Voluntary sector feels weight of cuts

From: Coun Stewart Golton, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Leeds City Council.

Regarding your front page story and Editorial (Yorkshire Post, March 26), I must comment that in many cases there is absolutely no need for the cuts the voluntary sector are facing in funding they receive from councils.

In many cases, local authorities see the voluntary sector as an easy target, and turn to them for savings rather than make savings in their own budgets.

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Here in Leeds, we have the added issue of the Labour Group voting through a budget which includes an increase in reserves of over £7m compared to last year, money which could have been used to support the voluntary sector in Leeds and remove the need to reduce their funding.

By making savings in council-provided services, and working more closely with the voluntary sector, I believe we can provide more effective services, tailored to the real needs of local people, not to the requirements of a large bureaucracy.

That is the Lib Dem way, delivered by Lib Dem-led councils like Sheffield, but it is clearly not the way of many Labour councils who see services needing to be delivered directly by councils.

That is the nub of the matter, and is why they are cutting funding for the voluntary sector massively, rather than make the necessary changes within the councils they control. They had a choice, but the choice they have made I cannot agree with.

From: Eileen Driver, Stokesley.

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A GROUP of our local Labour Party members travelled to the protest march in London on Saturday We took part to protest against the severity of the coalitions cuts.

We need cuts but not so fast or so deep. It was an incredible and profound experience to march with people of all ages – including pensioners, lawyers, disabled people, carers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, doctors, and many other workers.

There were many more thousands of people on the march than the figures that have been reported, and we did not see any violence at all.

Indeed, what we saw was a sea of people speaking with the same voice. They had travelled long distances in order to convey to the coalition that their slashing and burning of so many local and national services and projects will cause human suffering on an appalling scale.

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We, of course, were saddened to hear that there had been violent clashes. Ours was a peaceful protest which inspired those who were alongside us.

From: Trev Bromby, Sculcoates Lane, Hull.

TIME and again, incident after incident, it becomes apparent that the Government and public are separate species.

Every member of the public, I assume, knows that the persons who attend rallies with head, face and hands completely covered are not there for peaceful demonstration.

These people need to be rooted out early before they can work “normals” into their planned frenzy. Alternatively, drench them in permanent dye, so discarding their combat gear will not allow them an escape from prosecution. It should also dampen their desire to incite riot.

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This is only one instance of “if we can see it, why can’t they?”

Until we get a government with the guts and/or decency to tax the fat cats, the discontent and demos will continue. Oops – they are comprised of fat cats, so no change there.

Patchwork quilt of MPs

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

I ALWAYS enjoy reading Tom Richmond’s column. His suggestion to devise a job description (Yorkshire Post, March 26) for MPs and councillors would, however, be a pointless exercise.

Membership of the Commons has always been a bit of a patchwork quilt and none the worse for that in my opinion. There is room in the system for pure constituency members, “big issue” people like Enoch Powell and even “characters” to lend a little colour; some can even combine these roles effectively.

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In any case, even if an attempt were made to channel duties, eg councillors to deal with social problems, many claimants would still insist on calling on their MPs. As they contribute to MPs’ salaries, they would arguably be within their rights.

Rebels and citizens

From: JW Buckley, Aketon, Pontefract.

Rebels are people who rebel against legitimate authority.

The army of a country is there to protect that country and its people, from attack. When legitimate authority uses the army against a section of its own people, it loses its legitimacy. Rebels cease to be rebels.

What the coalition forces have done in Libya is to negate (so far as they can from a distance) the advantage which the former legitimate authority had, from using the armed forces against its own citizens.

There is no legitimate form of government, so everything is up for grabs. This represents a great danger to everyone.

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It is essential that the world unite over Libya, but the views of Russia (from its condemnation of what has happened) implies that it considers the use of armed forces against its own people to be acceptable. It is not.

When life is a gift

From: Peter Broadley, Broadley & Co, West Vale Chambers, Stainland Road, Halifax.

I WROTE to you some time ago with regard to the “Over 50 Life Cover” from Sun Life Axa which is promoted using Sir Michael Parkinson.

Having expressed my disappointment in my earlier letter that the old and vulnerable were being bombarded in television and newspaper ads, you will perhaps understand my amusement at receiving in the post my personal invitation to pay 23 pence per day for Sir Michael’s product!

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I am however disappointed to note that my “welcome gift” of a clock, for joining the scheme has been dropped by Axa, so that I would no longer have the satisfaction of seeing my life ebbing away.

This has now been replaced by a Sat Nav, which presumably my executors can pass to the hearse driver and ensure I finish in the right hole!

Oh, Sir Michael – you can’t be that short of money. And if it’s boredom, you could always become president of Yorkshire Cricket Club!