year for 
spa town

Have your say

From: Coun Anthony Alton, Leader of Harrogate Borough Council.

IT was with great pride that I read your recent Editorial suggesting “this will, potentially, be one of the most momentous summers in Harrogate’s history since the discovery of [its] spa water”. It will certainly be a momentous year for the district, and one which residents and visitors will remember fondly for many years to come.

As widely reported, we will find ourselves centre stage when the Tour de France rolls into Yorkshire. Barely will the excitement have died down before the Great Yorkshire Show opens its doors to even more visitors keen to experience the wonders of this agricultural extravaganza.

Our rich arts, culture and entertainment scene is set to showcase the best that Yorkshire, the UK and the world have to offer – and residents and visitors will be spoilt for choice.

July will see the return of Harrogate’s International Summer Festival, featuring the very best in international musicians, writers and artists. We also have our fair share of exclusives, such as JK Rowling’s first and only appearance of the year as “Robert Galbraith”, as part of Europe’s largest Crime Writing Festival.

Other major events include the first time the BBC Good Food Show has been held at the Harrogate International Centre, the 17th Ripon International Festival, featuring renowned orchestras and distinguished performers from around the world, and one of the most prestigious classical music events in the country, the Northern Aldborough Festival.

I hope you will agree that our forthcoming entertainment programme offers a truly diverse range of experiences – and the ones I have mentioned are just a small selection.

HS2 a drain
on talent

From: Frank Jones, 
White Rose Way, Thirsk.

I ENJOYED your interview with Nigel Wilson of the Legal & General (The Yorkshire Post, March 6). I really appreciated his remark about £50bn for HS2 being of little economical value.

I see it as the M1 motorway to drain the North of its many talents. If many of the North’s financial experts and intelligentsia are attracted by a shorter time journey to London and, though living in the idyllic parts of Yorkshire, earn their brass in London and further enrich London with their talents, the North loses out.

A managing director of an advertising firm was featured on TV’s Mind The Gap programme on the North-South divide as one who travels to London from Stockport, and returns the same day, finding it both practical and financially rewarding to do so.

What is the delay in this Northern Hub project? Can the northern cities gather together and fight the attraction of London? Or is it the meeting of many minds and few decisions?

Let unemployed
work part time

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

IT is good that Ed Miliband is moving away from the concept of using the jobless as a source of cheap labour by saying that if he wins power, the long term unemployed will be offered a 25 hour a week position paying the minimum wage.

Another useful step would be to let those on the dole earn more in part-time work, as this helps to get individuals back into employment by giving them an invaluable foot in the door of an employer.

Duty burden on cost of wine

From: George Bowden, Leventhorpe Vineyard, Leeds.

WHILE politicians are starting to talk about the economy returning to growth, most of us are tightening our belts and trying to manage the relentlessly rising cost of living.

As a local employer in the wine and spirits trade, I want people to be able to enjoy a tipple – responsibly – without feeling they can’t afford it. Yet I wonder how many of your readers realise that when they buy an average priced bottle of whisky in a supermarket, they hand over £14 in tax (79 per cent of what they pay) to the Chancellor.

Wine drinkers, who are also being hit by the Government’s super tax on alcohol, see nearly £3 of every £5 bottle go (57 per cent of what they pay) to the Chancellor. I don’t think that is fair, and it is why I would encourage all your readers to email their MP at and ask them to urge the Chancellor to scrap his inflation-busting alcohol super tax.

link revealed

From: Margaret W Whitaker, Harswell, East Yorkshire.

THANK you for printing my letter detailing parish notes for Clun Valley for the year of 1916 (The Yorkshire Post, February 17).

The following day I had a reply from a lady in a remote corner of Yorkshire whose ancestors had farmed this area of Shropshire for many centuries. She was baptised at Bucknall, near Clun, and visits frequently to see her daughter and other family members. As she is a member of the Shropshire Family History Society and has a readers’ ticket to visit the Shropshire Archives in Shrewsbury my book has gone to exactly the right place, where it can be seen by many to whom it will be meaningful.

And I have made a new friend.