IN HUDDERSFIELD like many towns and cities across Britain, we are facing the biggest cuts in public spending for generations.
What is so significant about these cuts is the malice and aforethought that accompanies their implementation.
What do the public services do? They protect and take care of the vulnerable, the very old, the very young, the most marginalised members of our communities.
These cuts are cruel, unnecessary and are merely about the Tory/Lib Coalition asserting their power over us. Not a single penny needs to be cut.
Furthermore, it will be women who will be the hardest hit by the cuts. Women will be affected disproportionately as so many of them are employed in public services. Two thirds of the public sector workforce are women.
Already we are seeing the impact locally – lollipop ladies, health visitors, district nurses, midwives, social workers, women employed in the voluntary sector with the most marginalised in society are all being put under threat from the survival of the fittest ConDem policies.
Women are also the greater users of public services – twice as many women rely on benefits as men. Cuts to local government services and job losses will mean that women will be the ones called upon to cover these services voluntarily in the Tory notion of the Big Society.
Sometimes this will mean women reducing their own employment to take on carer responsibilities for family and neighbours.
In education too, initiatives designed to cut across gender discrimination in work such as apprenticeships will be among the casualties when the Young Person’s Guarantee of work or training for four years between the ages of 18 and 24 is scrapped.
Young people are also targeted with the abolition of the EMA from September. This is often portrayed as pocket money for teenagers when, in reality, it is a vital source of support for low income families.
From January 2013 child benefit will be abolished for families where one of the earners is in the high tax bracket. Once we accept means tested child benefit we begin the very slippery slope away from universal benefits.
Research from the TUC shows that the biggest losers overall from the Tory/Liberal plans will be single mothers with an estimated loss to their net annual income of £3,121 – that is a fifth of their income.
It’s no accident that women will bear the brunt of the cuts. The Government has taken on opponents who are, in their eyes, an easy target.
In the main, women are employed as cheap labour, easily dispensable, still seen as a reserve army of labour often employed on temporary contracts or part-time, relief workers. They can be easily manipulated to work atrocious terms and conditions.
The drive to push through public sector cuts is plainly a political and ideological exercise in which the class lines are being clearly set apart and society becomes more polarised. The rich become richer while the poorest are getting poorer.
The bankers create the crisis from their greed and a thirst for profit and those least able to pay are the ones being made to pay.
Central cinema please
I WISH to support the letter from Kathleen Etches (Mailbag, February 28) regarding the need for a cinema in Huddersfield town centre.
The Odeon is too far out unless you have your own transport and her suggestion that the previous Che Bar be turned back into a cinema is a good one.
The Rex in Elland is thriving and is a pleasure to attend. They also have an organ and refreshments are served.
The Palladium in Penistone is another small cinema which has survived all the changes and has a bar/refreshment room which is very popular.
Let’s have the Hippodrome/Tudor/Essoldo back please.
Ward full of wonders
I AM writing to say thank you to all the lovely nurses on ward 15 at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
It is rather a late letter but it is only now I feel 100% after my bowel surgery. I cannot have been on a better ward or in better hands than those of the Sister and nurses on Ward 15.
It did not matter how busy they were, they always did the little extras that made you feel an individual rather the just a patient.
Every day fresh sheets on our beds, feet soaked in a bowl of bubbly water and anything we wanted to eat was obtained for us. The staff even brought in extra bits to tempt us which is very important after surgery on your bowel.
The ward was spotless and Sister could spot a piece of dust from 20 paces. Your privacy was maintained as much as possible and anything that we did not understand was explained again to us. Tracey was my nurse and she looked after me as though I was part of the family.
Ward 15 gets a lot of letters and I can see why after being a patient on there. Some of the patients had been on there before and they said they were always welcomed back and that they could always ring if they had any worries. My very special thanks.
Figures up in smoke
IT WAS elegantly pointed out in television’s Yes Minister some years ago that smokers actually benefit non-smokers for the following reason.
Figures from yesterday’s article state that the Treasury receives £11 billion from tobacco duty and VAT yet the cost of treating smoking-related illness is only £2.5 billion, so there is a net revenue of £8.5 billion available to spend.
If every smoker stopped tomorrow the cost of treatment would continue for some years but with £11 billion no longer collected by the Treasury, cuts and tax increases would be needed.
Will the campaigners be happy to accept these?
THE Examiner’s report of the treatment of a group of badminton players at Huddersfield Sports Centre (March 8) will not surprise others who want to play the sport there.Š
I am part of a group of 15 or so who regularly try to enjoy a game there on Monday evenings, but we haveŠfailed in a long attempt to reach a sensible solution to a problem with intrusive noise.Š
Exercise to Music Classes (ETM) are held at the same time in the other part of the hall and this inevitably makes it difficult for badminton players to hear calls that avoid clashes of racquets and bodies.Š
Only after a long series of representations from players did Kirklees Active Leisure (KAL) agreed to limit the volume.Š
The level they set is 85 decibels despite the fact that all the recommendations from health and sports professionals that we could find suggest 80 decibels as a maximum.
Even so, KAL’s new limit was a good deal better than the 100 plus level which had been common previously.Š
We acknowledge that loud music is a part ETM and, as KAL has said, scheduling the two activities together is bound to cause problems.Š
Since the limit of 85 was set, a well evidenced and documented pattern has been frequently repeated – the volume progressively increases each weekŠ but then generally reverts back to the mid to upper 80s when we ask KAL to observe the limit – but only to start creeping up again in the following weeks.
Despite sport centre managers’ frequent claims they are promoting the sport, that is not our experience (or, it now seems, how other players there find it).Š
As we have often said to KAL managers, if they were determined to put people off using the sports centre for badminton they could not make a better job of it.
Tired Tesco argument
I AM SICK and tired of hearing about how bad a scheme the new Tesco store will be for Huddersfield.
Why? It’s moving 500 yards for goodness sake. Yes, it’s going to be bigger. So what? The demise of Huddersfield is due to a council that wastes money in other areas.
You can jump in the car and be at the Trafford Centre in 40 minutes and guess what?
When you get there, the parking is free and abundant. Likewise at the White Rose Centre near Leeds which is the same.
But what do our clever people at Kirklees Council do? Put shop rents up.
My mother worked for a town centre shop for many years.
It wasn’t the fall in shoppers that shut the shop, it was the council putting the rents up to ridiculous sums that shut it.
All this council seems to want to do is shut this town down full stop.
Heaven help us if Huddersfield University ever closes down.