27th Jun, 2022

LETTERS: Student occupied buildings, bus gates, and disability benefits


I have written several letters in recent times regarding the unfairness of the system whereby buildings occupied by students are not classed as businesses.

I suggested the council should combine with other authorities to lobby the government to change this system which is to the disadvantage of the council and its taxpayers.

Their response was always the same. In their view students not paying Council Tax had no effect on the council finances and to justify their position quoted the employment and income generated by universities, ignoring the fact that other businesses and residents do likewise.

Imagine my surprise that Councillor Mutton has now done exactly as I suggested and is lobbying the government to change the law which has cost the council £37million in council tax being lost from the number of homes converted to student accommodation in the past 7 years.

Perhaps it is lesson to us all that write complaining about how this council runs our city, not to give up. The message sometimes gets through. The government response was negative unfortunately, but don’t be disheartened Councillor Mutton. Like me, try, try, try again and they may come around to your way of thinking.

Derek Benefield



My nephew received a bus gate fine at Hales Street Arch a fews month ago. At the time he protested that there was absolutely no signing that was visible to him. I told him there must be. However after listening to the radio it is obvious he was correct.

He really wanted to appeal but his paper fine told him that if he tried to question the ticket it would be at the danger of having to pay £60 thus surrendering the chance to pay the lower £30. He also looked on the council interweb site, it told him exactly the same and there was absolutely no mention that he could in fact query the fine and still only have to pay £30.

How can it be even remotely fair to not tell people they can actually question the fine without it costing them money? This I suggest is why everyone has just paid up and kept their lips closed.

Coventry City Council did not make my nephew aware that he had the right to appeal without an increased financial risk. It is common sense people would want to appeal the fines based on £30 as they may as well if it doesn’t double, especially as it appears there were so many concerns with the signing. This needs some explaining to people.

G Forrester

Our country’s disability benefits system is failing those who need it the most, as well as costing us an unnecessary amount of money.

Your readers may be shocked to hear that reassessing everyone with Parkinson’s who received Daily Living Allowance (DLA) for the replacement benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will cost the taxpayer £3 million. These pointless reassessments that are being rolled out across the West Midlands are happening despite the fact that people with Parkinson’s won’t get better.

The Government is throwing millions of pounds away on an assessment process that is broken. PIP is meant to help manage the extra costs of a condition, but in fact a quarter of people with Parkinson’s are losing some, or all, of their award. Why is the Government taking away the support they were previously told they’d have for life?

This is simply devastating.

That’s why Parkinson’s UK is calling on the Government to automatically move people with Parkinson’s on the highest rate of DLA to PIP, without the need for reassessment.

1,706 people from the West Midlands have already signed the charity’s petition, I hope your readers will join us by signing it here: www.parkinsons.org.uk/pippetition

Together we can help bring an end to a system that’s evidently not fit for purpose.

Sophie Phillips (Parkinson’s UK Local Campaign Officer)

Right now, in the Home Office rules, the government doesn’t recognise the close family of refugee children beyond their parents. This means that many children escaping war and violence can’t be safely reunited with their family in the UK without first making a deadly journey in to Europe.

As the UK government works on updating its rules as a result of leaving the EU, an amendment to the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill New Clause 53 would make sure the UK’s rules are fixed to stop this needless risk to children’s safety. As this comes forward in Parliament we hope that MPs will work together to fix this problem. I urge your readers to write to their MP to ask them to add their name to the amendment and voice their support during the debate. Together we can show the world that Britain will not turn its back on those who need us most, including the refugee children with relatives who can care for them in the UK.

Lily Caprani

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