September 1: Austerity’s missed opportunities

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From: John Cole, Oakroyd Terrace, Baildon, Shipley.

THE phrase “a responsible fiscal policy” is much used these days. The implied meaning is that any government should seek to at least balance the budget – or even better, budget for a surplus in order to reduce the national debt.

For five years now we have had record low interest rates in the UK. This would have been – and remains – an excellent opportunity for the government to borrow (at virtually zero per cent) in order to invest in a series of infrastructural projects (such as rail electrification, flood defences) that all give a rate of return of over six per cent.

Going ahead with such projects would not only give a legacy of better infrastructure for future generations, but create employment, a flow of income and tax receipts. This would have been a far more constructive way to reduce the deficit.

From this point of view, the Government austerity programme has been “fiscally irresponsible” in passing off the chance to borrow cheaply in order to invest wisely.

Conclusion: You do not have to be economically illiterate to be a Conservative – but it does help.

From: Dr Glyn Powell, Kellington, Goole.

HAVING demonised the disabled, sick and unemployed, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith (The Yorkshire Post, August 27) now seems hell bent on financially punishing the disabled and sick even further.

According to medical professionals, such as family practioners, a person is either fit for work or not. After all, they know the individual and the effects of their illness better than anyone.

However Mr Duncan Smith is not satisfied with this logical black and white interpretation and seeks to blur sickness, disabilities and their effects into questionable decisions.

Mayor would win support

From: Mike Holt, Club Lane, Rodley.

EVER since you published my letter way back when we were about to vote on elected Mayors , I have been following the stories with interest.

I said then that the Mayors we were asked to vote for were a tier too far, in that we were asked to vote for extra individual officers for Leeds, Wakefield, Huddersfield, Halifax, Harrogate and York. But if it had been a combined “Boris-type” Mayor then I think the general public would have supported that.

Well now it seems we are on that tack and I hope that heads are banged together and transport, for one, might get started. If Leeds City Region had been around when Supertram was first mooted back in the 1990s, it might be running by now.

From: Ralph W Middlebrook, Woodlands Park Road, Pudsey.

I READ in The Yorkshire Post that Nottingham has opened a £750m tram extension while we in Leeds are busy building a multi-million pound cycle lane to Bradford.

Come on Leeds.

Learning art of leadership

From: Hugh Rogers, Messingham Road, Ashby.

“ONLY one who has learned to serve is qualified to lead”, says Ruthven Urquart (The Yorkshire Post, August 27). I know he’s only trying to be helpful, but that is the sort of public school piffle once used to justify the use of young boys as “fags” or servants of their older brethren. It wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. You can be a perfectly good officer in any of the armed services without ever having been a “squaddie”.

The idea that an NHS administrator would be any better at his or her job for having spent a year doing menial tasks on a ward is ludicrous. Clinical staff learn their trade from the ground up supervised by senior clinicians. Running a hospital is an entirely different job, requiring different skills. Anyone who has had to deal with Monitor or suffer the slings and arrows of the Care Quality Commission would agree.

Of course administrators are advised by senior clinical staff (in the same way as a new officer would listen to the advice of his sergeant), but the subsequent strategic direction and financial control of a modern hospital trust is a different ball-game and not one for the faint-hearted.

Sunk by sympathy

From: Terry Morrell, Willerby.

LISA Doyle of the Refugee Council (The Yorkshire Post, August 27) must realise that too many people in a lifeboat will sink it and then it will be useless for everyone including the original crew.

Great Britain is already at a stage where the water is lapping over the gunwales and it won’t be long before a major wave will cause it to disappear from the world altogether.

Sympathy and empathy are two very different things and, although we do understand the plight of many of these people, we have to appreciate that there are limitations to what we can do about it either at home or abroad.

Charity is a misnomer, it is a sop for the conscience to the “liberal” left. If charity does exist, then it must begin at home and foreign aid should be in the form of providing contraception, as these countries, like the rest of the world are already grossly overcrowded.