THE services provided by Kirklees Council are massively important to all of us who live here.
Schools, bin collections, street cleaning, roads and their maintenance, traffic and parking control, social services, parks, swimming pools and sports facilities are just some of the institutions essential to a modern civilised life.
These services have to be paid for, but the money is secondary to the labour of thousands of workers both in the public sector and the private sector who provide many of the supplies, infrastructure and equipment.
Any supposed solution to the government’s budget difficulties which involves destroying important jobs to ‘save money’ is a false solution and will make us all worse off.
The 1930s showed that, even financially, such cuts probably won’t work because they reduce production in the economy and thus the government’s income from tax.
Therefore Kirklees Unison workers who are struggling against jobs and service cuts should be congratulated and supported.
If the strikes happen, like the student demonstrations a few weeks ago, they will be an inspiration to public and private sector workers round the country, who together have the power, if they are prepared to use it, to stop this resurrected Thatcherism in its tracks.
Kirklees Council, a Labour council, is imposing these job cuts on behalf of the Con-LibDem government which is making savage cuts in the grants from which most council spending is drawn.
In the interests of its workers and service users, Kirklees should refuse to implement these cuts. Labour and Green councillors should, at the very least, even if they think their hands are forced, make a clear public protest against the government’s use of cuts in local authority jobs and services to pay for bailing out the bankers, who are not even themselves being forced to make any sacrifices despite their obscene wealth.
The rest of us should do all we can to encourage and support striking local authority workers, who under the banner of Kirklees Unison are leading a fight for all of us.
Holmfirth; supporter of the Right to Work Campaign and of Kirklees Save Our Services
Somewhere to live
DR David Hill (‘What Lib Dems think’, Mailbag, December 30) describes the Local Development Framework provision for 26,000 new homes across Kirklees, over the next couple of decades, as ‘madness’.
But the figure will not have been plucked from the air – it will beŠ based on careful estimates of future population change.ŠPeople living longer; more people choosing to live alone; the break-up of marriages – these and other factors create extra households who need somewhere to live.
It would be interesting to know what policies Dr Hill advocates that might change any of these trends. Tighter divorce laws, enforced emigration or euthanasia might all be relevant; or does he have Šmore acceptableŠ suggestions? As a prospective councillor, he certainly needs to do more than just grumble.
Praise for singing youths
AT this time of the year many people collect money for charity. Sometimes we are not sure if the money actually arrives at the charity they are collecting for.
However in the week before Christmas, two young girls knocked on my door. As I opened the door they started singing a Christmas carol and asked for a donation for the Centrepoint charity.
A charity to help the homeless is always something I will try and help in whatever way I can.
It was nice of Lesley Wilkes (‘Helping the homeless’, Mailbag, December 29) to take the trouble to thank those who make charitable donations.
I feel assured the money raised by these young girls is actually going to the charity that they have taken the time and trouble to help.
It is nice to think that they are thinking of people less fortunate than themselves, rather than the rudeness and selfishness of some young people today.
Thank you for being so genuine, honest and caring.
Fog of incomprehension
WHILST slogging my way around Blackmoorfoot in the never-ending attempt to keep my weight and blood pressure down, what has amazed me in the last couple of days is the number of cars being driven with no lights on through the fog that has enveloped the area. At least one in five are doing so.
Have they forgotten the Highway Code Sections 226 and 235 or did they never read it?
The most important sentence reads “You must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet)” – think a couple of lamp posts.
Training is required
IN response to the letter from Clr Christine Smith (‘Training for planning’, Mailbag, December 22) I have to say that councillors need more than training regarding planning matters. They need common sense and a degree of intellect.
This appears to be lacking in a number of them.
Ms Smith claims you don’t need rocket science, and that one does not need to be a genius.
She claims she has been on the Planning Committee for years and that she has received training, including the law on planning. Finally she claims it is up to the councillors at the end of the day to decide on what they want.
OK, in that case Clr Smith, is it not right that councillors should take advice from their legal officers, planning departments and above all, the law, in making their decisions?
I have personally been involved in a planning application. The councillors ignored the recommendations of their legal officers and the advice of the department involved and voted against the application.
I spoke with three of these councillors afterwards and asked each why they had voted against the application. One stated they did not know what they had voted for or why, a second misinterpreted the law completely and the third councillor voted purely on her own principles, which were absolutely wrong in law, facts or common sense.
Subsequently the decision was overturned by the Secretary of State. In this case, the Secretary of State applied the law, not ‘common sense’, personal feelings or misunderstandings. I will not name those councillors, but I am sure they and Clr Smith know who they are.
The training in planning law will be the very basic that councillors undertake and by no means makes them experts.
All in this together
THE product of the company I work for sells, on average, for half the price it did 15 years ago.
Our suppliers haven’t been able to increase their material prices significantly for 20 years. Many of our competitors haven’t been able to improve efficiency and have gone to the wall.
These are the reasons we’ve had a 1.5% salary increase in the last six years. This is what it’s like in the real world.
So Clr Khan and especially Unison, a little humility wouldn’t go amiss now you’re expected to manage on a little less of my taxes for once.
It’s a dog’s life
MAY I, through the Examiner, say thanks to a young lady who kindly took our son’s dog in on Christmas Day, when it wandered off during a visit to us.
Not only that but she drove round the area hoping to see its owners out looking for their pet, then drove our son back for the dog and returned them both back to our house.
We were all so relieved. It was a very cold evening and the dog didn’t know the area so the ending could have been so different.
Our son just can’t remember where he went to collect the dog so we’ve no other way of letting this lady know how we appreciate her kindness and the trouble she took.
Thanks to her, Christmas Day ended happily.
ON Tuesday last week my clutch went outside Salendine Nook filling station. This was rather lucky for me because three men pushed my car on to the forecourt, then one of them took over. He rang my garage at Linthwaite for a tow, and insisted on running me home to Linthwaite.
I was overwhelmed by his generosity. I’m 83 years old and disabled so you can imagine how I felt. I think I met an angel that day.
He didn’t even leave his name but I’ll never forget him.
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