YP Letters: Closure of Huddersfield employment centre will hit vulnerable

Thelma Walker is the Labour MP for Colne Valley.
Thelma Walker is the Labour MP for Colne Valley.
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From: Thelma Walker, Labour MP for Colne Valley.

I STRONGLY oppose the plans to close the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Assessment Centre in Huddersfield and have today written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, to urge her to intervene. There has been no public consultation or engagement with myself or with Kirklees councillors and I know that Huddersfield’s MP, Barry Sheerman, is also opposed to the closure.

Department of Work and Pensions guidelines say travel time to assessments should not exceed 90 minutes by public transport. Getting to the Huddersfield Assessment Centre is already difficult for many sick or disabled people from Colne Valley – but from parts of the constituency it would take approaching two hours on public transport to make a 9am appointment in the Halifax centre.

Support and services for vulnerable people are already at breaking point and the chaotic rollout of Universal Credit is making people’s situations even worse. The closure of this centre is another step too far. It may help the private US firm Maximus to profit even further from outsourced Work Capability Assessments, but it is the sick and disabled who are paying the price for this Government’s flawed agenda. We must end this culture of contempt for disabled people, which has no place in the 21st century.

As we have argued in relation to hospital services, with a 440,000 population, residents in Kirklees expect and demand core services in our major local towns – the same is true for health and disability assessments. There are over 17,000 claimants of ESA in Kirklees – 3,670 from the Colne Valley – who could be impacted by the proposed closure.

Addiction to fossil fuels

From: Simon Bowens, Yorkshire & Humber/North East Campaigner, Friends of the Earth, York Place, Leeds.

I AM indeed an avid cyclist but with a family of four and a roof full of bikes, it was the car for us (The Yorkshire Post, April 25).

Should anyone want to leave God’s own county for warmer climes, it is possible to travel to France by electrified rail. They are increasingly powered by renewables.

Just a quick hop from Leeds to London, and then onto the electrically powered Eurostar to France where the level of renewables is twice that of fossil fuels – and they’ve banned fracking.

Lorraine Allanson is, however, right and I quite agree: as a society we are too dependent on fossil fuels. This addiction is massively damaging to the planet and right now it’s nigh-on impossible to avoid using fossil fuels altogether.

The point, however, is not just to shrug our shoulders and accept that but to reduce our dependency to minimise the danger of runaway climate change. With political will this can be done, and families can still have a holiday.

No grounds to criticise

From: Shaun Kavanagh, Leeds.

WHY is it Jeremy Corbyn is all too ready to allege incompetence of the current PM and her government colleagues in relation to the Windrush saga, when his party continually demonstrated incompetence when in No 10?

Throughout the last 50-plus years, successive governments have failed those who arrived on our shores to become upstanding, hardworking, tax-paying members of the British society, yet negligence in “the system” failed them (The Yorkshire Post, April 26). Now the current Government has to sort out the mess of both political parties.

Corbyn questions the PM’s leadership while demanding her resignation, following that of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, but what about his own leadership of a party in turmoil over anti-Semitism issues and support for tyrant regimes?

Clock face’s helping hands

From: Keith Jowett, Silkstone Common, Barnsley.

IN your Editorial (The Yorkshire Post, April 26,) you déplore the fact that young people are increasingly unable to tell the time from a clock face, since the various electronic devices they posses utilise a digital display. You mention that the sun gives us an indication of time. However, the sun and the hands of a watch can also be utilised to obtain a compass direction.

If you point the hour hand at the sun and bisect the angle between the hour hand and the figure 12 you then have a line pointing due south. During the months when we are observing BST it is necessary first to deduct an hour from the position of the hour hand. A digital time display is useless for performing this useful trick.

Missed chance for reform

From: Tarquin Holman, Marsden Court, Farsley.

IN response to Sir Bernard Ingham on House of Lords reform (The Yorkshire Post, April 25), I remember voting for New Labour who won a general election with a majority of 167.

They had 13 years in No 10 on their firm commitment to get rid of that unelected mausoleum with the Lyons report on Lords reform – we are still waiting!

The left wing brothers are all in the care home, wearing their blue ties. What happened to their red tie principles?

Sad loss of sport heritage

From: Chris O’Dwyer, Parkwood Rise, Keighley.

ARE we really going to stand by and watch the home of football, Wembley, being transformed into an NFL Stadium?

The history that has gone before us will be stripped within the blink of an eye.

People around the world watch the FA Cup Final, a tournament which has helped football as it is today to prosper.

Are we really going to allow this to happen?