YEP Letters: January 11

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Picture:  Victoria Jones/PA Wire
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Picture: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Take no notice of Tony Blair on Brexit

Shaun Kavanagh, Leeds

WHY would anyone in their right mind want to listen to, or take note, of anything said by Tony Blair, an individual whose leadership was questioned by many during, and certainly after, his time in No 10?

He is clearly an EU supporter who now suggests the British public should stand firm for another vote on Brexit. The man has clearly “lost the plot”. The country held a referendum and the vote was “Out”. He, and those like him, should stop bleating and simply get on with it. People should take no notice of the likes of Mr Blair who appears to have done little for the good of the country. Leaving the EU will not be plain sailing but the EU needs us more than we need them.

Many people benefiting from improvements

Coun Keith Wakefield, Chair, West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee

In his article (YEP January 8) about driving into the city centre and parking for his daily commute, your correspondent Chris Bond asks what impact further park and ride sites might have on Leeds’ transport.

Based upon the performance of the Elland Road and Temple Green park and ride sites, developed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Leeds City Council and bus operator First, the answer is ‘a significant one.’

The 1,000-space Temple Green and 800-space Elland Road sites, along with the smaller King Lane facility to the north of the city centre are now removing over 6,000 car journeys from Leeds city centre’s roads each week.

This is helping to relieve the cost of congestion and the pollution it causes as well as reducing the demand on city centre parking for those people who do need to drive right into the centre.

And for Elland Road and Temple Green’s users, parking out of town and completing their journey on modern, low-emission buses is costing them from just £2.70 per day.

Such has been the popularity of park and ride that along with Leeds City Council, we are proposing more sites including a 1,000-space facility at Stourton.

In his article, Mr Bond also rightly says that some European cities are better geared up to encourage people to get on their bikes and cycle. But we are catching up.

Since it was opened in 2016, people have used our Cycle Superhighway linking Leeds and Bradford city centre to make around half a million journeys by bike or on foot.

This network is now being extended and work to extend the Superhighway across Leeds city centre is underway.

Mr Bond is right. There is room for improvement on some journeys into our town and city centres, but many people are already benefiting from those improvements.

Towns left to cope without banking

Alec Denton, Guiseley

I LIVE in the once admired town of Guiseley, where by March this year we will have lost four of our five banks, with the fifth rumoured to go shortly after.

Surely in a town of some 15,000 there is enough business to support at least one bank?

Like the commuters who bank during their city-based lunchtimes, the communities ‘served’ by the banks are the least of their concerns.

Commuters also will suffer at the weekends, because six ATMs will reduce to one and perhaps they may realise the truth of the old adage ‘use it or lose it’.

The tragedy is that, although our lone surviving Post Office will hopefully continue to provide the only non-supermarket ATM.

Successive socialist and Conservative administrations, by concentrating on short-term financial gain, failed the public badly by blocking the natural development of the Post Office into a genuine People’s Bank, probably because the big boys were afraid of competition – a very sad state of affairs.

Don’t forget Alwoodley

Jeffrey Wardle, by email

with regard to Chris Bond’s article making reference to Leeds park and ride schemes, he has omitted to mention the Alwoodley park and ride on King Lane just off the ring road which has approximately 160 spaces and I think is served by the no. 7/7a bus.

Put festive waste in bins

Jennifer Bookbinder, Leeds 11

I wonder if people will ever grasp the fact that they should and could put all their Christmas waste packaging in the bin or bin bags.

It’s quite possible if you fold and crush it to fit in. I feel sorry for the binmen with all the extra mess and wet cardboard boxes to dispose of.

NHS cannot fulfil contract

Paul Muller, Wakefield

JUNIOR doctor Lucie Cocker (The Yorkshire Evening Post, January 5) makes excellent points and gives the solution to the revitalisation of our failing NHS.

NHS England and the Department of Health must read her article and then put all her recommendations into effect urgently because, at the moment, the NHS cannot fulfil its contract to its patients.

The few doctors and nurses left in the hospitals are grossly overworked and so they are beginning to leave. No wonder young people no longer wish to go into nursing.

Resolution could save your life

Samia al Qadhi, Chief Executive, Breast Cancer Care

In the second week of a new year, many of us are busy setting resolutions for ourselves to live healthy lives in 2018.

How about asking your readers to make a resolution to check their breasts regularly? It’s simple, easy to keep and could save your life.There’s no right or wrong way to check your breasts. It’s about looking and feeling regularly, so any unusual changes can be spotted quickly.Knowing the signs and symptoms of breast cancer can save lives. It’s not just a lump – other symptoms can include a nipple becoming inverted or a change in texture of the skin. Breast Cancer Care is the only specialist breast cancer support charity working throughout the UK.

If you’re worried about breast health or breast cancer you can call us free on 0808 800 6000.

Leave tickets for genuine fans

Ivan Kovacks, by email

Many thanks for your article (YEP, January 9) about the touting of tickets for many concert venues.

This is something I feel very strongly about, it is an issue that causes problems for genuine fans getting a face value ticket and it is generally condemned by the venues, artists and promoters. Many artists openly resent this fan exploitation often writing about it on their websites. Elton John has said he would rather play to a half empty stadium than know that half the fans had paid well over the odds.

I see there are two issues that help make this easy to achieve. Firstly the way tickets are sold and secondly the rip-off resale prices that are allowed to be charged. Often tickets are released in three batches; firstly to the fan club members, then a few days later to people who sign up for promoters presales and finally to the general public.

I went to see a band (no names) at the Leeds Arena and even before the promoter’s presale tickets had gone on sale there were over 1,000 tickets available on the resale sites. Now I have no problems with secondary ticket sale sites but they should be just for genuine fans that cannot get to the show. But the 1,000 tickets, mentioned above, were put up for resale over nine months before the concert.

These secondary sale sites are a boon for touts. I’ve sat next to a group of four people who admit to buying eight tickets for each gig and selling four off by at least double the price, this they say covers the cost of their own ticket, travel, parking and a few drinks.

The talk by the Government of making illegal the use of multiple, rapid bulk purchasing software will not solve the problem.

What would solve it at a stroke is make it a criminal offence to resell a ticket for more than 10 per cent above the face value; this would cover the initial purchase, booking fees and postage. Once the incentive to make a profit is removed then the problem will be solved and then the touts and vultures will move on to another target and leave tickets for the genuine fans.

Good pet parenting keeps premiums down

Mark Colonnese, Director, Aquarium Software

New research by Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggests that external factors are raising pet insurance premiums – such as government’s ‘stealth taxes’, with the standard rate of insurance premium tax (IPT) being doubled from six per cent to 12 per cent in less than 18 months.

Experts warn that this will continue to rise, leading to questions over the insurance industry’s ability to keep customer premiums affordable.

Whilst this is a genuine concern, we believe pet owners should focus on what they can do themselves to keep their pet insurance premiums low.

Maintaining good pet health and diet; controlling your pet to decrease the likelihood of fights with other pets; and tagging your pet are all smart moves.

Not only will you be doing ‘the right thing’ for your pet’s health – as powerful data becomes more readily accessible by the pet insurance industry, these are the sort of good practices that will start to drive down premiums for the good pet parent, in the long-run.

YouGov research commissioned by Aquarium Software shows that 44 per cent of people asked thought their insurance policy was already overpriced.

It is therefore essential for the long-term affordability of pet insurance, that owners take some personal responsibility to ensure good pet parenting, and the industry puts Big Data to most advantageous use.

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