YP Letters: Why benefits should be an election issue

From: Wendy Abbott, Hull.

FORMER Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith claims reforms to the benefit system “will help Britain back to work” (The Yorkshire Post, April 14).

Back in 1986 I found myself unemployed. It wasn’t easy to find work even in those days, and I had to take a number of temporary jobs before I managed to secure a permanent position. However, advances in technology and company cutbacks means there are far less opportunities now. Disabled people are the most vulnerable in 21st century Britain. Often their disability limits the choices of work that they are able to do, so it is more difficult for them to secure employment.

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The costs of private companies appointed by the Government to assess benefit claimants are substantial. While assessors have received training, they are not qualified to make a judgement on someone who has complex health and mobility issues, particularly in situations where the claimant’s application is supported by expert medical evidence. The wrong decision will only lead to an avalanche of appeals, incurring further administration costs.

Furthermore, if the claimant’s application is rejected and it is their only means of income, an alternative allowance would have to be considered.

As a former claimant, I am not convinced the Government are going down the right road here, targeting people who do have complex health and mobility problems. I suggest the Government concentrate on making an effort to differentiate between the genuine cases and those who are capable of working, otherwise their proposals could turn out to be a false economy.

From: Don Wood, Howden.

REGARDING the snap election, Tim Farron says “only the Lib Dems can prevent a Conservative majority”. Brilliant, a landslide for Mrs May and the Conservatives then!

From: Hilary Andrews, Nursery Lane, Leeds.

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AT last we have a leader who is prepared to lead. Thank you, Mrs May, for allowing us to give you a bigger mandate to lead the country out of submission to the EU.

From: Jean Lorriman, Waterloo, Huddersfield.

OUR beloved NHS all over the country is under real threat with closures of A&E and hospitals.

Closer to home is the closure of A&E at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary with patients sent to a town half its size and which has admitted its hospital will be overwhelmed if CCG plans come to fruition.

If, for example, someone suffered a ruptured aorta, they would have no chance of life as the clogged-up road to Halifax is impassable in an emergency.

From: Paul Brown, Bents Green Road, Sheffield.

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TRANSPORT links in the North are well overdue for something more than cosmetic refurbishments. A rail line giving a Leeds to Manchester journey time of 20 minutes is well within the capability of modern technology and should be provided as a matter of urgency (The Yorkshire Post, April 14).

Awareness of autism

From: Jessica Harland, St Patricks Way, Harrogate.

AS more than one in 100 people are autistic, there are many autistic people living in Harrogate. But they’re not getting the understanding they need. Only 16 per cent of autistic people feel the public understand them. In particular, 77 per cent say that people don’t understand that autistic people can need more time to process questions or instructions. This can make simple things like going to the shops or using public transport extra daunting.

I am a mum to a four-year-old autistic boy who is the most loving and beautiful person. But not many people understand the condition and judge before they know. I still learn more every day.

Encouragingly, recent research from the National Autistic Society found that 80 per cent of the general public would be happy to change their behaviour to give autistic people more time to process information, if only they knew they needed it.

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Giving people more time, using clear language and being more patient, can make the world of difference. So I’m asking people in Harrogate to join me as part of the National Autistic Society’s Too Much Information campaign to make these small changes to make our community more autism-friendly.

Spineless on terror threat

From: Aled Jones, Bridlington.

WHY can’t the politicians of this land face the fact that terrorists are everywhere, insidiously plotting the overthrow of our culture and our people? By not grasping the nettle, we’re letting them grow in number.

I am in total agreement with those who believe in a nationwide round-up of Islamic militants. It will never happen. We are now so spineless, we prefer to side with criminals rather than victims.

If I came across a terrorist priming an explosive device in a crowded shopping centre, and I happened to overwhelm and kill him, I would be instantly charged with murder or manslaughter, despite having potentially saved hundreds of lives.

Perhaps it’s about time we had a ‘people’s militia’.

‘Victims’ of own choices

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From: Paul Morley, Ribblesdale Estate, Long Preston, Skipton.

WHY are we classing these idiots hanging over park benches as ‘victims’ of spice? They bought the illegal drug knowing the effect. It was their choice. so why should we worry about these so-called victims?