YEP Letters: June 30

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I read the letter from Mark Hall (YEP, June 24) with interest and thought it was important to clarify the police council tax precept with regards to Police Community Support Officers.

Mr Hall said that there seemed to be unlimited funds for me as Police and Crime Commissioner to have as many PCSOs as the council taxpayer will pay for, as they are not funded out of the police precept, but from council tax.

While it is correct that some PCSOs are partly funded by council tax and the police precept part of the council tax by agreement locally, the majority of the PCSOs in West Yorks are paid from central police funding of £17.8m a year until 2016.

Local authorities do pay a contribution of approximately £2.8m towards PCSOs, which is a great demonstration of partnership working to protect frontline policing and the value they place on keeping our communities safe and feeling safer.

Mr Hall is correct that the police do have limited funds, indeed there are Government cuts of approx £157m by 2016/17 to West Yorkshire’s budget (more than 30 per cent) and we do need to find smarter and more innovative ways of working, while protecting frontline policing as far as possible.

However, PCSOs working as part of our neighbourhood policing teams with police constables, sergeants and inspectors provide an invaluable service in our communities which is recognised and appreciated.

I understand the pressures that councils and partners are under with severe government cuts to all our budgets and thank them for their continued contributions towards maintaining levels of PCSOs.

In February the Police and Crime Panel supported my proposal to increase the police council tax by 1.99 per cent, which costs taxpayers less than a penny extra a day.

That increase will help pay for the recruitment of 126 new police officers and 70 essential police staff roles in this next year. It also ensured that the level of PCSOs was protected.

In my view, the continued recruitment of new police officers and staff is essential in the years ahead for the health of the police service and to help offset the significant loss of numbers as a result of Government budget cuts.

The role of PCSOs is to ensure frontline policing remains strong and visible making a valuable contribution to their communities and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them, along with special constables, police officers and staff, who do everything they can in difficult circumstances to ensure day in day out communities are safer and feel safer.

Mark Burns Williamson, Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire

Roger’s high rank in Ska

The article in the Wow 247 pull-out (YEP, June 26) on the appearance of Ska legend Ranking Roger at the Ska and Mod Festival in Leeds in August brought back some memories.

Between the mid-sixties and 1970, I was fortunate enough to work in an electrical and record shop on Chapeltown Road.

The majority of our customers were of Caribbean origin. As a result I was very aware of Blue Beat, Rock Steady, Reggae and Ska.

Some of the recordings were ‘pre-release’ with a plain white label and the title and artist handwritten on the label with a biro.

I was allowed, by the very fatherly owner, Bobby Burns, to borrow records overnight and play them to the members of my local youth club in Meanwood Methodist Church .

Needless to say, they were blown away by what they heard and, as a bonus, I usually had plenty of ladies to talk to.

Ranking Roger is quite obviously a man of considerable talent and musical knowledge .

It is therefore difficult to understand why the (alleged) fan of all musical genres, Jonathan Ross has never had him on his show.

Jack Banner, Meanwood

Shaking the 60s music scene

Your music writer states that the Ska & Mod Festival in August celebrates two movements that ‘shook British music in the late 1970s and early 1980s’.

That’s funny, because I recall listening to Ska records on the Blue Beat label, which was founded in London in 1960, when I was in my mid-teens in 1968.

Incidentally, dear readers of a certain age and fashion history, if you have any of those records hidden away in your attic, some are now worth quite a lot of money.

For example, Derrick Morgan’s Miss Lulu from

1964 (45rpm single) is worth at least £20. I do hope the writer didn’t also mean that Mod first happened in the late 1970s?

If so, he should look at the Daily Mirror front page headline on May 19, 1964.

Terry Maunder, Leeds

Councillor’s public service

I BELIEVE Andrew Mercer of Guiseley (YEP, June 20) is being more than a little unkind to Councillor Andrew Carter in regard to his MBE.

Councillor Carter served originally on the former Pudsey Borough Council years before any actual allowances were paid, when being a councillor really was about voluntary public service. The system of payments, first by an attendance allowance and later increased to the more comprehensive system that we have today, was introduced and expanded (always by Labour governments), especially the 50 per cent rise given a few years ago.

For the record I am not a constituent of Councillor Carter or a member of any political party.

DS Boyes, Rodley

Parasites who feed off us all

I have come to the conclusion that there are two groups of people in our society who rely on failure to succeed in life.

At the bottom end of the scale there are those who have been conditioned to believe that the more affluent members of our society will provide them with an adequate living through the benefits system.

Then there are those who no matter how incompetent and pretentiously out of touch with the real world they are, believe that through being born into the privileged upper echelons of our society they have a God given right to tell everyone else how they should live.

The two opposites don’t feed off each other, they both feed off the rest of us.

These two extremes of our society do at least have one thing in common – they are both parasites.

Derek Barker, Moortown

Schoolchildren in fine voice

On June 23, Leeds Schools Music Association put on a concert at Leeds Town Hall to celebrate Le Grand Depart.

There were 22 schools in all, complete with ukuleles, choirs, violins, clarinets and djembes.

These children represent the future of this country, they and their mentors are to be congratulated on a wonderful performance on such a hot afternoon. Live entertainment to lift one’s spirits!

Mavis Harrison, Saxton Gardens

Why Leeds will do us proud

WHEN the Tour de France’s visit to Yorkshire was first announced my family were very excited.

So imagine my disappointment when my parents announced they were holding their golden anniversary party the very same weekend! All I can say is, have a good time without us – I’m sure Leeds will do us proud.

David Edwards, Leeds

YEP Letters: February 19