YEP Letters: September 3

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Check out today’s YEP letters.

Emulate French transport system

James Bovington, Horsforth

I could write at length about things that I’m not keen on about France, or for that matter the French, but the excellent quality of their municipal transport systems is one that we should be seeking to emulate.

Hence on our recent holiday we have visited the tram systems in medium sized central France cities including Orleans, Le Mans and Tours.

The trams fit well into the urban fabric and provide frequent all day links from suburbs into the historic centres where in some cases the tram has allowed enhanced pedestrianisation.

Purchasing a ticket with either cash or debit card is facilitated by machines at all stops. Park and ride sites enable both residents and tourists to access the trams easily and directly, although these could be larger.

These cities are comparable in size to places like York, Huddersfield and Wakefield. Yet all have been able to develop tram systems and secure funding. So why can’t Leeds? My preference for a rail tunnel with new central area underground stations is well documented – as is the case nearer to home in Liverpool and Newcastle but which is also well illustrated by the networks in cities such as Zurich and Leipzig.

However trams could also have a role to play. Scrapping the proposals for NGT and developing a tram network for the Adel/Headingley to Stourton/Middleton alignment would be a good start and could complement a future east to west ‘CrossRail’ tunnel.

Take note Councillor Wakefield, or whoever is now pretending to develop a modern transport network for Leeds. The citizens of Leeds deserve as good a transport network as anywhere in France, don’t they?

OAPs’ shabby treatment

Ernest Lundy, by email

With the passing of each day we have an ever diminishing group of citizens who have 
been shabbily treated since 1945/6.

At the age they are they have had to put up with the lowest pensions in Europe! Their savings have got to be worth almost nothing through depreciation of the pound and the interest they derive from them is derisory, but still taxed at 20 per cent.

They are ripped off for car and holiday insurance because of age; and should they be unfortunate enough to have to go into care, their remaining assets and property can be sequestered to pay for it.

This after risking their all in wartime, and having worked since to create the wealth of this nation.

These people are our OAPs and the countless others who have served in our armed forces since, and subsequently been almost ignored in the aftermath.

Many unable to get a home after being discharged. We see reports of such cases in the press every day.

What a way to treat our heroes when even those they fought and defeated are better thought of by their own countries and rewarded much better.

It’s an undeniable fact that the generation concerned has been the ‘whipping horse’ of successive governments since the war.

By the time things improve they will be long gone; but their treatment will forever be remembered as an indictment upon those of all political parties who seem not to care!

Cycle lane is borderline case

A Shipman, Swinnow

P Spence raises a valid point with regard to the new cycle lane under construction in West Leeds (YEP Letters August 25).

The demand for this lane is a borderline case and the money could indeed be better spent, but what’s new? No matter who is in charge at Civic Hall finding ways to squander our money is, invariably, at the top of the agenda.

A perfectly good cycle track already exists via the towpath of the Leeds/Liverpool canal, from which West Leeds and Bradford can be easily accessed.

Migrants are demonised

Terry Maunder, Kirkstall

This week there has been a good deal of debate about migrants/immigration.

There have been those racists who, when talking about limiting immigration, clearly refer to black people or people from certain areas of Europe.

There have been deaths in large numbers, yet still I hear politicians talking about migrants in a way that deliberately demonises them as some sort of scourge.

Let me point out some things: these people don’t avoid paying taxes like, for two examples, certain big corporations and so-called “celebrities”, who most certainly earn more then their actual social worth. They don’t cheat tax payers out of money by fiddling their expenses and then try to do something like remove mental illness from the criteria for vulnerability when making certain benefit claims. They don’t try to privatise the NHS and sell services to poorly performing health care companies (criticised by CQC) with obvious, potential repercussions to patients.

They don’t pay money into political parties to influence right-wing policies that damage the most vulnerable in society because all they care about is themselves (and their inherited wealth). Do people really think that these migrants risk death in order to escape from oppression, violence, rape and poverty to claim £60 a week in benefits and be demonised by the likes of Iain Duncan Smith, Cameron or Osborne, who somehow set themselves up as being superior to these poor people whilst implementing callous social policies?

Care for the elderly

Stephen Clark, Leeds 12

It was interesting to read your recent piece on how life expediencies have increased in this country and, whilst this is to be celebrated, how it bring challenges, particularly in care for the elderly.

This Tory government constantly trumpets austerity as an excuse for poorly funded NHS and social care for the elderly, however it spends nearly £7,000 to kill each badger in the badger cull currently underway. At a cost of £16 per hour to pay for a carer to visit someone at home, this figure of £7,000 equates to 438 hours of care, enough to provide two half hour visits a day for a year to someone and still have £1,160 left over. Is the death of a badger worth more than the care of a vulnerable old lady?

City’s drains have been neglected

A Hague, Leeds 9

The recent heavy rain has shown how our drains have been neglected for too long now. Most roads had long stretches where flooding occurred over a metre from the kerb and two metres or more in places.

Harrogate Road towards Chapeltown (opposite King Lane) forced cyclists out two metres or a drenching.

Also, entering Ilkley (from Otley) was flooded for 150-200 metres.

Why has Leeds stopped cleaning drains like they used to every year?