GEZ Sharp implies that teachers’ pensions are a free gift, courtesy of the taxpayer.

Perhaps he ought to consider what it costs a teacher over the years.

I am a retired teacher enjoying the benefit of a modest pension.

I regard this pension as a reward at the end of my career for what I was prepared to sacrifice at the beginning.

When I decided on a teaching career I knew full well that it was a poorly paid profession, but the prospect of job security and a pension offered some compensation.

Having sacrificed seven potential earning years to my further and higher education I started my job with precisely nothing in the bank at the age of 23.

Happily, I had not had to pay tuition fees, or it may have been a different story altogether.

Throughout my career, pension contributions were deducted from salary which had already been taxed, so by Gez’s reckoning I was paying towards my own pension and that of others as well.

Imagine the situation now, where a teacher starts a career up to the eyes in tuition fee debt, still having to pay superannuation, still having to pay tax, still having to clear that debt at some future date and having to pay higher contributions for a much longer time before reaping a lower benefit at the end. Does that sound a good deal?

By the way, Gez, I pay tax on my pension, so I am still contributing to teachers’ pensions and, who knows, if I live long enough I shall probably end up contributing towards yours.

Alan Starr


Question of priorities

I CANNOT believe what our council is doing.

Raising a special fund to deal with the mess that they, the council has failed to sort out.

I have some news for Clr Christine Stanfield – that is what we pay our Council Tax for.

We do not pay it to subsidise Kirklees College with multi million pound loans.

Huddersfield is the jewel of Huddersfield. I will keep on saying this, Kirklees is the name of the Council. There is no such land as Kirklees.

How much will this silly Huddersfield Area Committee website cost to set up and run? Perhaps Christine Stansfield can also lobby other councillors to sort out the massive potholes that are covering hundreds of roads through Huddersfield.

It is high time Kirklees Council started to prioritise what is needed in Huddersfield, instead of letting everything run into rack and ruin.

How come councillors and employees cannot see what the public can see.

Our jewel of a town is being turned into nothing more that a learning centre, from which none of us taxpayers will benefit.

Kirklees College and the university will not rejuvenate Huddersfield, merely turn it into a town for students, pound shops and grot spots – the largest one being New Street on the pedestrian precinct adjacent to Wilkinsons which the council promised to sort out over 12 months ago.

Yes, our council is full of promises, promises and more promises.

I have a question for Clr Mehboob Khan? How many millions of taxpayer money has been donated or loaned or promised to be loaned to the university and Kirklees Colleges since 2000 to the present day, including the multi million pound loans promised to the Waterfront project?

Hard Up And Fed Up


Concerns about China

I SEE that David Cameron has expressed a sentiment shared by almost everyone that I know – that burglars should leave their human rights at the door of the property they have illegally entered.

This seems to be un-heard of commonsense from a top politician.

If only it were more than meaningless popularity seeking.

Prime Minister, he may be, but his opinion is of little more significance than yours or mine when it comes to the law.

Sovereignty has been handed over to Big Brother Europe. They make the laws for judges to follow.

As a result, terrorists walk free and serial criminals enjoy laughable sentences.

It was recently reported that more than £10m pounds of taxpayers’ money was handed to prisoners who sued the Home Office for infringements of their rights while in jail.

A mere prime minister is no match for an army of no-win-no-fee lawyers with Brussels behind them.

Meanwhile, every new diktat from the European Union puts another nail in the coffin lid of British industry and what could the government do about that, even if it wanted? Nothing.

While the EU ties our hands the Chinese take over all the wealth-creating industries, cheerfully putting the whole western world’s economies in jeopardy.

Mr Cameron was recently cosying up to the Chinese Top Dog, a clear case of ‘Come into my parlour said the spider to the fly.’

A new trade agreement is it? Not just a foot in the door then but the door open wide.

The Prime Minister is to comment on China’s human rights record. Fine.

