April 17: Prosperity not shared with North - the latest election letters

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From: Keith Elliott, Stokesley, North Yorkshire.

WHEN the coalition government was formed in 2010, we were promised “an economy where prosperity is shared among all sections of society and all parts of the country”. I believed that.

Now the promises have begun again. Recently there has been talk of a “Northern Powerhouse” and plans to “revolutionise travel in the North”. Sorry, I am no longer a believer.

During 2013 I became concerned at the apparent inequality of public funding allocated to the regions. The imbalance was such that I wrote to William Hague – and so began a prolonged exchange of correspondence, which concluded a few days ago.

From the beginning Mr Hague chose to act only as a postbox. He passed my letters to Eric Pickles, Minister for Communities and Local Government, then forwarded Mr Pickles’s responses to me. My concerns were based upon official figures, which showed, for instance, that London’s infrastructure spending per head of population was £4,895 whilst the North-East’s was £246 per head.

On deciding to raise the matter with Mr Hague, I genuinely had high expectations that the matter would receive the consideration it deserved.

Over 14 months, I wrote four letters, 11 reminders and was astounded by the delays in replying. It took Mr Hague seven weeks to respond to each of my first two letters, nine weeks for the third and 21 weeks for the final one.

During all that time neither Cabinet Minister expressed any concern over the funding position and many of my questions were simply ignored.

In January 2015, I abandoned further contact with Mr Pickles but asked Mr Hague why he had not been more direct, and why he failed to support my submissions. Eight weeks and four letters later he now tells me that there was no need for him to do either.

Ironically, the Chancellor has just announced further plans to expand London’s economy by £6.4bn. Half a million new jobs will be created through a Crossrail2 project, a new concert hall, 24-hour tube travel, a Bakerloo line extension, 4,000 new buses and a “garden bridge” across the Thames.

I was poised to pick up my pen again but, hey ho, we can always look forward to the extra eight miles of A1 dual carriageway promised for Northumberland – and then struggle through the remaining 25 miles of single carriageway. It was ever thus.

From: David H Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.

There is a difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion, the latter being illegal.

Political parties group the two together and state they will come down hard on people who practice either.

Consider this simple example. Married couples often form trusts so that on the death of one the half value of the house is not included in the deceased’s estate but transfers to the remaining spouse.

This is called tax avoidance. My question to all party leaders is do they or any of their senior party members have such trust in place? If so, they are being hypocritical in condemning tax avoidance.

An example to follow

From: H Marjorie Gill, Clarence Drive, Menston.

A RECENT article shows a group of apprentices rebuilding and refurbishing derelict empty houses and buildings in Hull (The Yorkshire Post, April 13). This is an excellent scheme and one wonders why it has not been adapted in other towns all over the country, particularly Bradford. Can you think of a more interesting way of training building workers?

Surely there must be quite a number of properties which could be included in such a scheme? Come on councillors, particularly those in charge of housing and also youth training schemes. Here’s a challenge you can’t afford to reject.

More food for thought

From: Brian H Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

MINDFUL that the lay person should tread carefully in such matters, nonetheless I can’t resist responding to Keith Jowett who is now torn between pigging out and sticking to his healthy diet (The Yorkshire Post, April 14).

I refer to the research which suggests that obese people are less likely to develop dementia. Could it be that they don’t live long enough?

No surprise at Isis volunteers

From: Barry Foster, High Stakesby, Whitby.

IS anyone really bothered about all these people going to Syria and joining Isis? I certainly am not. My main worry is that they will all be allowed back into this country at the drop of a hat.

Surely it is their choice and as for all those who are shocked to learn all these lovely people are doing such a thing, what planet are you living on?

Danger roads

From: Roger M Dobson, Crosshills, Keighley.

HAVING observed the antics of cyclists and motor cyclists on our roads, I am not at all surprised at the number who are killed and injured on our roads today.