Don't disregard impact of rises

A LARGE number of tenants in Sheffield council homes will be unaffected by the planned rise in rents, which will be more than double the current rate of inflation. Their benefits will cover the increase, which will simply be passed on to the already hard-pressed taxpayer.

But there are many hard-working families in social housing who will be punished beyond reason by this rise.

The increase is being forced on the city council by the Government which wants to see local authority house rents brought up to a level with those paid in the private sector.

The party political squabbling this announcement has provoked sounds a little hollow, for the policy being pursued by the coalition was introduced by Labour. Neither is blameless.

However, it leaves hard-pressed tenants in the middle who face a raid on their wallets in the months ahead.

At a time when they are struggling to cope with rising prices, wage freezes and job losses, this simply shows a callous disregard for the impact this will have on ordinary families.

We still play to our old strengths

OUR region's business community has shown that it is awake to a changing financial landscape by being among the first to register their interest in the Government's Regional Growth Fund, which will see an initial 250 million released shortly.

The fund is designed to help business and entrepreneurs create jobs and opportunities. And their willingness to embrace the opportunities it brings is heartening to experience.

Within minutes of former Conservative Cabinet Minister Lord Heseltine launched the fund, discussions were already under way to sound out the strengths of local bids which could be successful in the ensuing process.

It shows that this region continues to be a hotbed for fresh and bright ideas.

They are the strengths which helped stamp our name across the world and we are delighted that there are echoes still to be experienced.

Right thing to do

IT is worrying to learn that household burglary rates in South Yorkshire have risen by 3.2 per cent in the last year.

To experience the misery of knowing someone has entered your home and rifled through your belongings is deeply upsetting and can leave already vulnerable people feeling impossibly exposed.

That is why we would appeal to people to take two measures.

Make sure your home is as secure as is reasonable. None of us are expected to live in a fortress. Equally, we should not make life too easy for housebreakers.

The other thing is to help the police wherever possible. If you suspect anyone of burgling homes, tell a policeman. It is the right thing to do.

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