Check out today’s YEP letters
Hospital parking fees should stay
Barbara Woolley, Barkston Ash
SHOULD hospital parking fees be abolished? No they should not – free parking would be abused. Then patients wouldn’t be able to park for appointments.
No one is too poor if they are running a car to pay for parking. And the fees are so small compared with free medical treatment.
My husband and I have had approximately £70-80,000 worth of procedures, including cancer treatment, for which we had a free parking pass. Plus there are ongoing check-ups, scans and medication all for free.
The only thing patients see written in hard cash are car parking fees and if this money goes into hospital coffers all the better for patients – more care.
Leeds ‘let down’ by City of Culture decision
James Bovington, Leeds 18
I believe in being even-handed and thought that some of your readers might be interested in the letter that I am sending to the EU Commission as follows:
‘I write to you as one who has consistently championed UK engagement in the EU and who is absolutely devastated at the dystopian nightmare cultural desert future that my fellow citizens have apparently chosen by embracing the strident lies of those who want to leave the EU.
I am a former Chair of Leeds in Europe and my commitment to Britain not just remaining in Europe but taking a leading role therein is both sincere and long-lasting. Hence I campaigned tirelessly for this country to join the Eurozone and subsequently to remain in the EU. I am not ashamed to say that on the morning of June 24, 2016 I shed tears along with some of my older students who were grief-stricken at that fact that their fellow citizens, including in many cases their grandparents, had robbed them of their European future.
So these are my pro-EU credentials. This week Juncker and his team have dealt pro-Europeans like me a body blow by the unfair high-handed and spiteful manner in which the candidacy of the UK cities for the 2023 capital of culture have been summarily dismissed. The way in which this has been done will only strengthen the case of those who want to cut all ties including the cultural.
I understand the pedantic bureaucratic reasoning behind this decision but it is unfair to punish cities like Leeds, which voted Remain, and which have so much to give in building a pan-European future. I know that the UK has not always been an easy partner but the vast majority of our citizens – over 62 per cent – did not vote for the lies of the leavers and Leeds voted Remain.
Talk about an own goal. The Leave campaign couldn’t have done a better job. I and other remainers who want to see this country change its mind and reverse the monumental error of June 23 will feel really let down by this decision. Perhaps the truth is that the leavers are correct and you just don’t want us after all, in which case the 30 years that I have put into trying to bring young Europeans together really have been a waste of time?’
Focus on needs of city residents
Martin J Phillips, Leeds 16
I think it is fortunate that Leeds has found out early that they would be wasting their time (and taxpayers money) to pursue the City of Culture bid for 2023. Anyone with an iota of common sense knew right from the start that Leeds hadn’t got a cat-in-hell’s chance of winning.
The first place visitors would aim for is the tourist information centre to get information about what is on and how to get there.
To get there they would have to walk from the bus or railway station. Then they would have to go (back) to bus station as the tourist information centre does not have any information about public transport.
Once they realise how dreadful public transport is in Leeds, they would be on the next train/bus/plane home! (it took the bus over two hours to get from Leeds to Cookridge on Thursday afternoon).
People arriving by car would not even bother to stop when they realise what a joke parking arrangements are and how difficult it is to drive within the city centre without getting a fine. Leeds needs to focus on providing for the needs of the people already here. When the residents are happy living, working, and travelling in the city, visitors will be attracted here.
Exclusion is EU sour grapes
D Angood, by email
So another council decision goes to an enquiry, an enquiry that will surely incur more costs.
The enquiry would be to determine who is responsible for the ensuing debacle regarding the council’s bid for European City of Culture. It is patently obvious that the decision to exclude UK cities from the bidding is a bit of sour grapes from the EU. It matters not how many questions were asked of the government if the government were not privy to the decision of the EU prior to it being taken. Those in the EU will not bother themselves with Leeds’ enquiry so why incur more costs?
The decision to bid was taken by the council being persuaded by a number of reasons, mainly proposals from small groups and/or ideas above their station, whilst the majority of citizens were more concerned with the immediate problems they faced not something six years hence.
