YEP Letters: September 21

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Check out today’s YEP letters

What happened to pension equality?

DS Boyes, Leeds 13

A whole generation of women born after WW2 must now wonder why they are being discriminated against in state pension provision.

Because the Universal Flat Rate State Pension announced by then Coalition Pensions Minister Steve Webb some years ago is far from flat rate or indeed universal!

Although whenever state pension provision changes, ie either by altering the age or National Insurance qualification, some born the wrong side of the implementation date usually in April lose out. But this time, by advancing the age from 60 - set in 1940, to 65 the same as men, soon to be 66 for both, it has put thousands of women between the proverbial rock and hard place.

Some unable to work on by ill health, others deemed too old by employers, many with no occupational or personal pension possibly not entitled to means tested benefits, or want to undergo the indignity of claiming, may face living in penury once their meagre savings are exhausted.

This deplorable state of affairs shames both Labour and Conservative parties as neither when in office ever explained things properly to those likely to be affected.

It will be years before things balance out, in between times so many women will suffer so much. Whatever happened to equality?


Search for information

Pat Gerwat, by email

At Adel Quaker Meeting we are researching the life and death of Allan Cox who is interred in a war grave in the burial ground at Adel.

In 1911 (aged 13) he was a pupil at the Friends School, Low Green, Rawdon and died on 15th June 1915, aged 17, after serving as a driver in the West Riding Division of the Royal Army Service Corps (Service number: T/3484). We believe he died in York.

We have traced his parents, who were Herbert and Annie Cox, living in Holbeck and owning a shop in 1911.

We would love to know more about Allan and wonder if there are any descendants of his siblings living in Leeds who have some information about him.

If you can help us with our research, please contact Pat Gerwat on 0113 2899626 or email

More council homes needed

Martin J Phillips, Cookridge

Despite Leeds having 30,000 families on the waiting list for a council property, David Cameron wants Leeds to sell off nearly 3500 council homes.

The implication for such a policy nationwide is going to force families to take on mortgages they cannot afford leading to a repeat of the economic collapse in 2008.

On top of this councils are expected to house migrants coming to this country from other parts of the world.

The country therefore requires more council homes not less.

It just shows how ‘out-of-touch’ with the real world David Cameron and his cronies are.

Look after our own first

B Leonard, by email

Over the last few nights we’ve seen on the news refugees fighting on the border at Hungary.

Most of them seem to be youngish men. They have walked hundred of miles but don’t look out of sorts or unfit, so maybe they should have stayed back home and put up a fight against ISIS, then maybe the whole of Europe would not be in the state it is.

As for the UK we still get the same old what we cannot afford for our homeless but we can find billions of pounds in overseas aid. Can’t look after our own but can look after the rest of the world. As for Leeds, all we get is more of the same, can’t afford Opera in the Park, have to shut libraries and much more but can give £100,000 from council funds towards the refugees. Look after our own first, then if there is some left give to the poor.

Show some compassion

Jim Kirk, Middleton

In response to Liz Goodwill’s letter ‘Be realistic on immigration’. People fleeing their country in terror are not scroungers. They have wealth, they seek sanctuary. Not to impose some imaginary burden on our state. We recoil in horror at the barbarity of Islamic State and the menace of tyranny the Assad regime inflicts upon the people.

Now more than ever is the time to show our compassion, so that we can give light and life to thousands in darkness and doubt. And in return they will always remember long after they find peace in their homelands, those nations who offered them a safe haven.

Evil has no greater enemy than love. And a little GOODWILL goes a long way.

Reopen rail links

James Bovington, Horsforth

The crowds attending the reopening ceremony of the Borders rail line on the day that the Queen became the longest reigning British monarch were rightly jubilant at this royal achievement but were also expressing their delight at the reinstated train line.

At a cost of over £250m this is hopefully just the first stage in a project to link the line to Carlisle and thus develop employment and tourism opportunities in the south of Scotland. Our Celtic neighbours are quite good at rail reopening, hence in 2009 the line from Cork to Midleton was reopened and the Scottish government has also financed the reopening of a fourth direct link between Edinburgh and Glasgow. In our region there are numerous opportunities for rail reopenings which would benefit the economy and the environment. The 11 mile link between Skipton and Colne should be reopened and the cost of this would be less than one per cent of the cost of the London CrossRail. Studies have proved that this link is financially justifiable. A study found the same about trains serving a reopened link to Otley. Then there is the obvious reopening to Ripon which if extended to Northallerton could create a supplementary route to the East Coast line and if extended south to Wetherby could help justify Leeds to Wetherby and serve the thousands of new homes planned for north-east Leeds. None of it will happen in all likelihood. No local lines have ever been electrified while Labour have been in power. So I can’t see the much vaunted devolution of transport power making a difference.