IAN Brooke (Mailbag, July 23) is rather selective in his complaint about environmental matters being dumped by the government.
On the contrary, are we not being taxed to the hilt in some areas in the drive to be ‘green’?
Cuts in the rampant public spending of the past 13 years are necessary and there’s no escaping this fact. How these cuts are manifested is a matter for the various sectors of central and local government.
However, I agree with Ian on waste recycling. I’m sure that more and more people are accepting the recycling ethos but industry and commerce can do much more to accelerate this essential thinking.
Ian refers to plastics in particular. It is quite a disgrace that so much plastic is used for food presentation and the conveyance of purchased goods. Plastic bottles have become widely accepted as containers for milk, beverages and many other products.
We should note Germany’s policy, where plastic carrier bags must be paid for, where each supermarket has a plastic bottle shredder and issues credit notes for each recycled bottle (of course, there’s a deposit to be paid on original purchase leading to an incentive to recycle), beer and soft drinks are not sold in cans and even bottled drinks carry a deposit for return.
If we could do it for the old Ben Shaw’s drinks bottles then why not now?
More intuition needs to be shown by commerce and industry and central government needs to legally reinforce such thinking.
Talking our language
THE embarrassingly poor performance of Brits when faced with people who speak another language was amply exposed in last month’s The Apprentice on BBC1.
Of course, we know that many markets now operate on a global scale and this was certainly the case for the consumer products that the contestants had been tasked with selecting and then selling to French retailers.
A ‘Parlez-vous anglais?’ muttered hesitantly into the phone was met on more than one occasion with a ‘Non’, ending another sales opportunity.
However, language learning isn’t just about knowing how to string together some words. It’s also about using the language and developing an understanding of different societies, cultures or, in this case, business worlds.
Perhaps it’s worth remembering the famous quotation from the former German Chancellor Willy Brandt: “If I’m selling to you, then I speak your language. If I’m buying, dann müssen Sie Deutsch sprechen (then you have to speak German).’’
If The Apprentice encourages more students of business degrees to study a language as part of their course, as many of them do at the University of Huddersfield, then it’ll have done the country a service.
Dr Malcolm Pollard
Head of Languages, University of Huddersfield
High cost of a sandwich
S J PAUL complains of being charged £11 for sandwiches and coffee at a town centre cafe.
Has he considered that 20% of that sum is taken by the Government in VAT? From the remaining £8.80 the proprietor must pay rent, wages, employer’s National Insurance contributions, business rates, water bills, insurance (plus 7.5% insurance tax), gas and electricity (plus 5% energy tax), accountant’s fees (plus more VAT) and only then the ingredients for Mr Paul’s sandwich – the price of which has been forced upwards by the devaluation of the pound relative to other currencies.
Adult education must stay
CATH Ingham (Mailbag, July 12) is right that Holme Valley Tories knew all about Kirklees College, the money and the submission to the last Labour government for new-build.
The Labour-run council’s loan was not, however, something we were aware of. The insistence that the college reduces its scattered property portfolio to help with funding makes sense – but to us it makes more sense to close properties close to the new college so those students in Huddersfield can be accommodated in the new-build.
However, to close our adult centre and expect our adult students to go to Huddersfield or Dewsbury is ridiculous.
The centre has been deliberately run down by not marketing courses. The building is in a good state of repair – only the heating system will need replacing soon on a planned maintenance schedule.
Why is it the Valleys’ Labour party still vote with their feet with the ruling Labour party in Kirklees, who seem to think that we are so affluent in Holme Valley South that we can pay for our own adult education or afford to run and pay for our elderly education support?
Our constituents pay their taxes and have contributed to both the Kirklees funding and government funding for the new college, so we have every right for our share of the reduced funding as have Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Batley.
I would have thought that Holme Valley South Labour Party would expect elderly students of whichever political persuasion to be able to attend adult education in Holmfirth. Sadly it would appear I was wrong.
Clr Ken Sims
Holme Valley South
Cruelty to fox
THERE was a picture on Look North recently of an animal trap used to catch a fox at the Galpharm Stadium.
A piece of meat was hung inside the cage from what I can only describe as a butcher’s hook. What on earth are they playing at? I cannot believe the RSPCA would sanction any such method.
We had a fox in our garden. I contacted the RSPCA and a trap was left for us to monitor and supply with food. Over two months we caught four foxes, six cats, one blackbird and one collared dove. All were released unharmed.
The RSPCA policy is to release unless the animal has mange in which case we were told it would be put down immediately and the carcass removed. They are going to cause unbelievable suffering with that hook.
The RSPCA would not sanction the use of a meat hook and could prosecute anyone using such a barb to catch an animal.
A decision delayed
THE Huddersfield Area Committee met last week. Chaired by Clr Christine Stanfield they came to the overwhelming decision to put off a decision about allocating money for improving the town centre.
A meeting before the election had deferred the decision. They had had a pre-meeting to decide onŠwhether to use £2,000 improvement cash from each of the wards on the agenda. Unfortunately the Ashbrow ward members, of whom Clr Jean Calvert was particularly vociferous, refused to put words into action, asking for another deferral. With the exception of the two Newsome councillors, their argument won the day.
I do not see this argument as particularly party political. It did not give a good impression of a council in action. I and other observers found it bemusing and amusing at the same time.
Alandale Road, which happens to be in the Ashbrow ward, seems to have had a hefty allocation of plant pot holders lately. Surely there are a few coppers left to help the town centre which, after all, benefits all of us in the long run?
Lost purse returned
I WOULD like to say a very sincere thank you to the young man described to me as being in his late teens who so kindly handed my lost purse with all its contents intact to the travel centre at Huddersfield bus station on July 27 – and who did not leave his details.
I am indeed most grateful for your honesty.
He’s no Christian
EXCUSE me Barry Gibson, (column, July 27) but in the weekend’s Norwegian slaughter when did evil Anders Breivik declare he was a practising Christian?
Help for heroes
FOLLOWING the overwhelming popularity of our Heroes Return 2 funding programme, I am delighted to announce the Big Lottery Fund has extended the scheme’s travel date deadline to December 2012 to support Second World War veterans who have not yet been able to undertake a commemorative visit.
The application deadline for a Heroes Return 2 grant remains January 31, 2012 but veterans will now have until December 2012 to make their trips.
The Lottery grants are available for travel and accommodation costs for veterans or their widows, along with spouses and a carer, and I urge any veterans yet to be awarded a grant from the scheme to get in touch before applications close.
This extension will help those who have felt so far unable to make their personal journeys back to the battlefronts of WWII. It is clear how valuable these journeys are in helping veterans to retrace the steps of their past and honour comrades lost almost 70 years ago.
To date over 50,000 individual journeys and a total of over £23.8m in awards have been made through Heroes Return 2 and its forerunner grants scheme. Veterans and their families have travelled to former battlefronts such as Italy, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany and the Far East as well as to attend commemorative events within the UK.
Details about the scheme and how to apply are available by calling the Heroes Return 2 advice line on 0845 00 00 121 or by visiting www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/heroesreturn
Heroes Return 2