Letters, November 3

IF Jo Miller, the probable incoming Chief Executive of Doncaster Council, really does believe that her job is “an honour and a privilege” (DFP, October 27) she could prove it by offering to work for considerably less than the approximately £150,000 salary her post currently carries.

This would demonstrate that she is not just money motivated and could be seen as a gesture of solidarity with other council workers whose future is a lot less rosy than hers.

Too often we hear the argument that in order to attract the best candidates councils have to be prepared to offer what are widely regarded as obscene salaries.

The “going rate” mentality must be challenged. Doncaster could set an example to the rest of the country by closing the salary gap between the highest and lowest paid workers.

After all, what kind of person can happily accept a salary in excess of £100,000 knowing that other hard-working employees are having their already modest wages either considerably reduced or even obliterated altogether?

In last week’s Free Press comment you state that “Rob Vincent’s successor has a massive job,” but let’s not forget that chief executives also have a massive amount of support from a host of other highly-paid senior officers - hence all the hours spent in endless senior management meetings.

If senior officers at Doncaster council were to agree to limit their salaries to a very comfortable £100,000 we might begin to believe in the slight possibility that they might be in their jobs for what they can give, not what they can get, and that they really do have the interests of the borough’s residents and employees at heart.

Angela MacDonald, Linton Close, Bawtry

10,000 at risk . . but one on £150k

AS I picked up my usual copy of the Free Press on Thursday, (October 27) I read with horror, the front page headline that DMBC are to sack 10,000 council workers, as part of a £7.5 million cost cutting exercise.

Then I turned to page two, to read that DMBC had just appointed a new chief executive officer, on an obscene salary of £147,500 - £167,000.

Absolutely unbelievable! How on earth can they justify paying someone an extortionate salary like that?

And then say they need to make cost cuts. Why oh why do these people always start cost cutting at the bottom and work up, instead of the other way round?

Dave Fleetwood, Bircotes Walk, Rossington

I think you’re wrong on 999

WITH reference to your front page editorial “Ambulance too busy to respond” (DFP, October 20), I can only give a much more positive result from dialling 999,

Twice in the past two weeks, I have had occasion to call them out, the first instance they responded within eight minutes (both ambulance and paramedics), the second occasion they were here in exactly ten minutes (both).

After extensive testing of all the major systems and of course assessing my present condition I was whisked off to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, a journey that took less than 30 minutes.

The professionalism and dedication of these men and women should never be put to question, especially by someone who is unaware of the correct procedure that should be followed when calling 999. Incidentally I was also found to have pneumonia.

Further observations on this ladies plight - her alarm buzzer which she activated was installed 15 years ago to call the attention of a warden, there is no direct link to any of the 999 services so what is wrong with the old-fashioned telephone which has been around a lot longer and is recognised as the only method of calling 999 services.

So you see, there is always two sides to every story, it’s a pity that the Doncaster Free Press had to publish as headlines on their front page, the wrong information.

Name and address supplied

Last lot to blame for the libraries

IF the Labour Party had not withdrawn their co-operation with the mayor earlier this year, then perhaps the mayor would have allowed them to comment on the library closures.

It works both ways; especially in these financially blighted times, caused in no small part by the last government’s profligacy and waste, when in power.

John Lawrence, Minderbroedersberg, 6211 LK Maastricht, The Netherlands, Ex-South Yorkshire

Hard choices on where axe falls

REGARDING the closure of libraries in Doncaster, (Freeviews, October 20), we also abhor the necessity for this step.

Similarly, funding from youth projects are being cut, such as the Doncaster Swing Orchestra, whom, we had the privilege to hear lately.

However, to say that the closure of libraries is undemocratic is untrue as every household in Doncaster had a questionnaire to enable them to make their views known.

As for Ed Miliband being angry at the closure in his constituency, had he and his government been more prudent with the public purse, this could well have been avoided.

It is disingenuous of him to complain now, but with the coalition still continuing to support the failing European project with billions of our money, aided and abetted by Labour, (note Ed Miliband’s three line whip on the referendum vote - what democracy?) and with millions extra going in foreign aid, there is little else to do but cut council spending leaving our mayor and cabinet with the unenviable task of choosing where the axe will fall.

