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How can we have a sensible vote?

Letter of the Week: ‘An Emley EU voter’

Dear Sir,

May I counter the almost weekly anti-EU writings of Mr Lockwood?

A few months ago whilst visiting Barnsley, I saw improvements being made to the town hall road layout and gardens.

A small sign with the EU symbol stated that these improvements were funded partly or wholly by the EU.

Some while later, going through Rotherham, roadworks on the dual carriageway had a similar sign carrying the same funding facts.

Last summer at a Yorkshire seaside resort, there were ongoing sewage water treatment improvements on the promenade, again funded wholly or in part by the EU.

Whilst in Portugal last year I saw a new harbour improvement at Vila Real which had a big sign telling of the funding by the EU.

Ask anyone on the mainland of Europe or Eire about EU-funded improvements to their towns and areas and they will tell you about the EU helping their local economy. They know because their media tells them the facts.

However, ask any man/woman in the street here as to what the EU does for us in England and they can’t tell you.

They know nothing about EU membership advantages because they are never told of them by our national newspapers, tabloid press and parts of the TV.

They are only told of disadvantages, some true, some half-truths and some downright lies.

This autumn, I got a tax statement telling where my taxes were spent.

Out of £2,904 that I had paid, only £17 went to the EU. £17! A tiny amount, which I am glad to pay, and here is why.

For a start, if I go on a visit to another EU country I will get state healthcare and would be treated equal to a citizen of that land.

I have also enjoyed decades of peace with our neighbours and co-operation with them, thanks to the EU.

People are told that we pay massive amounts to the EU to be spent by unelected Brussels bureaucrats.

They don’t know that some of this funding comes back here to help the run-down old industrial areas like ours in the north.

This funding is allocated by the European Parliament, which unlike the House of Lords here, is elected democratically by us, the voters.

We have an elected European Parliament with members for Yorkshire. We elect them just like the House Of Commons.

If we are misguided enough to leave the EU, following years of anti-EU propaganda by the 80 per cent of our biased media, we will not have to pay the EU funding but more importantly, we will get nothing back for infrastructure projects here in Yorkshire.

Will the London government step in to make up the shortfall? Fat chance!

When Mr Cameron came to power in 2010, one of his government’s first acts was to cancel funding here from Yorkshire Forward.

This body had been set up to provide funding for Yorkshire’s infrastructure.

Then before the last election, we were promised the ‘Northern Powerhouse’.

The electrification of the Dewsbury/Leeds/Huddersfield  line was promised but after the election it was ‘postponed’ until when? Was anything cancelled in the south?

The government funds the people of London to the tune of £5,000 each for infrastructure projects, but here in Yorkshire we get just £580 per head, and the north east a paltry £220.

The south east and London get everything. Old industrial areas like ours need infrastructure funding for our future prosperity, but if we leave the EU we will lose out.

Only two national newspapers and one national tabloid give  balanced accounts of the facts of the EU.

How can there be a sensible vote on the EU if the voters are unaware of all the facts?


Two fat wages for Eames

From: Pat Crisp, Batley

Dear Sir,

I don’t understand the ins and outs of what’s happening with our local hospitals.

But I do know it’s not right that Stephen Eames has now two jobs and two fat wages, when lots of people can’t get one, after what he’s done to our hospitals.

I’ve just been in to the hospital and the staff work very long shifts of 12 hours – that can’t be good for them.

He should try and live on the minimum wage of £6.70 and see if he could manage if he needs to travel to a hospital.

We’re going back to the dark ages, with only the rich able to use the NHS.


High spirits on Dunbottle Lane

From: Dickie Faybell, Mirfield

Dear Sir,

Regarding a recent article in your newspaper about the screeching and wailing road surface of Dunbottle Lane; The recently tarmaced road does emit an eerie pitch as you drive on it.

Some locals say it is the work of the devil, and that ancient bones have been disturbed in the nearby castle mound by the vibration of road working machines, and that lost spirits and souls are restless.

There is an old folktale that could explain this unusual noise; going back to the English Civil War, a fleeing Royalist trooper making good his escape from the Battle of Thornhill, took refuge in Dunbottle House in the nearby parish of Mirfield.

His pursuers, Fairfax’s Roundheads, lay siege to the house for days. Just after midnight, in the howl of a ferocious storm, the brave trooper made a dash for it, hoping to find support in a nearby inn or tavern.

Two shots rang out, the first one severed the Royalist’s “crown jewels”, and the second shot off his horse’s tail.

Both trying in vain to gain entry into a nearby inn, their screams could be heard throughout the stormy night.

Both rider and horse succumbed to their wounds and their spectre can be seen and heard on Dunbottle Lane on several nights of the year, hoping to be repatriated with their severed pride.

So the legend has it, and everyone should know that inn keepers on Dunbottle Lane never retail spirits after hours, ahem! And that’s the truth.


It’s people’s lives we’re talking about

From: Wendy Senior, Dewsbury

Dear Sir,

Last Tuesday, January 12, I went along to support the junior doctors’ picket line outside the main hospital entrance on Halifax Road.

I do remember myself how hard it is to work long hours and train to be a nurse or doctor.

Most of the national newspapers at the weekend were all reporting on the 11 per cent pay rise, they said nothing about bursary cuts to help finance their training or about there not being enough doctors or nurses to cover the seven-day NHS that health secretary Jeremy Hunt is proposing.

