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Children and book reading

Books
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Have your say

How sad to read the letter from Graham Barnett, (Star, January 15), who criticised Jayne Grayson for saying parents should be ashamed for failing to provide books for their children.

It doesn’t matter whether children go on to further education or not as whatever job they eventually acquire they will need good reading and writing skills which sadly many school-leavers lack today. Books are essential for children’s development and for educating them in the usage and spelling of words and improving their vocabulary.

They expand our knowledge and also fire the imagination by transporting the reader to an enchanting land of make-believe. My childhood would have been so much poorer without the pleasure of reading books as they open up a whole new world and a home without books is a very sad place.

The price of new books may be a problem for some parents but they can always use our libraries, or obtain them quite cheaply from charity shops or jumble sales which my parents often did. I think it most unfair of Graham Barnett to say Jayne Grayson “should keep her nose out of other people’s affairs” and that it is none of her business if parents don’t want to get books for their children. She obviously believes as I do that it is wrong to deny children the opportunity of reading as books are a joy, a magical experience and a source of learning that will enrich their lives.

Susan Richardson

Lodge Moor, Sheffield, S10

A right to expect better

Having witnessed the unedifying spectacle of the Sheffield City Region Devolution Deal coming apart at the seams, is it not time for the government to take the matter out of the hands of local councils and channel the investment through the business-led Local Enterprise Partnership?

The Devolution Deal – previously agreed by the leaders of all four South Yorkshire councils – fell apart just days before it was due to be signed off, when Barnsley and Doncaster Councils had second thoughts (electing instead to throw their weight behind a Yorkshire-wide deal, to which the government has repeatedly and emphatically avowed it will never agree).

Meanwhile the £1.3 billion agreed under the doomed Sheffield City Region deal hangs precariously in the balance.

The government has affirmed that it intends to press ahead with the original agreement.

However, with two of the four councils having disavowed their support, would it not be complete folly for the government to attempt a rapprochement with such a dysfunctional council coalition? It is an acknowledged truth that South Yorkshire’s local councillors have a far greater talent for pursuing their parochial socialist agendas than they do for developing a rational regional strategy.

Politicians can always be relied upon to generate more heat than light; their stock-in-trade is debate, expulsion of hot air, contention, dispute and squabble. If recent events prove anything, it is that local councils are not to be trusted to manage devolved powers.

Some things are just too important to hand over to proletarians, however well-meaning.

Besides which, if four councils (all allegedly members of the same party) cannot agree amongst themselves, what chance would 19 councils have?

If the government is serious about investing £1.3 billion in the Sheffield City Regional economy, it must look not to the tired old dead-beat denizens of the council chambers of South Yorkshire, but to the Local Enterprise Partnership, which is led by representatives of the business community: people who have a clear vision for the creation of enterprise, wealth and jobs.

The councils had their chance. All they needed to do was sign on the dotted line and pick up the money that was already on the table but, true to form, they fell out among themselves and made a dogs’ dinner of the simplest of tasks. Can there ever have been a more definitive demonstration of “looking a gift horse in the mouth”? This would almost be funny, were it not for the amount of money involved.

The people of South Yorkshire have a right to expect better from their elected representatives.

Neville Martin

Castledine Gardens, Sheffield, S9

Hospital parking

Having to attend both the Royal Hallamshire and the Northern General Hospitals between four and five times a month I find that paying for hospital car parking can be very expensive.

There are insufficient parking spaces at the Royal Hallamshire and Weston Park hospitals now for patients.

However, immediately that hospital parking charges are abolished the car parks at the Royal Hallamshire and Weston Park will be full early every morning with commuters who can then catch one of the many very convenient buses or walk in to town.

Where then will patients park?

Stephen Ryszka

Norton Lees

A day of great joy

So Napoleon’s Casino on Ecclesall Road is closing after 42 years.

The owner, Dave Allen, says it is a sad day. I would beg to differ.

As a former member of many years until I saw the light 20 years ago, I would say on behalf of all those gamblers like myself who brought pain and misery to themselves and their families through visiting casinos, that the closure of Napoleon’s is not a sad day but one of great joy.

Now I don’t know Dave Allen. I’m sure he is a very nice fellow and he is in business to make money even if it means making money from poor souls who visit his and other casinos in the hope that they are going to win.

Yes, I hear you say, nobody forces these poor souls to enter a casino, but once they go through that door they are usually hooked.

Anyway, Mr Allen is not leaving us. I’m sure his other casino will thrive and I wish him well, but I can’t help thinking that I wish his casino on Ecclesall Road had closed 40 years ago!

JD Arnold

S7