The delights of holidaying at home

From: Don Burslam, Elm Road, Dewsbury Moor, Dewsbury.

THE older I get, the more I am convinced that we are very lucky to live in such a fascinating country as ours. For its size there is nowhere else to compare for the variety of scenery, the beauty of our stately homes and our unique history. All this is impressive enough, but the range of interests catered for is truly astonishing.

I have travelled abroad and lived in America but would not contemplate living anywhere else now. There are opportunities to travel the world which previous generations never had and this is all to the good. I sometimes wonder though whether the globetrotters have seen as much of their own country as they should. Many move abroad to seek the sun but for me our unreliable weather is a positive.

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Later this year, I am exploring Kent and Wiltshire, staying in bed and breakfast establishments. Last but not least, it’s cheaper holidaying at home.

Listen to the people

From: John Pennington, West Riddlesden Hall, Keighley.

BRADFORD has not learned any lessons from the emergence of the Respect Party who support saving the iconic Odeon. Worse still, we welcome back public servants who have failed to be just that.

Two ex-council employees and a former chair of Yorkshire Forward have now set up to be consultants to the developer without any supposed conflict (Yorkshire Post, May 26). Questionable, but were the same people not instrumental in creating the whole debacle?

Officers and politicians seem adept at reinvention, self-written shiny CVs, a passport to increased remuneration and future security yet they remain inept, for which we all pay.

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Ex-minister Margaret Hodge ran away from the Odeon issue, Business Innovation and Skills prevaricated and current owners, Homes and Communities, have totally lost the plot by supporting the old guard. Stop the mad merry-go-round, listen to people, tell the truth, show leadership and above all be accountable to the taxpayer.

Young face dole queue

From: Sam Kennedy, Yorkshire and the Humber regional director for the Prince’s Trust.

THE recession is damaging the hopes of thousands of young people in Yorkshire and the Humber who are struggling to find a job.

Now young people in schools could be next in line.

Prince’s Trust research shows that seven out of 10 secondary school teachers (70 per cent) are “increasingly worried” their pupils will end up on benefits, while one in three (37 per cent) feel their efforts are “in vain”.

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Here in Yorkshire, an extra concern is that more than 44,550 pupils are regular absentees. These young people can fall out of the system because they struggle to keep up, feeling they will never achieve anything.

We know that teachers do all they can to help students, but many are telling us they need more support. Here at The Prince’s Trust, we run programmes with teachers to help young people who are struggling, preventing exclusions, improving grades and giving them the skills they need to find a job in the future.

Government, charities and employers must work with schools now to support vulnerable young people. If we don’t, we risk seeing a generation of young adults joining the dole queue.

UK at energy crossroads

From: Mike Hookem, regional chairman, Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, UK Independence Party.

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THE demise of British industry continues at pace under the coalition Government, emulating the destruction inflicted by the last Labour administration.

In the next few weeks the latest casualty of Government neglect will close with the loss of 323 jobs, and a supply chain of 3,500 jobs due to the closure of the Lynemouth aluminium smelter in Northumberland.

Owners Rio Tinto Alcan are suggesting that the UK’s high and increasing energy costs are to blame. The plant had a reputation for being environmentally friendly after pursuing efficiency and lower emissions.

The pursuit of green energy is driving the UK towards a museum status. In 2008, UK production of aluminium was worth £3bn annually and 20,000 jobs. Today two of our three smelters have closed. Still we can always import aluminium so what does it matter?

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The UK is at crossroads now. We either pursue a sensible long-term energy policy promising a degree of security to industry, or we become an industrial basket case among developed countries.

Blind facing new trials

From: Mrs Sheila Foster, Croft House Way, Morley, Leeds.

EVERY day blind and partially sighted people face extra costs as a direct result of living with sight loss. Disability Living Allowance (DLA) helps cover some of these expenses, so I am extremely concerned by the Government’s plans to replace it, spending 20 per cent less on a new benefit – Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The proposed test for PIP fails to recognise the challenges faced by people living with sight loss. This could leave thousands of people without support to do everyday things that people with sight take for granted. This could be paying for assistance with repairs or cleaning around the home, or food labelling systems to ensure they don’t eat food which has gone off. The Government said that PIP would be fair and support disabled people to remain independent, yet many blind and partially sighted people will be excluded.