Winning ways on broadband and waste

From: David Pollard, Psalter Lane, Sheffield.

I BELIEVE Sheffield councillors are widely adrift from the public they represent. At this moment, they are infuriating residents by removing key waste and green waste services to save about £1.45m, a sum paltry by comparison to the total budget of a metropolitan giant like Sheffield.

This is because we have been deprived of millions by central government bleat the spokesmen, yet this same council is planning to throw more than £12m away on the busted flush that is Digital Region. A total of £20m has been asked for across the South Yorkshire local authorities.

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This is quite clearly a failed project, its progenitors totally misunderstanding the telecommunications market and the role of British Telecom. The result is that the super-speed broadband service instead of being used by 1.5 million South Yorkshire residents, has probably not even got 10,000 users.

As it’s already cost £100m of public money, we have a right to judge that no more should be spent. They originally planned to put services in the areas of South Yorkshire that had poor broadband services.

Unfortunately they chose to serve the urban centres first, and now they have run out of money, so despite the £100m, there are still areas of South Yorkshire where the service is dire whereas the urban centres already have a reasonable service.

There is a solution to both the waste service issue and Digital Region.

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Cut the losses now of Digital Region and save £12m plus. Hand it over to British Telecom who will no doubt do a brilliant job at getting it into all of the region’s homes by charging us less than Digital Region and at the same time enable Sheffield Council to pay for our waste collection services. Everyone a winner.

Role reversal by Prescott

From: A W Clarke, Wold Croft, Sutton on Derwent.

THE BBC have seen fit to give a voice to the incoherent ramblings of Lord Prescott, first on Desert Island Discs and each day since. Enough already.

Is it the BBC’s intention that he is given as much air time as possible in order that he can steal a march on his rivals for the election of Police Commissioner for Humberside?

One is forced to ask if Lord Prescott can fully explain why, bearing in mind that he was very much against the job while in Parliament, he now thinks that it is worth standing for the role (Tom Richmond, Yorkshire Post, February 18).

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Lord Prescott claims that his wife Pauline wants him to stand. Poor Pauline is to blame is she? Just as she was when he was reluctantly forced to accept a peerage. I think that the voters of Humberside must surely, by now, have rumbled Lord Prescott.

From: David McKenna, Hall Gardens, Rawcliffe, Goole.

I WRITE concerning the pre-occupation of the Lord Prescott and his newly-found ambition to become elected police commissioner in Humberside.

Our ex-New Labour colleague has discovered yet another ruse to continue making money – and fools of us all.

It is quite amazing to look at the lack of principles of this candidate – a man who once voted against the Common Market before becoming an out and out pro-European.

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If we are to have elected police commissioners, then they ought not to have any connection at all with politics. We saw in the Blair years how destructive this was. They need to be people of proven worth who have not constantly changed tack to suit their ambition and bank balance.

I contend that the Lord Prescott should not be on the shortlist.

Those who pay less in...

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

THERE’S a lot of talk about civil servants who are self-employed and being paid through their own company. The argument goes they are paying less tax, both directly and indirectly.

It should be noted this is quite common outside of the Civil Service. You’d expect plumbers and builders who provide their own equipment and have to buy tools and materials at trade prices to be self-employed.

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But what about somebody who has worked for the same company for several years and doesn’t supply or provide any equipment or materials, they only provide their services, as any PAYE employee does.

As everybody is aware, they pay less taxation, either directly or indirectly.

The question that needs answering is this: are these people entitled to the same level of benefit from the state? After all, they have paid in less – should they get the same as somebody on PAYE who has contributed more through direct and indirect taxation?