Friday's Letters: The lack of gritting puts pressure on emergency services

THE season of slips, trips and falls has put an additional pressure on our accident and emergency services as it does every year.

However, recently this year, I watched their job made harder by the lack of gritting given to our neighbourhood streets and pathways.

I watched two paramedics take a stretcher-bound resident to a waiting ambulance in absolutely treacherous conditions.

Packed snow and ice had made the footpaths themselves an extreme hazard and sure enough the inevitable happened, when the paramedics had to be helped to carry the resident to the ambulance by two passers- by.

What fails me in this situation is the poor treatment of minor roads and footpaths on our estates.

After two weeks of icy conditions and with main roads and bus routes already clear, the council has given no thought to divert any resource onto our neighbourhoods suffering with the extreme conditions.

Instead, I have seen town centre footpaths, already free of snow and ice get gritted every morning instead of any relief being given to more minor corridors.

It is not just the risk to the emergency services as I have highlighted, but also a dis-service to our elderly and infirm who in some cases have not been able to safely leave their homes for the better part of a fortnight.

The leader of Bradford Council has said he wants to maintain services for the most vulnerable, yet this cold spell has caught his council out at the first test of his promise.

Let's hope with more bad weather on its way he learns and listens to residents.

From: Glen Miller, The Chase, Keighley.

From: Mrs J.M. Wright, Methley.

IN reply to Paul T Shipley's letter (Yorkshire Post, December 11) about what a shambles the Leeds bin collection has become, I live on a farm in Methley near Leeds and our bin to has not been emptied since the beginning of October.

I received a letter previous to the last time our bin was emptied stating that the council were changing the route to save money; how they are saving money is beyond me because the bin wagon passes the end of the lane after emptying the bins in the village.

However, it does not empty ours.

It is not the fault of the binmen. Maybe if these people in the office used a little bit of common sense or maybe even donned their coats and had a look at the routes, they maybe able to save even more money?

Maybe this is how Leeds Council is saving money by not emptying the bins at all?

Do they know of the Prince's Trust work?

From: Maureen Hunt, Woolley, Near Wakefield.

THE photo of Prince Charles and Camilla in their car, headed 'Under Attack' (Yorkshire Post, December 10) was indeed shocking. Watching the event on the television news and hearing the repetitive chant "Off with their heads" was reminiscent of the French Revolution. It must have been a terrifying ordeal for the royal couple to be surrounded by such an ugly, violent mob.

Would those so-called intelligent students, who took part in the attack, have done so if they had heard of the Prince's Trust? This was founded in 1976 by Prince Charles specifically to help disadvantaged young people. 74,000 of them have been enabled to start their own businesses and thousands more have found work or returned to education.

Fortunately, Prince Charles and his wife were not intimidated by their experience and it is still "business as usual". That is exactly what we would expect from the heir to the throne.

There was a survey conducted recently asking people who they would prefer as king – Prince Charles or Prince William. This was unacceptable, pointless and hurtful. There is no question of Prince Charles being bypassed.

The Prince of Wales has already proved himself to be extremely hardworking and dedicated. He has earned the right to become king when the time comes and his role model ensures that he will be a first-class monarch.

From: David W Wright, Uppleby, Easingwold.

WELCOME to broke, lawless and decadent Britain!

The latest disgraceful and unjustified pseudo-student protests simply show that there is a serious lack of control over these demonstrators and the few genuine protesters are being manipulated by the underlying criminal/anarchist element who are hell-bent on denigrating the Establishment.

Meanwhile, our police are hampered by the HR and PC culture and softly, softly policies thus appearing to be unable/unwilling to grapple with the mob. It is time to meet violence with equally forceful tactics and surely the police must now take a lead from our continental neighbours who employ water cannons and riot police, and who are less squeamish about falling foul of the liberal elements in society.

From: Eamonn Ward, Sheffield Green Party, Eskdale Road, Sheffield.

THERE was a big the fuss about the Lib Dems littering the Peace Gardens in Sheffield with paper when filming a video in the Spring. That was their now infamous "no more broken promises" election broadcast. On pieces of discarded paper were the broken political promises of the last 30 years, starting with "No student tuition fees – Labour".

Protesting students clearly understand that tuition fee hikes and the abolition of EMA are part of a cuts programme that will seriously damage their future. They face grim job prospects on leaving education and are likely to join millions of unemployed struggling due to the massive benefit cuts to come.

The Green Party says that tuition fees should be scrapped and university education funded by progressive taxation. Cuts are not inevitable – they are a clear choice for the Government.

