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YEP Letters: March 13

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Sadness over reaction to snow

Karl Grubb, Wakefield

Following the recent snow episodes, I would like to remark upon the reaction to it.

I note with sadness that everything seems to come to a halt, schools close, primarily it would seem as teachers quote the dreaded ‘health and safety.’ This in my view is a smokescreen for them to also have a day off, this shows the pupils the way to behave in the future, we are breeding a generation of adults who at the first sign of adversity, surrender to events and it breeds a lack of moral fibre.

The media create a fire storm of hysteria by naming events like ‘Beast from the East’ therefore ‘bigging up’ events which, dare I say it, in the past would have been shrugged off and folk would simply carry on regardless.

This is not some grumpy old (56-year-old) male reminiscing about the good old days, but a statement of fact.

We oldies look at the current times and thank God that in years to come we will not be around to witness the decline and moral turpitude of our fellow humans.

Public is just a ‘cash cow’ for the council

Peter Haddington, Bradford.

HOW much more do the people of Leeds have to take from a council which has constantly wasted taxpayers’ money and cut public services to save money and then has the audacity to raise council tax by five per cent?

When I hear councillors blaming the Government’s funding cuts for them being cash-strapped, I always think of the workman who blames his tools for his own workmanship. The fortunes of public money that this organisation has wasted on failed transport systems, and moneyspinning projects that benefit few people apart from themselves, never get a mention from the council.

You constantly hear them moaning that they’re cash-strapped, but if they are, how much of it is their own fault? Many people will believe that they are cash-strapped, but I am not one of them.

My idea of cash-strapped are families who can barely afford to eat who are forced to use food banks, and people who are too ill to work who have had their benefits cut to the bone, not an organisation who can afford to pay several of their employees well in excess of £100,000 a year.

Are these people who earn these large amounts of money really deserving of these high incomes or do they need to be looked at, or weeded out, rather than increasing council tax by so much? It appears to me that some people at the top are not capable of making the right decisions or Leeds would have a proper transport system by now.

It is always the taxpayer who picks up the bill for the council’s errors, and the public have become little other than a cash cow for the council who they know they can always fall back on when things go wrong.

The council tax has become almost something for nothing and I always thought that this tax covered waste disposal, but now we have extra charges for dumping rubbish.

The motorist continues to drive on crumbling and potholed roads, mainly due to excessive roadworks and substandard finishing. Instead of a five per cent rise, the public deserve to receive rebates for this tax as the service has become a complete and utter shambles.

We must fight pension cause

Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East, Councillors Kim Groves and Kevin Ritchie, and 23 others.

WE wish to express our dismay at proposed changes to university pensions which mean staff will struggle to plan for a retirement where a reasonable pension payout is assured.

Many staff already suffer the effects of zero-hours contracts and pension changes will cause further insecurity. This degrades the higher education teaching profession and could result in future recruitment and retention difficulties.

The proposed pension changes are based on unduly pessimistic ‘worst-case scenario’ estimates, and shamefully come in addition to employers taking a pensions contribution holiday from 1997 until 2011 at a cost of £1bn. A less risky, more generous pension agreement is affordable.

Whilst regretting the disruption which strike action will cause, we recognise that these pension changes are part of a growing trend to casualise and marketise education.

Education should not be treated as a product to be bought and sold and employee provisions should not be seen as a costly financial burden.

This must be halted and we therefore stand in solidarity with striking lecturers.We call on employers to engage in negotiations which do not saddle employees with unpredictable, risky and inadequate pension provision.

Furthermore, we call on the vice-chancellor Alan Langlands at University of Leeds to follow the example of vice-chancellors in Newcastle, Durham and elsewhere nationally, in giving personal backing to UCU strike action.

Let motorists notify police

Hilary Andrews, Leeds

REPORTS show that fewer motorists are being prosecuted for using mobile phones when driving.

Why can’t other motorists notify police of the number plates of those seen using their phones?

A check of the phones of these drivers would confirm their guilt and result in prosecutions. Notification in this way is common in Australia where you see few drivers using their phones when on the road. Too many “human rights” in the UK?

Dock time from holidays

Dr J P Whiteley, Pool-in-Wharfedale.

REGARDING school closures during inclement weather, of course the safety of pupils and staff must always be a priority.

However, on a recent trip to the USA, I found that they have a rather different approach.

If a day or days are lost because of the weather, the time is made up by docking the equivalent number of days from the school holidays. Thus the students are not disadvantaged and no teaching time is lost. I look forward to this sensible idea being adopted in the UK, although I won’t be holding my breath.

Nodding donkeys

From: Tarquin Holman, Farsley.

WATCHING Prime Minister’s Questions on TV I have to laugh being reminded of 
the old song Donkey Serenade with all the Ministers 
nodding their heads off in agreement to Theresa May’s every word.

I wonder if they have carrots for their breakfast?

Exaggeration of some snow forecasters

Eric Houlder, Carleton

Regarding snow chains for vehicles, during the 1950s, we had much more snow than today.

My family had a milk-delivery business, using an ex-army Chevrolet fifteen hundredweight. If the snow was lying deeper than about six inches, father used to rouse my brother and me very early – before 4am – in order for us to help him fit the chains.

It was quite hard, physical work as I remember, but the chains were most effective as long as the council only spread sand on the roads. If, however, they spread salt, we had to make haste to unship the chains as using them on bare roads would “cut the tyres to pieces” in his words.

We rarely had to do this, as quite often only sand was spread, and we usually finished delivery quite early.

I do agree with other correspondents who deplore the exaggeration of some forecasters. We have never had dense fog since the very early 1960s, or really deep snow since about the same period.

SSAFA there for Armed Forces

Dan Snow, WW1 Historian and SSAFA Ambassador

This year, SSAFA the Armed Forces charity will mark 100 years since the end of World War One.

The charity, of which I am a proud Ambassador, was there for our Armed Forces family then and they’re still here for them now. For over 130 years and through a number of conflicts, SSAFA has shown its commitment to our service men and women, veterans and their families; relieving need, suffering and distress through its network of local branches.

At the outbreak of World War One, the Government called on SSAFA to take care of the families of soldiers in Yorkshire who were going to the Front and the charity has been helping military families in the local area ever since.

Throughout 2018, SSAFA will be commemorating all those who served during the Great War and encouraging the public to remember those relatives who fought, while also acknowledging those soldiers and veterans who served in more recent conflicts and need our help today.

To find out more about how you can fundraise, volunteer or support SSAFA in this centenary year, please visit ssafa.org.uk/world-war-100

The power of sporting events

David Mitchell, National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship

The start of the Winter Paralympics is a cause for celebration, as we wish our athletes well in the world’s greatest festival of winter sport.

Our very own ‘olympics’, the National Indoor Games 2018, takes place in Leicester from March 16-18. While we cannot compete with 600 athletes across 80 events, we do share great commonality; not least some amazing human stories.

The great power of sporting events is their ability to inspire us to do more and better, and delivering superb accessibility at celebrated sporting events is essential. Mayor of PyeongChang Paralympic Village, Park Eun-Soo, is a polio survivor, so his knowledge of disabled sport will ensure the athletes want for nothing and the Paralympics can inspire all of us to do the same for accessibility, right here in the UK.

There are sadly no medals for accessibility, yet millions will be winners if we can change the current situation for the better – grateful some had the foresight to campaign for change in the face of an ageing population. The British Polio Fellowship has been fighting for better representation for those who have had polio - and for those with accessibility challenges in general – for nearly 80 years. 120,000 people in the UK with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) is testament to the need for our existence for many years to come.

Visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935 to find out why.

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