September 12: Why it is right for West Yorkshire public sector to pay £150k a year - and six weeks holiday

From: Coun Peter Box (Labour), Chairman, West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

AS Tom Richmond rightly points out (The Yorkshire Post, September 8), the new managing director of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority – when appointed – will be responsible for an organisation leading economic growth and the development of skills training, transport infrastructure and affordable housing across West Yorkshire. It is also an organisation committed to achieving economies and efficiencies through collaboration between districts.

Existing devolved funding and programmes are already delivering better economic outcomes at better value for the taxpayer than national equivalents. Sixteen per cent more young people going through the Leeds City Region Devolved Youth Contract moved into employment, education or training than on the national programme and the 3,500 jobs generated through the LEP’s business grant programme have been created at the cost of £7,142 per job compared with £33,000 per job for the national Regional Growth Fund scheme.

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Rather than heading a ‘talking shop’, the new managing director will be overseeing teams heading the implementation of £1.6bn of Growth Deal investments and the development of around 40 transport schemes through a £1.4bn Transport Fund. And they will be steering the Combined Authority’s drive for devolution across West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region.

Like the private sector, we need to pay what Tom Richmond accepts is the ‘going rate’. This is not an additional post as it replaces the former director general of the Passenger Transport Executive and Authority, which by the time the new managing director starts will have been vacant for 21 months, representing considerable savings.

While we have made the aforementioned savings by not previously filling this post, I am sure many readers would agree that someone should be leading the organisation’s transformational programme of work and taking the local decisions that will result from a meaningful devolution deal from Government.

Make cyclists ring a bell

From: Geoff North, Windsor Mount, Leeds.

I COULDN’T agree more with the letter from Mr Paul Hill (The Yorkshire Post, September 9) on the increasing danger of cyclists colliding with pedestrians. With the large increase in the number of cyclists on our roads and the large number of footpaths that have now also become cycle tracks, the dangers of cyclists hitting pedestrians is becoming ever greater.

My wife and I have experienced this on several occasions over the last few years, most recently whilst walking along the riverside at Knaresborough when a group of four cyclists came up behind us, one passing close to me at high speed without any warning.

If I had moved just six inches to my left, I would have been hit and possibly seriously injured. Our enjoyment of several walks has been taken from us by the constant nervousness of having to look out for cyclists.

I don’t think many cyclists realise that a pedestrian cannot always hear a cyclist approaching from behind and they seem oblivious to the potential injury they can cause. Very few bikes today seem to have a bell, although I understand that there is still a law which requires one.

I think The Yorkshire Post should start a campaign to have, by law, all new bikes sold to be fitted with a bell and all others to be fitted with one. Cyclists should be taught to use the bell when approaching pedestrians – bring back the old Cycling Proficiency Test. It would be interesting to know the statistics for hospital admissions for pedestrians hit by cyclists.

Thanks for royal paper

From: Mrs S M Abbott, Melbourne Road, Wakefield.

WHAT a wonderful front page commemoration today (The Yorkshire Post, September 9) to our Queen marking her reign as longest serving monarch of our country. No doubt her Christian faith has sustained her. I have met and spoken to Her Majesty twice as an ordinary member of the public, my daughter and then my granddaughter handing flowers to her. On both occasions she was gracious and always smiling. She has also been blessed by having Prince Philip by her side throughout her reign.

What a fine example to us all.

Labour shuns rugby masses

From: David Bradley, Horbury, Wakefield.

RE Tom Richmond’s column on the Challenge Cup Final (The Yorkshire Post, September 5). We were sitting a few seats away from Alan Milburn. I understand no other socialist politicians were there supporting the “working class” game, but two in the running for Labour leadership are Northern MPs. Maybe its a bit too close to the masses.