YP Letters: A helping hand for flood-hit communities

From: Claire Saunders, Director, The Prince's Countryside Fund.

Help is still at hand for flooding victims.

FOLLOWING the catastrophic floods of Storm Desmond, Eva and Frank this winter, the devastating and long term affects to the countryside and those people who live and work within it have become increasingly clear.

Storm Desmond caused over £20m of damage to farm businesses alone, a major blow when many are struggling with low commodity prices and delays to subsidy payments.

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Farmers, rural businesses and communities require support and strategic investment to help make them more resilient, and in particular to recover from the flooding.

Alongside our regular grant funding, grants are available now for organisations supporting farmers, rural businesses and communities to get back on track after the flooding and to help the region to recover. Organisations are able to apply for up to £50,000 in funding to support their rural initiative.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund is committed to securing a brighter future for our countryside, and is open for grant applications until Wednesday.

Squeezed over care costs

From: The Rev Neil McNicholas, St Mary & St Romuald Parish, Yarm.

GIVEN that Redcar and Cleveland is a Labour-held council, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that Coun Walsh (The Yorkshire Post, April 6) had to take a swipe at Government policy in his response to my earlier column.

That aside, he failed to address my primary concern that my parents, who are both in a care home, are paying 100 per cent of their care costs and are therefore not a burden on his council’s adult social care budget. Why should they, in their situation, have to additionally contribute to everyone else’s social care?

Mr Walsh also stated that “there is an exemption on council tax when residents are in hospital or residential care and the property they own is empty”. It turns out that he was being slightly economical with the truth in that, so the council clarified, as soon as someone rents their house they lose any claim on that exemption. And so because I rented out my parents’ house for six months in order to try to offset the cost of their care a little, they were immediately – and permanently – penalised to the tune of over £1,600 a year and rising.

God may help those who help themselves, but the council tax system certainly doesn’t. So much for politicians (of whatever stripe) claiming to be concerned for the vulnerable of our society.

UK needs its steel-makers

From: Robin Ashley, Sheffield Road, South Anston, Sheffield.

THERE is much debate now around the steel industry in the UK. It must be a “no brainer” that we in the UK retain a viable steel-making capability otherwise it will ultimately be a disaster when the worm turns and industry will be clamouring for steel from a depleted capability.

From: Harry Santiuste, Edenthorpe, Doncaster.

FOR decades, people in the North, the Midlands and Wales, have watched with despair as their manufacturing industries have disappeared or been purchased by foreign companies with little regard towards the local workforce.

Our Westminster Government has cruelly neglected all these regions so that they sadly resemble struggling foreign nations. Don’t they qualify for aid money now?

From: Arthur Quarmby, Holme.

IF David Cameron had had his wits about him, then tariffs on steel should have been the subject of his recent protracted negotiations with the EU.

Insulting pension rise

From: John Watson, Leyburn.

MY wife has just received her annual April pension statement including the annual weekly rise.

We are, of course, grateful to the Government for keeping the wolves from our doors and because we are a year older we are to be given an extra 25p per week. Between us, we have an extra 50p per week, and while ruing the loss of our anticipated Caribbean cruise, we have decided to go to Blackpool instead.

Who, on earth, in the Government came up with this annual charade? It is an insult.

But we should never “look a gift horse in the mouth” when our leaders are expecting a £10,000 rise in their salaries this year.

On children with guns

From: Barry Foster, High Stakesby, Whitby.

I REALLY do feel some of the recent reports on juvenile crime need some comment. How on earth do 10-year-olds get involved in such serious offences? Where are the parents in all this?

A common problem

From: Hugh Rogers, Ashby.

WHY all the holier-than-thou stuff over offshore tax havens? There is not one stratum of society which does not include those who try to fiddle the system.