YP Letters: Leeds Council and the fine art of pleading poverty

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From: Peter Haddington, Eccleshill, Bradford.

WHAT a surprise to hear that cash-strapped Leeds City Council owns an art collection worth over £171m, while this allegedly hard-up organisation has continually increased council tax and reduced public spending because money has been tight due to Government funding cuts.

I use the word ‘surprise’, because it may be to some people, but not to me, because I have never believed for a minute that they are cash-strapped, despite them telling the people of Leeds for years that they are.

This latest finding tends to suggest that’s the case. The public have been taken for a ride for years with constant rises in council tax and the alleged service they get for their money has become almost non-existent.

Fortunes have been wasted on failed transport systems, and proposed pollution charges would rake in lots more money. Whenever there’s a problem, the council find a way of making money from it.

A leading councillor recently said that they want to make Leeds a fairer city and says that these paintings belong to the people of Leeds.

So if all these treasures were auctioned off and the proceeds divided equally between the taxpayers of Leeds as a form of reinbursement for all the millions of pounds of public money that seem wasted, wouldn’t that be fair?

It was also said that Leeds needs to become a more prosperous and wealthy city but, from what I can make out, there’s only one organisation getting wealthier. The discovery of these paintings shows that Leeds City Council only tell the people of Leeds the things that they want them to hear.

Anniversary TV blunder

From: Ron Farley, Croftway, Camblesforth, near Selby.

HAPPY anniversaries! The letter from Hugh Rogers (The Yorkshire Post, July 6) regarding the 70th anniversary of the NHS included the paragraph – “After all, the 70th birthday of the RAF (without whose wartime efforts there would not have been the NHS anyway) came and went...” reminded me of the TV programme This is Your Life celebrating the 75th anniversary of the RAF in 1993.

The senior guest was Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Grayson. When they showed a film of the many roles played by the RAF, one of these was the dropping of food to the starving millions in Ethiopia by a large transport aircraft. At the sight of this plane I shouted out in astonishment and anger. Sir Michael’s face froze into a mask of immobility and he uttered nary a word in protest – yet, he must have said a few chosen ones after the programme went off air!

Why? Well the perishing plane was a German Luftwaffe aircraft, clearly marked with the familiar black and white crosses!

Screen medics better paid

From: Mike Bytheway, Leeds

MY wife recently underwent surgery at St James’s Hospital with, I am glad to say, a great outcome. She received wonderful care and attention at all stages.

Yet the BBC has been paying the actor Derek Thompson a salary in the region of £350,000-£399,999 for his medical role in the TV drama Casualty.

Meanwhile the salary for a general surgeon employed in the NHS is £76,000-£120,000.

I shall be forever grateful to the NHS and all the staff we met, and ever disappointed by the BBC. This one actor’s salary could pay for three qualified medics. How did we get to this situation?

Potholes a distraction

From: Molly Preston, Austwick.

I’VE heard everything. The AA is suggesting including the hazard perception test in the driving test so that learner drivers can prove they can spot potholes.

A driver should be keeping his eyes on other road users rather than concentrating on road surfaces as situations can occur very quickly.

I fell foul of a hole in the road when turning right at a crossroads. There was no way I could have anticipated the condition of the road. The priority was to turn safely with regard to other road users. Result – a broken spring.

Picture shows harvest time

From: Betty Henry, Larchfield Road, Doncaster.

CONGRATULATIONS to Picture Past; always an enjoyable read. Alas, this is the second time the photo on page 11 has been wrongly labelled (The Yorkshire Post, July 10).

These potatoes are not being planted, they are being harvested. The ploughed-out potatoes are being collected in buckets and baskets which are then emptied into sacks. The sacks are weighed and carted away. The haulms line the furrows.

Celebration of the North

From: Gerald Hodgson, Spennithorne, Leyburn.

THERE is a tremendous celebration of the North of England taking place in Newcastle and Gateshead from June to September. It seems to have been almost completely ignored. As Geoff Boycott would say, have you taken your bat home? Come on, get behind the Great Exhibition of the North.

Rescue joy

From: ME Wright, Harrogate.

COULD there be better news than the safe recovery of the Thai footballers and their coach?

Let’s hope that the bravery and of the boys and their rescuers is not devalued by allowing some accountant to fulminate on how much it cost!