Readers’ letters - April 10

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Shareholders are profiting from NHS

We find it outrageous that, at a time when central Government funding for the NHS is being squeezed, the Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STPs) are being set up to divert more NHS money into shareholder profits.

Patients are now being denied prescriptions and procedures that they need at a time when new NHS money is going direct to healthy shareholders’ offshore tax havens through the financial markets, without even going past a patient.

We, as patients, carers and campaigners, do not have to ‘get behind’ the STPs.

No one voted for the Health and Social Care Act 2012 and Hammond and NHS bosses are actually deliberately putting the ‘Economy’ into the NHS, to make it similar to the US health industry, where taxpayers pay out more money for less treatment than anywhere in the developed world.

Susan Holdsworth

Protect Chorley & South Ribble Hospital from Cuts and Privatisation Campaign

environment

Build on vacant urban land first

Consultation on the Lancaster District’s Local Plan invites all to ‘have their say’.

Last year people very strongly objected to Green Belt 4 (GB4) between Bolton-le-Sands and Slyne-with-Hest being used for development.

The council has listened and has not included GB4 in the draft Local Plan.

This was democracy as it should be with the people’s wishes coming first.

However, a new, anti-democratic back door option for developers is apparently opening.

By refusing to allow new housing within the Slyne-with-Hest parish boundary to be counted as housing for that parish, planners are now pressing Slyne-with-Hest to find more land for housing and hinting that the GB4 site, which our democratically elected council said should not be developed, could easily be lost if this is not achieved.

Why, when there is plenty of vacant urban land and non-greenbelt areas in the Lancaster district, enough to cover our estimated housing need, are our planners so zealously pursuing need for more development in Slyne, an area surrounded by greenbelt?

The National Policy Planning Framework duty binds the council to co-operate with developers, but a duty to co-operate is not a duty to agree.

Are our council planners proactively engaged with community wishes to protect beloved green fields with green belt protection or is our money being spent on assisting those out to make enormous profits?

Lesley Bryan

Save our villages , Save our Greenbelt campaign group

education

Absences of teachers

The recent Supreme Court ruling against a parent who took his child on holiday during term time without permission has no doubt been welcomed by headteachers.

A number of headteachers have said “to take a child out of school for even a day can be very detrimental to their education”. No evidence is ever given.

This issue raises another one that need exposing.

If it is claimed that taking a child out of school seriously affects their education, then so does the absence of teachers as the result of illness.

On these occasions, a supply teacher is brought in.

In all too many cases, these replacements do no teaching.

They tell the class to do their homework or carry on doing what they did prior to their teacher’s absence. Where this occurs, the pupil is attending school but little learning is taking place.

The system is also expensive.

Schools are spending huge sums of money every year on supply teachers covering staff sickness.

Dr Barry Clayton

Address supplied

health

Learn about Parkinson’s

This year’s Parkinson’s Awareness Week is April 10 to 16, it coincides with World Parkinson’s Day on April 11.

It is 200 years since the illness was first recognised in its own right and there is still no cure available.

The Preston and District Branch is holding an event in the green room at Barton Grange Garden Centre on Saturday, April 15, from 10am to 3pm where there will be information available about the condition and how to cope with it, however it may affect you.

We will also have a second hand book stall, a jewellery stall and a tombola.

Children will be catered for in a play area, where they can colour in and have their face painted for free.

There may also be free sweets!

Everyone is welcome to come along and have a look around and a chat, entry is free.

Steve Hardaker

Garstang

health

An insult to working class

If Copeland didn’t rely on the nuclear fuel industry which Corbyn dislikes, then the Tories would have had no chance in winning in the recent by-election.

For ‘Mother Theresa’ to say the Tories are now the champions of the working class is an insult. Someone wants to remind her that more people are now relying on food banks and benefit sanctions in our false economy, contributed to by failed Tory policies.

G Ellis

Address supplied

money

Britannia or Peter Rabbit?

Being of a certain age and temperament, I am less than enamoured of recent developments to what was a substantial and robust British coinage whose imagery reflected my idea of Britain.

Instead of Britannia and heraldry, what is now pressed upon us? Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle. Can you imagine Uncle Sam using the image of one of my favourite cartoon characters – Bugs Bunny, along with Fog Horn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam – on their coinage?

Grumpy Old Man