ERIC Pickles is quite right to suggest that council bosses should dip into the £10bn reserves (‘Councils hoarding millions’, Examiner, December 2).
It does raise a question though. If Kirklees Council is allocating £4.6m of its £18.2m reserve to ‘reduce Council Tax levels in 2011/12’, does that mean the cuts they are now making will not bring down the Council Tax for next year ?
As many people in Kirklees are seeing job losses, VAT increases, utility bills going up and benefits cut, surely they could expect some relief in their Council Tax bills as a result of the savings enforced on the council by the Coalition?
Is this yet another cock-eyed decision by our council finance officers or does this mean all the savings from the cuts will not be reflected in next year’s Council Tax bills but added to the over inflated reserves?
Kirklees has admitted its aim is to reduce the reserve from £18.2m to £5m, so where are the savings going then?
Spend it on better things
IT is ridiculous and unbelievable that £48,000 is being given to Prof Barry Doyle for research on the NHS history (‘So what happened before the NHS? Professor’s research into pre-NHS hospital care’, Examiner, December 2).
Most of the information can be found in the local library or it can be found through the local paper or internet nowadays.
But that’s beside the point.
Why spend so much money on research when the whole of this country is struggling?
Can’t we spend this sort of money on health, education, housing and the many other things we are struggling with at the moment.
Here’s how to be happier
THERE have been several letters recently on the state of the country, the economy and the failure of the European Union.
The lessons of history are quite clear – all nations/empires rise through enterprise and endeavour but they all fall when bureaucracy strangles enterprise and the population/electorate is bribed to support failing rulers. The Roman people had bread and circuses. We have the benefits system and the X Factor.
Not only have recent governments increasingly interfered with industry, education and every sector of life, the EU has made it 10 times worse and our government is virtually powerless to stop it.
The British ran the Indian sub-continent for 100 years with under 2,000 British civil servants and a few thousand British soldiers.
Now there are many hundreds of public sector employees engaged in formulating policies and guidelines onŠvital subjects like “correct use of stepladders in schools.”
A recent Channel Four programme on the immense public debt stated that the public sector is now 53% of the economy.
Remember that the economy is dependent on the private sector to create the wealth the public sector spends.
The situation has not been helped by the directors of companies who have concentrated on enriching themselves instead of caring for their businesses and employees.
They are like vultures pecking away as the public sector drains the blood from the dying body. The current unhealthy fascination with tales of vampires probably reflects an unconscious connection with the state of society.
I am reminded of a footnote in one of Terry Prachett’s Discworld novels. Talking of a breed of political bees it states: “Instead of swarming to form new colonies they preferred having committee meetings. Rather than go out and forage for food, they liked to stay in the hive and vote for more honey.”
Can the public sector be cut to a manageable 25%-30% of the economy?
Can the EU be disbanded? It’s not a bad concept but was premature. We haven’t evolved to a level where it would work – yet). Yes, they can! Š
Will they be? Only if enough people become aware of the problems and start to act to remedy them. Politicians are part of the problem – not the ones to solve it.
One of the few things I have learned after 70 years is that we aren’t here on Earth to be happy, we are here to become more aware as individuals.
Problems, difficulties and illness make us more aware.
When we become aware and start to act on a moral basis we realise a true community with others (not based on race, religion or nationality) and then we will be happier.
Keith Rothwell Š
It’s still our policy
I WRITE in response to Barry Gibson’s column of December 1 which posed the question “Was Nicola ahead of her time on fees?”
He may as well ask “Did Nicola know there would be a coalition?” The answer to both questions is, of course, no.
It was a Lib Dem manifesto pledge to get rid of tuition fees and this is still Lib Dem policy.
I was committed to this policy during the General Election. I am committed to this policy now.
If the Lib Dems were solely in charge then there would be no tuition fees. There would be no Trident, no war in Iraq or Afghanistan and the worst effects of the recession would have been averted.
We would have acted when Vince Cable warned it was coming not waited until it was too late!
The question that should be asked is not if but when can we get rid of tuition fees?
Nick Clegg is right. At the moment the country must ‘cut its coat according to its cloth’.
The last Labour Government has left us a huge debt, unprecedented in my lifetime. It is clear that we are all going to pay the price for generations to come, not only in this way but in many others.
The cuts will be deep and all except the very wealthy will pay the price for Labour’s incompetence.
Let’s not forget Labour introduced tuition fees and it was their policy to raise them after the General Election.
And it was also Conservative policy to raise tuition fees.
Perhaps Barry should be asking Jason McCartney for his position on this issue.
How will he be voting and what is his policy for the long term?
Let me emphasise this. Ours is to abolish fees as soon as it can be afforded.
Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Colne Valley Constituency (2010)
Be quick to help badgers
I’M always saddened to hear that there are people who stoop so low as to kill wild animals for their own selfish pleasure. (‘On the trail of the badger baiters’, Examiner, November 30)
Currently these protected animals are under an even worse threat, incredibly, from Westminster. The Coalition Government plans to slaughter thousands of badgers, many of them perfectly healthy, in the misguided belief that this will arrest the spread of Bovine Tuberculosis. They intend to allow farmers and landowners, under licence and at their own expense, to shoot badgers as they range freely around at night.
This is yet another crime against our wildlife, especially since this disease originally spread to our badger population by means of cattle farming.
The Government is convinced that this totally unproven scheme will achieve their ends. It has chosen to ignore all the available scientific evidence that points to the fact that such decimation will not control Bovine TB and will almost certainly prove to be the one course of action which is guaranteed to make matters much worse. Other badgers, terrified, possibly infected – will escape to areas not involved in the cull.
A public consultation has been launched on the DEFRA website – a long, involved document that gives only one point of view. To have even the smallest chance of stopping this crime against our wildlife, as many people as possible need to respond and to point out that this is wrong. The questionnaire involves answering just eight questions, seven of them requiring ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Time is running out, we need to do this by this Wednesday – the day after tomorrow.
To make it easier for us, ex-Queen guitarist and wildlife campaigner Brian May, in consultation with the Badger Trust, has created an information page on the Save-Me website: Visit www.brianmay.com/save-me/badgers/ Just follow the links and respond to the consultation by telling this Government that its proposed action is morally wrong, that rigorous testing and strict quarantine of cattle, along with a programme of vaccination, is the obvious way forward.
More than a coffee
IT is nice to know that in this day and age people are still willing to help others.
My wife called into Coffeevolution on Church Street in town before taking our daughter and her friends to the train station last Sunday evening.
The weather was absolutely freezing with the snow about to set in when, on returning to her car, she noticed her rear tyre was flat.
She went back to ask if she could use their phone to call the breakdown company but one of the staff and a customer went one better and changed the rear tyre themselves without wanting anything in return.
Without their help she would have been down there for some time as the breakdown company, because of the high volume of calls they were receiving, weren’t answering her call.
Thanks for the help, lads. It won’t be forgotten!