Recorder letters: Litter, universal credit, online consultations and more.
PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 February 2020
Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.
Concrete monstrosity on roundabout
Tony Wright, Romford, writes:
I read the council are always going on about the need for more housing.
There is a concrete monstrosity on the roundabout at the end of North Street that has been standing there for about 10 years. I presume it was going to be a block of flats. Why doesn't the council compulsory purchase it and finish it off? I notice also that the council are selling advertising space on the roundabouts. I would have thought when a driver is negotiating a roundabout, he needs to concentrate on where he is going and not read adverts.
The derelict North Street construction remains abandoned nine years after building was halted.
Essex is among the worst counties for disgraceful littering
R Osborne, Romford, writes:
Apparently prime minister Boris Johnson wants to clean up Britain.
He could start with the filthiest county and motorways probably in the whole country namely Essex.
Havering and Chelmsford are shocking, especially along the A12 and the A127 that are especially bad including the exits off of both these motorways.
Thurrock is also horrendous, as is Grays. All around Hornchurch along Hacton Lane is horrendous, as is Romford, and I never see anybody cleaning it up.
I have been to many parts of England and Essex is the worst for litter problems.
It is a disgrace and makes me wonder what we pay our council tax for.
How come the French manage to keep their motorways sparkling? After all they have the same lorry and car drivers over there. Excuses, excuses!
Universal Credit is working
Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, writes:
I would like to address Eamonn Mahon's letter (Romford Recorder, last week) regarding Universal Credit.
Universal Credit was the biggest and most fundamental reform to the welfare state since its creation. It is a modern benefit based on the sound principles that work should always pay and those who need support receive it. It is also fair to taxpayers.
I have met many constituents who have found Universal Credit an easy and helpful system which allows them to get back onto their feet after they have fallen on hard times. I had a constituent during the general election tell me how well they were doing on Universal Credit and how their work coach was really helping them.
As much as Labour supporters such as Mr Mahon will claim that Universal Credit isn't working, the fact is that it is and it's working for real people.
That is not to say that Universal Credit hasn't had its challenges for people, because it has.
I understand that many people have had difficulties with the system, but that's not a reason to completely scrap it.
The government has accepted that the system hasn't worked perfectly, this is the biggest and most fundamental reform of the welfare system since its inception.
With such huge, but needed reform things won't always be smooth, that's why the government in the budget 2018, announced a £4.5 billion package for Universal Credit, which will make a real difference to the lives of claimants across the country.
An extra £1.7 billion a year will be put into work allowances, increasing the amount that hardworking families can earn by £1,000 before their award is tapered away, providing extra support for 2.4 million working families.
We cannot go back to the legacy benefits system which was out of control under the last Labour government.
I believe we need to stick with Universal Credit, but make sure that it develops properly and always works for claimants.
Taxpayers want to make sure that their hard-earned cash is being spent prudently and making sure Universal Credit works is so important because, getting people out of a system of dependency and back into a culture of hard work and independence is beneficial for all of us.
It is not difficult to control online consultations
Mr W Ramsay, Stephen Avenue, Rainham, writes:
Terrence Matthews LLB thinks I need to be told again that he does not speak on behalf of the Hornchurch Residents' Association (RA) but only in a personal capacity.
But if that is all he does, and he further expresses a purely personal opinion thereby, perhaps he will accept he was somewhat misleading when he stated baldly "the reason RAs do not undertake online consultations", which suggested his having knowledge on the matter, perhaps gained through contact with members of the HRA executive committee.
Knowledge I am quite sure he will not have had is of the view taken by HRA members as a whole regarding online consultation, as it is evidently not thought appropriate to seek that.
As anticipated in my last letter it has not been thought fit that an "authorised person" indicate whether Mr Matthews' opinion on online consultation is that of the EC or not, although one able to do so chose instead, in last week's letters, to write on another subject.
In any case, is it really to be supposed that online consultation is so difficult to restrict to legitimate participants?
One recalls here Mr Matthews' criticism of Havering Council's parking consultation for being unduly restrictive.
