Wednesday, 9 February 2011

A letter of Responsibility.

This isn't my usual blog post so I'll apologise.
When I was in my second year of university I volunteered to work for the university students union. I was elected by the students to do a job for them and I had hopes of doing it well, as did everyone else who was elected. Over the space of a couple of months, I began to notice the changes in the others; they stopped listening to those who put them there and began to make decisions which were not in the best interest of the majority as they became ignorant to the students needs and more and more self absorbed.
You're probably asking why I'm wittering on? I'll get to the point. I'm embarrassed to say that I voted for the current Conservative government. I fell for the spin when David Cameron said that his government would support the disabled and infirm, that families would be supported and that this was going to be a new start. I believed this and I am embarrassed that I was sucked in.

 After asking on a parenting web site, how the policies of the current government have affected them, I was horrified. I offered the parents a chance to say what they thought and, together, we've come up for a letter. It began as a letter but quickly became page after page of all that is wrong with the UK.

Dear Government.

I am a conservative voter. I voted for you because I believed in you when you said that you wanted to make the United Kingdom a better place. I was happy to see the back to Labour; I could see that their levels of spending were in no way sustainable and it would only have been a matter of time until we were a bankrupt nation. I am in a place where I am horrified at what you are doing to this country and I find myself deeply embarrassed that I voted for you.

I understand that you need to save cash, I really do but do you not have the common sense to realise that your current plan of action is counter productive? You've slashed budgets and public sector jobs are being lost as a result. Do you not realise that all of the thousands who are losing their jobs will need to claim benefits as there are no jobs for them to walk into? Do you not realise that they will be unable to pay their mortgages/rent so will need social housing or housing benefits which will cost you more cash? These thousands who are to lose their jobs will have less disposable cash so will not be able to spend, manufacturing will go up the spout as there will be less consumers and the shops will have to close as people won't have the money to go shopping? The manufacturers and shop staff will then have to claim benefits so they can feed their families.

Re your Big Society. I'd like to know when those of us lucky enough to have jobs are going to have time to be doing all this volunteering ie managing forests,running libraries,helping out in under staffed schools,charities etc,etc. If people are doing these jobs as paid employment isn't it crap for you to expect us to do them for free whilst the skilled workers are left to claim benefits? I'd be more then happy to volunteer but I'm not prepared to work for free as staff who have done this job for many years have been made redundant and the jobs still need to be done. Who will pay for their insurance and who will organise all of this?

The thing we all be working every hour god sends to hold onto our jobs and make up for loosing our CB,save for uni fees and pay for the extremely high cost of living in this country(thanks to the high inflation you've caused).

Just out of interest when are you going to be fitting all this volunteering into your schedule sirs, feel free to give me any tips on how to squash it all in.

And while I'm reminding you about this, the bankers bonuses. You appear to completely disregard the ludicrous amount of money these people earn. It was the UK tax payer who bailed out the banks. Surly as a shareholder I also deserve a share of these bonuses along with every other man, woman and child in the United Kingdom? If you could put my share towards employing an extra nurse to care for the elderly who have served this nation I'd be very grateful.

It is noted that you appear to be widening the divide between our countries rich and poor, creating a mass of 'underclass'. Surely you are removing the 'Great' from 'Great Britain,' which used to be a place where people could improve themselves and their circumstances?

Recently it has been reported in the media that 500 plus workers for the CAB who specialise in debt advice will also be losing their jobs with a new and improved service being operational next year. Do you think that these highly skilled workers can afford to sit around for a year without any income? Who is going to advise those who are in need? Who is going to help those who have the bailiffs knocking at their door? They are already turning away people who spend hours queueing up outside, CAB advisers are going to be replaced with telephone and internet services. How are the poor to access these? Library cuts and closures are being planned. People without computers or internet access use the computers in the libraries so if they are closed how are they to use a computer? I for one am not telepathic. How is the internet

The same is happening with the Connexions Service. You have decided to turn this into an all age guidance service to be fully operational by April 2012, however in the meantime, highly skilled workers are being made redundant and in some parts of the country there will be NO service at all for 12 months thereby denying young people their statutory right to independent careers advice and guidance. Do you honestly think that this is acceptable? Do you not think that putting transitional arrangements in place would be a much better idea?

We also realise by increasing the cost of travel and petrol you are hoping to reduce carbon emissions because everyone will be cycling as no one will be able to afford cars or rail fares. While I'm writing about transport I'd like to say WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING? Cutting disability benefits/independent living fund, shame on you! You said that you were going to support the vulnerable, the disabled and the infirm. How is this helping? The disabled will be trapped inside their homes as the mobility element of the disability living allowance will be slashed.

We will however continue to brew our own beer and wine to drown our sorrows, however, not in the forests as you intend on selling these off. Surly these are not yours to sell? Have you thought about how this will affect those who walk through them so that they can see our very beautiful countryside? I imagine not. Where else are we to go? It's not as if our libraries are safe as vast amounts of these are being closed due to funding. I do hope that you manage to keep the library in the house of commons, you could do with reading up on common sense. Libraries are a way for people to improve their chances in life through education and by making these cuts they are being denied these chances.

don't forget the cuts to the following:

* Speech and Language services for pre-schoolers
* Portage services for families with children with SEN
• Respite services
* Slashing of services and budgets to support any child in m/s education who may need additional support.
* changes to DLA and more frequent assessments for the disabled.

A lady wished to add her concerns about the possible closure of 250 Sure Start centres, with the scaling back of 1000 more. They offer really valuable support in some of the most deprived communities in the country and are a valuable resource for some really vulnerable members of society - young mums and their children, and also offer much needed support to health and social services through their family support services. Again this is contradictory to Cameron's 'Big Society' plans - how can this be promoted when the infrastructure it will rely on is being attacked with so many cuts.

Another wanted to add her despair at the scrapping of EMA. Clients of hers who have children at college full time aged 16-18, who are on a low income or benefits, really struggle to pay for buses / books / equipment for their children, and also for internet connections at home. ESA was often spent on transport to and from college and study aids for the child, leaving their tax credits and child benefit to be spent on what it is designed for - the extra costs of food, clothing and fuel if you have children.

Then there are the absurd changes to the CSA that are due to be coming in next year. A separated parent will have to pay up to £100 to apply for child maintenance via the CSA, even though it's a child's right to be supported by both parents. This payment will need to be made at a time in their life when they are likely to be vulnerable and poor, having already had to cope with the stress and cost of a split/divorce. Once assessed, both the parent with care and the non-resident parent will be charged a monthly fee to 'administrate' the payment. This is purely a money-spinner for the government which is likely to result in increased child poverty and enable absent parents to avoid their responsibilities. And this is on top of child benefit cuts, benefit cuts, local housing authority cuts, DLA cuts, wage cuts, and rises in food prices, petrol prices, utilities prices and inflation.

And by the way please don't privitise the NHS. And people want their local GP and hospital to be a good GP and hospital they don't want to spend hours researching and travelling to find a better one.
I could go on but I've looked at all of this and it's left me depressed! Do what I've done and consult people. It takes a good leader to sort out the finances but an even better one to protect the vulnerable.