How Lords reform can empower rural areas – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Gareth Robson, Kent House Road, Beckenham.

Are rural areas under-funded?

From: Gareth Robson, Kent House Road, Beckenham.

PAUL Andrews makes excellent points (The Yorkshire Post, April 12) about rural funding.

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The i newsletter cut through the noise

We are a vast, complex society with a wide array of interests which, to thrive, needs 
co-operation and balance as well as healthy competition.

Does Boris Johnson care sufficiently about countryside communities?

He rightly describes the feeble performance of our politics and administration in delivering and moderating these.

But in my view he doesn’t go far enough; I agree that House of Lords reform is essential – but surely nowhere near enough.

The political parties are entirely self-serving. They have become cynically expert at identifying and attracting easily-mined seams of votes sufficient to get them a majority under the risible first-past-the-post system and they use to their own ends the power delivered by these unearned majorities.

There is no head of state to referee the political process (the hereditary one being limited to short sotto voce comments behind closed doors) or to knock government heads together to remind them that their first duty is to society rather than to themselves.

We need and deserve something so much better. The Conservative Party will never deliver it given how well it has done out of the current system since 1950. Will the next Labour government rise to the challenge?

From: Canon Michael Storey, Healey Wood Road, Brighouse.

YOUR April 9 edition included a few interesting items relating to local government in England.

The article “Majority ‘unaware of county’s first vote for mayor’”, and the splendid letter from Jim Wells, both highlight the total confusion as to who makes decisions and with what authority.

In the “good old days”, we had Parliament for the-then United Kingdom, county councils and local councils and the world seemed to get on fine.

For example, if a local road was in a state of bad repair with potholes, then it was simple to phone the local council and something would be done.

I find it well-nigh impossible to list the various levels of authority these days, and now in West Yorkshire we are to have a mayor and I am unsure just what authority that person will have.

“Confused.com” is my present condition as regards the governing of our once “green and pleasant land”.

From: Alexander Stafford, Conservative MP for Rother Valley.

I KNOW that your readers will have welcomed the announcement of the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund. The prospect of local communities accessing £20m to fund projects that invest in our infrastructure and turbocharge growth.

My constituency of Rother Valley suffers from outdated infrastructure, with the appearance of our high streets in a state of decline, burnt out buildings, poor public transport, and poor provision of public services.

The allocation of funding across Yorkshire has historically varied widely, with towns and villages outside of the large urban areas often receiving little support.

The Levelling Up Fund can help us to reverse this pattern but we absolutely must have the support of our local authorities and communities.

In Yorkshire, the Levelling Up Fund has the potential to completely transform our local areas and pave the way to a more prosperous, brighter future that works for everyone.

As such, I believe that Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council (RMBC), should focus on improving our high streets and shopping areas.

The money is there for the taking, and with Rotherham designated a Priority 1 area, I hope that RMBC realise the opportunity presented to them and submit a strong bid to ensure Rother Valley gets this 
long-awaited investment.

Challenges for blind people

From: David Clarke, Director of Services, RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People).

WITH lockdown restrictions easing, there is an understandable buzz of excitement in the air.

But we are hearing from many blind and partially-sighted people who are anxious about public spaces becoming busier and have lost confidence in going outside after a year of Covid restrictions.

We’re asking the public to help us safely social distance as the restrictions change. By being aware of the challenges we might face, and simply asking if assistance is needed, you can help us keep our independence and stay safe.

We’re also calling for local authorities and businesses to take action, so that measures designed to protect us are inclusive to everyone, not just to those who can see them. RNIB’s website has more information about this. Our ‘new normal’ should be as open and inclusive as possible, to help everyone get back outside – not make it more difficult.

Help for new gardeners

From: Dave Ellis, Magdalen Lane, Hedon.

MANY families have turned to gardening during lockdowns.

Garden centres, which are the main points for plant sales, should be educating new customers about when is the safest time to plant tender plants. By giving sound advice, gardeners will come back and buy perennials and shrubs.