YP Letters: Free passes mean no cash for buses

Subsidy arrangements for rural buses are in the spotlight.
Subsidy arrangements for rural buses are in the spotlight.
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From: Peter Rigby, Beamsley, Skipton.

COLIN Speakman writes “the Senior Bus Pass has by any standards proved a huge success. One of the enduring legacies of Gordon Brown’s Chancellorship” (The Yorkshire Post, October 21).

Far from being a “huge success”, that £2bn electoral bribe to pensioners was unaffordable and unsustainable. “There’s no money left!” said outgoing Treasury chief secretary Liam Byrne in 2010. Now, there are few Dales buses left either.

Colin Speakman has a long history of championing the spending of taxpayers’ money. His tirades against “austerity“ cuts to his beloved free Dales buses does nobody any favours

Bus services have gone, drivers have lost their jobs and the national debt has grown another £18bn.

As parish chairman, I was invited by our council to do a “User Survey“ on the new X59 Service from Skipton to Harrogate (now axed). I interviewed every passenger. Had they enjoyed the service? “Very comfortable, lovely views, friendly driver, and afternoon tea in Betty’s Cafe was delicious.”

The driver thought that £2 return for my dog was about right, and he paid up. Crikey! The only person on this bus who paid a fare was my dog.

The remaining passengers could clearly afford to enter Betty’s.

It is time for Colin Speakman to now experience that “Damascene moment” and start demanding that every pensioner pays a fare.

Then, and only then, will we get some buses in the Dales.

There is no such thing as a bus that never arrives.

Lead way on One Yorkshire

From: John P Hall, Yorkshire Party. Harrogate.

WITH Brexit on the way, we in Yorkshire need a strong dedicated voice to make sure we can take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself.

Lancashire is also starting to make a similar case for themselves. The county recognises as we do, that the north of England is falling further and further behind.

Various governments over the years have allowed the North- South divide to persist which is perhaps the main reason why we have Brexit today. Until this happened we were making good progress with the “Northern Powerhouse” initiative.

Yorkshire has lost most of its traditional industries such as coal mining, textiles, steel and fishing.

York, for instance, was once famous for chocolate manufacturing. It now relies on tourism only.

We now need to urgently address this state of affairs. Yorkshire itself would be best placed to do so.

There are no major downsides or disadvantages to the devolution concept – it works and it would be disappointing if the presiding government did not give it fair consideration.

The most advanced example of devolved governments can be seen in Germany and Switzerland, both resulting in very prosperous countries.

Many areas of Britain would benefit from devolution. Some areas, however, particularly near London , have no need for change.

Yorkshire is one of those regions that is desperately needs to make progress.

Not only would it benefit Yorkshire, the added prosperity of the Northern regions would make Britain as a whole economically stronger.

The Yorkshire Party is ready to start negotiations for “One Yorkshire”, as we realise that if we don’t take the initiative, we will only be sold short by another Westminster fudge.

Students’ vote for novice MP

From: Brian Sheridan, Lodge Moor, Sheffield.

SHEFFIELD is rightly proud of the fact that a disproportionately high number of students from outside choose to reside in the city after finishing their studies.

However, there remains a significant number who voted in the last general election who will return home or take positions outside Sheffield.

The surprise defeat of Nick Clegg in my own constituency, Sheffield Hallam, by Jared O’Mara has been ascribed largely to the student vote mobilised by Jeremy Corbyn in Sheffield’s student quarter.

Surely the time has come for students’ franchise to be decided by their place of permanent residence?

A neighbour who is a Corbyn supporter was shocked when a callow contender with a modest CV defeated the former Deputy Prime Minister: like me, he feared being represented in Parliament by a novice.

All this, of course, before O’Mara was suspended pending investigation by his party. Not that anyone will notice. Since he was elected, O’Mara’s performance in the House of Commons has been defined by torpor (The Yorkshire Post, October 25).

For the record, Nick Clegg was a hard-working constituency MP and, in my opinion, played a key role in an effective coalition government.

Questionable fracking claims

From: Sam Grant, Huntington Road, York.

SO activists invaded the Third Energy fracking site, climbed the rig without safety equipment, and then ignited flares, risking everyone’s lives on the site. Third Energy then made everything safe and provided them with blankets, safety equipment and hot drinks.

Again the protesters were making the same debunked claims. This time that fracking causes cancer.

The Advertising Standards Agency has already told them they cannot claim this in any advertising. Sadly leaflets or news interviews offer the public no such protection.

So it is worth reminding ourselves why the anti-fracking groups offer no actual numbers.

It is easier to scare people if you give what are called ‘relative risks’. These take the form of ‘x causes a 30 per cent increase in cancer’, whereas 30 per cent tells you nothing because it doesn’t tell you what the original value was.