YP Letters: Money for HS2 better spent elsewhere

From: Coun Robert Elliott (Ukip), Wingfield Ward, Rotherham Council.

Music mogul Pete Waterman's recent column in favour of HS2 continues to prompt much debate.

I READ the article written by Pete Waterman on HS2 (The Yorkshire Post, February 2) which was full of bluff and unsubstantiated facts, for instance how HS2 will improve journey times to London from Doncaster, thus providing Doncaster with a potential economic boost. The only problem with that statement is that HS2 is not going to Doncaster.

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Probably the only truth in the article is that any mention of HS2 in our area is met with a lukewarm response. Well, he is correct there and little wonder – the cost of the project is now forecast by some to be upwards of £100bn.

People in the North think that this a colossal waste of money which could be invested elsewhere, for instance the Woodhead route to Manchester, cross-country railways, local infrastructure, health, education, the list is endless.

This white elephant HS2 should be scrapped and the savings invested in areas starved of funding for decades.

From: Bob Watson, Baildon.

IT was good to read (The Yorkshire Post, February 8) that the board of Transport for the North has now agreed that the business case for the £39bn Northern Powerhouse Rail project is ready to be handed to the Government.

Following on from that, it is imperative that the Government commits to long-term funding for the scheme, and that it starts relatively imminently, and not what might seem to many as light years away.

There is though, in my eyes, one major flaw in this submission. If Bradford is to properly reap the benefits of this project, then it is surely absolutely vital that it has a station in the city centre, and certainly not some parkway station on the outskirts.

It was therefore hugely disappointing to read that the key features of the submission included the option of either a Bradford city centre station or a parkway site.

This has to be a huge mistake, dangling the carrot of the cheaper option. It would do no favours at all to Bradford and really needs to be discarded now.

Parliament needs overhaul

From: James Brown, Scarborough.

I READ with interest Tom Richmond’s paragraph about Parliamentary tradition (The Yorkshire Post, February 2). My question is why reform only the voting system?

The whole show, and I use that word with meaning, is a joke – the building they are using is outdated in facilities and falling down. The whole system needs overhauling. If the traditional parts are worth keeping for whatever reason, they should be retained as a theme park just for the tourists.

It is time for the whole system to be moved away from London into a brand new building fit for modern government using modern offices, a modern assembly room and seating that encourages co-operation and not confrontation.

Do away with the old medieval system and let us have something that works, not something that is a joke to the rest of Europe and the world. You only have to see what a fiasco that Brexit has become to see that this is what is needed.

From: Terry Morrell, Willerby.

I WONDER who Lib Dem peer William Wallace (The Yorkshire Post, February 8) thinks he is? A £300-a-day Lords payment for constantly trying run down Britain with his anti-Brexit rhetoric.

Means test TV licences

From: Coun Tim Mickleburgh (Lab), Boulevard Avenue, Grimsby.

FREE TV licences, along with free bus travel, were New Labour gimmicks. Rather than increase the basic rate of state pension which would benefit all those of a certain age, the Government chose to introduce those perks that were pointless if you either didn’t want a television or had no local bus service. Moreover, there was the anomaly that poorer retirees on Pension Credit didn’t get a free TV licence if they were under 75, whereas wealthy pensioners over that age did. Now it seems that the chickens have come to roost, with the 
BBC looking at whether they 
can afford in future to subsidise free licences.

Of course they should look at the waste they make and the silly salaries paid to their big stars, including those who only read the news off an autocue.

Sadly, though, that won’t be enough by itself to meet the current cost of the pensioners’ licence subsidy.

So what should happen? Well, Bill Carmichael goes over the top in some of the language he uses (The Yorkshire Post, February 8). The Government has kept a triple-lock system in place so that pensioners aren’t financially disadvantaged.

Talk therefore of a “fixed low pension” is somewhat misleading. Similarly, if the BBC are to “squeeze money out of poor pensioners”, it would only be partly true if the subsidy was entirely done away with. For most pensioners aren’t poor, with means testing ensuring that the least well-off wouldn’t lose out.

Really, I think that is the best way forward, as there is no justification for basic rate taxpayers on the minimum wage having their licence payments subsidise free licences for those over 75 paying the highest rates of tax.

The whole scenario shows that future Chancellors must be more careful how their spread their largesse.

Answers to knife crime

From: Peter Hyde, Driffield.

IF every sane person can see that the two causes of the increase in knife crime are a lack of police presence on our streets and soft justice doled out to offenders, why can’t the Government?