Telecom firms should pay market rents

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From: Harry Cotterell, President, Country Land & Business Association.

IT is a great pity that Ed Vaizey’s remarks (‘Landowners blamed for rural mobile misery’, Yorkshire Post, October 1) about poor rural mobile signal seem to be based entirely on information provided by extremely profitable and very large, multinational telecommunications companies.

He criticises landowners effectively for being unreasonable and greedy when nothing could be further from the truth.

Thousands of telephone masts and hundreds of miles of cable already run over or under landowners’ property to deliver a telecommunications system across England and Wales. Now individual occupiers are being instructed to allow more telephone masts on their land and cut the rent paid by giant corporations.

The rent for the site is only a small proportion of the cost of developing and maintaining a mast and for the past decade operators have been savagely negotiating rents downwards on a take-it-or-leave-it basis as they moved to increased site sharing.

We urge Mr Vaizey to consider the rural economy and recognise that these wealthy multi-nationals should pay the market price for siting their equipment on someone else’s land.

Keep hospital kitchens open

From: Mrs W Abbott, Boulsworth Avenue, Hull.

LOYD Grossman and Albert Roux may have a point when they say that the quality of hospital food is getting worse (Yorkshire Post, October 2).

I cannot say I have experienced hospital food but I have spoken to a number of patients who have, many of whom are critical of the standard of food being served at the present time.

I sympathise with the necessary cutbacks the NHS are having to make in order to balance the books, but in my view closing hospital kitchens would be a mistake for both staff and patients, not forgetting the dedicated catering staff that would lose their jobs as a result of this change.

Transporting food from a designated site to other hospitals throughout the region will come with its own set of problems and may not be as cost effective as envisaged in the long term.

Packaging is expensive, staff would be requited to load the food onto transport and unload it all on arrival. The food would have to be swiftly refrigerated to eliminate possible health risks until it is required. After all this multi-handling I wonder what condition the food would be in by the time it was served up on the plate.

It is common knowledge that freshly prepared hot food is far superior to a chilled meal that has been zapped in a microwave oven for a couple of minutes.

While patients do not expect a gourmet dining experience, they are entitled to a nutritious meal that has been prepared to an acceptable standard.

Miliband must redress balance

From: Peter Asquith-Cowen, First Lane, Anlaby, Near Beverley.

MY reflection on the party conferences is this. Socialism is about caring for all the people. Conservatism is about wealth creation, greed, privatisation and profit. It is absurd to use the slogan: “We’re all in this together.”

The Tories take care, understandably, of a wealthy few, a privileged sector of society. They uphold the status quo, the Establishment, and by virtue of that they believe in a society divided between the very wealthy and the poor.

Despite all the talk and ‘hot-air’ at the conferences, Labour must still stand for the ordinary people. If that means Ed Miliband moving to the political left, then good. That is what he must do to win back votes and the support of the people. To redress the balance in British politics.

To maintain the public sector and to tax the wealtht pro rata on a sliding scale.

Fallout from legalising drugs

From: Karl Sheridan, Selby Road, Holme on Spalding Moor, East Yorkshire.

IT’S all very well Chief Constable Mike Barton advocating that Class A drugs be made legal and addiction treated and monitored by the NHS issue, but it sounds to me to be an utterly ridiculous proposal – as is his naive suggestion that it will cut crime figures and the profits that criminal gangs make (Yorkshire Post, September 30).

In the first instance it will send a message to youngsters that Class A drug usage is quite acceptable. In the second instance, the criminal fraternity will no doubt turn their attentions to other lucrative forms of crime on a larger scale, such as people trafficking and prostitution.

However, what does seem to have been forgotten is that the more the drug laws are relaxed, the more chance members of public have of being killed or injured on the roads by addicts who are out of their skulls on various Class A substances.

A prime example is when my wife used to manage a pharmacy where licensed ‘druggies’ would come in for their daily bottle of methadone – only to go outside, knock back the whole bottle and then drive off – yes, drive off!

Freeze rail and bus fares too

From: Tim Mickleburgh, Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

I DON’T drive a car, so my reaction on hearing that petrol tax is to be frozen is that I want equality for other modes of transport. In other words an end to rail fares going up by more than the rate of inflation, and greater subsidies to bus companies so they can freeze the cost of bus tickets.

I mean, we are supposed to be discouraging non-essential car use, rather than encouraging it.