YEP Letters: July 15

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On local radio, an MP was airing his views about the public servants’ strike. Each statement made by the MP was prefixed with ‘the fact is...’

The fact is that in some instances the fact wasn’t a fact.

To quote but one example – my teacher’s pension, based on over three decades of service is not half, or even a third of my final salary.

Speaking with a few ex-colleagues, I was told that they are in the same situation – all are ex-public servants, but not all are ex-teachers.

The MP, of course, maintained that all public servants lived on fat pensions, conveniently not mentioning the sacrifices we made to contribute to our respective pension funds during our working lives.

About a month ago, Time magazine named Andy Haldane as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Mr Haldane is the chief economist at the Bank of England.

He attributes much of his success to inspirational teaching at Guiseley School, a Leeds comprehensive school.

At about the same time, Malcolm Nicholson was telling us, through this very letters page, that the Government had to resort to the public schools for their ministers, since Labour had shut down all the grammar schools.

The fact is that when the state grammar schools in this city were changed to comprehensive schools, the Conservatives were in power at the Civic Hall.

In the present government, one Conservative minister, Liz Truss, is a product of a Leeds comprehensive school – Roundhay.

It is being said that soon she will become a member of the Cabinet – not yet a fact.

Bryan Smith, Chapel Allerton

Union minority caused misery

The strikes last Thursday caused disruption to hard working families and closed services to some of the most vulnerable people in Leeds.

How can the trade unions argue that their membership is determined to strike when so few of them vote in the ballots that lead to strike action?

Only 23 per cent of the GMB membership voted, with a ‘Yes’ vote of 73 per cent, meaning the proportion of members voting for action was 17 per cent of those balloted.

For Unite the picture was worse, 20 per cent of the membership voted, with a ‘Yes’ vote of 68 per cent, meaning the proportion of membership voting for action was 14 per cent of those balloted.

For Unison the picture was similar with a low number of members actually voting for strike action.

Of course people have concerns about low pay and where possible action should be taken to improve pay and conditions.The Government has made significant changes to the tax threshold since 2010 meaning that those on low pay lose much less of their salary to income tax and pay increases are higher for those on low pay in the current pay deal.

It is also worth noting the March 2014 figures from the Office for National Statistics, they showed that public sector workers are now 14.5 per cent higher paid than those in the private sector.

It is good to see that the Government will be looking at curbing strikes voted for by only a small percentage of a union’s membership.

That way we can move away from a vocal minority being able to cause misery for millions of people up and down the country.

Councillor Barry Anderson, Adel and Wharfedale Ward

Crying foul over selfish owner

I’m not one for writing letters, but in honesty it’s an opportunity to vent the spleen.

Monday morning, a bright sunny day from my tiny flat overlooking the River Aire.

Suddenly a huge dog – one of those beasts that looks like it ought to be illegal – comes lolloping along the riverbank.

Behind it a lad – late 20s, I’d guess.

He’s not taking much notice of the animal, letting it do its thing – which includes fouling the pavement.

The lad notices this. Indeed, I clock him watching it, then see him turn away, deliberately, pretending he’s not watching it.

When the dog’s finished, the lad turns around and walks back the way he came, the dog lumbering after him.

I can’t resist: he passes under my window and I lean out: ‘Are you going to clean up after it? Wouldn’t that be the right thing to do?’

He looks up, shrugs: ‘No love, I never do. It’s someone else’s problem now.’

‘Really’, I say. ‘That’s really what you think?’

‘Yeah love. See ya,’ he grins.

He couldn’t care less. I couldn’t be more angry. Or feel more utterly helpless.

What should I have done, people of Leeds, to make him realise the depths of his selfishness?

Nicola Aspinall, Leeds

Tour success to benefit Leeds

I have been delighted to see Leeds’ cycling success with the Grand Depart.

A keen cyclist, I was a Labour councillor in Leeds in the 1970s and 1980s.

At that time my fellow councillors thought it very eccentric that I should arrive at council meetings on my bike.

It transpires that I was just ahead of a trend!

Cycling was always a good way to get around Leeds and getting cycle routes opened up, such as along the River Aire, also helped draw investment into neglected areas.

I would like to congratulate the current city councillors on their decision to support the Tour de France and invest in its presence in the city.

I’m sure that there will be a considerable return in benefits for Leeds for years to come.

John Sully, Peterborough

Supplement was wonderful

IT’S NOT every day that I put pen to paper, but I just had to write to you and say how wonderful your 40-page pull out supplement on the Tour de France was (YEP, July 7). Please pass on my congratulations to all the photographers, reporters and everyone else involved in producing such a fantastic souvenir.

It was only by chance that an ex-neighbour of mine mentioned that there was great coverage of the race and she kindly sent me a copy.

I attended stage three of the Tour from Cambridge to London (I spent the day in Epping, Essex).

If I tell you that the two local papers produced only eight pages of coverage of the tour then you Yorkshire people don’t know how lucky you are to have such a wonderful paper!

Barry French, Essex

Counting the cost at Boots

Further to the letter from Nic Rowland (YEP, July 14), I’d like to put Boots in the dock as an example of rip-off Britain.

For years I have purchased their ‘Natural Collection’ mango and apple body sprays, which were a pleasure to use after a bath.

The cost was £2 a bottle so they were fairly priced. But this was too good to be true as the product has now vanished, only to be replaced by a ‘new’ body spray which is exactly the same only in different shaped bottles. The cost is £4.50 a bottle.

I would not buy them now out of principle, even if I was a millionaire. What consumer muppetry we are expected to follow!

P Bledsoe, Rothwell

Put parasites back to work

IF THERE is something I hate in life it is to see benefit scroungers on council estates.

Loud music belting out of their dingy houses, the occupants sitting in their overgrown gardens drinking and smoking weed, their children running amok around the streets.

Come on Mr Cameron, get these parasites out to work as you promised.

F Lennon, Beeston

Kirkgate Market, Leeds

YEP Letters: February 9