YEP Letters: October 13

Check out today's YEP letters

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Pic: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

What’s wrong with making money?

Brian Johnston, Leeds.

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JEREMY Corbyn boasts that capitalism has had its day, and that the future is socialism. Now where have we heard that before? Mr Corbyn, what’s wrong with making money? Socialism has been rejected the world over.

Since the Government reduced the top rate of tax from 50 to 40 per cent, tax revenue has increased.

Socialists just can’t fathom that one.

Tax paid by the top one per cent is responsible for 28 per cent of all revenue.

Voices brought together for the North

James Hall, Barton Willmore planning and design consultants, King Street, Leeds.

THE Government’s new ‘Council for the North’ may not have grabbed the headlines, but it could be significant for our region.

Made up of chairs from the 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships – the “NP11” – this group will give new voice to the economic needs of the North in Westminster.

It’s encouraging to see that Leeds City Region’s Roger Marsh will chair the group. Roger steered the City Region’s presence at international property conference MIPIM and has played a key role in the bid to bring Channel 4 to Leeds.

The NP11’s purpose includes advising central government on how to overcome regional disparities in economic growth.

This is surely the most crucial objective for Yorkshire. Our region includes areas with among the lowest GDP per person in Europe.

The message our local representatives need to take to the centre of power is that investment in housing and infrastructure is the way to rebalance the North’s economy.

In turn, this will also improve the quality of life for people in the region. And this message will resonate even louder if all of the 11 representatives are making the same case.

Better connectivity leads to reduced commuting times, increased productivity, and investment from new businesses. Housing growth is also an economic stimulator.

We must make sure our regional representatives in the NP11 are equipped with a strong, unified position on this. Without it, the Northern Powerhouse will run out of fuel.

Wake-up call for action on climate

Nina Smith, Chair, Railfuture, Yorkshire branch.

THIS week’s UN Climate Change report must be a wake-up call to governments, corporate bodies and individuals.

Transport policy is a key factor in stopping the ruination of our planet. It is critical that both Government policies, and those being developed by Transport for the North and local authorities, recognise this.

Railfuture Yorkshire advocates the following as matters of urgency: 1. Massive capital investment in public transport, including new routes and stations, to enable a large modal shift of both people and freight from road to rail.

2. A continuing and ambitious programme of railway electrification, and the development of alternative technologies, to phase out carbon-emitting diesel trains.

3. A reversal of cuts to bus services and the integration of bus and train services at stations. Public transport must be seen in the context of end-to-end journeys.

4. Adequate car parking facilities at railway stations and the development of additional park and ride services.

5. The long-overdue development of a comprehensive tram/light rail system for Leeds and Bradford. This is the largest conurbation in Western Europe without a tram system.

6. As public transport is expanded, the introduction of urban road pricing and workplace parking levies to deter avoidable road journeys.

7. Fares to be reduced and kept at levels affordable to people on or below the regional average wage, and the freezing of road fuel duty to be lifted to shift the affordability balance from cars and lorries to trains.

We owe this to the people and the other animals and plants who currently and will in the future share Planet Earth.

Radical thinking is needed

Javed Khan, Chief Executive, Barnardo’s.

BARNARDO’S has been helping vulnerable children and young people for 152 years, starting with Dr Barnardo himself.

In his time the problems facing children were severe and clear for all to see, but the problems facing children today are dangerously less visible.

Childhood should be a magical time but sadly too many today are being lost to exploitation, abuse and neglect.

Across the UK, more and more young people are ending up in the care system and being entrapped by violent crime and drug trafficking. But the challenges aren’t just limited to the unlucky few.

Around one in 20 children experience some form of sexual abuse before they reach 18 and three children in every classroom are thought to have a diagnosable mental health problem.

Evidence from Barnardo’s frontline services suggests a growing number of young people are facing multiple and overlapping dangers – from early trauma and neglect, to grooming and sexual abuse, through to criminal exploitation, drugs and gangs.

Our recent survey of police, teachers and social workers provides further evidence that increasing numbers of the most vulnerable children are coming into contact with services struggling to meet their needs.

Having risen steadily for nine years, there are now over 70,000 children going into the care system every year. The demand for children’s services is simply outstripping the resources available to local authorities. The scale and complexity of challenges facing children today demand a radical new approach.

At Barnardo’s, we believe part of the answer is to develop radical new approaches to delivering children’s services, forming long-term strategic partnerships with councils, the police, NHS, and other charities, to co-design and deliver the services children, families and communities really need.

Children’s lives are changing at a pace we can barely comprehend. Just as society as a whole is becoming more diverse, and digital technology is transforming how we work, learn and socialise, so childhood today is constantly evolving. We must keep one step ahead, investing in long-term partnerships, sharing knowledge, testing new approaches, and above all, listening to what young people really need.

That’s the only way to achieve our ultimate goal – of better outcomes for more children.