Maybe the council, if they are able to think six years in advance, would have been better focusing their attention on the transport infrastructure six or more years previously.
Maybe then we might have had a transport network that could have provided for the expected influx of people if the bid for City of Culture had been won. It seems a lot of thought and effort have been put into the bid, just a shame that the same wasn’t put into schemes like the NGT.
Maybe if the council had thought as big about transport as they seem to have done about the bid we would be able to move about the city more easily than we do now.
If Mrs Thatcher was in charge...
Judith Harris, Leeds 17
If Margaret Thatcher was still alive and Prime Minister, therefore taking us through Brexit instead of Theresa May, it would have probably been done and dusted by now.
Whether we loved or hated her, she wouldn’t have dillied and dallied like Theresa.
She wouldn’t have agreed to a divorce bill either. As for the other Ministers involved, Maggie would have commanded “jump” and they would have asked “how high”?
Government just doesn’t care
Tony Green, by email
Her Majesty’s Government doesn’t care about what happens to Leeds, or the north of England more generally, never mind the Republic of Ireland.
Or indeed about the poor. Or about first-time buyers: stamp-duty cuts? Give me a break, even I knew that would just drive up the price of houses, before the Office of Budget Responsibility formally reported.
Or the matter of why planning permissions massively exceed builds? Oh bless me, we’re to have a review of that, to report in the spring, doubtless at vast expense; as if a five-year old doesn’t know: it’s because land with planning permission is worth more than land without, so you don’t go to the trouble and risk of building, you just sell it on. Then, it’s sold on again, and again, and again...
By the way, Mr Hammond knows this. He’s not a fool. He just doesn’t care. Any more than the Prime Minister does. They’re not fools: they just don’t care.
Concern for farmed ducks
Sophie Elwes, RSPCA Senior Scientific Officer
It was great to see Jamie Oliver talking about the importance of farmed ducks having full body access to water on Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast (November 24, Channel 4).
A recent poll by RSPCA Assured revealed 88 per cent of people think ducks farmed for meat should be given water they can fully get into. But most readers will probably be shocked to know that the vast majority of farmed ducks are only given enough water to be able to dip their heads in.
In fact the law states they do not have to be given anything other than drinking water which could be from a metal ball bearing drinker, similar to those used by pet hamsters.
This is really worrying because as waterfowl, ducks need a life in and around water. And just as the wild ducks we see on ponds and rivers need to splash, preen and immerse themselves in water to keep clean and healthy, so do farmed ducks.
Sadly there are currently no duck producers farming to the RSPCA’s welfare standards for ducks, under the RSPCA Assured label, which insist they must be given full body access to water.
To help put pressure on your supermarket to stock duck that has had full body access to water visit www.rspcaassured.org.uk/lobby-your-supermarket
Strong and stable after all?
Tim Hunter, Knaresborough
I DON’T know why people constantly try to portray Theresa May as being in an unstable, weak position.
Compared to her counterparts in Europe, she’s not in that bad a situation at all.
She has been able to form a workable alliance with another party (the DUP) and can therefore govern effectively, albeit with a tight majority. So far the votes on Brexit have been going through, despite predictions of total disaster.
If you want to look for unstable situations, you need look no further than Germany, where Angela Merkel has failed to form a Government. She now faces fresh elections which may see the anti-Euro AFD gain more seats.
Then, let’s see what happens to the untested Emmanuel Macron in France. Let’s see if he succeeds with his labour reforms which are bitterly opposed by the left.
Then, look at the Netherlands, which took 208 days to form a four-party coalition.
Maybe Theresa May is relatively strong and stable after all?
Keep the faith in guided buses
John Wells, by email
I regret the passing of the old trams but I accept modern buses as the next best transport system for now in Leeds.
Perhaps locally built single deck with low pollution travelling on separate sections of main roads ie central reservations of dual carriage ways which already exist in many parts of Leeds?
I think the council should keep the faith in guided bus but in an extended and ambitious fashion so that dedicated bus travel across the city would take place.
This would involve huge engineering work at great expense – surely the Government’s offer of £174m from the failed trolley bus scheme could be used?
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