Is Virgin bank deal good for the taxpayer?

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From: Ian Barnes, Blake Court, Wheldrake, York.

SO Sir Richard Branson has got his reward from the Tories by getting Northern Rock at a knock down price at a cost to us, the British taxpayer.

In all likelihood, he will get Northern Rock for only half the cost of the total we invested into it – £1.4bn.

Could someone explain to me how this is a good deal for the British taxpayer? Are we saying no one else was interested in buying the business, or why not offer it to the British public in a share deal, or is it as I suspect a done deal with Branson being the only one to bid?

Conal Gregory’s comments in his column (Yorkshire Post, November 18) about Branson bringing competition to the banking sector are risible.

Forget the friendly, convivial, Mr Nice Guy persona Branson likes his public image to be, his only interest is the bottom line.

As far as competition is concerned, there will be some competitive deals offered for the first year, eighteen months. This will be just a marketing ploy to bring in more investors and people wanting loans and any competitive benefits offered at first will quickly disappear.

Therefore, I don’t believe he will bring any competitive edge to the banking sector long term.

You also reported (November 18) Virgin Atlantic being fined £63m for what the Nigerian government described as price fixing – so much for competition on the high street!

We, the British public, could bring a stop to this type of give away by successive governments by boycotting Northern Rock once Branson has bought it, draw out your investments and don’t apply for loans.

I would feel sorry for the staff within the business but a lot of their jobs and branches I’m sure will disappear anyway once the three year no redundancies and branch closures limit has been passed.

Language of integration

From: Bob Watson, Springfield Road, Baildon.

READER John Fisher (Yorkshire Post, November 9) rightly highlighted the lack of integration that persists in Bradford, with this having produced a parallel society where many of the ethnic community dress, speak and act as though they were still living in Pakistan.

How well this was then encapsulated by the dreadful case of the Muslim cleric in Keighley (November 24) who was jailed for kicking and slapping children in lessons. This man, we are told, has lived in Britain since 1967, and yet he needed an interpreter during his court proceedings.

That he has been unable to fully learn the English language over 44 years is an utter nonsense, as is why we, rather than he, should have to pay for the interpreter at his trial.

Is it any wonder that the lack of proper integration continues to be such a massive problem? It really does need to be better, and more firmly, addressed.

Parking penalty

From: Ian Gill, Great Ouseburn.

MAY I suggest that if Councillor Pat Marsh is genuinely concerned with empty shops in Harrogate town centre, rather than direct her energies at the new Tesco superstore, she should be asking why Harrogate Borough Council recently increased – yet again – the parking fees (Yorkshire Post, November 25).

This may go some way to explain why the town centre shops are becoming vacant, i.e. lack of shoppers. No doubt when open, the public will be able to park in Tesco for free, rather than pay the exorbitant prices now charged in the town centre.

Perhaps Coun Marsh could initiate a three month trial period of free, disc parking, commencing December 1. A two hour limit in the centre of town should suffice, extending to three hours a little further out. One never knows, a continuance of such, may turn Tesco’s superstore into a “white elephant” as Harrogate shoppers refuse to let their town centre die and the empty shops once again become alive with individual tenants.

Other side of the picture

From: Heather David, United Kingdom Home Care Association, Carlton House, Sandy Walk, Wakefield.

THANK you for your article about Malcolm Macaskill and the care he received (Yorkshire Post, November 24).

I am incredibly proud to say that it was a team of care staff from this company working together with his family and the district nurses who had the privilege of enabling Malcolm to still find pleasure in life.

It is great that you have shown the other side of the coin to the depressing picture painted by the EHRC report published on Wednesday.

We are not alone in providing this type of quality service – across Yorkshire, there are many companies such as ours dedicated to providing person centred and flexible care which values the people we support and helps them to have a better life.

This is despite the threats and challenges we face as a result of local authority spending cuts and commissioning anomalies.

As Hilary Macaskill says: “My brother was lucky, but what of future sufferers?”