YEP Letters: July 18

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Council should provide more bins

N Bywater, Morley

With government funding to Leeds City Council being reduced by 47 per cent since 2010, when waste bins in my local area were too old and no longer usable, they were not replaced.

So when they are emptied every Monday, by Friday they are full and overflowing.

So I have started to hang a black bin bag onto the bin as extra capacity. I have emailed the council about new bins, but no one is interested. Not even a reply.

I do know that the council have a legal duty to keep places litter free; I would have thought that providing more litter bins would make the task of council litter pickers easier and cheaper for the council. I do find that once an issue is made public, action is often taken. So I am hoping this letter will result more litter bins.

Actions of others can break your heart

Coun Peter Gruen, Cross Gates & Whinmoor Ward

There are times that the actions of others can break your heart.

For years, in spite of ever reducing funds available to local councillors, Coun Pauleen Grahame and I have continued to invest in our local youth service and play areas in Manston Park and Whinmoor by Fieldhead Carr Primary School.

When equipment has become aged and worn, we have replaced it; when the surface needed renewal, we have made it happen and when there were requests to enhance the range of equipment, we have done our best to respond favourably.

For some weeks now a particular gang of youths from out of our area has been ‘active’ in the Whinmoor neighbourhood and caused problems.

I believe that at least some of those potentially involved are known; intelligence has been passed on to the police and fears are heightened by the latest brazen attack destroying the play area equipment by setting fire to it.

As many neighbours and others are saying, it is time to take action; in fact in my view previous incidents should have seen a more high profile and immediate response.

If neighbourhood policing is worth more than just a phrase it is at times like this, that we expect visibility, parental involvement and possibly area banning orders. The destructive actions of the few should not be allowed to spoil the fun of the many.

Get it right first time on station

Nathan Farnell, Morley

I’m in full agreement with the letter from Alan Baines (YEP July 17).

A new railway station for Leeds Bradford Airport would be excellent. But to build this station on the existing Harrogate line between the south end of Bramhope tunnel and Horsforth station would be a complete and utter waste of time and money. A short branch line, with a triangular junction, would be far better. This would be akin to the branches serving Manchester and Stansted Airports. The new line would simply diverge to the west and enter a tunnel for the last few hundred yards so as to terminate directly underneath the main terminal building.

I understand this would cost several million quid, but getting it right first time would save a substantial amount of cash long term. Let’s hope we get a grip in Yorkshire and do it right instead of having to build a ‘Waterloo’ before we build a ‘St Pancras.’

Magificent floral displays

Coun Pauleen Grahame, chair, Cros Gates Forum

Along with Richard Burgon MP and the Cross Gates Historical Society I would like to thank the Leeds City Council parks and countryside department staff for the magnificent flower displays across the city.

The flower bed at Manston Park surrounding the Barnbow Lasses Memorial (first prize design by EmeIia Waterhouse, Manston St James Primary Academy, second, Phoebe Guilfoyle, Manston Primary, third, Holly Chandler from Manston St James Primary Academy) is stunning. Richard presented the prizes to the winners of our yearly design the flower bed competition.

New trains will be driver-only

Geoff Wilson, Harrogate.

Bill Adams of the TUC (YEP Letters July 12) omits one very important point in his letter on the driver-only operation of Northern Rail – the fact that new trains are on order and that the driver-only operation applies to these.

This omission indicates that either he is not in possession of all the facts, in which case it is reasonable to suggest that he at least should not be sounding off on the subject, or that he omitted the fact, since it undermines the argument against driver-only operation.

The current trains do not comply with the regulations regarding disabled access and cannot economically be made to do so when these come in in three years’ time.

The new trains will, of course, comply with these requirements and will incorporate features designed to make them safe to operate without guards. For example, no train will be able to start until all the doors are closed.

Perhaps Mr Adams should be asking why these trains are being built in Spain and not in the UK. The reluctance of the RMT, and its predecessor the NUR, in accepting new practices has maybe gone some way towards the demise of the rolling stock industry in the UK and why productivity is so low in this country.

Why we still need pride

Steve Oversby, Director, Barnardo’s East Region

With LGBTQ Pride festivals happening in many of our biggest cities it’s fair to say things have come a long way in the 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality. Public attitudes towards LGBTQ people have improved over the last few years and we’re slowly seeing better representation of our country’s diversity, both in the media and in politics.

Over the summer thousands of people - including Barnardo’s service users, volunteers and staff - will parade through the streets to celebrate LGBTQ culture and the strides society has made in equality over the last five decades. Even so things are far from perfect. For many children and young people, dealing with diversity issues and finding their own identity can be difficult. For some, struggling to understand their feelings and how they fit in can lead to self-harm, suicidal thoughts and low self-esteem.

