From: Coun Paul Doughty (Con), City of York Council.
REFLECTING on the City of York Council budget and the very welcome news of the unexpected transitional funding award of £781,000 from the Conservative government, it is pleasing that investment can be made into the protection of frontline services.
The council is also investing an extra £100,000 per year into community mental health services. Last year the Chancellor announced a new national living wage from April, which will benefit those on the lowest incomes. Some of those people will be providing care for our loved ones and it’s right they are properly rewarded.
With no magic money tree, higher wages can mean two things; savings and efficiencies or increasing taxes to pay for them. The floods over Christmas and new year, devastating for those affected, have also presented a financial challenge.
I am proud that the Conservative-led administration in York has taken a balanced approach. No Conservative ever wants to raise tax but the general one per cent council tax rise has been kept lower than most councils and the additional two per cent increase ring-fenced for adult social care will help deliver better, more effective services.
Weakened by austerity
From: John Cole, Baildon.
GEORGE Osborne and the coalition first gave us austerity in June 2010. By 2012 it was clear that cuts in government spending and tax increases were not working – in fact they were making matters worse. So in 2012 austerity was quietly dropped, and the economy, in 2013, began to recover.
For reasons partly associated with economic illiteracy, in June 2015 the Conservative manifesto promised more cuts in government spending (a return to austerity). This was crass.
Last week Osborne had to acknowledge that the UK economy is in a weaker position than he expected and so is proposing yet more austerity.
What the Government ought to be doing is borrowing to invest in infrastructure.
From: Jonathan Cooper, Ilkley.
I AGREE with Tom Richmond (The Yorkshire Post, March 1) – why not move the Government staff working on the Northern Powerhouse to Sheffield?
Stink hasn’t gone away
From: Graham Branston, Emmott Drive, Rawdon.
NOW we are told that air fresheners can damage our lungs. However, don’t let us forget a bigger picture which is fading since the discovery of the VW engine emissions scam.
Air pollution continues and, unlike the pollution in the Gulf of Mexico following the leak which cost BP billions of dollars, it cannot be seen.
Perhaps the big EU issue has got in the way of the government getting as much compensation as possible from VW, but what is the company doing to rectify the unacceptable practice, and is the Government actively pursuing a huge compensation claim?
Fuel doesn’t grow on trees
From: Derek Hollingsworth, Darton, Barnsley.
IN his article on renewable energy (The Yorkshire Post, February 29), Nigel Adams MP quotes research into the cost-benefits of converting coal-fired power stations to burn biomass. So far as the conversion is concerned, the argument is probably sound. I have a sneaking suspicion that provision of fuel, on a large scale basis might be more of a problem.
Photosynthesis is a very inefficient process. It takes quite a long time (measured in years) to grow a tree to a point where it can be turned into chips, and burnt in a power station (probably measured in minutes)!
The other afternoon, demand on the National Grid was 43.65 Gigawatts (GW). Biomass generation contributed two GWs. A total biomass grid would need vast areas of dedicated forest.
The days of rough justice
From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.
MANY years ago, I was a serving policeman. It was Saturday evening and I was called to a trio of drunks fighting.
After identifying the aggressor, I tried to arrest him but he became very violent. I used my judo skills and got him in a headlock on the floor.
He kept calling on his mate, Whistler, to kick me. I warned him not to or he too would be arrested. Eventually the cavalry arrived and my offender was taken to the police station and charged. In court the magistrate asked: “Have you anything to say before I pass sentence?”
He replied in a whispery croak: “Yes, I thought he was going to pull my bloody head off.”
The magistrate smiled and said: “In that case you will be fined £5. You may go.”
From: Malcolm Haigh, Hayfield Avenue, Huddersfield.
WHAT a load of rubbish about the Oscars having no non-white nominees. It’s as daft as saying that a cricket team should include left hand batsmen in the final XI.