Letters, October 6

WITH reference to last week’s letter ‘Is this the end of our market?’ yes we do have some problems with street drinkers causing a nuisance but to say this is a ‘nail in the coffin for Doncaster Market’ is quite frankly ridiculous.

We have officially the best market in Britain, with high rates of occupancy, £150,000 worth of improvements being made and visitors welcomed from far and wide each week.

Now with regard to the problems related to drink, drugs and anti-social behaviour let me assure everyone that this is a top priority for me and partner agencies.

I understand that part of the problem has been that the police were not receiving reports of anti-social behaviour in and around the market place.

To help we have urged traders to report these incidents.

The town centre’s Safer Neighbourhood Team have amended their shift patterns so that there will be officers on patrol for the majority of market days.

Doncaster Council’s Neighbourhood Response Team will also now carry out ad-hoc patrols in and around the markets.

Our town centre ambassadors also provide a visible presence in the area.

The fact is street drinkers cause a nuisance and distress to traders and shoppers alike.

I would like to see some strong action from the courts to keep repeat offenders off our streets.

Peter Davies, elected mayor, Council House, Doncaster

Keep private firms out of NHS

IF politicians involve money people in the actual running of basic public services on which the most vulnerable of ordinary people depend, often with no other option, it can only lead to profiteering and suffering for the weakest.

There are basic services which need to be ring fenced against them and remain as priorities for the public purse, to which we all subscribe except those with the most.

They can supply goods and supplementary services under a strict, well-trained central buying department for the best value with open competition.

The NHS tops the list of no go areas. Those who want to are free to go private and pay again. That’s their choice.

George Appleby, Clifton, York

No joy for me at the Job Centre

IT is with great regret that I have to correspond with you on the question of benefits.

Over the last few months, after losing my job, I have been unfortunate enough to have to, using the colloquial term, ‘sign on’ and have found that instead of receiving what used to be a friendly service from JobCentre Plus, receiving one that is, in my view, now strict and over authoritative.

I, and others I know have had our benefits stopped for some of the most banal reasons one can imagine and I personally have found JobCentre Plus to be harsh in its treatment of my unemployment problems.

In fact it is my belief that the sanctions which are being meted out, sanctions meaning the removal of an individual’s benefit, are being carried out to cut costs rather than punish people who do not meet, in the JobCentre words, the jobseekers criteria.

In my opinion is just an excuse for making poor people responsible for a deficit which was caused by the greed of bankers who this coalition government - and indeed the last new Labour government before it - are too frightened to tax accordingly.

My view is that this kind of cost cutting will not only lead to ever-wider sanctions on benefits but the disappearance of the welfare state altogether, and eventually those benefits such as pensions, disability benefits, and housing benefit which were put in place after the Second World War to rid us of poverty and injustice.

I’m afraid that I have to say that I find all aspects of Job Centre Plus to be negative rather than positive.

Timothy Neylan, St James Estate, Balby

Reporting to the wrong people

I READ with public interest ‘Climb off your bike or face fine’ (Free Press, September 29).

This report is a 58-year-old man complaining to your reporter about the conduct of South Yorkshire Police officers.

Does not John Glarvey know that complaints against SYP officers should be made to chief constable Hughes at the Independent Police Complaints Commission and not to the Doncaster Free Press?

Maurice Field, Kings Road, Wheatley

Weekly bins? I doubt it a lot

SO now the council could get money back from the Government if it returns to weekly bin collections, well don’t hold your breath even if it is what the voters want.

I had problems with my bin collections, for nearly 12 months I was in contact with DMBC and my councillors and in all that time what advice did they give me?

Use a private company to collect my waste (but refused to give me any refund on my council tax).

Stop shopping at supermarkets as they use too much packaging but perhaps best of all I should buy less food.

So DMBC going back to weekly bin collections? There’s more chance of me beating Ed Miliband in the final of the X Factor.

Martin Simpson, Wordsworth Avenue, Campsall

Neighbours still making a racket

DOES anybody remember the letter about noisy neighbours a few weeks ago in the DFP?

I live on the same street and know what the people are talking about, it’s awful.

I deliberately walked past the house and could hear the music from the street, but Doncaster Council Neighbourhood Team and the Environmental Team say its not loud enough.

How loud does it have to be? I don’t know how the family next door to them cope. The landlord should be ashamed of himself.

I have offered my help but fear we might end up with a vigilante group. Is this the right way to go?

Name and address supplied

The cutbacks are hitting hard

WE keep hearing through the press and media that all the cutbacks from both the Government and the local council will not affect the front line services, with more of the same to come it makes me wonder if we will get any services at all.

The area that I reside in was always seem to be patrolled by the neighbourhood wardens, and the streets around the area were usually cleaned properly every fortnight.

Sadly no longer do we receive this, we have not seen a community first warden in the last three months, they are seen about as often as any of the three councillors we are supposed to have.

The sweeping team do come tooled up to the hilt with litter pickers, not a brush or shovel anywhere to be had (maybe another cutback).

The don’t-give-a-damn attitude has now rubbed off on to the utility contractors that have been working around the area they have been laying ducting for cables mostly in the footpaths (that once were safe to walk, on sadly not any longer) and also the mess they have left on site. The council did have officers checking contractors and their work, not any more it seems.

So please, Mr Mayor, and your cabinet colleagues, could we have a statement from you regarding the lack of service provision and what the ratepayers are going to receive in the future.

A full page statement in the Free Press, would I am sure be well received.

W McMinn, Lister Avenue, Balby

Pensioners in fear of big bills

ALTHOUGH the country has been basking in the unseasonably warm October sunshine over the last few days, for many people the fear of the up coming winter has remained firmly at the front of their minds as they worry about how they will afford to keep warm once the ice, snow and blizzards arrive.

Following the massive hikes in the price of gas and electricity over the summer, many of us are anxious about how we will meet the costs of winter, not least those who exist on low incomes.

As a national charity which helps people in financial need, at Elizabeth Finn Care we know first hand the devastating effect the price will have on already struggling families.

Sixty per cent of the people we have helped say that before they came to our charity they had not been able to keep up with bill payments, and over half say they had been forced to miss one of their recommended three meals a day.

People are choosing between heating and eating, and in a modern, affluent society this shames us all.

The harsh winter is only a few weeks away and according to the Government’s own figures one in five people are in fuel poverty and are anxiously holding their breath in fear of the arrival of their heating bills.

Help needs to be given to help consumers cut their bills and it is time that greater pressure was brought to bear on power giants in respect to their support for the most vulnerable.

There is an urgent need to reform the energy market, introduce measures including a competition review, improve bill transparency and end complex and confusing tariffs.

At this time of major financial pressures it is more important than ever that people regularly check their eligibility for additional support.

Anyone can visit our free website www.turn2us.org.uk to carry out a benefits check in confidence to find out what welfare benefits they may be entitled to and whether there are charitable grants that they are be eligible for.

Bryan Clover, Director of Elizabeth Finn Grants, 200 Shepherds Bush Road, London

Register now so you can vote

EVERY household in the country should have received a voter registration form through the post recently.

It’s important to fill in this form and return it as soon as possible.

Anyone whose household hasn’t had a voter registration form, or who’s misplaced it, can visit our website, www.aboutmyvote.co.uk, and print one off to complete and return to their local Electoral Registration Officer.

Those who have further questions should contact their Electoral Registration Officer, via their local council, who will be able to help them register.

If people don’t register, they won’t be able to vote.

Peter Wardle, Chief Executive, The Electoral Commission