Dear Editor, I've just listened to Radio 4's File on 4, about the scandal of our regional development agencies chauffeuring their top people around at taxpayers' expense.
One taxi ride cost £395. These chief execs also have their own company cars - large enough for their big status. £51,000 on car rides for their top people at one development agency.
One chief exec's taxi bill over one year was greater than all our MPs' taxi bills in 12 months - and the person in question was part time. He travels over 37,000 miles-a-year in cars that he does not drive himself "in a large and diverse region".
Using a Freedom of Information request, Norman Baker MP found that Seeda's chairman, James Brathwaite, had a taxi and executive car bill of £51,489 for a year in his part-time post.
"I don't know if he is living in a taxi but it is difficult to understand how he's run up a bill of that nature," he told File on 4.
Our own senior executives from Advantage West Midlands will be at the annual jolly on Tuesday that is the Transport Summit. One year, I saw one exec absent from morning and afternoon sessions but definitely as large as life for the free food and drink at lunchtime.
A gap in effectiveness and probity by our top transport men in the West Midlands. Ineffective in getting the three first Metro lines in place after nearly 30 years and where there are still ten full-time staff employed in Centro House achieving nothing.
My expenses amount to 20p per mile by pushbike on official council business; 44p per mile when I occasionally do need to use the car.
TIM WELLER, Halesowen
* Eyewitness to bomber crash
Dear Editor, I was interested to read John Sanders' letter concerning the Blenheim bomber which crashed in Quinton in October 1940, as my mother was an eye witness to the tragedy (Post Agenda, March 3).
I was seven years old at the time, living in Beech Avenue, just off Hagley Road West. I remember my mother, who had been shopping, returning home and telling me that an aircraft had just crashed on the top of what we then called 'Hollybush Hill'. Obviously shaken, she said that as the plane approached, very low, its wing detached. Thinking it to be a bomb she had cried out "he's dropping something" and thrown herself to the ground.
Fortunately, she thereby avoided the worst of the blast when the aircraft crashed on the central reservation, a matter of yards away, a few seconds later.
Afterwards, people praised the dead pilot for having avoided nearby shops and houses, although as the Blenheim was out of control it was probably more a matter of luck.
I am pleased, even after all these years, to learn that only one person was on board, as I recall that our neighbour (an NFS officer) attended the crash site and was said to have assisted in removing several bodies from the wreckage.
The barrage balloon site in Ridgacre Lane gained some local notoriety as it was said to have also been responsible for bringing down a Whitley bomber on farmland (and now a supermarket site) off Ridgacre Road. That however occurred at night; the accident involving the Blenheim in clear daylight is difficult to explain.
J HARTLAND, Stourbridge
* Bile will not win votes
Dear Editor, The new Conservative candidate for North Warwickshire and Bedworth attacked me in your letter columns in personal terms for not supporting a referendum. Frankly, I doubt this kind of bile will win Mr Byles many votes. There is enough to debate without going negative in that way.
At the election I pledged a referendum on a European Constitution and on the Euro if it comes to it. I stand by that pledge. The Constitution is dead and has been buried by the 27 EU members. The Lisbon treaty is not a constitution and it is wrong to claim it is.
We don't have referendums on treaties in the UK and no Labour MP was elected pledging a referendum on a treaty. MPs are elected to deal with treaties.
It is hypocritical for Conservatives to demand a referendum now. Heath refused a referendum over accession to Europe, Thatcher refused a referendum over the Single European Act, Major refused a referendum over the Maastricht Treaty and, tellingly, Cameron has repeatedly refused to commit to a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if he ever won an election.
The Conservatives have never held a referendum. They only want a referendum when someone else is in government. Their current campaign lacks credibility and reeks of opportunism.
MIKE O'BRIEN, MP for North Warwickshire and Bedworth
* An inquiry going nowhere
Dear Editor, So there has been concern raised about the time being taken by the Government-appointed consultants to come back with their findings into the collapse of MG Rover? An enquiry that has cost £11m so far.
Should we really be surprised? Not just at the size of the bill to the public purse, but the fact that nothing has been produced yet. Is it just possible that the Labour Government doesn't want the inquiry to be completed?
There are many questions surrounding the demise of MG Rover that lead back to the Labour Government. Remember Stephen Byers had a meeting with BMW literally hours before Rover was put up for sale, but then claimed he was not informed. So what did he have a meeting about - Black Forest Gateau?
Many people found it difficult then to believe that Labour knew nothing. The same could be said around the failure of talks between MG Rover and Shanghai Automotive just before the closure, where again the Labour Government was supposed to be supporting discussions.
When the talks failed and MG Rover went into liquidation, the Government was quick to come up with a hardship package, but was it because, at the time, the General Election was looming? Was it all crocodile tears?
The answers cannot come quickly enough.
KEN WOOD, Longbridge Conservatives
* Reducing energy
Dear Editor, I was very interested to read your article on energy prices and ways of reducing fuel running costs in a old draughty house (Post, March 1).
Can I suggest people consider some of the following actions, which are relatively easy and will pay you back.
Replace your old boiler with a condensing-type boiler thus being more efficient and at the same time reducing carbon emissions. Secondly, consider insulating your house better with secondary glazing, draught strips to your sash windows, thermostatic valves on your radiators, insulation for your walls and floors.
The capital cost for some of the above could be paid off by the fuel supplier difference you suggest in your article and my suggestions will help the HIPS rating be comparable to new well-insulated homes.
I insulated a 'heap' in Edgbaston. After this old building's full refurbishment the bills were smaller and so was the boiler.
MIKE TAYLOR, Ombersley
* Embarrassing in any language
Dear Editor, Ever since the new Bullring opened in 2003, I have tried without success to get hold of a simple tourist guide to our city written in French or any of the languages spoken in Birmingham's twin cities. Each time I ask at the two city centre Information points, the staff groan with embarrassment.
The special report in The Birmingham Post about MIPIM in Cannes this week prompts me to ask what will Team Birmingham be taking?
JULIA GRIFFIN, Kings Heath