YEP Letters: January 2

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Government is ‘indifferent’ to population

Stephen Lupton, Horsforth

In the wake of the Christmas floods across the Yorkshire region, I am sure that readers will have felt a desperate sadness for all those whose homes and businesses were inundated by flooding over the last few days. Such events have moved from being “unprecedented” through to “periodical” in recent years.

When, however, I read the Yorkshire Evening Post, my sadness turned to indignation and anger. I read that the Leeds Flood Alleviation Scheme, which would have offered protection for some 4,500 homes and businesses in Leeds was turned down as cuts to the Environment Agency meant that the £180,000,000 was no longer affordable. Adding insult to injury, I further read that just last year the Government managed to find £279,000,000 to protect the Thames Valley from a similar fate to that endured by Leeds and other Yorkshire towns.

In purely economic terms, austerity does not make sense when inflation is so low, since borrowing to invest in infrastructure projects would yield results far more cheaply than waiting until the money is in surplus. That aside, isn’t that just another example of one mindset for London and the South and another for the “Northern Powerhouse”? ; a vacuous description in Austerity Britain.

In order to improve the rolling stock for commuters, this area was recently offered some refurbished 30-year-old trains to replace the Pacers. Has it not occurred to those in authority, but not in touch, that northern people may be more than a tad insulted by this?

When floods destroyed a rail link in Somerset, devastating for those living there (but the population is a small fraction of the population density here), every button was pressed to ensure that services were returned to normal with breath-taking efficiency. I hope that the people of Tadcaster can expect a similar response regarding reparations to the bridge.

I have come to believe that the reason the Scots have turned against the Union is precisely because of the same London/Southern-centric mentality, excluding their voice when decisions are made. In fairness, the government is thinking of some limited devolution for cities across the country, but instead of instigating a great debate, it presents a top-down, one size fits all fait accompli. The new railway HS2 is another example, having been conceived with similar intemperate haste. We don’t want a vanity project, we simply want better, more frequent, more reliable and less exorbitantly expensive services than we have to endure at the moment. We seem to have a reactive government where we should have a proactive one; where there are new ideas, they are presented as a fait accompli without effective consultation or active listening to members of the public.

Our Prime Minister takes great pride in presenting the UK as the fifth largest economy in the world which attains the best growth in Europe and yet, and yet we have food banks; people in desperate poverty borne out of politically ideological schemes as the bedroom tax; the fiasco with working families tax credits, failure to provide councils with sufficient funds to care for the elderly with the result that at least one council is now charging pensioners a fee for attendance after they have had a fall.

This is happening in parallel with the five biggest banks not having paid any corporation tax for years. Ought we in conscience to be comfortable with such a state of affairs within the fifth largest world economy and fastest growing European one? It all bears the signature of a government in cahoots with the large corporations and indifferent to the general population. Is there any wonder why people have become disengaged with politics. Our government has rendered satire redundant and Sir Humphrey is alive and well, sitting at the centre of HMG.


Spend money on flood defences

Terry Watson, Adel

A well kept secret Dave, we are no longer allowed to dredge our rivers to ease the horrendous flooding over the past few years because our dictators in Brussels say we can’t.

We were forced to accept The European Water Framework Directive into UK laws in 2000. Until then it was common sense to make sure our water courses were big enough to take any water that flowed into them, otherwise they would overflow and inundate the surrounding land and houses. Every civilisation has known that, except apparently ours.

Despite all the evidence of previous years, and the misery and devastation caused by flooding, our Governments have followed slavishly the EU directives to keep our rivers as natural looking as possible. That means the sand and gravel dredged from the river beds cannot be used to heighten the river banks and help contain flood water as it is regarded as hazardous waste and would have to be carted away.

The Environment Agency have to ensure no dredging takes place as this could scour the river beds washing away crayfish and freshwater mussels!

No thought given to the people who have their homes and businesses ruined year after year, and farmers who lose crops and livestock.

It’s no good Cameron and his acolytes swanning around the devastated areas wringing their hands and trying to be sympathetic, it’s time to stop throwing away taxpayers’ money on overseas aid.

They could then spend money on flood defences and start dredging again, ignoring Brussels for once.

With a bit of luck they might throw us out and pigs might fly.