YEP Letters: October 20

Buses on Vicar Lane in Leeds City Centre.  Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Buses on Vicar Lane in Leeds City Centre. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
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Check out today’s YEP letters

Bus ticket system needs sorting out

Carol A Gannon, Leeds 15

As I write, First Bus are due to increase fares yet again. Can I ask the company to use some of this increased revenue to sort out their continuing “wave on” problems?

Time after time ticket machines seem unable to scan passes and on occasions not even issue tickets and the drivers simply wave passengers on. On two occasions in recent days drivers were unable to issue the weekly tickets (currently £15) to passengers, as they had run out of the plastic sleeves to put them in, so yet again passengers were waved on.

I don’t really mind not having to pay, being in my 60s and a bus pass several years away yet, but surely First Bus must be losing out in the long run?

Is it so difficult to find ticket machines/systems that are fit for purpose?

Government should pause to learn lessons

Mervyn Jones, Chief Executive, Yorkshire Housing, Leeds

As the chief executive of a large housing association, I’m increasingly worried about the impact of Universal Credit, the government’s initiative to combine benefits into a single payment.

While we support the new system’s principle that work should pay, lessons haven’t been learnt from the pilot. Imagine that you didn’t know what salary you’d receive each week or month.

Then imagine you have no guarantee you will be paid the right amount. And, when you phone for help, no-one has your details and they can’t help. It might also cost up to 55p per minute, although the government intends to make calls free. That’s the reality for the thousands of people now claiming universal credit.

Goverment pilots show the six-week wait for benefits pushes many struggling with basic day-to-day costs even further into debt. Sixty eight per cent of our tenants who claim universal credit are now in rent arrears, with 35 per cent of them owing £400 or more.

With calls for a pause from many quarters, the Government must learn lessons before more people are pushed into further debt. There are also lessons to learn from Scotland and Northern Ireland who negotiated fortnightly payments.

Many areas across Yorkshire are already feeling the impact of Universal Credit with others next on the roll-out list, before Christmas. I worry that already stretched services won’t be able to meet increased demand. This might force the most vulnerable people in our society to take drastic measures just to make ends meet.

Tories letting down elderly

Dick Lindley, Altofts.

IT was recently suggested by the Care Minister, Jackie Doyle-Price, that homes should not been seen as assets to be passed onto our kids, but should instead be used to pay for our residential care expenses in our twilight years. Does she not understand that we have spent the vast majority of our working lives paying huge amounts of Income Tax and National Insurance in order to fund our healthcare needs?

Is she really working for the Conservative Party or is she secretly helping the socialist party? It is the sort of rhetoric which one would expect for left- wing Corbynites, but coming from a Tory Minister it makes me despair of the Tories.The Tory party used to support hard-working people in their attempts to accumulate a few quid so that their kids would be better off than they were, when starting out on life’s journey.

It is a smack in the teeth for the hard-working people who have saved all their lives only to find that the main constituent of their wealth, their house, will be confiscated by the state, at the very time when, having supported the state throughout their working lives, they should be able to expect a bit of state support in their dotage.

Rather than confiscating valuable assets from the savings of elderly people, it would be a much better idea if the obscene amount of monies squandered by this Government in its foreign aid budget were spent looking after our old folks.

The Tories need to remember that charity begins at home if they want to be re-elected.

Disrespect for city taxpayers

Dave Hubball, Garforth

THE leaders of Leeds City Council should, if they had any decency, resign en masse over their total disrespect for the taxpayers of Leeds.

The list of money-wasting schemes are endless, the re-generation of Kirkgate market (£17m) that the stallholders didn’t want and the public don’t like, turning it into a ghost town. Tram/trolley bus schemes with nowhere to go. Cycleways (£35m) that are almost unused and have been dug up before the paint has dried. And now, to top it all, the houses on green-belt that we don’t need. The list goes on and on. The costs of these projects and feasibility studies that have been carried out must run to hundreds of millions of pounds, and things seem to get worse.

Do we want Yorkshire devolution? If LCC are to be involved, we’d be on our “uppers”. Council leaders, do the decent thing and resign. Leeds city leaders, you couldn’t run a bath.

No deal better than bad deal

Neil F Liversidge, Great Preston

As the EU continues to be intransigent over Brexit negotiations, the British government should be fully prepared to walk away with no deal rather than agree to a bad deal.

Whilst it is be hoped that the UK and EU negotiating teams will reach a deal that benefits both sides, it is vital that we should be prepared to walk away without a deal if necessary. If, because of EU bullying, the UK and EU agree to a bad deal, then Britain will be saddled with the terms of the deal for decades. The government would certainly have the support of the British people. According to a new Sky Data poll a large majority of the public believes that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. A massive 74% agreed the country should walk away rather than accept a bad, ‘punishment’ deal. Just 26% think ‘any deal is better than no deal’. As Justice Minister Dominic Raab has said, the UK must ‘strive for the very best outcome from these negotiations, but prepare for all eventualities’ (BBC News, October 2017). It is worrying, therefore, that the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, has written in the Times that he will only spend money on preparing for a ‘no deal scenario’ just before such a scenario should arise. The responsible action to take would be to ensure that we are prepared for a no deal scenario now, and not wait until the last minute. At this juncture in our nation’s history, arguably the most critical since 1940, we need our political leaders to act with courage. I urge readers to write to their MPs, calling on them to make clear to the government that NO deal is better than a bad deal.

YEP Letters: October 19

The grounds of Temple Newsam House, Leeds.

YEP Letters: October 18