YEP Letters: July 19

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Honour Obamas with freedom of city

Mike Harwood, Leeds 5

This year it is 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela.

In 2001 he was honoured to receive the freedom of Leeds – and thereby honoured us.

An opportunity to renew our faith in one world and one people by asking Barack and Michelle Obama to receive the same honour and Trump to be thrown the freedom of the gutter where he belongs (the last suggestion to be ignored; it is fake news).

Take action to tackle NHS bureaucracy

Philip Crowther, Bingley

Dr John Puntis wrote an interesting letter (YEP, July 14) from the inside of the system. The pleas for appropriate funding we have rightly heard many times from many sources.

As a consumer and taxpayer, what I never see is how the vast cost to run the NHS is split down. This I think would be very revealing. I suspect from what I have heard before that wages, salaries and pensions, like other nationalised industries such as education, local authorities and civil service in general, are probably in the region of at least 60 to 70 % of total cost. So any action to control costs and funding would have a minor affect unless that large proportion of finance is addressed.

Governments have consistently failed to address the pension time bomb. The final salary model I believe still used is unsustainable as discovered many years ago by the private sector. Add this to the fact that along with the essential front line doctors, nurses, cleaners, kitchen and laboratory staff, a vast army of administrative staff have been added over the last 30 years with infrastructure to suit. So I believe, if the public are to be asked to pay more into the bottomless pit, more focus should be put on what action is being carried out to address the main problem of labour costs, overstaffing and bureaucracy.

No option but to raise matter in the way I did

Jonathan Bentley, Liberal Democrat Councillor, Weetwood Ward, Leeds City Council

You reported my recent question to Leeds City Council’s leader, Coun Judith Blake concerning a recently-elected Labour councillor who is being investigated for an alleged election offence (‘Electoral irregularities” investigation at council’, YEP, July 13).

In the report you quote Coun Blake as saying that she was “not impressed with the way” I had approached this.

What you do not report is that as part of my question I made it clear that I was raising this in full council with great reluctance. My Group would have preferred to have had private talks with the Labour leadership to discuss the implications of these allegations but our approaches to the leadership and to the Labour chief whip were rebuffed. I therefore had no option but to raise the matter in the way I did. I deeply regret the less than open way this has been dealt with both by the member in question and the Labour Group.

Price of the sugar tax

Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16

I WAS under the impression that the idea of the sugar tax was to encourage shoppers to purchase healthier alternatives.

Some supermarkets have increased the price of the no-sugar alternative soft drinks to match that of the ones carrying the sugar tax so that they are no cheaper i.e. there is no incentive to buy the healthier option.

Other supermarkets have kept the no-sugar alternatives at their original price but have reduced the size of the bottle: instead of two litres the bottles are now 1.5 litres. In effect they have increased the price by 25 per cent.

Help save young people’s lives

Elizabeth Clements,Mineral Products Association

With the start of the school summer holidays and the continuing, unusually warm weather, I am writing to request your readers’ help in saving young peoples’ lives.

Over the last six weeks there have been a number of tragic drownings in quarry lakes, reservoirs, canals and other, similar man-made bodies of open water.

All too often, these tragedies occur when people are engaged in what they perceive as harmless fun, either cooling off in the water or playing near the water’s edge.

Man-made water bodies like quarry lakes and reservoirs can be extremely deep, have sudden changes in water depth, be difficult to exit and conceal a range of hazards such as pumps, entangling weeds, rocks and old machinery.

Quarry faces and edges can be unstable and suddenly give way, resulting in falls into water and also making it more difficult to get oneself back onto dry land.The water in quarry lakes and reservoirs can also be extremely cold, even after a long hot spell.

At 15C and below, the body can experience cold water shock when immersed in water, this results in a sudden, involuntary inhalation of water into the lungs which can be deadly. The cold water can also cause even strong swimmers to tire quickly, become breathless and potentially disorientated.

Statistics show that nearly half the accidental drownings occur following an unexpected fall into water, cold water shock is a significant factor in many of these deaths.

The RNLI is recommending that someone plunged into water initially floats on their back, allowing their body to acclimatise to the cold water and providing time to calm down before attempting to exit the water. The Mineral Products Association (MPA) is supporting the water safety campaigns being run by the RNLI and other organisations such as the RLSS and the Fire and Rescue Services “Be Water Aware” campaign.

Collectively, we do not want to discourage members of the public from enjoying the water but would like people to be aware of the risks and choose to swim in areas that are safe.

To find out more, view the MPA campaign Facebook page Stay Safe Stay out of Quarries or the RNLI website www.respectthewater.com and “share” this with others.

Please also remember that warning signs and fences are there to help protect you and your family.

Get in touch

The YEP wants you to share your views. Please send letters by email to yep.newsdesk@ypn.co.uk. Please keep letters under 300 words.