Reader’s letters - Wednesday May 21, 2014

Cliff Fazackerley (left) and Ken Hudson with the statue which replaced the 'Ribble Piddler' on Tom Benson Way

Cliff Fazackerley (left) and Ken Hudson with the statue which replaced the 'Ribble Piddler' on Tom Benson Way

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Overhaul in housing plan

At this point in time we are witnessing an engineered housing bubble, which will once again deprive large sections of the population of ever owing or renting a decent home.

This especially hits the young in our communities who cannot find the large deposits to enter the market in the first place, due to rampant run away inflation in the prices of property.

Who stands to gain from this developing scenario. People downsizing, money lenders, estate agents and private landlords.

With the sole exception of category one all the others are profit motivated and lack any degree of social conscience. I submit we require a radical overhaul of the system by adopting the following.

1. Establish a state property valuation board to set property prices and rents. 2. Compel all money lenders (backed by state funds) to lend money at affordable rates of interest.

3. Estate agents to be deprived of setting house valuations, but to assist in co-ordinating sales.

4. Private landlords to be abolished and holdings to be purchased by the valuation board prior to them being passed back to local authority control.

5. Promote affordable housing initially for rent, with a right to buy later.

6. Promote a rural house building programme with a sales restriction that the properties must only be sold to people raised in the communities.

This effectively kills the right to multiple house ownership. The adoption of the latter six points will ensure all sections of the community will have equality of opportunity when it comes to the basic requirement of a decent home in which to live.

I urge all readers to appraise how many local first time buyers are purchasing properties in the Preston and surrounding areas and if you have a social conscience you will agree that action quoted above is an essential aspect in any housing programme.

Terry Bayes, Hoghton

No public cash for new statue

I am rather surprised at the number of people who write to the paper on issues they know nothing about.

Just to put the record straight the art trail, which is located along the Ribble Link, was at the behest of the Millennium Commission which allocated £2.7m to the project. The Ribble Link Trust was not involved in the commissioning of the art work which was chosen this was done by the then British Waterways and unfortunately the tree chosen for the sculpture of the “Peeing Man” had a fungal infection which was not apparent at the time. Due to this infection the statue was taken down on health and safety grounds.

The trust decided a new piece of art work should be commissioned and in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust chose the new statue, which was chosen from numerous entries and was fully funded by the trust and did not include any public money.

Cliff Fazackerley, chairman Ribble Link Trust

Time a living wage was law

The minimum wage grew from a union campaign to a landmark achievement of the last Labour government. Now after years of real wage cuts, we need to see far greater ambition to achieve fair pay.

Unions have long argued many employers can easily pay more than the legal minimum. Alan Buckle’s report sets out how a Labour government can act to help deliver higher wages in those sectors that can afford to.

It’s also right that government uses the £138bn it spends in the private sector to boost take-up of the living wage. Fair pay goes hand in hand with running a successful economy. Labour should make this a top priority.

Derek Barton, Preston and South Ribble Trades Council

Dark side of life at Courtaulds

I was interested to read the article “Celebrating Courtaulds” about the beautiful materials produced there (LEP May 16) and I agree our community is all the better for the people who settled here after coming from many other countries to work at Courtaulds. But at what cost?

When Courtaulds came here it was the only factory never to close (24/7) not even for Wakes Weeks even though all the cotton mills closed for a week. In the 1930s and the 1940s there were no holidays with pay and some workers employed elsewhere couldn’t afford to have a holiday and were employed by Courtaulds to clean out the ducting under the machines.

Acid was used to produce the coloured rayon and this seeped into the clothes of the people carrying out this work as there was no protective clothing and they would also have breathed the fumes in.

My dad was one of the people employed to do this work when his workplace closed down (he couldn’t afford to a holiday from as he had four children).

As you can imagine this was an awful job to do and many suffered ill health because of it. In the 1950s my dad worked there permanently and I can remember him coming home “stinking of acid” and having to take his clothes off at the back door (sometimes they were riddled with acid holes).

At this time nobody thought about the conditions and just carried out their work. In the 1950s holidays with pay came in and as Courtaulds was expanding they brought in labour from other countries. My other memories are the awful stink the processing gave off which entered all the houses in and around Ribbleton. Eaves Brook was used for waste and was polluted turning the water different colours also they were allowed to dispose of waste on Crofts Tip on Blackpool Road without any health and safety in mind.

The Health and Safety Act was introduced in 1977 by Barbara Castle and Michael Foot and it became law about two years later, and round about this time Courtaulds announced they were closing and going abroad. Is this coincidence or not!?

As far as I know Courtaulds didn’t pay a penny to clean up the environment they had polluted. I know may people complain about Health and Safety regulations and think they are a waste of time but please take note of the above as I am sure nobody would want to return to the Courtaulds days.

Coun Terry Cartwright, Deepdale Ward