I WOULD say this is the most damning article regarding Leeds City Council (LCC) with councillors avoiding their financial commitments by “not” paying their rates in accordance with rules they themselves lay down (The Yorkshire Post, December 16).
It is hypocritical and inexcusable for councillors to be in arrears, but what makes it even worse is LCC spending ratepayers’ money to finance a cover up.
The offenders, irrespective of whichever party they represent, should resign. In addition, the LCC leader, Coun Judith Blake, should also resign. LCC cannot justify dual standards.
LCC is acting in a totally disgraceful way by not naming, and shaming, those councillors who have offended, with some perhaps still avoiding their obligations.
It matters not whether some have since paid the taxes, given the seriousness of this breach of trust, and, as such, they should not be in public office of any kind.
How can councillors, who represent ratepayers who settled their financial commitments, be trusted as a result of what we now know?
From: Shaun Kavanagh, Morley.
Constitution only solution
COMMUNITIES Secretary Sajid Javid’s suggestion that an oath of allegiance to British values should be introduced may be contribution to the debate about cohesion amongst our diverse communities, but it smacks of tokenism when the roots of the problem lie much deeper (The Yorkshire Post, December 19).
If we had a written constitution, we could require public officials to uphold it, rather than having them support debatable “British values”.
The important questions are “Why don’t we have a written constitution that codifies the values of a liberal democratic society, such as equality, freedom of expression and tolerance?” and “In whose interests is it for us to maintain our unwritten constitution, rather than codifying it?”.
Having a written constitution and having it part of everyone’s education would be a more concrete method for promoting the British way of life.
From: John G Davies, Alma Terrace, East Morton, Keighley.
Station meets airport needs
I REFER to Tom Richmond’s columns which are always full of common sense (The Yorkshire Post, December 17) and Ron Healey’s letter, both referring to the proposal by Leeds Council to construct a park and ride for the Leeds Bradford Airport.
Am I wrong in remarking that we already have a newly constructed station at Apperley Bridge which is only 10 minutes away from the airport and on a direct line from Leeds?
Could this not be made into a suitable park and ride space instead of creating a new one – or is Bradford too lowly to have such an idea? In this age of austerity, I agree with both Tom Richmond and Ron Healey that the idea is not likely to take off in the near future.
From: Pat Rhodes, Dalescroft Rise, Bradford.
Exaggerating cost of care
BILL Carmichael usually gets to the point in his articles, but like many columnists tends to exaggerate. He wrote about the new social care precept of up to three per cent for the next two years and stated “thereby adding hundreds of pounds to the average council tax bill” (The Yorkshire Post, December 16).
In York the Band D rate, often quoted as the average, is just under £1,500 for the current year. Three per cent of that amounts to precisely £45 or £90 if both years are taken into account. Even Band H for the highest rated property is just about twice that amount. Hardly hundreds of pounds!
I fully appreciate that to someone on a tight budget any increase can cause problems. However, I would imagine that most of us know someone who has benefitted from social care and, sooner or later, we may well have need of it personally.
In my view, the critical factor is that this precept is ring-fenced for the purpose for which it is intended, and does not merely disappear into some council black hole.
From: Brian Waddington, Dukes Wharf, Terry Avenue, York.
Poison chalice or blessing?
IN classical Greece, certain city states required that its men should drink hemlock on reaching the age of 40 – in order that its fighting manhood should remain virile and youthful.
In times of peace that requirement was relaxed – but it was still considered good manners for men to comply on reaching the age of 40.
Forty does not seem much of an age these days of course, but what I should like to point out is that voluntary euthanasia was, at that time, part of everyday life.
We criminalise it because we fear it is being abused. Yet, for many elderly people suffering desperate ill-health, the means to end one’s life peacefully, and with the knowledge and understanding of one’s family, would be a boon and a blessed release.
From: Arthur Quarmby, Mill Moor Road, Meltham.