I WAS interested to read that Durham County Council had voted to use imported refuse bins when, apparently these are available through a UK manufacturer.
One is always reluctant to comment without any detailed knowledge of the “package” presented by the successful bidder for such a substantial contract. But, leaving aside the usual fallback position of “hands tied”, “EU requirements” etc, it is ironic that a part of the country that relies so much on taxpayer largesse should, apparently, give no heed to the larger economic picture.
If a UK-based company had won this particular contract, it can be assumed that they would make a modest profit generating tax receipts through corporation tax, say, for Government to disburse. There would also be the full flow of other tax revenue, through PAYE, NIC, VAT as the contract benefit worked its way through economic system.
Of course, councils are free, within reason, to spend their taxpayer-funded income how and with whom they like.
However, it would be only fair if Government centrally obtained details of the failed bid and “modelled” on an accounting basis the notional loss in revenue to the Exchequer. It would then surely only be justice if subsequent government grants to Durham Council be adjusted downward by way of compensation.
Punch and Judy show
From: David Whitaker, Moor Lane, Menston.
I WRITE in support of Father Neil McNicholas’ article (Yorkshire Post, December 14) in which he compared the House of Commons to a Punch and Judy Show.
It would do well for this article to be posted on a noticeboard in the Commons so that MPs can understand what the public really feel about them.
Sadly however, since being a MP became a job instead of a vocation I doubt that they would change their self-serving ways.
It makes no difference what party a Member belongs to, the name of the game is to score points off their opposition.
Coalition is a hopeless form of Government at the best of times, it breeds compromise which is not decisive and members fail to be true to their own beliefs.
As Father McNicholas implied, the needs of the country seem to be lost in the desire to retain their own jobs at all costs. The situation inspires the thought that voting for anyone is a spurious occupation.
Labour rate stays fixed
From: Malcolm Tagg, director general, Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association, Gildersome, Leeds.
I REFER to your editorial (Yorkshire Post, December 15) following the announcement of an OFT investigation into motor insurance pricing. The gist of the argument seems correct but I feel compelled to comment on the issue of accident repair costs.
Motorists should not suppose that there is profiteering among repairers on the back of their misfortune.
It is a fact the labour rate for accident repair has not increased in real terms over the last eight years or more. Testament to this is the significant number of accident repair centres that have ceased trading in recent times.
Repairers need to earn a realistic rate for what they do (more than they currently earn) as the technology in modern vehicle construction requires ever more training and investment in equipment to do the job correctly.
It is true some elements of the repair process have increased (parts and paint for example) but the labour rate, and it is assuredly the people who are the most important part of the repair equation, certainly has not kept up with inflation.
The aroma of greed
From: Andrew Gentles, Hollins Crescent, Harrogate, North Yorkshire.
COUN John Hall (Yorkshire Post, December 16) is right to stress the major problem that the cost of homes and housing has on the cost of living for so many people, particularly those least able to bear it.
It is surprising and regrettable that little emphasis has been put on this, during all the talk on present economic difficulties.
This was brought home to me earlier this year. A house, identical to one I paid top price for in 1971, was on the market for 60 times the price I paid then.
I cannot believe that inflation has increased 60 times in 40 years. The impression is that houses are sold at a price that sellers feel they can get, not of their intrinsic worth. Bully for some; very tough on the rest. The aroma of greed appears to pervade the scene. A roof over one’s head and food are essentials, not luxuries.
Local projects need support
From: Matthew Nice, Ilkley.
I AGREE with the sentiments of the McNulty’s letter and how important it is to support local projects, especially for a great project like the one that Ilkley All Saints has helped to support since the millennium (Yorkshire Post, December 17).
As I understand, the church was looking for a new tenant following the demise of the café group the previous year.
It was this ending of the café group and its subsequent lack of communication that the group tutor had come out of retirement to restart the café, meant the “unfortunate” long-term booking of the premises for the Christian group, the Sanctuary, who want to use the premises full time.
I understand the café group have been offered the recently refurbished upstairs of Ilkley All Saints building, with its easier level access or alternatively the Ilkley Baptists church at the end of the Grove in Ilkley, so the project will continue in Ilkley.
I think it is important that local people support groups like this, both practically and more importantly financially, as the Churches in Ilkley Millennium project has done, stepping in the gap that local government funding doesn’t fill.
This is even more important in the present climate of uncertain funding and cuts, particularly in education resources like the café.