Doctors and nurses are leaving the NHS because of their workload, family and social lives are not being taken into consideration by Jeremy Hunt.

Huddersfield hospital is also having its A&E downgraded as well as Dewsbury, I know our MP Paula Sherriff and Batley MP Joe Cox will do all they can to change these decisions.

Where are people going to go for their treatment. Pinderfields hospital is not big enough already they are struggling to cope with the number of people attending there.

It is people’s lives we are talking about.


Job hunt is so frustrating

From: Gaynor Young, Cleckheaton

Dear Sir,

I am writing to vent my anger at how a person actively looking for work is treated within this country over-run by recruitment agencies who have no interest in people, only numbers on their books.

I am sure that there will be millions of other job seekers feeling the same.

Redundancy forced my hand into seeking other employment on November 17 2015.

Since that date I have been on the internet every day looking to secure an administrative/reception/customer service position for which I have worked for 20 years plus.

My applications must by now be into the hundreds, filling in the application forms, attaching a current CV, submitting the application, only to hear nothing back from anyone regarding the position, due to the fact that “this position no longer exists”.

I have signed on with two local agencies, who both have jobs advertised on their website from over six months ago which are “no longer available as the positions have been filled” but are still advertised as available!

People are being led into false hope by these companies and it’s about time something got done about it.

I contacted one of the agencies last week regarding a position they had emailed me with as I wanted to apply for it.

I spoke to a lady who had no idea of the job offered (there’s only three people working there. Eventually after two further calls I was told that they would forward on my details and I would be called back if my application was suitable to the employer!

Let people know either way!

I have also signed on to the Job Centre site, registered my details with them and applied for a number of jobs, again hearing nothing back as even the Job Centre has been overrun by recruitment agencies.

No actual employers actively advertise their vacancies for direct employment these days, it seems they would rather pay an extra percentage to an outsourced company.

What’s wrong with the world?!

While composing this letter at 8.30am I have just contacted a company by phone regarding a job I applied for back in December, after contacting them by email a couple of times and hearing nothing back, only to be told that they have shortlisted and interviewed for the position and are waiting to hear back from the prospective employee.

Let applicants know this so they can discard this application and concentrate on the next for goodness’ sake.

It’s no surprise that people become depressed and sometimes suicidal while seeking employment, no-one gives a hoot as long as the numbers look good!

I have always prided myself on my customer service conduct throughout my working life, keeping in touch with people on a regular basis, treating people as I expect to be treated.

It seems that we are becoming a nation of ignorance.

My husband has even suggested that I seek employment within a recruitment agency as their customer conduct should be managed a whole lot better.


PFI schemes crippling us

From: Paul Homes, branch secretary of UNISON, Huddersfield

Dear Sir,

No politician can be surprised at the cost of the PFI scheme at Calderdale Infirmary, and the effect it has had on the budget of Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust, with the subsequent proposals to close A&E facilities at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.

This story is repeated across Britain.

In the nearby Mid-Yorkshire Health Trust (Dewsbury, Wakefield and Pontefract hospitals), the extortionate costs of the PFI scheme at Pinderfields Hospital (Wakefield) has led to the closure of A&E at Pontefract Hospital and the proposed closure of A&E at Dewsbury.

Though the costs of these schemes were known by politicians, particularly when they were introduced by John Major’s Tory Government in the early 1990s and continued by the Blair/Brown Labour Governments between

1997 and 2010.

PFI schemes were always ‘milk cows’ for hedge funds/construction companies/banks with 25-30 year repayment schemes and high rates of interest.

There are two old sayings that are appropriate: “You can’t run with the hounds and the hares”, and “You can’t ride two horses in the same race”.

Politicians can’t be disingenuous – PFI schemes were always going to lead to cuts because of the huge repayment costs.

“Chickens always come home to roost”, and “As ye reap, so shall ye sow” are two other appropriate clichés.

The public sector managers who recommended the PFI schemes in the public sector are now long gone (retiring on large pensions, getting large salaries at other public sector bodies, or, in some cases, then going to work for the PFI contractors!).

In Kirklees Council in the early 2000s, councillors were persuaded to invest in a PFI scheme to renovate/rebuild 20 schools (now 18).

Budgets are now saddled with huge repayment costs.

In Kirklees Council, 1,500 staff (mainly catering/cleaning staff), are being paid the Living Wage of £7.88 per hour following negotiations between the Council and the trade unions.

Cleaning/catering staff at the 18 PFI schools in Kirklees do not get the Living Wage because the French-owned company that employs them – SPIE – won’t pay it to them.

So, cleaners at SPIE schools, which are adjacent to council schools, don’t get the same rates of pay as council cleaners.

Kirklees UNISON are fully behind the campaigns to keep A&E services at Dewsbury and Huddersfield open, but the proposals from the two NHS trusts are to have no A&E for the 400,000 people in Kirklees.

Politicians who have supported PFI schemes in parliament can’t cry over spilt milk when the very same schemes then affect their own areas.

Those who opposed PFI schemes in the past, and the public who have been conned by self-serving politicians, who want to earn a nice living in Parliament, are not to blame for this, but most politicians who have not adequately represented their constituents are now crying crocodile tears.

That is why members of the public feel conned by many MPs, and why those MPs who are perceived to have principles are growing in popularity.

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