August 29: Devolution could mean more of same

From: Arthur Quarmby, Underhill, Holme.

CHANCELLOR George Osborne is quoted (The Yorkshire Post, August 26) as saying “I want to hear what local councils, local people, think” about devolution for Yorkshire.

I doubt that he means it. How are local people to express their wishes? Are we to have a referendum? If not, why not? If Mr Osborne thinks that the major councils will express the wishes of local people, then he is very naive. The councils will go for what will give them most power, and no thought for local people.

Four changes of local government have been imposed over the past century, every one over the heads and against the expressed wishes of local people, and each one far bigger, far more costly and far less effective than its predecessor.

This so-called devolution is very likely to be yet more of the same. Why is Westminster so afraid of the local voice? Why should we not be allowed to choose the form of local and regional government we prefer?

Sting in the tail

From: Ann Kay, Wood Mount, Overton, Wakefield.

I HAVE just had two troublesome wasps’ nests destroyed in my house by Wakefield Council’s pest control department. I would like to thank staff for the efficient and speedy way that the problem was dealt with. It was difficult for us to deal with the problem ourselves because of my husband’s limited mobility. The cost for the service was reasonable and the officer who dealt with the problem was knowledgable and efficient.

Having found this service to be so good, it is with disappointment that I discover that the service is intended to be privatised along with the reorganisation of other council services.

It is well known that all cities have a major problem with rats, mainly due to the way in which we discard food in public places. This is only contained by continual, regular treatment, it is not a problem that will go away. The council obviously has a duty to maintain standards of health and safety for the general public by controlling pests.

If this service is taken over by private companies, it will cost the council more. The cost will inevitably be passed on to council tax payers.

Cameron has to act now

From: Mrs W Abbott, Boulsworth Avenue, Hull.

LORD Prescott is for challenging Sir John Chilcot “to put the Iraq inquiry report out now” or face being “hauled before Parliament” if he refuses to comply with the former Deputy Prime Minister’s request. In my view, Sir John Chilcot has taken a very cavalier attitude towards publication.

The Prime Minister David Cameron says “that he is powerless to intervene”, but does not offer an explanation why he is unable to do so.

Lord Prescott has publicly stated that “it is an insult to the families of men and women who gave their lives for their country”. In the circumstances if David Cameron is unable to intervene then he should issue a public statement to clarify the reasons why it is not possible.

Surely if the inquiry was commissioned by government, the salaries paid to the committee members are funded by the Government? If this is the case, then David Cameron should set a deadline for the publication of the report.

From: Phyllis Capstick, Hellifield, Skipton.

JEREMY Corbyn says that it is time to apologise for the Labour Party for taking the UK into the Iraq war “on the basis of deception”. At the time the party was under the leadership of Tony Blair. Me, being from Yorkshire, I presume he means a lie. Tell the truth, Jeremy, and shame the devils.

Is a sugar crisis next?

From: Gordon Bray, Grange Road, Golcar, Huddersfield.

THERE has been a lot of correspondence in the past about the supermarkets screwing the farmers over the price of milk but has anyone noticed the price of sugar lately? Last year a one kilo bag of sugar was costing about £1 but now the supermarkets are only charging 60p or less.

Good for us consumers but does this mean that, come September when the sugar beet harvest season starts, the sugar processing companies are going to drastically reduce the price they are willing to pay the farmer for his sugar beet?

Is this another nail in the farmer’s coffin?

Sporting connections

From: John Hodgson, Oakwood, Leeds.

I WAS most interested to read your item about King Ecgbert School at Dore, Sheffield, and the sporting triumphs of past scholars (The Yorkshire Post, August 25). As an ex-pupil at Prince Henry’s Grammar School at Otley I have often thought of similar connections with two former PHGS pupils.

I refer to Danny Care, who is still playing Rugby Union for England and Lizzie Armitstead, the champion cyclist. They seem to me to be of similar age and possibly attended school in Otley at the same time.