Monday's Letters: It was Darling's VAT cut that was cause of this month's rise

Labour leader Ed Miliband on the Oldham by-election campaign trail berates the Prime Minister on day one of the higher VAT rate (Yorkshire Post, January 4) by claiming a 2.5 per cent VAT rise will be of seismic proportions, damaging all but the rich.

Where was this trade union-backed socialist when his Labour government applied endless stealth taxes throughout that disastrous 13 years they mismanaged the UK economy? Perhaps he was very preoccupied sharpening a knife for his elder brother's back, to notice the devious work of successive incumbents of No 11 Downing Street?

Had Alistair Darling not reduced VAT to 15 per cent for 13 months, denying the Treasury some 13bn in tax revenue, pushing UK Ltd into higher borrowing, then possibly the new government might have avoided increasing VAT this month. It will take another 13 months at 20 per cent VAT just to recuperate those losses.

This means come end of February 2012, the country's VAT account will break even and the Treasury will have reached a position where it would have been had VAT remained untouched throughout the same period. Labour planted the crop of debt, now the country pays for the harvest.

From: Alan Chapman, Beck Lane, Bingley.

From: Duncan Anderson, Mill Lane, East Halton, Immingham.

THE comments in Manchester by David Cameron about re-balancing the economy and creating more jobs through confidence in the City's financial markets are way off beam (Yorkshire Post, January 7)

Most jobs in the UK are created by small and medium enterprises and businesses. These require customers with money and loan facilities from the high street banks. What they don't need is huge increases in VAT and their customer being thrown onto the dole.

The only people who are likely to benefit from this economic re-balancing are the fat-cat City financiers who fund the Tory Party.

From: Bob Watson, Springfield Road, Baildon, Shipley.

THE letters page (Yorkshire Post, January 5) certainly had a redder tinge than usual with contributions from Messrs Scaife, Freeman, Palmer and Mickleburgh.

However, one had to laugh at what the last named had to say, especially his pronouncement that, in view of the actions of the coalition Government, "people know there is only one realistic alternative".

Really? Why on earth would anyone want to bring back the discredited previous spendthrift government that was a major cause of this country's current problems?

Ed Miliband and his cohorts are happily sniping from the sidelines, having been part of that dreadful administration, but seem unable to produce a credible alternative to the necessary measures now in place.

Perhaps a period of quiet reflection from them would be more appropriate?

Fuel increases by 23 per cent in one year

From: D Birch, Smithy Lane, Cookridge, Leeds.

On Friday, December 31, I filled up the petrol tank of my car with petrol priced at 1.23 per litre (5.59 per gallon).

On Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 4pm, I passed the same garage and the price had gone up to 1.30 per litre (5.91 per gallon).

At midnight on January 3, the new VAT price had come into operation and raised the price to 6.06 per gallon.

In one year and three days – January 1, 2010 to January 1, 2011 – the petrol price from this station had gone up from 4.91 per gallon to 6.06 per gallon. An increase of 23.42 per cent and this is one of the lowest priced petrol stations north of the city.

How can anyone justify an increase of this nature, that will not only cripple family transport but will price the transport of goods through the roof and virtually close down spending in the UK, extending the country's problems out of all proportion to the existing deficit?

I have used gallons and not litres as we judge our "mileage" as the car manufacturers say we should in their literature. They make a point in the sale of the car of how many miles per gallon the vehicle will do for the user.

If petrol was priced as it should be in gallons and not per litre, the oil and petrol producers wouldn't dare to put on increases in the way they have.

My own small car would have to be advertised as using 3.5 miles to the litre.

It's time for Government intervention on all our fuel prices, or will they leave this one to the Big Society to take care of the situation.

Advice from Sgt Wilson

From: David F Chambers, Sladeburn Drive, Northallerton.

Two of the Government's objectives are much publicised just now, namely the building of a further 2,600 offshore wind turbines in addition to those already erected, and secondly the introduction of carbon capture and storage.

The reasons? Meeting a target unwisely entered into with the EU is one, and improving the unemployment figures is another.

