YEP Letters: June 9

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Repercussion of attack on social rented housing

John Davies, Hands Off Our Homes, Chapel Allerton

Last week you reported that the council was “seeking to sell land for housing” and was extolling the virtues of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI )in providing improvements for tenants in Swarcliffe.

The improvements have been so effective that there are 300 bids for a home when one becomes vacant.

But why is the council so keen to get involved with the private sector for the provision of social housing? Why sell off land to private developers when council properties could be constructed for rent, with the income being retained by the council and reinvested in further housing development for those who cannot or do not want to buy?

The stock of council properties and building land are assets of the citizens of Leeds and should not be sold off so a few can make a financial gain.

Those who have been affected by the Bedroom Tax have not been able to relocate as alternative properties are not available and nationally only 10 per cent of those affected have actually moved.

The “Right to Buy” scheme is to be extended to social landlords beyond the council at huge discounts.

There are also further plans from the Tories in Westminster to instruct the local authority to sell off its housing stock by private sale when properties become empty. The people of Swarcliffe might just find that no bids can be made to rent a property if the council does as it is to be told and sells the houses so reducing the council house stock still further.

Oh, and how much does Leeds Council owe in repayments to the PFI providers and what rate of interest are they paying?

Creeping privatisation was bad enough but this full frontal attack on the provision of social rented housing will have repercussions for years to come. Tenants beware.

Labour always leaves a debt

John Wood, Garforth

I READ frequently in the YEP letters saying the Thatcher administration was bad for the country.

I know a lot of what they did was not good, such as not allowing local councils to keep the proceeds from the sale of council houses, insisting that they went direct to central government and the poll tax.

However they took over from a Labour administration which left the country in such a bad financial state that the IMF refused them a loan until they sorted out the economy and the unions who were effectively running the country.

The unions at the time refused to let businesses update their equipment to compete with countries like Japan and Germany etc so they closed down.

The miners’ strike was called by Scargill (King Arthur) not the members, and every day somewhere in the UK, large numbers of workers were out on strike. Labour closed more pits during their administration than the Tory administration did afterwards.

The last Labour administration did not cause the financial crash but it exposed the fact the UK had a trillion-pound debt and £8bn of PFI debt.

I have lived through three Labour administrations and each one has left the country in a bad way.

The first one was after the Second World War so they could not be blamed for the deficit at that time.

The following Labour governments just borrowed and borrowed.

The delights of caravanning

Ernest Lundy, Beeston

I KNOW she was only playing devil’s advocate, but Radio Leeds presenter Liz Green recently spoke somewhat disparagingly about caravanning.

She said she couldn’t do with chemical toilets, they were slow on the road and one of her friends, having recently hired one, thought they were horrible.

In fact for those who are unfortunate not to live in a leafy suburban area, to be able to hitch up a caravan and sally forth to the beauty spots of the UK and Europe is one of the best forms of holidaymaking.

Caravans today have every modern convenience and are designed not only for comfort but also for ease of touring in all conditions.

We all know the stories about hold-ups created on roads to the coast at peak holiday times. Well, hold-ups are equally possible through slow and inexperienced drivers.

But once settled on a caravan site at home or abroad, the freedom of movement is unrestricted; and if one becomes bored and seeks new pastures, it is so easy to up sticks and move on.

As for the chemical toilet, most are only used in emergency as all sites have up-to-date washing and toilet facilities.

Having taken all kinds of holidays in the past, I have to say that those taken with various caravans have been the best and most memorable.

Nursing home licence ruling

Mrs J Thornton, Whitby

COULD I please submit my comments about the Donisthorpe Hall nursing home that has been given permission to be allowed to serve drinks and play music at certain reasonable times (YEP, May 28)?

These people are human beings.

Just because they are in a home it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be allowed to live and enjoy their later life.

Of course they should be allowed a licence, it should not even need a committee meeting.

These people are being cared for and watched over, so please allow the nurses to do their job.

I feel that the people living in the vicinity of the home and who are against the idea are being selfish.

How would these people like it if they had to live in a home? It could well happen one day.

Nobody can stay young forever – so live and let live.

Spend money on helping our own

Malcolm Meeson, Leeds

I FIND it appalling that Abi Longfellow (YEP, June 5) is denied life-saving treatment whilst this Government sends millions in foreign aid abroad.

If this young lady is denied the drug Eculizumab due to the cost (£393,000 a year) then we should not be funding aid overseas if we cannot help our own.

Abi’s quality of life will be enhanced and her 10 hours a day dialysis treatment could be reduced.

Katya Jones with her celebrity partner Joe McFadden

YEP Letters: December 9