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Recorder letters: budget, policing, Halloween thief, fantastic councillor, charity, social care, horse adoption

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 November 2017

Councillor Roger Ramsey at Hornchurch Police Station. Picture: Havering Council

Councillor Roger Ramsey at Hornchurch Police Station. Picture: Havering Council

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Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Chancellor must end austerity

Cllr David Durant, vice-chairman, crime and disorder committee, writes:

Clearly there is some serious fun and games over policing by all concerned in an attempt to secure improved funding and/or avoid being blamed for a further £400m cut in the Met Police budget.

For example, to avoid blame, the Conservative MP for Romford says raid the reserves. But as our Conservative council leader often says, “the reserves can only be spent once and so this isn’t a sustainable solution to a funding shortfall”.

And the Labour London Mayor, to improve funding, has rushed a consultation on police station closures in time for the chancellor’s budget, in order to force his hand.

Also the police are warning they may not be able to provide cover on Remembrance Sunday, which is an outrageous way to highlight the situation.

At the end of the day it’s all about the money and the fact both Labour and Conservative have supported austerity to “balance the books”.

But austerity is promoted primarily to save the Euro rather than balance the books and following Brexit we need the chancellor to end austerity.

This can be done by balancing the books over a longer period, enabling a big increase in public spending with debt repaid from growth in the economy.

Sick and tired of special needs schools hit by cuts

Fay Hough, Rainham resident and Havering co-ordinator for Jon Cruddas MP, writes:

The chancellor’s budget is released later this month and Havering Council are already starting the process of preparation for the 2018/19 budget.

In October Cllr Roger Ramsey, leader of the council, stated: “Delivering fair and quality services for all who need them is our priority and we will aim to continue this whilst balancing our budget.”

As a mother of a child with special needs I have seen the budget slashed every year. Transport is being hit hardest, which to me is absolutely appalling.

I am lucky enough that I can drive my son to his specialist school in Upminster every morning. Not everyone is as lucky.

I attended a recent specialist transport meeting and cuts to SEN (special educational needs) transport are getting worse. As a result, parents with severely disabled children are being refused transport.

Cllr Roger Ramsey continuously speaks of the rising elderly population, but what about the younger population of SEN children who need just as much care, if not more?

When will Havering Council address the growing number of SEN children in the borough; putting their needs, their health and their future first?

SEN parents in Havering already lead immensely stressful lives, and I’m sick and tired of seeing SEN schools being hit by irresponsible budget cuts. We need and deserve to see change.

Thief has ruined Halloween for me

Mrs V F, Elm Park, full name and address supplied, writes:

Whether you agree with it or not, last week was the time of year when overexcited children in costumes come knocking for “treats”.

I know it’s hard for people who don’t want to be disturbed and for parents to let their children knock at unknown houses so there’s been an unwritten code around here for years that if you decorate the front of your house then you are happy to accept callers.

I’ve always been pleased to be a part of this, being a “safe house” for trick or treaters but, this will be my last year.

Not because of the children, who are always polite, but because of the piece of scum who decided to calmly walk down our drive and cut down a large decoration they obviously wanted for themselves.

Everybody who came on Halloween comments on our skeleton in a cage whose eyes light up when it detects movement. It’s a distinctive piece so someone knows who has it.

I hope they enjoy their ill-gotten gains, because that selfishness has made me feel sick to my stomach.

Councillor like a breath of fresh air

Roger Popple, Hartland Road, Hornchurch, writes:

I have recently had issues with a new building development next to my property.

As the legislation has changed regarding planning applications, I was having a very hard and frustrating time getting people to act or give me any advice or feedback within the council.

I tried getting advice or action from one of my ward’s mainstream political parties’ councillors.

My well-founded concern about this development was met with indifference, lack of understanding and any support.

I then raised my issues with Cllr Jody Ganly, from Hornchurch residents’ association, who has been like a breath of fresh air!

She has been absolutely fantastic in guiding me through the planning minefield and giving me timely advice when it mattered.

Nothing is too much trouble. I would earnestly advise your readership to take note of my comments when selecting their councillors at the next council election.

I know where my cross is going!

Grow or dye a beard for charity

Jim Rosenthal, sports broadcaster, writes:

I’m call on all lads to do their face a favour and give it some warmth this winter by growing a beard in December for Bowel Cancer UK.

The rules are simple, just clean shave on November 30 and let your facial hair flourish throughout the month of December. Already bearded? No problem. Dye, ditch or decorate your beard and join the campaign.

Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer in men in the UK and the nation’s second biggest cancer killer. It doesn’t have to be this way as the disease is treatable and curable, especially if diagnosed early.

Sign up to Decembeard and give hope to those that are going through treatment, remember loved ones and come together to stop bowel cancer: bowelcanceruk.org.uk/decembeard

We must budget for adult social care

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, writes:

There cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable adult social care system.

Adult social care services provide invaluable care and support for older and disabled people.

Investing in social care keeps people out of hospital and living independent, dignified lives at home and in the community. It is the single best investment to alleviate pressure on our vital NHS services.

Social care services face an annual funding gap of £2.3billion by 2020. Councils have long-argued that it is a false economy to pump money into the NHS whilst leaving social care chronically underfunded.

While local government will have managed reductions to its core funding from central government totalling £16billion between 2010 and 2020, we estimate that NHS spending will have increased by just under £20billion over the same period.

As a nation we urgently need to recognise the importance of adult social care and prevention of poor health. We need to shift perceptions and make adult social care just as important in the public eye and within government as the NHS.

The government should use this month’s Autumn Budget to set out how it plans to tackle the crisis in adult social care as well as the NHS to deliver a long-term sustainable solution that works for adults of all ages.

We are also calling on the government to reverse the planned cuts to councils’ public health budgets and renew its commitment to prevention as a fundamental priority of its health policy.

Adopt a horse at rescue sanctuary

Lynn Cutress, Redwings’ Chief Executive, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, writes:

Sponsoring a Redwings rescued horse or donkey not only makes a special and unique Christmas present, but now comes with extra fun features to help your loved one get closer to their four-legged friend.

The 100 per cent publicly funded horse rescue charity has relaunched its new look adoption scheme, which supports hundreds of horses and donkeys in need every year.

The scheme, which has been running for over 30 years, allows supporters to sponsor one or more of Redwings’ Adoption Star horses, ponies, donkeys and mules with all the money going towards the care of their rescued friend and other residents across the sanctuary – of which there are over 1,500!

While previously sponsors have chosen between receiving letters from their Adoption Star in the post or accessing updates from their friend through an online blog, these options have now been combined into one new package for a cost of just £15 per year.

Those looking to sponsor a Redwings Adoption Star for Christmas will receive:

• An adoption pack including a certificate, beautiful photograph and the Adoption Star’s story

• Postal updates on their adventures and antics

• An invitation to the Adoption Star’s birthday party

• An online diary featuring photo galleries, videos and blogs about their life at Redwings

• The chance to visit the Adoption Star for free at their home

• A Friendship Card to treasure as a reminder of their adoption.

Giving just £15 per year in sponsorship will ensure your friend and all our rescued residents continue to enjoy a safe and happy home at Redwings.

To sponsor a Redwings Adoption Star, visit redwings.org.uk/adoption or call 01508 481000.

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