YEP Letters November 29

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Brexit deal is ‘stitch up from Europe’

M Meeson, Leeds

THERESA May’s speech regarding the acceptance of the Brexit agreement is reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain’s “peace in our time” speech.

This is a stitch up from Europe – and a stab in the back for Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.

Remember the Prime Minster’s “a no deal is better than a bad deal”?

This is a bad deal and a capitulation to Europe.

We need to look at alternatives to solve congestion

Coun Richard Lewis, Ward Member for Pudsey and Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, Leeds City Council

Being accused of an obsession with people in lycra (YEP, November 24) seems the mildest of insults.

I would, however, like to suggest to Coun Carter that he’s pointing a finger in the wrong direction, as the funding for the Outer Ring Road Cycle Superhighway scheme will come entirely from central government grant (the Department for Transport’s National Productivity Investment Fund to be precise).

I actually don’t want to see more Lycra-clad super-fit cyclists on our roads or cycle tracks.

I want to see more leisure cycling by families, children cycling to and from school, the elderly using the bike to the local shops – in other words, a lot of people making themselves a bit fitter rather than a small number of people being ultra-fit.

This stretch of cycleway will connect with the new East Leeds Orbital Road and its accompanying cycling infrastructure right through to Thorpe Park – rather than Thorp Arch as your paper suggested – massively improving cycling connectivity in the north and east of the city.

Grant funding of this kind is provided for a specific purpose and the council cannot spend the funds at its own discretion.

We can’t spend it on council houses, filling potholes, homeless shelters, or a myriad other uses.

Of course, Leeds City Council is already building council houses and plans to build more, while – despite the Tories slashing our funding by about half – spending on highway maintenance has been protected.

Leeds is actually committed to a number of significant highways improvement schemes that will enhance the capacity of our road network for motorists, but in the long term there’s a limit to how much the network can be expanded.

If Leeds is to be a great city to live in, it has to look to alternatives to the usually under-occupied private car to solve our congestion and air quality problems.

Cyclists, taking up little road space, minimal parking space and, producing no pollution, are part of the solution, alongside pedestrians and public transport users.

Voice for rail passengers

Anthony Smith, Chief Executive, Transport Focus.

AT last rail passengers will join other consumers in having access to free, independent, binding dispute resolution.

The Rail Ombudsman builds on years of successful work done by Transport Focus to help passengers resolve complaints, and to feed back from this experience to inform government policy and the work of the rail regulator. It boosts consumer power and brings rail into line with other industries.

We expect the ability of the Rail Ombudsman to impose binding decisions to resolve complaints – and the fact it can charge train companies fees for doing this – will drive improvements to the way most train operators handle passenger complaints.

We will track the work and effectiveness of the new scheme very closely to make sure the Rail Ombudsman delivers measurable benefits for passengers.

Run more trains on time

Andrew Mercer, Guiseley.

IF more trains ran on time in the first place, and train operators had proper customer service policies in place, an Ombudsman would not be needed. Simple.

Proud of our apprentices

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive, NHS Employers.

WE’RE very pleased to see an increase in apprenticeships – and the recognition from the Department for Education of the progress made.

The NHS is incredibly proud of our apprentices, in all roles and at all levels. In the last year, employers across the NHS have worked hard to build the range of apprenticeships to develop their workforce. We now have more apprentices training to be nurses, advanced clinical practitioners, healthcare scientists and nursing associates across the country.

However, policy reform is needed to continue the increase in apprenticeship roles. We must secure more flexibility in using the apprenticeship levy so employers can expand their apprenticeship offer.

Help charity in festive season

Stephanie Stone, Revitalise

This month we celebrate Giving Tuesday. For many of us the festive season is a time for giving and sharing and I’d like to take a moment to share with your readers how in choosing to give to our charity, you’ll be making a real difference to the lives of the disabled people and carers that we support. As a charity we know that spending time with the people we love and care for is something so simple, but can mean so much to disabled people and carers who have little opportunity of a break. I work for Revitalise, an amazing national charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and carers. Our respite holiday centres in Chigwell in Essex, Southampton and Southport are open to our guests all year round, including over Christmas and the New Year.

Our breaks give our guests the chance to take time away from the stresses of everyday life and to simply spend time doing what really matters – making memories with those they love. You can support us by giving us your time too. We are lucky to have the support of thousands of incredible volunteers, who generously give their time every year.For moreinformation about Revitalise visit: www.revitalise.org.uk or call 0303 303 0145.