The horrific expense of getting electricity from the wind, for a miniscule and unreliable return, is surely well-known by now.

Similarly, expensive and possibly not even feasible, is carbon capture.

Here the beastly carbon dioxide emitted from power stations etc is arrested and imprisoned underground "for ever". I vaguely remember being taught that each CO2 molecule consists of an atom of carbon and two of oxygen. Wrongful imprisonment of oxygen does not strike me as a good idea. To quote Sgt Wilson, "Sir, is that wise?"

If the CO2 buried under the sea leaches out, converting the ocean into a weak carbonic acid, will this be welcomed by the local marine life?

Two suggestions: Disconnect wind-sourced power from the grid and devote it to producing hydrogen as a fuel for motor vehicles. Most at present run on fossil fuels and a few (heavily subsidised) on electricity. Secondly divert the jobs created in wind power and CCS to rebuilding our nuclear power stations. Quick!

Will 2011 usher in the Age of Integrity and Common Sense? Wise leadership will be called for (and I'm far too old).

Hard-won freedoms

From: Eriv Vevers, Turnberry Avenue, Alwoodley, Leeds.

What an entertaining issue – the last Yorkshire Post of 2010.

We had the regular letters page, with correspondent Malcolm Naylor going overboard about the shortfalls of the Queen's Christmas message – rightly so – and on the next page we had the talented Bill Carmichael writing about the freedoms we must defend here in the UK.

Lucky for Malcolm Naylor that his letter was published near enough to 2011 and not 1611 or the said Mr Naylor would, as Bill Carmichael so aptly put it, have been carted off and burnt at what passed for a stake in good old Otley in those far off days.

Malcolm Naylor's letter might have shocked a few readers – not particularly this one however – but if he reads Bill Carmichael's column he should count himself lucky that the hard-won freedoms we enjoy today, through the efforts and sacrifices of others over the years, enables him to write, and have published, his views on such a national subject.

Thank goodness for that.

From: Walter Metcalfe, Central Avenue, Shipley.

Many thanks for Bill Carmichael's "Freedoms we must defend" (Yorkshire Post, December 31). It is an issue that needs to be continually aired.

As a person in my mid-80s viewing public attitudes to public affairs I get the feeling that the "posh anarchist" – and others – don't actually care about the price of our freedom. It is world wars and millions of dead.

However, it was gratifying to read his resum of the development of religious freedom in this country and of Tyndale's part in it. But also – and alas – 484 years later Christians are still being persecuted. This is an ongoing reality for them – witness the many deaths in the Coptic church in Alexandria on New Year's Day, but they are rarely mentioned by the British media.

Hats off to Bill and the Yorkshire Post, keep the flag flying.

Legal action could be answer to emptying bins

From: James Hinchliffe, Beck Lane, Bingley.

As a retired local government officer who has been employed in waste management by three cities in West Yorkshire over a period of 40 years, I have been following the letters and your leader articles over the past weeks.

While I have the utmost sympathy with ratepayers who have not had their refuse collected for many weeks, I wish to make a few comments.

Firstly there is little point in, as your leader (Yorkshire Post, January 6) suggests, fining the local authority as the ratepayer pays in the end; perhaps disciplining officers or councillors.

Secondly I have to query the stipulation by Mr Boyes in his letter of the same date regarding the efficiency of "other walks of life". I have experience recently of a major supermarket to whom I have corresponded over the last five months and received replies from eight customer care managers, none of whom answered my query.

Thirdly, local government has changed beyond recognition since re-organisation in 1974 with increasing politicisation; councillors who are incompetent; a new breed of officers from useless chief executives to strategic directors who are too far removed from the "sharp end" and finally trade unions which are far more concerned with politicking than looking after their members.

Finally, I seem to recall from my student days that it was possible to pursue a writ of mandamus against local authorities failing to fulfil their statutory duties which appears to be what some local authorities are doing.

There may also be a possibility of pursuing failure to undertake statutory functions via the Ombudsman; it may be something for the TaxPayers' Alliance, who appear to have lot to say on the matter, may wish to pursue.