Anyone acquainted with my political views expressed in these pages would know I am not a supporter of the Conservatives. What I do support is the position of Cllr Muggleston: "we listen to the residents and carry out their wishes", which unfortunately seems to be a minority one.
As regards my being detrimental to the RAs in pursuing the present subject, as Mr Matthews thinks, I would say, if so, others have also made their contribution, including Mr Matthews himself, and those who have chosen to remain silent.
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Not turncoats but a revolving door
Matt Stanton, Gisborne Gardens, Romford, writes:
Terence Matthews' letter of February 7 has a rather poor choice of metaphor. RA councillors are not so much turncoats as using a revolving door, to prop up the Tories for a few years then to let someone else have a turn.
And yet despite years of mismanagement people are still voting Tory, still voting for their RA enablers.
As Einstein was reported to have said "madness is doing the same things and expecting different results".
All is not as rosy in Havering
Gurpreet Bhatia, Barking, full address supplied, writes:
It was discouraging to hear remarks made by Cllr Damian White, leader of Havering Council, with regards to the performance of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham in service provision to its residents on Time 107.5 recently.
All boroughs face tough challenging times in the current climate with reduced funding year on year from central government and ever increasing demands for expenditure.
I'm sure there are many key performance indicators that can be pulled up from multiple annual online reports that can justify all is not as rosy as Cllr White would lead people to believe in Havering.
Cllr White is reported as saying, "In terms of service provision, Havering Council is streets ahead".
However this statement could not be further from the truth if one tried.
Only in August dozens of angry placard bearing business owners and local residents turned up at a library in Upminster where the council leader was attending a residents' surgery to vent their anger at him on provisions made by the council.
I would urge the councillor that comments meant to belittle other councils are not clever or constructive, more meaningful engagement and working in partnership with neighbouring boroughs would be a far more useful time spent to the benefit of all.
Heart Hero Awards 2020
Carolan Davidge, interim chief executive, British Heart Foundation (BHF), writes:
The British Heart Foundation will host its third national Heart Hero Awards ceremony this year.
Our event last year was a fantastic and emotional night which celebrated winners and nominees from different walks of life and from every part of the UK.
They ranged from inspirational children to remarkable fundraisers and heroic individuals who stepped up to save the life of a stranger using CPR.
Each winner and nominee shared a spirit that embodies all that is best about the UK.
We know there are many more unsung Heart Heroes out there and we want to shine a light on their selfless achievements.
This will help the BHF raise awareness of the need for continued funding to bring new hope to the seven million people in the UK who are living with conditions such as stroke, coronary heart
disease, vascular dementia and diabetes.
That's why we are calling on your readers to make a valuable nomination for the Heart Hero Awards 2020.
A Heart Hero can be anyone from a nurse or doctor working in the field of heart disease to a young person with heart disease that has shown incredible courage and determination.
Those shortlisted will be invited to a glitzy awards ceremony in London in September, when the winners will be announced.
There are three categories open for public nominations: My Healthcare Hero, Inspiration and the Young Heart Hero Award (under 18).
Entries close on Saturday, February 29.
To find out more about the categories or to make a nomination, visitbhf.org.uk/heartheroes
Diabetes tech must be more accessible
Roz Rosenblatt, London head, Diabetes UK, writes:
We know that diabetes technology, like Flash glucose monitoring, continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pumps can greatly improve people's health and quality of life.
But too many people still don't have access to the technology they need to best manage their condition.
Shockingly, in some areas of the UK, only five per cent of people with type 1 diabetes can access Flash, compared with more than 70pc in other areas.
What's more, we're seeing growing numbers of people with type 2 diabetes self-funding Flash because the technology isn't available to them on the NHS.
People with and affected by diabetes have told us they want to see better access to diabetes technology. And we agree.
But now we want to hear about your experiences.
So talk to us. Our survey at smartsurvey.co.uk/s/diabetestech is now live, and is open until March 1.
Whether your experiences have been positive or negative, whether you want to talk about yourself, or about someone you care for, your views will help shape our work in this vital area.
With your help, we can ensure that everyone who could benefit from the latest diabetes technology can access it.