24-hour drink culture led to social disaster

From: Peter Hyde, Kendale View, Driffield.

I CANNOT help but agree with Father Neil McNicholas (Yorkshire Post, January 12) when he says most of our troubles caused by drink and indiscipline could be cured by going back to the point where it all started to go wrong as 24-hour drinking was a disaster waiting to happen.

It was unnecessary as it only meant higher costs in wages and heating and lighting in pubs. There are those who will drink 24/7 if given the opportunity. The same problems have arisen through lack of discipline in the home and schools.

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Parents are preventing from smacking naughty children on the assumption this would stop children being abused. It has had no effect on the abusers but has created a generation of disobedient youths who are well aware that they will not have to pay for their sins.

Likewise in school, teachers hands are tied because as soon as they take action the parent will yell ‘bully’ or, even worse, get the teacher themselves disciplined. The reduction in the police service means that criminals have a good chance of avoiding apprehension and justice. The welfare state means that one may make little effort to obtain a reasonable lifestyle, unless of course you are old and then neglect comes easily.

Backing for sports clubs

From: Charlie Mann, 15, Church Street, Oughtibridge, Sheffield.

I AM greatly pleased to hear of the plans to invest in sports clubs at secondary school level (Yorkshire Post, January 11) from the Government, though I think sports clubs outside of schools should also be backed.

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The sailing club I attended (South Yorkshire Sailing Club), which was extremely friendly and taught me to sail from scratch, has now had to close down after 60 years, due to low water level at the reservoir and lack of funds.

The Government should be encouraging sports clubs, but so should the landlords of facilities.

Yorkshire Water charged an excessive amount for the club to sail on the reservoir, yet it was not usable for most of the sailing season.

The Government should cover a large amount of the costs for a club’s facilities as sports clubs should be encouraged. It would be favourable if they played a greater role in people’s lives, with obesity rising at the rapid levels it is expected to.

Miners killed coal industry

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From: William Snowden, Butterbowl Gardens, Farnley Ring Road, Leeds.

THE inane demonstration outside Cineworld in Chesterfield (Yorkshire Post, January 7) was another manifestation of bone-headed bigotry: it was not Margaret Thatcher, but militant miners who ruined the coal mining industry.

The contraction of the coal mining industry was caused primarily by changing patterns of consumption, in which coal was displaced by cleaner fuels like gas and electricity. But that decline was undoubtedly exacerbated and precipitated by the bitter internecine conflict of 1984, in which militant miners sought violently to intimidate moderate miners, who had voted not to strike.

The militants were ultimately vanquished, but not before they had wreaked havoc.

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Mining is an industry, not a charity. No industry can treat existing or potential customers with contempt and expect to keep them: ICI, for example, cancelled its plans to install coal-fired boilers, because the National Coal Board could not guarantee continuity of supply.

The conflict was, in effect, a mindless exercise in self-destruction.

Tough taxman in the wrong

From: Malcolm Hanson, Bachelor Road, Harrogate.

I READ with interest the article headed “Warning to fraudsters as taxman gets tough” (Yorkshire Post, January 12) and would suggest that the taxman puts his own house in order first.

My wife died in August 2005 and since that time have been paying tax as a single person until the beginning of December 2011 when out of the blue I received a “Notice of Coding” dated December 1, 2011, informing me that I was entitled to “Married Couples Allowance” and amending my tax code.

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I wrote to HMRC on December 9, 2011 pointing out that I was no longer married. I eventually received another “Notice of Coding” informing me that my tax code was amended.

In the same notice, I was told that I therefore owed £609.67 tax because I had the benefit of too much free pay between April and December 2011. There was no apology for their error and no explanation as to why they had suddenly decided that I was married. They did, however, say: “We will write to you in more detail about the changes to your tax code.” I look forward to their explanation.

Lords deserve benefits praise

From: Dr Glyn Powell, Bakersfield Drive, Kellington, Goole.

I RARELY praise members of the House of Lords, as I believe this institution to be an anachronism in modern government and typical of one of the reasons why Britain is failing – its rotten class system.

However, last week’s rebellion, against draconian and unnecessary Tory government welfare cuts legislation, led by Lords Patel and Low is laudable. The defeat of Tory measures to put a time limit on 15,000 young disabled people’s employment support allowance benefits will result in this harsh measure being delayed and give the vulnerable youngsters a respite from enforced poverty. Also the defeat of Tory time limits on benefits for the sick and cancer suffers will give some respite for these groups.

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Unfortunately, the Tories and their Liberal stooges will return the measures to the Lords and will eventually force these penny-pinching measures onto the statute book, as these political parties enjoy preying on the weak and vulnerable, having lost all claim to rational, civilised decency.

Rather, the Con-Dems should leave benefits for the poor alone and wipe out the fiscal deficit by cancelling the totally unwarranted Trident ballistic missile system.