YEP Letters: July 29

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Ditch the desk and take a walk

Tompion Platt, Head of Policy and Communications, Living Streets

New research has revealed that office workers need to do twice as much exercise as other adults to reduce their risk of premature death - and has recommended walking more (published in The Lancet medical journal, reported 28 July).

Environmental pressures, such as desk jobs, make healthy choices difficult. However, inactivity is making people unhealthy and unhappy; accounting for one in six deaths in the UK and costing the health service up to £10billion a year. One way or another, we need to introduce more activity into our lives – and walking is an easy way to do this.

We want to create a walking nation. Just a 20 minute walk a day can provide noticeable physical and mental health benefits, reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, stroke and depression.

Employers should ensure their staff feel able to go for walks and encourage them to do so. They will be rewarded with a happier and healthier workforce – bringing with it cost savings on sick pay, and employees who return from a walk feeling refreshed and motivated.

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Rail strategy not thought through

Coun David Dews, UKIP, Wakefield

Improvements are needed to the rail network, but the present proposals show that the strategy has not been thought through, is centred on London and does not meet the needs of the rest of the country.

Originally HS2 was all about speed.

That emphasis has now changed and capacity is what is being pushed to justify it.

In 2010, the then Labour government changed the southern terminus from Kings Cross/St Pancras, where HS1 also terminates, to Euston which has very poor onward transport links. The chaos that will ensue when HS2 opens is now being used to justify the building of the proposed Crossrail Phase 2 to solve London’s transport problems.

I can see some merit in a new north-south line if it were to benefit the north as well as London, say by entering London from the east after joining HS1 at Stratford, giving direct access to the Channel Tunnel, or with links to Heathrow and the southern ports. The financial benefits of the proposals are also rather dubious, based on predictions of trains running full every few minutes.

When HS1 opened, the passenger numbers were about 1/3 of those predicted.

The last time that I saw a breakdown of predicted costs there were uncosted items, such as improvements to Junction 34 of the M1 at Meadowhall when the station was proposed there.

The train sets and inflation weren’t included, and the estimates for diversion of utilities looked extremely light.

The addition of extra sections in tunnel have increased the cost and will reduce the running speed, casting further doubt on the economics. There are the makings of another Concorde – technically brilliant, but a political project that will be a financial disaster demanding a permanent subsidy to keep it going. There is talk of job creation, and I am sure that the German tunnelling machine builders, the German and French train makers and Spanish/German/French construction companies will be among the main beneficiaries – as happened with Crossrail and other recent projects.

If it is just extra capacity that is needed there must be cheaper and quicker ways of providing it.I am sure that it would be much preferred by the people of our district if a serious attempt was made to improve the local commuter services with ticket prices at affordable levels. That would be a much better way to use a little of the fund that the government seems to have for spending on projects which benefit the London area.

Majority not deciding factor

Mike Harwood, Leeds 5

Re: ‘An Independent Britain’(YEP letters July 27).

Jean Norfolk is of course wrong: the vote of the majority is not the deciding factor; it is the deciding factor until the next election.

It may well be time for another election/referendum. Many of those who voted to leave will I imagine be changing their minds as they begin to see the economic disadvantages of leaving; and that the campaign to leave was led by a donkey dressed up as a Boris.

And to say, ‘There is nothing to fear from standing alone, we have done it before and can do it again’ is even wronger.

Has she not heard, for example, of the contribution made by certain Americans in two World Wars (not to mention the quite a few Poles and other such ‘damned foreigners’ who gave their lives).

And, for a last example, whom does she think is probably going to build the Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station? Biggles?

Nuisance calls

Malcolm Shedlow, Moortown

To all your readers that get nuisance calls on their phones as I do sometimes three times a day,regardless of what they are wanting, usually a survey so other firms can ring you, interrupt them and say,”can I tell you that I am in my eighties”.

The phone will go down without a word being spoken quicker than a punctured tyre.

NHS is not safe with Tories

Terry Maunder, Kirkstall

Further to the letter on July 27 about student nurse bursaries, I would like to add that Jeremy Hunt has plans for the NHS which are being referred to as “sustainability and transformation plans”.

The main aim of this - given the limited detail available - is to cut costs and a number of commentators are saying it will involve major changes to local services in particular such as cuts to hospital beds, local walk-in centres and family planning services.

Hunt is so far refusing to honour the Tory mantra of “transparency” by giving any details.

These changes will affect Yorkshire and we all have a right to know what they are. Despite Theresa May’s and his opposition to the concept of the word “right”.

Just as the letter today mentions petitions about student nurse bursaries, the same is true of this issue, asking that he reveals exactly what his plans are.

My heart sank when I saw she was keeping him on as Health Minister: she may like to portray the “sensible, inclusive, blue collar” face of Toryism that’s part of the trickery of this new lot but believe me, they do NOT believe in the NHS.

Find the petition by 38 Degrees and sign it before the NHS is changed without you even knowing (again). Thanks. They lied, these Tories, when they said the NHS was safe with them.

Don’t forget Post Polio Syndrome

Ted Hill MBE, CEO, The British Polio Fellowship

I am delighted that very few polio cases have been discovered this year in Pakistan and Afghanistan. As the only two remaining polio endemic countries, it is encouraging to see the recent mass vaccination campaign to help these countries join the rest of the world in eradicating polio.

I would however like to remind the public, politicians and medical professionals that equal vigour and determination should be applied to the diagnosis and management of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), an incurable, debilitating neurological condition now starting to affect up to 80 per cent of people who previously had polio.

Our members have made fantastic steps to increase awareness of PPS, but they need all the help they can get. Indeed, Lord Hunt and Lord Prior are assisting us in raising the profile of PPS – something desperately needed given some 120,000 people affected in the UK. My hope is that we can see the same determination in treating Polio applied to how we combat PPS as well. We must remember that once polio is totally eradicated from the planet, millions of people around the world will face the effects of PPS for generations to come, and as yet there is no plan to respond to this.

If you would like more information about The British Polio Fellowship or need support living with PPS, please visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.

No drop in fame

Edna Levi, Leeds 17

No doubt when President Obama relinquishes his job he will have a diary full of making after dinner speeches (which he is good at doing) but he need have no fear of a drop in fame for his family.

After seeing his wife Michelle (about a dozen times) singing karaoke with James Corden, we have a future winner for the X Factor. Or even (perhaps) a trio called The Presobams!

YEP Letters: December 16