomacy.
However the reality of our 21st century world is that all nations are interdependent and that our own sovereignty is both protected and enhanced by our membership of the European Union which for all its many many faults is an integral part of the architecture which has more or less preserved and developed peace and security along with NATO on this continent for the past 70 years.
This next summer I am taking over 50 students to the battlefields of Normandy where it will be only too clear to them the cost of division and strife in Europe and the necessity of recognising and promoting interdependence only too clear without input from me.
The reality is that a consequence of Mr Hill’s speciously patriotic call not to do a deal on our freedom and sovereignty is that these young people could be deprived of their cherished right to live, study and work elsewhere in Europe.
It is exactly this social and cultural isolation which Mr Hill and many other older people are apparently only too willing to accept that has in the past proved so costly in terms of young lives sacrificed.
I repeat that we are all interdependent and that our close neighbours in Europe are our major allies. We would be foolish to tie the future of our youth to the vagaries of the American electorate – Trump is the present darling of the Europhobic right but he may well soon be gone and replaced by someone whose definition of Atlanticism is the friendlier goal of Europe and North America working together to solve global problems through an agenda of peace, prosperity and democracy.
To follow Mr Hill’s logic to its conclusion, Britain would be no part of any international treaty, so is he calling for us to leave Nato and the UN?
Maybe the Eurovision song contest too? If we are not European why bother with the Ryder Cup?
Cycle challenge for charity
Kirsty Owen-Hayward, Senior Events Fundraiser, Meningitis Now
I’d like to invite cycling enthusiasts to take advantage of our special offer to join this August’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 event.
We have guaranteed places available for this unforgettable experience on Sunday August 4 with discounted registration until the end of February.
Until then registration is just £22.50 each, with a fundraising pledge of £500. Those lucky enough to have secured a ballot place are also welcome to join our #TeamTangerine.By riding for us you’ll be fighting meningitis through supporting pioneering preventative research, raising lifesaving awareness and supporting people affected by this devastating disease.
You’ll also be joining 25,000 similar enthusiasts to cycle through a traffic-free London and the stunning Surrey countryside including leg-testing climbs and the world-famous Box Hill zig-zags..
It’s an unforgettable experience and a fantastic day. And our team is here to help you to get the most from it all, including providing a personalised technical cycling jersey and our exclusive post-race reception.
Please join us if you can, we’d love to have you on the team – email me on email@example.com or register on our website at www.MeningitisNow.org/ride