Fiona makes her points

12 March 2017

NHS and Social Care

7 January 2017

Dear Sir

Denis McAllister (letters, 6.1.17) suggests that the government should spend an extra £10 billion a year on the crumbling NHS and social care.  He thinks the money will come from leaving the European Union at some point in the future. But there is no reason to wait. The government could easily afford to fund the NHS and social care properly if it cancelled the Trident weapon of mass destruction, cancelled the HS2 London-Birmingham vanity project, and collected the tax owed by wealthy tax-evaders like Philip Green.

However you voted in last year’s referendum, and whatever your view about its consequences, it proved that change is possible if enough people want it. I’m sure a majority would vote for a change in the government’s priorities towards caring for people.    

 Fiona Yorke, Green Party Parliamentary candidate, Richmond constituency

 


Housing and energy

 

12 February 2017

 

Dear Sir

 

Your front page story (£4m fund to help build over 100 rural homes, D&S 10 February) is welcome good news.

 

It’s particularly good that the homes will have a mix of tenures. The fixation with home ownership, as an appreciating asset as well as a place to live, has distorted the housing market for decades. Everyone should have a place to live, it’s as basic a need as good health, education, and a decently-paid job. Leaving it to the market means that money and profit take priority over meeting need, so families are inadequately housed and, at the worst, people are made homeless.

 

I hope that Broadacres will take the opportunity to build zero-carbon homes, with the highest possible levels of insulation and with solar panels built into all the roofs. The cost of solar panels has fallen so much that they make sense for everyone, but even more so if they are incorporated into a new-build.

 

Zero-carbon homes are not only a practical response to the threat of global warming, but they have the added benefit of moving the poorest tenants out of fuel poverty, as demonstrated in other projects around the UK.    

Fiona Yorke, Green Party Parliamentary candidate, Richmond constituency

 


Libraries and austerity

 

24 February 2017

 

Dear Sir

 

I was intrigued by your front page story (MPs urge Hambleton to ease burden on libraries, D&S 24.2.17). You report that two Conservative MPs hope that the Conservative-controlled District council can scrape together £10,000 to reduce business rates on libraries which the Conservative-controlled County council is transferring to volunteer groups to save money. See what happens when you vote Conservative?  

 

Well, I wish the MPs success in their efforts, and good luck to the volunteer groups preparing to run libraries in Hambleton and also in Richmondshire. But I have to point out that the MPs are loyal supporters of the Conservative government that has created this problem. Since 2010 the government has pursued an ideologically-driven crusade against local government by cutting grants and forcing cuts in services – austerity by proxy.

 

So I hope that our local Conservative MPs will follow up their efforts on behalf of the libraries by urging their friend the Chancellor to stop, or better still reverse, the cuts in government grants to local authorities. Then the authorities could stop cutting services, and – even more important than libraries – could properly fund social care.

 

If our MPs don’t succeed – or, more likely, don’t try because they agree with the doctrinaire persecution of local services – all is not lost. The elections to North Yorkshire County Council are coming up in May. They are an opportunity for voters to reject the Conservatives who have tamely accepted the cuts in grants and implemented cuts in services. A new County Council of a different complexion could increase council tax to pay for the services that people need. Let’s see what happens when you don’t vote Conservative.    

 

Fiona Yorke, Green Party Parliamentary candidate, Richmond constituency