But he should be pressing questions about the two new coal-fired power stations opening every week, the massive threat of technical spying and the Chinese refusal to float its currency.

Mr Cameron’s rhetoric about burglary will not make us any safer in our homes, far less will it prevent the Far East from accelerating our slide into economic collapse and total insignificance in the world of tomorrow.

Mark Mercer


Flawed approach

KIRKLEES Council’s whole approach to development is flawed – not just Lindley Moor.

In the recent Local Development Framework plans they took a general target for housebuilding in Kirklees and arbitrarily chopped it up and threw it at local settlements irrespective of their needs.

What is needed is a more organic and sustainable approach to development otherwise, as Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney points out, local services and infrastructure will not be able to bear the pressure.

The Local Development plans did not even show the A640/A643 corridor.

Responsive development should examine areas which have under-utilised infrastructure and brownfield sites.

Allowing a developers’ free-for-all will not help address housing shortages in areas that need more places to live, but will instead result in more executive estates in places where they are not needed, simply to fuel developers’ profits.

The large number of empty flats in Huddersfield is a warning against developer profit-led planning.

I am a Chartered Surveyor working in the area and am passionate about this subject.

Robert Newton-Howes


‘Unsightly’ college

G E Beaumont ‘Blot on the landscape’ (Mailbag, June 28) raises several questions about the Waterfront building on Chapel Hill, aka Kirklees College.

Only a miniscule amount of stone will be used on the building.

Some of us objected at the time. My comments were: “The design is bland and dated, materials are almost all entirely alien to the area, the colour palette utterly depressing.

“Every aspect is unsympathetic to the adjacent listed Folly Hall Mill and the surrounding area in general.”

The view from the back of the Rat and Ratchet is absolutely dire.

All comments fell on the deaf ears of the political pygmies and no-marks on Kirklees Council’s Planning Committee who capitulated when the college said they would lose funding if the application wasn’t passed that day.

So Kirklees College replaces one of the ugliest buildings in the country with something comparable.

Richard Huddleston

West Slaithwaite

Boost for business

WITH the country in such a negative economic position that shows no signs of change and where youth unemployment is the most deplorable in modern times and getting worse, several grass-roots businessmen in Yorkshire who have built up considerable wealth over the last 45 years have decided to create an ‘independent’ advisory body to advise budding grass-roots businesses.

This is not based on the mentality of business schools but hard earned experience at the economic and business ‘coal-face’.

The main reason for this is that government and local authority schemes to create economic jobs in the private sector have failed miserably over the last 50 years and where they show no evidence of change in this respect.

The raison d’être in determining this fact is that they have undertaken again and again the same old failed job creation schemes in ever changing disguises.

They have ignored what new grass-roots businesses need is experience and hands on knowledge in how to build successful new grass-roots businesses in a physical and applied sense, not governments or councils running schemes that are ‘a road to nowhere’ as history has clearly shown over the last half century.

In this respect we have to concentrate our job creation endeavours in the small and medium enterprise sector, as officially they make up 99% of all businesses in the EU and account for 70% of our jobs, both new and old.

Therefore, if other experienced and successful businessmen wish to help the country by helping the successful enterprises of the future to emerge, we would be pleased to here from you.

Indeed, someone has to take up this economic gauntlet and clearly this cannot be achieved through another session of failed schemes devised by government and councils who have not a clue how to produce wealth, only tax it.

Therefore, the problem lies in the fact that the wrong people are driving the economic and jobs situation and not seasoned successful businessmen who have made millions in the past.

This is the great difference as these very same businessmen wish to guide and teach the real art of wealth generation to those who will take their place and more.

If you wish therefore to help the nation initially write to Dr David Hill, World Innovation Foundation, PO Box A60, Huddersfield, HD1 1XJ.

Note that this business group is a not-for-profit organisation and our motives are purely altruistic for our country’s future.

Dr David Hill, MBA, FCMI

Chief Executive, World Innovation Foundation (Tel: 01484 461193)