The Lib Dems were all over both campuses in Sheffield before the election. Firstly, to get students to register to vote and then making the promises that convinced students to vote for them in their thousands. Students understand they have been used and abused. In the "broken promises" video, Nick Clegg said: " I believe it's time for promises to be kept". Students in Sheffield and throughout the country believe that too.

From: David Cook, Parkside Close, Cottingham.

GREAT play is being made of the fact that student fees need not be paid back until a certain minimum salary level is reached. Imagine, as often happens, two graduates getting married, or living together, with a joint debt of 60,000.

Linked to a modest cost of living index this could easily increase by 2,000 annually or more. Is it really beneficial, or fair, to them to allow their debt to rise progressively over the next 30 years? What a punishment for so much hard work and endeavour after years of studying for a degree.

Are they not expected to want to buy a house, have children, save for a pension or go on holidays?

The poorest, and wealthiest, families will cope with little difficulty but the vast majority will need to think very carefully before being drawn in to a lifetime's debt.

True, all debts will be completed after 30 years – but is this not a shade late for obtaining a mortgage, saving for a pension or even starting a family?

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

THE recent student rioting reminds my wife and I of my late father-in-law's suggestion for dealing with the Mods v Rockers riots of yesteryear. "Flame-throwers", he asserted earnestly.

We looked at him, contemplating the ethics, rather than the efficacy of such a proposal. "That would stop 'em," he persisted.

We were bound to admit that flame-throwers would indeed do the job. Apologies for appearing to make – er – light of serious public disorder.

From: Roger M Dobson, Ash Street, Cross Hills, Keighley.

I AM most appalled and disgusted by the moronic behaviour of so many "students" in their protests against the proposed increases in tuition fees.

Any "student" arrested, charged and convicted should be sent to prison for the maximum time allowable under the law.

The "students" who attacked Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, when convicted, should be sent to the Tower of London. Any "students" found to have been involved in these demonstrations must lose their places at university and be sent down in disgrace.

Proper teaching will help make a difference

From: Sheila Emsley, High Cliffe Close, Thornton, Bradford.

I WAS somewhat amazed by the comment (Yorkshire Post, December 14) attributed to Sally Copley, the head of UK Save the Children, stating that they "estimate that it takes an extra 3,000 per child to significantly narrow the shocking attainment gap between richer and poorer students".

I fail to see how this can be as being poor does not preclude parents from talking to their children, borrowing books from the library and sitting down and reading to their children.

It doesn't cost money for parents to show their children how to tie shoelaces or ties. It doesn't cost money for parents to teach a child how to use a knife and fork or wash their hands after they've been to the toilet. Throwing money at "poorer" children will not make a difference to their attainment. What will make a difference to all children in school is ensuring they are taught by qualified teachers. Over the last few years, this has not been the case as the numbers of support staff in schools has increased exponentially to the detriment of teaching.

There are now armies of cover supervisors, teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants and instructors employed in schools whilst qualified teachers are unemployed with many NQTs (newly-qualified teachers) unable to gain work to enable them to complete their induction year within the 16-month term they are allowed and then being banned from teaching altogether.

Yet there are many cases of unqualified support staff taking lessons covering not only short absences but maternity cover.

This is false economy in that although support staff are cheaper to employ than teachers they are not subject specialists, and are not required to have any academic qualifications.

The first to be fired

From: John B Walters, Vale Crescent, Knottingley, Wakefield.

HOW can Lord Sugar continue to hold a position that can so fundamentally affect the lives of individuals?

He smugly sits and pontificates but constantly shows himself up as lacking in personal judgment. Indeed, his recent spat with Chris Evans over whose book will sell most copies this Christmas was toe-curlingly embarrassing to hear, yet Lord Sugar seems completely oblivious to his own vulgarity. And, last year, his advice to employers not to employ "women with children" because such employees could prove unreliable indicates a feeble grasp of modern history that brings tears to the eyes of fellow Jewish families still emotionally affected by the Holocaust.

I feel that before anyone else suffers through Lord Sugar he should be the first to be fired!

Party to fill the vacuum

From: Kendal Wilson, Wharfebank Terrace, Tadcaster.

I AM sure that I am not the only citizen who is astonished by the guilty silence of the former Labour government. Not once have they defended their corner after the Conservatives level their claim that they had left the cupboard bare. I cannot see the remotest possibility that they will be fit to govern again!

This begs the question what party will fill this growing vacuum they now present? I believe there is an emerging answer to this in the form of the growing resurgence of the Liberal Party, knowingly independent and slightly hungry to fill some council seats in the 2011 local elections.

Smarter chance

From: Jim Beck, Lindrick Grove, Tickhill, Doncaster.

Would England have stood a better chance of hosting the Football World Cup in 2018 if, before appearing at Zurich, David Beckham had had a shave and a haircut?