I MUST respond to the Examiner article about the ‘Insurance Lottery’ (July 11) and the comments relating to young drivers.

While I agree that a lot of young drivers feel the pass certificate automatically gives them knowledge and experience, let us not tar them all with the same brush.

I genuinely sympathise with Carol Whittingham. As a retired police officer I have attended far too many road accidents and have had to make that visit that no-one wants, informing some parent, spouse or partner that their loved one will not be coming home.

But it’s not just young drivers who are the cause of high insurance premium – there are other factors to consider.

The article seems to place all the blame for high insurance premiums squarely at the feet of young drivers, but let us not forget the other groups that add to the problem of insurance premiums.

The general statistics given by Ms Whittingham state that ‘one in three road deaths are caused by somebody between the ages of 17 and 25.’

So, 33% are caused by young people – that means 66% are caused by other groups – so by her own figures, the young drivers appear to be the safest and other groups are less safe.

While I agree that some young drivers are a danger to themselves and others, it is not all of them – and I feel the article gives the wrong impression.

The insurance companies are targeting everyone in an effort to recoup the billions of pounds they have lost elsewhere and they care little about the statistics of it all.

They increase premiums to beyond a financially viable level so what happens – the person takes the chance and drives uninsured (and not every uninsured driver is under 25).

So the 4% of uninsured drivers will gradually increase, and not all will be caught and punished by the police and judiciary, so more and more uninsured drivers will end up having accidents.

And who pays for that – the rest of us by increased insurance premiums! Do the insurance companies care? No!

Had the Government not been so greedy with the application of the vehicle excise licence, which is a joke, then perhaps a basic vehicle insurance could have been incorporated within its cost.

I agree with Ms Whittingham that it will take the judiciary, insurance industry and Government to solve the problem – but the latter two are driven by money and costs, so what chance a sensible and realistic solution?



Talking to the press

THELMA Walker (Examiner, July 11) refutes the idea that heads are reluctant to speak to the Press and ‘hide behind the council due to weakness and fear of accountability’.

She suggests various reasons why there might not be direct contact with the media. In my opinion, none of these reasons hold water.

In a democracy it should be possible to be transparent, whatever the issue and whatever legal difficulties there might be. School governors and heads should be immediately accountable to the communities they serve – regardless of their personal views.

I am greatly concerned at what appears to be a veil of silence on the possible conversion of Colne Valley High School to academy status.

This is perfect timing for those who are in favour of such a move – the start of the summer holidays – with a possible six week delay in the mounting of an anti-academy campaign.

Colne Valley High School does not belong to the governors or to the head and they have no right to go down this road without the fullest consultation, from the outset, with parents, students and teachers.

Teachers, parents and grandparents need to start asking questions about this important issue.

If there is nothing to hide and the governors and, as Thelma Walker maintains, headteachers have ‘vision, principles, and strength of character’, then they should have nothing to fear.

June Jones


Discredited inquiries

HOW much trust do you have in the findings of any future official report into the phone hacking?

Of recent ‘official investigations’ the blame for the Mull of Kintyre helicopter crash, which had originally been put upon the pilots, has been discredited. The first police investigation found ‘insufficient evidence’ and has been discredited.

The investigations into MPs’ expenses found widespread blatant and illegal cheating, but the measures put in place to prevent it have since been weakened at the behest of those at fault.

The bankers carry on as if nothing has happened.

For them it hasn’t and social workers are found not to blame when children in their care come to harm.

The fact that a judge is to lead one of the inquiries does nothing to reassure me.

On past performance I think he may well rule that to protect the privacy of the individuals involved, a super injunction is needed and some or all the results cannot be published in the media.

This would be a final insult given the nature and cause of the crime committed.

John Langford


The joy of prison

NOBODY at News International should ever fear the prospect of prison.

I recently read in one of their tabloids that they are rather like five-star hotels, all inclusive, with everything thrown in.



Civic Society workings

QUITE why Hazel Spencer (Mailbag, July 11) thinks I solely dictate the planning policies of Huddersfield Civic Society I don’t know – perhaps she would like to attend future meetings to see how they work and actually make a helpful contribution to debates.

Personally I have no feeling where the new sports centre is built, but I confess that if I lived in Springwood I too would probably have a bitter and NIMBY attitude towards it, even though thousands of Huddersfield will benefit from a new facility.

Hazel still hasn’t explained why she thinks some motorists should have prioritised parking on public highways just because they happen to live in a particular area.

Richard Huddleston

West Slaithwaite

We should be asked

I UNDERSTAND that we are in a climate of cuts and that all expenditure has to be considered carefully.

However, I think that Kirklees College management are guilty of shortsighted arrogance in closing the First Class Nursery on Portland Street.

I would like to know why the users of the college services were not consulted about choices for the spend of the reduced budget. I understand that nursery budgets have been used to shore up the deficit inŠEducation MaintainanceŠAllowance, the EMA.

Did students want EMA rather than nursery provision at an established college nursery? College management don’t know because they didn’t ask.

MP Jason McCartney’s government has promised people more say about what services their money buys. In this situation can’t the government force consultation so that services know what our preferences are?

Also one response from college directors has been that all the colleges are shutting their nurseries. Well doesn’t that open up potential for one heck of a competitive advantage over the other colleges if Huddersfield kept their superb one open? It might do more for marketing returns than buying expensive sports advertising.

My kids are at First Class Nursery. I was on the waiting list for three years, from before my kids were even born. Please can someone exploit that popularity?

Simon Smith


Award well deserved

I WAS pleased to read in the Examiner that the Seasons Cafe at Armitage’s Pennine Garden Centre at Shelley has been judged the best UK garden centre eatery in the Garden Trade News awards.

In my opinion this accolade is very well deserved. I pop in there once or twice a week for either a meal, a snack or sometimes just a coffee. The staff provide an extremely friendly service, the food is excellent and the view from the extended and modernised cafe on a nice day is a joy to behold from inside or out.

Well done to all concerned at Armitage’s. You deserve the large following of regular loyal customers which I know you enjoy and of which I am one.

Mr Grumpy


Power to tidy up

IN response to the resounding thumbs down by the Examiner’s readership to the possible success the Huddersfield Area Committee might make to the appearance of the town, it should be noted that many of the grot spots are not in council ownership but are in areas which are privately owned.

If landlords refuse to take responsibility for the mess on their land, the task will not be straightforward.

In areas of wider public amenity, enforcement can be brought in, but in areas where there is no public access, but the mess is still visible to passersby, enforcement is more difficult, but we believe not impossible.

Clr Christine Stanfield

Chair, Huddersfield Area Committee