ON the proposed cuts to services for the disabled, every single councillor and council officer who has had anything to do with these proposals should hang their heads in shame.

The suggestion that very significant cuts to the support for the most vulnerable section of our community can be made reveal an alarming cynicism and an atrocious ignorance of the needs of the disabled and of the pressures on their families.

The disabled and their families are the group least able to defend themselves when the political going gets tough. This is particularly the case when compared to the highly articulate and well organised voices of groups such as education and the police. To make cuts of this magnitude to support for the weakest is both cynical and cowardly.

Councillors and council officers should remember the principles that brought them into their current roles. I am certain that, regardless of political persuasion, one of their principles was the protection of the weakest and neediest members of our community.

It requires political courage to do this in the current climate – now it is the time to display this.

To take from the disabled the opportunities to meet with others is to take from them the stimulation and the sense of purpose that gives the sense that ‘today is going to be worth living’. This is a crime.

To take from their families the chance to have a break from the enormous burden of caring – at the same time to reduce their employment opportunities and so to reduce their income – is to massively increase the pressure under which these families of the disabled live.

Anyone who knows anything about the families of the disabled will know that this increased pressure will inevitably lead to an increase in family break-up – condemning the disabled to further stress and misery. This, too, is a crime.

The council has got to base its approach to the budgetary crisis on principles. The principles that ‘cuts should be made where there will be the least opposition’ must not be one of these; neither should the principle that ‘the burden should be equally shared’.

The first and driving principle that should govern our behaviour in times of difficulty is that ‘we will look after the needs of our most vulnerable.’

This requires councillors and council officers to have political courage and political skill – but that is what they are there for and certainly this first and driving principle is one that all of us in Kirklees would recognise, applaud and support.

M A Nolan

Father of a disabled adult

Hitting the weakest

BECAUSE of the gross overspending of both national and local government we have to accept that cuts are needed.

Kirklees Council’s first reaction was to increase the charges substantially on the families of the disabled who pay for day services.

We now find that these services are to be terminated for those whose need is classed up to and including ‘substantial’.

Kirklees proposes to make savings at the expense of the people least able to look after themselves while running a council riddled with political correctness and bureaucracy, employing hundreds and possible thousands of people on high salaries whose services are, at best, of only marginal benefit to the people of Kirklees.



What cuts really mean

THE council is considering cutting care to the disabled, elderly and vulnerable so that only those with critical needs will get help. Possibly few people will really know what this means, so I will explain.

I live on my own and I don’t have a family nearby. I can’t get dressed, bathe, wash my hair or get out of the house (among other things) without help.

I’m also unable to write, use a keyboard and, most of the time, the telephone. Currently, someone helps me with all of these things (one of them is typing this). But these, should they make the proposed cuts, would not be seen as essential.

So what would this mean? I would be left in bed, dirty, on my own, unable to call for help and probably never leave the house again. Try and imagine what that would be like if it was happening to you. I don’t feel any differently just because I am over 60 and my health has fallen apart.

It is no good saying ‘oh, it’s the council’s fault’ or ‘it’s the government’ or ‘they shouldn’t do that’. Councils and governments do what the population at large tell them to (or don’t tell them not to do).

Do we, as a country, want to live somewhere where ‘cripples’ are locked away out of sight and out of mind as they used to be in the last century?

We are the legless who are being asked to stand on our own two feet and the voiceless who can’t shout about it.

If people who are able to get up on their feet and walk out of their front door and shout do not speak out about this it is going to happen to a whole lot of other human beings. In a few years it could be you.

Is this acceptable? Really? I am not signing my name to this simply because I do not wish to tell the criminal and fraudulent community the location of an extremely vulnerable mark, so I will sign with what I am.



School’s future

I WOULD like to ask for support and signatures for a petition on the proposal to make Fartown High School into an ‘academy’.

After considering the facts I have come out firmly in favour of the Holmfirth High School bid to run the school as a trust.

Holmfirth has been working with Fartown High for over a year already, so ideas and good working practices flow back and forth with more contentment from all sections of Fartown staff, pupils and the unions.

This, I absolutely believe, will give our children a better education and the parents and community will be involved in a more meaningful way than the other three bidders who are the competition.

One bid is by the Wakefield Diocese, which I can’t accept because there is no justification for a heavily biased religious mainstream multicultural education. About 80% of our infant school’s pupils are Muslim. I have seen how this school deals with multicultural children and I like it very much indeed – we’ve got kids from all over the world!

The other two bids are from a company called Lilac Sky and E-ACT. Both are businesses as far as I can see, so therefore no way could they possibly be my choice. You can’t run schools as businesses in which chief executives and other fat cats cream off ‘profits’ for their own pockets, with the school board sidelined.

This campaign from parents at Birkby Infants needs 2,000 signatures to make the powers that be sit up and take notice.

We don’t have a say in this matter – the final decision as always is above our heads – but we can use the weight of opinion to press our case.

We have a couple of precious weeks to do this so please help us in your droves. Don’t walk past us as we try to sign you up. Or you could do your bit personally – please bombard Kirklees Council with letters and emails!

Bruce Hanson


A question of trust

MPs have, in the last few weeks, voted to increase the burden on students by raising tuition fees to £9,000.

They have also voted to stop the £30 subsidy which to many students is absolutely vital to cover day-to-day travel or other expenses and is subject to strict conditions which impoverished students have to comply with or lose it.

Without this award many students will have no alternative but to abandon their hopes and dreams and join the growing dole queue.

Behind the scenes well paid MPs have proposed themselves both a £1,000 pay rise and are demanding unfettered expenses for themselves under rules and at levels to be decided by them with minimal public accountability or supervision.

I think the new proposals for changes to the NHS are also highly suspect. The Conservative led Coalition Government is afraid of making them when the outcome is uncertain and the blame could be laid on their doorstep.

By putting the responsibility in the hands of GPs – one of the few groups still holding the respect and trust of the general public – they are setting GPs up as fall guys if the proposals disastrously fail. If this happens the way will be open for the Government to step in to ‘rescue’ the NHS with, of course, help from the private sector. With no ulterior motive?

Notwithstanding the rejections in last week’s Examiner of their £1,000 pay claim by local MPs, I cannot help but think there are double standards and a whiff of hypocrisy at play in the Palace of Yesminster.

Small wonder – a recent poll by the Examiner showed 94% of those taking part did not trust MPs.

John Langford


Another planet

‘THE Government is cutting public spending at the same time as increasing taxation, so the question is: Where’s our money going?’ was the puzzle posed by Allen Jenkinson (Mailbag, January 21).

Is this a wind-up or has Mr Jenkinson been on Planet Zog with Blair, Brown, Balls and Mandelson for the past 13 years? Clearly ‘Labour Government Profligacy’ are words new to him.