YEP Letters: March 20

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Role of universities has been inflated

Don Burslam, Dewsbury.

THE universities are in the news for several reasons, e.g. tuition fees, lecturers’ strikes and expenses for vice-chancellors and management.

I am interested because I studied six years with the Open University and obtained an upper second-class degree while holding down a full-time job. Except for a few summer schools, I studied at home on my own with material sent through the post. Getting degrees can be done much cheaper through the OU.

There would be enormous saving on costs of students’ keep and tuition as well as maintaining the university buildings.

Perhaps the role of universities has been inflated.

No one denies university experience can be valuable but there is no doubt the spiralling costs of these seats of learning are running out of control.

Leeds bin yard overhaul: your views...

Leeds Council has launched a radical new drive to clean up hundreds of ‘problem’ bin yards which are turning inner city areas into flytipping hotspots. The authority has identified 696 yards across the city which it says are in need of “intervention”. It is investing almost £250k into a new project to tackle the “significant negative and ongoing impact of the yards on our most deprived communities”. This will involve securing the yards moving the walls back and providing communal waste and recycling bins secured in frames. A total of 45 yards will be fixed as part of the pilot with the ultimate hope of rolling it out citywide at a cost of £3.8m over the next eight years. We asked YEP readers for their views and here’s what some of them said on social media..

Debbie Simon Bowman

£3.8 million yet Leeds City Council waste tax payers’ money once again. Fix the problem in the first place and our money would be going towards something worth while.

Elaine Ross

It’s the people that live there. We had bin yards when I was young and they were always clean and tidy.

Heather Graham

There are two bin yards in my street. The council empty it, days later full again, the world and his wife dump stuff in them.

Val Wheatley

The bin yards where I live had 6ft walls in between two binyards, but the council decided to knock down those walls and replace with 2ft walls and that’s when the problem started.

I keep my bin yard clean and tidy but some people throw things over to my bin yard.

I’m getting fed up of ringing the council about it.

Rosa Peterson

Harehills is a dumping ground.

Sar Eden

It’s not always the residents! I’ve witnessed flytipping twice on my street in two separate binyards and they stole the iron binyard gate.

Emily Draper

It’s about time! The ones in Armley are disgusting.

A Leeds teenager gave a candid account of the way social media has made it easier than ever for young people to buy drugs in our city when he spoke in a debate about the legalisation of cannabis in the UK. Jack – 17 – joined three other panellists at Leeds University when think-tank VolteFace brought its roadshow to the city. We asked YEP readersfor their views and here’s what some of them said on social media..

Christian Southee

Legalise it, regulate it and tax it and maybe spend a fraction of the revenue on education.

Harry Chana

The only ‘real’ reason cannabis is illegal is because you can grow it at home, unlike cigarettes which require a chemical process. As a result, the Government can’t get taxes and because of this reason it will never be legalised.

Martin Kelly

Legalising it would take much of the mystique and mystery out of using it. A bit like teenagers who secretly smoke because they’re not supposed to. Many people like to think they are streetwise and cool by smoking it illegally.

Elijah Thompson

Legalising it would make it much better for people who are genuinely ill and need the stuff to live a normal life.

Ross Robbins

If it was legalised and taxed it would be able to fund our health service and a whole lot more.

Damian Barrett

Legalise it and the government will make money by taxing it and save money for the police forces. It’s not like it kills anybody, unlike alcohol.

Jeanette Ledbury

Legalise it, time to move with the times.

Michael Kerr

Should be legalised, but subject to laws similar to fags and alcohol.

It’s everywhere anyway, might as well tax it.

Deborah Hambley

Legalise it for both medical and recreational use, so you can buy it in a dispensary like in California.

It’s obvious people will carry on using it if illegal, so why not legalise it so that people who need it for health issues can obtain it safely without having to go down a dark back alley to get it.

Fools behind wheel in snow

A Hague, Leeds 9

WATCHING cars on TV sliding in the snow the other week told me why the chaos is caused.

Because they were not prepared. Why are smooth tyres used in winter?

Why were chains on wheels not used, as they were during the winter of 1947 and beyond?

Also why were warnings ignored for the motorways?

I have no sympathy for any people who act like sheep.

Let’s get project off the ground

David Mitchell, National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship

While far from perfect, many forms of transport are now wheelcair accessible, save, perhaps for one. Aircraft remain the final frontier.

While those of us with disabilities are allowed on flights, those who cannot leave a custom chair remain precluded, as standard aircraft seats do not always provide the right level of support.

I was heartened therefore to hear of the campaign by Michelle Erwin to change this. Michelle’s son, Greyson, must always be in his own special wheelchair, so Michelle’s suggestion, to have a space for a wheelchair on a plane, is a simple one and now receiving serious airline industry interest.

Members of The British Polio Fellowship with Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) can often move from a wheelchair for the duration of a flight, but not all living with disability are so lucky. For them, no chair equals no travel. Aircraft manufacturers permit internal layouts to be decided by the opeator and a removable chair that accomodates a ‘wheelchair approved for flight’ should not see a loss of revenue – if the concept is factored into aircraft design and refits of existing planes.

Aircraft seats must pass rigorous safety tests, so any wheelchair allowed on board would have to meet airline regulatior standards to ensure safety levels are maintained. There is no reason why this cannot be the case. If the will exists among airline and wheelchair manufacturers to make it happen, we can literally, get this project off the ground. Anyone who needs The British Polio Fellowship’s help can visit or call 0800 043 1935.

Land values to blame for housing crisis

Michael Meadowcroft, Former Liberal MP, Leeds.

THIS is probably the first time I have agreed with the Country Landowners Association!

The nationalisation of land is unnecessary for the solution of the housing crisis. The sequestration of land through compulsory purchase at below its existing use value is unacceptable but, of course, it could not be afforded if fair compensation was paid.

Labour is, once again, confusing the ownership of land with the control of land.

Private ownership of land, particularly land on which one’s house is situated, is important for personal security and for protection against the all-powerful state.

The value of land is almost entirely determined by the planning permission on it. It follows that the public authority is entitled to benefit through an annual tax on the value thus created.

This tax would replace the present council and business rates, which are based on capital values, and which 
are a much more blunt instrument.

An annual tax on land values would reduce the price of land and would greatly inhibit land hoarding, whether by developers, public utilities or by Tesco. Thus it would greatly aid housebuilding.

At the present time rents are sky-high and young people in particular simply cannot afford to buy a property. When we read of increases in house prices it is actually an increase in land prices – bricks and mortar never increase in value!

This has been Liberal policy since 1891 and was in Lloyd George’s 1909 budget – enthusiastically supported by the Labour Party.

The need to deal with the land problem is even more important today.

It is high time the change was made. Will the Country Landowners Association support it?

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