IT is extremely sad to see so many people, particularly young people, sleeping and begging on the streets of our towns and cities (Chris Woodward, The Yorkshire Post, December 14).
For too long now we have all – politicians, society and families – looked to salve our consciences through food banks and charity-run hostels, ignoring the urgent need to prevent people from getting into such dire circumstances in the first place.
We need to start with our education system. As well as the basic requirements of good GCSEs in maths and English, we need to ensure that every child, male or female, is able to prepare and cook for themselves a variety of nourishing, reasonably priced meals and be able to draw up, understand and implement a basic household budget to equip them with entry eventually into the real world. Other subjects can be built onto this vital base to channel the individual towards an appropriate career.
The scrapping of the requirement to provide a suitable deposit on any hire purchase arrangement, and the multitude of offers of ‘interest free’ ‘nothing to pay for up to four years’ with the accompanying pressure sale advertising, makes it almost impossible for consumers to resist temptation.
It must be particularly difficult for parents with restricted income, with children at school faced with the added outlay on school trips, birthday expeditions, outfits and transport for end of year Proms, Halloween and Christmas expenditure to say ‘no’ knowing that their children will be pressurised by their classmates and knowing that loans and credit/store cards are readily available to sort the problem temporarily.
We all have a duty to ensure our children are made fully aware of the dangers they face as adults unless they learn to budget, and more especially to say ‘no’ to the many seemingly ‘too good to miss opportunities’ put before them.
In the meantime, we need to provide visitors to food banks with practical help and advice on coping with their debts and weaning them off expensive, less nutritious fast food in favour of simple, less expensive but more nutritious meals. Apart from the savings, such changes should restore some pride and satisfaction in their lives.
Similarly with the homeless, all must have some family somewhere to whom they could be reconciled or who could be persuaded to help alleviate their plight.
Politicians nationally and locally should be able to lead on this increasing problem.
From: David H Rhodes, Keble Park North, Bishopthorpe, York.
CAN one afford to be poor? This was brought home when I received my supermarket vouchers, one of which was £8 off for a £40 spend. Living on my own, this is nearly double my weekly outgoings. Who would normally spend this amount, large families (living on benefits), the well to do and the comfortably off?
The “poor”, like those solely on a State Pension and workers on a minimum wage, would, after buying the store’s own brands and goods from the reduced counters, still be pushed to purchase the required spend.
Fortunately I can afford the outlay for my discount, even if it means buying six months’ supply of loo rolls and storing them! If you haven’t got the cash you are disadvantaged. Other examples can involve how we pay our bills and even pre-payments for your newspaper.
I am not critical of the companies who make these offers, but it is possibly thought provoking.
Cost-effective link to airport
From: Brian Dunsby, Transport Spokesman, Harrogate District Chamber of Commerce.
I AM responding to Tom Richmond’s column about the proposed Parkway station at Leeds Bradford Airport (The Yorkshire Post, December 10).
This scheme is a very cost-effective way of achieving a rail link to the airport within a reasonable timescale and an attainable budget. There is simply no economic justification for a direct spur into the airport terminal.
Grandiose schemes for a novel tram-train line as a spur off the existing Harrogate Line going onward towards Bradford would be a serious impediment to all the improvements to the Harrogate line that are already planned and budgeted for.
The perfect double-header
From: Chris Smith, Wakefield.
REGARDING the re-opening of the Settle-Carlisle line on March 31, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the picture accompanying your article could be replicated on that day with Flying Scotsman and Tornado “double-heading” instead? This would certainly be a grand re-opening! Hope springs eternal.
Trouble in the making
From: Terry Palmer, South Lea Avenue, Hoyland, Barnsley.
NO ONE is going to change the mind of the Scottish Nationalists because, just like the EU, they are undemocratic. The EU referendum was for the whole of the UK, not just for Scotland. If the Scots want to stay in the EU, then leave the UK. We would all be happy with that – and then try to join the EU.
No, sorry! They don’t want you because they see you as trouble in the making and also financially broke.