YEP Letters: November 2

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Publicity material for the trolleybus proposal has referred to a survey carried out in 2009 which showed that 77 per cent of people supported introduction of a trolleybus-based scheme which would include an East route to St James’ Hospital and a City Centre loop along with the currently proposed North and South routes.

Other information promised that the scheme would “help tackle congestion and reduce pollution in Leeds”, and that “90pc of the funding for NGT would come from Central Government and 10pc would come from local sources”.

Community associations in north-west Leeds recently combined to distribute a new questionnaire, worded to replicate the 2009 survey, to gauge the reaction of residents to the scheme now being proposed. 3,450 questionnaires were distributed and 893 were returned. Analysis shows that 95pc of people are opposed or strongly opposed to the proposed trolleybus scheme, with only 3pc supporting it. No survey can claim to be entirely representative but the drop from 77pc to 3pc suggests that, now that the implications of the trolleybus proposal is beginning to be understood, the public response is becoming clear – they don’t want it.

Doug Kemp, North West Leeds Transport Forum

Missing some common sense

Two major news stories have really got my back up this week.

Firstly, a special school for children with “behavioural difficulties” spends £100,000 per pupil per annum. How can this be justified when so many children in mainstream education are leaving school with such poor literacy and numeracy capabilities?

Does not being prepared to do as you are told qualify as a “behavioural difficulty”?

There is a world of difference between those who cannot understand because of a learning disability and those who choose ignorance as an option. Secondly, how on earth can the nation’s conscience be served by the knowledge that Sharon Shoesmith , head of the unfortunately named “Children’s Services” at Haringey Council will benefit from an (alleged) compensatory payment of £600,000.

Surely, the reason for her “sacking” is far more important than the procedures followed. I know, as a former trades union official why these laws were introduced, and it was not to protect the incompetent!

What on earth happened to common sense and decency?

Am I out of touch, or are our government/law enforcers?

Jack Banner, Leeds

Temperatures in sea are rising

Regarding the letter of Jane Collins (High price for green energy, Your views, October 28). It is true that the increase in average land temperatures has slowed down in recent years, but average sea temperatures are still rising rapidly.

There has been an increase in antarctic sea ice, but this has been more than counter balanced by a rapid decline in antarctic land ice.

If you review all the evidence, and don’t just select odd facts, the case that global warming presents us all with serious problems will be seen to be overwhelmingly strong. This is an uncomfortable thought, but if we care about future generations, we must take it seriously.

Alan Slomson, by email

Evidence for global warming

Jane Collins, from her letter in Your Views appears to believe that ‘an all time high of Antarctic sea ice’ supports her views that global warming is a myth. In fact it supports global warming ideas.

More Antarctic ice is melting resulting in more glacier ice breaking off and falling into the sea.

Brian Perkins, by email

Why are we in such a rush?

I READ with interest Paul Kilroy’s letter (YEP, October 30) about stress-free office working conditions 40 years ago before everything speeded up.

Why are we in such a rush today?

There was talk of increasing the speed limit on motorways to 80mph. Then there is fast food. Get out of the supermarket quicker by self-pricing.

And last but not least the ludicrous idea of spending billions on a high speed railway system, just so the traveller can get to say London half an hour earlier.

I am sure the money could be spent on more needed things.

H Ibbetson,

Broom Nook, Leeds

A sad loss to music industry

So, yet another influential rock icon departs this Earth.

The iconic punk-poet of the 60s and 70s Lou Reed – a very sad loss, although many may say after all the hard drinking, drugs, etc, that he was into (along with many others in his era) he did well to get to the age of 71! But it can’t be emphasised enough just how influential Lou Reed was on many of his peers, and indeed even many of today’s bands and artists.

For me, he was as influential if not more so than David Bowie still is. In fact I’d go as far as to say that Lou Reed was a real influence on David Bowie himself who is seen by many to be an influence in himself.

Although he was musically different to Iggy Pop, I can easily see why Iggy Pop saw Reed as a mentor/influence. Even back in the mid 60s Jim Morrison was hugely influenced by the Velvet Underground, Arty-Rock managed by Andy Warhol, but I suppose Reed’s finest album was Transformer which included the big hit tunes, Walk On The Wild Side, Perfect Day, and “Satellite Of Love”, produced by the said David Bowie!

A great artist, a poet, and a sad loss to the music industry.

Peter Keighley, by email

Dangers of bedroom policy

When is a bedroom not a bedroom? Well, when the council says it isn’t, it seems. Some people might be understandably confused by the news that 850 properties in the city are to be redesignated with fewer bedrooms. (YEP, October 26).

The proposals were trailed earlier in the year, potentially allowing hundreds of people to avoid the Government’s changes to housing benefit. Those residents deemed to be under-occupying face a reduction in the amount of benefit they can claim, but if the number of bedrooms in the property is reclassified they won’t be affected by the changes. This specific aspect of the proposals was sold as a convenient side-benefit and – we were told – the redesignations were long overdue anyway. Also at the time, we were told that the risk of this impacting the amount of rent collected was low.

Yet now it has become clear the plans could actually mean a yearly £55,000 loss of income, since over 400 of the re-designated properties will not be able to rise above the target rent for the number of bedrooms in the property. Whatever the council says about the ‘ancillary’ effect of these proposals on under-occupying tenants, it seems clear that the impetus for the move was an attempt to help those tenants avoid reductions to their housing benefit. What else explains the timing of the decision? Even if the council has followed the relevant rules on this, there is surely a danger that this action will be seen as unfair and politically motivated – not least by those residents who won’t benefit from these redesignations but potentially see their neighbours’ benefits protected. Furthermore the Government has already warned councils that if it thinks they are trying to circumvent the new rules, it may penalise them by restricting housing benefit. The council would do well to tread a careful line.

Coun Barry Anderson

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YEP Letters: June 15