When the historians write of this period in our history it will be a sorry tale of looking after the rest of the world ahead of our own people and eventually we will be such a weak country we shall have nothing to give anybody.

J Riggott, Fieldside, Edenthorpe

What will the cost be of 5%?

ON Tuesday November 8, 2011 Parliament is going to vote on whether to approve the, unelected, EU Commission’s application for a 5 per cent increase in its (2014 to 2020) budget to an eye-watering £898,000,000,000.

Apparently in these difficult times even France and Germany think that a 5 per cent increase is a bit excessive.

I would like to ask my MP, Miss Winterton, via the pages of the Doncaster Free Press, how she is going to vote and whether, in her capacity as Labour’s Chief Whip, she is going to allow a free vote among her party colleagues or whether she is going to be shepherding her flock through the YES lobby?

Mick Andrews, Thorne Road, Doncaster

We’ll save our anger for election

HOW gratifying to read Coun Ransome (DFP, October 27) believes in “personal responsibility and holding individuals to account for their actions”.

She is also, quite correct, in stating “the whole community suffers as a result of thoughtless individuals”. Never was a truer word said.

How surprising to read these comments from a councillor who, in partnership with the mayor, is closing 14 libraries throughout the borough.

By my reckoning that is 14 communities suffering as a result of thoughtless individuals.

In my own village, the only DMBC community and leisure facility is scheduled to close in March, yet this ward has elected Coun Ransome to represent its interests.

Perhaps now is the time for Coun Ransome to knuckle down to representing the constituents she professes to represent.

If she does not then her words will return to haunt her. In short, it is high time our ward councillor started to act for her constituents instead of against them. Personal responsibility? Holding individuals to account? I could not agree more.

Paul Jenkins, Westmorland Way, Sprotbrough

What’s future of carbon capture?

I READ with great interest the article, “Boost for power plant plans” (DFP October 27). Both Caroline Flint and Ed Miliband throwing their weight behind the scheme that “might” or “could” result in tens of thousands of jobs? Aren’t we jumping the gun on this one?

It is my understanding that “carbon capture” is an unproven technology, another concern I have is the suitability, and sustainability of Hatfield pit, a mine that is know for geological problems.

Does it have the longevity to produce coal for the foreseeable future?

Then we come to the “pipeline” from Stainforth to the east coast, and then on to the bottom of the North Sea, the logistics of this would be phenomenal.

Surely a more practical approach would have been to build the new power station, on the east coast, taking it away from a residential area, and then transporting coal by rail from any part of the country, using a much shorter pipeline?

You may say that would create pollution from the trains, but if the “carbon capture” is going to produce green energy, you would expect the company 2Co to use electric trains.

If we are going to proceed with this type of technology, wouldn’t it be a better idea for our MPs to be fighting to reopen our pits all over the country, stockpiling coal for when “carbon capture” is a proven technology?

At least that way we would have regeneration in our communities, and our forgotten miners who were so badly treated by the Thatcher Government of the day, doing the job that they did, to help this country to win two world wars, how easily the politicians forget?

So before we start shouting about producing tens of thousands of jobs, lets look at some of the more pressing local issues that need dealing with,

Mick Glynn, Hatfield Town Councillor, Doncaster Road

Do you need new glasses?

AM I seeing things, or does Barry Crabtree need a AA map and a spirt level?

I was born and brought up two streets away from the Windsor Cinema (in it’s heyday). It was situated on the main Balby High Road at the corner of Oswin Avenue and right opposite Cross Street and Hall Flat Lane, whereas, Tenter Road is at Warmsworth, right opposite Quaker Lane.

In Peter Tuffrey’s excellent book “Doncaster’s Electric Transport 1902-1963”, there is a photograph of the Windsor Cinema taken in 1955 showing one of the old Trolley buses that operated on the Balby route in those days.

Sorry Barry, I fear you require a trip to “Specsavers”.

Ken Green, Sprotbrough

Not sure that the sums add up

I READ “If you can’t pay the fine then don’t do the crime” (DFP, October 27).

I note that “clearing the streets of Doncaster costs the taxpayer £3 million a year, and in return the council collects just £120,000 back in fixed-penalty notices issued to offenders.

Should the council not take steps to balance its accounts on this matter to relieve the taxpayers of this annual £2.88 million liability?

Maurice Field, Kings Road, Wheatley