These factors can have a knock-on effect and even leave them vulnerable to sexual exploitation and poor educational achievement.

Barnardo’s works with a diverse cross-section of children, young people and families to provide services to support LGBTQ young people. Our Positive Identities service works with schools, families, faith and wider communities helping LGBTQ young people.

While homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and attacks still exist we will still need Pride and I’m proud of the part Barnardo’s plays in addressing these issues.

Why the bonus?

M Meeson, Leeds

Whilst public sector workers such as the police, nurses and teachers’ pay is held back we are told that the 21 senior civil servants who dish out £13 billion in foreign aid are to receive bonuses of £10,000 each, with 514 junior staff receiving £1,200 each for the pleasure of dishing out taxpayers’ money.

They are already receiving a salary, so why the bonus?

HS2 ‘expensive white elephant’

Judy Goodwin, Altofts

Regarding HS2 , I know of no one outside of Westminster who wants this expensive white elephant.

Not one MP in favour of this has informed us where the money is coming from to pay for it. If it is the private sector they will want returns on their investment and as it is cheaper to fly to any destination in the UK than take a train. What will the ticket price be? Only MPs will be able to afford a ticket as they claim travel on their expenses.

Action needed on puppy smuggling

Paula Boyden, Veterinary Director, Dogs Trust

Dogs Trust is calling on the public to help put an end to illegal puppy smuggling after an undercover investigation revealed shocking and continued abuse of the Pet Travel Scheme.

Puppies as young as four weeks old are still being subjected to horrifying journeys across Central and Eastern Europe and smuggled into Great Britain to be sold to unsuspecting members of the public, many sick and without the right vaccinations.

After working tirelessly to bring the issue of puppy smuggling up the Government’s agenda, there remains a reluctance to acknowledge the scale of the problem or to implement any effective change. Urgent action is needed to help transform the lives of these poor puppies. Dogs Trust is asking people to show their support by writing to their own MP to ask them to support our campaign by writing to the Minister for Animal Welfare. They can visit to find out how to help. The campaign is backed by television and radio personality, Dermot O’Leary.

Austerity ‘myth’

DS Boyes, Leeds 13

ALAN Slomson (YEP Letters June 30), was correct over government borrowing, as bad as ‘New’ Labour was, Tory Chancellors Osborne and Hammond have increased the national debt far more in their seven years at No.11 Downing Street. Balancing the budget is an impossibility, borne out by it put back now to 2025 at least. National finances are beyond the comprehension of ordinary citizens whose experience of wages or their household expenses in comparison is like looking through the wrong end of a telescope in scale.

We ‘won’ World War Two yet it took over 60 years to pay off the debts incurred.

Yet no developed country in the world can run without heavy borrowing, as relying on tax receipts to fund ongoing public services etc. is simply not possible, and none has ever gone bankrupt as Mr Slomson rightly said.

Greece is a good example, the EU always finds another emergency loan to avoid it defaulting on its government bonds, with just more interest paid.

Even the USA is many trillions in debt, with China holding most of its bonds.

UK austerity is a myth, as if there was a real shortage of money, then non-essential public spending like the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly, police commissioners, HS2, foreign aid, the House of Lords etc. would have to be cut, while instead they all go on regardless, and it’s used as a stick to beat the workers with e.g. the enforced one per cent pay rise (or cut) on NHS and emergency staff, while MPs enjoy an 11 per cent rise on their already bloated salaries.

If we are indeed all in it together, then nurses etc. should get more and the above get a lot less.

Thanks to vicar for clean up

Brenda Walton, East Ardsley

I would like to say a public thank you to the vicar of Woodkirk Church for the way she has organised the clear up of the churchyard. It has been an uncontrollable jungle for decades, but now grass can be seen that would have been covered by weeds. Apparently she has done quite a bit of the cleaning up herself.

Debate challenge on Brexit

John Cole, Shipley

regular readers will recognise me as a frequent contributor who argues the case against Brexit. The evidence is accumulating that a successful Brexit (one that helps rather than harms the UK) is going to prove an impossibility. My own hopes are rising that we may end up not leaving the EU at all.

Indeed, I am feeling so bullish that I wish to issue a challenge. Is there any pro-Brexiteer out there who would be happy to engage with me in public debate on the advisability or otherwise of continuing to proceed with Brexit? I can be contacted on 01274 592989. I am willing to book a public hall and advertise the event – and seek a neutral chairperson. It is about time that all the arguments for and against leaving the EU were rehearsed and given public scrutiny. We are in a better position now, over a year on from the referendum, to take stock of what is the emerging reality of the situation and a second referendum might not go amiss.