I SEE that Leeds City Council are planning to raise Council Tax yet again in 2019/20 by almost four per cent when the alleged service that people receive continues to decline.
Leeds City Council fall back on the same excuse time and time again for these continual rises that they are cash-strapped due to Government funding cuts and there will be people who will actually believe them. I am not one of them.
My idea of being cash-strapped are families who can barely afford to eat who use food banks and people who are homeless.
I would hardly describe an organisation which owns a collection of artworks that can be viewed online believed to be worth around £171m as cash-strapped.
Taking the public’s money and then falling back on convenient and wellworn excuses for not spending money on public services and constant increases is an easy option for the council.
Instead of trying to raise money by other means it is always the taxpayer who picks up the bill.
It is hardly the people of Leeds fault that the council’s funding has been cut and when the minimum amount of council tax exceeds £1,000 a year the public should be receiving a proper service.
Does anyone remember around the time of the local elections a councillor saying that they want to get back to basics and start putting people first and they want to make Leeds a fairer city?
Are all these increases in recent years their idea of putting people first and being fair?
It was also stated that they want to make Leeds a wealthier and more prosperous city, but from what I can see there’s only one organisation getting wealthier.
Of course the council knows that the people of Leeds have no answer to these constant rises because this tax is compulsory and they take full advantage of that fact.
But as long as the people of Leeds continue to accept these rises without any resistance they will continue to happen and the same old reasons for these increases will surface and the taxpayer will continue to be used as a cash cow.
Libraries are so important
From: Sophie Adams, Bawtry Road, Sheffield.
Regarding Sheffield’s volunteer libraries, libraries are a crucial public service.
They don’t only provide books, reading opportunities and IT services for people, they also cover a wide spectrum of other services.
People go to libraries to get information about housing, social services and much more.
Professionally-staffed libraries form a focal point for communities, and form part of the civic structure of the UK.
They also are part of the democratic process, with councillors and campaign groups meeting in them.
Professionally-staffed libraries are also more important than ever in this time of austerity because they are one of the few places people are not under pressure to spend money.
Libraries and library staff stand for free and equal access to information for all.
By default any councillors who close libraries or hand them over to volunteers are opposing free and equal access to information for all.
Usage drops when libraries are handed to volunteers like in Sheffield, so one of the ways of closing libraries and avoiding blame for their closure is handing them to volunteers.
Literacy and a love of reading are essential for breaking the cycle of deprivation across Sheffield and elsewhere. Professionally-staffed libraries are essential for achieving this.
From: Martin Vaughan, Stannington Road, Sheffield.
On visiting Doncaster Central Library last month, I was told that out of 25 libraries in the town, only four have professional library staff to run them, the rest of them having being turned into a volunteer-free-for-all which puts even Sheffield Council’s volunteer-running of libraries to shame.
We live in a world where millions upon millions is being poured into rebuilding city centres with mixed results and councils such as Sheffield can spend thousands taking tree protesters to court in vain attempts to silence criticism of some of its bad decisions.
Yet professionally-staffed libraries are not a priority.
Doncaster and Sheffield councils’ should hang their head in shame.
Ditch your vanity projects to save some cash. Doncaster and Sheffield both deserve professionally-staffed libraries in every community.
Praise for this punishment
From: Mr PL Taylor, Milner Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield.
For many years I was very much against capital punishment as I considered it to be an uncivilised form of punishment.
Now I am not quite so sure. Why should the honest taxpayer have to keep evil murderers and those who cause death by vile acts in relative comfort in prison?
The cost is millions of pounds which could be put to better use by improving facilities for the honest decent average taxpaying citizen of the UK.
A pertinent festive call
From: Mr R Urquhart, High Hunsley, Cottingham.
Hopefulness and humility. What an excellent epistle composed by the Archbishop of York which you published (The Yorkshire Post, December 24) and so very pertinent for him to address us in such a way at this “giving” time of year.