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Recorder letters: School funding, self-employed, terrorism and dementia

PUBLISHED: 08:00 29 March 2017

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Newham is fighting for fair school funding. Picture: PA/DAVE THOMPSON

School funding cuts a ‘backward step’

Cllr Revd Quintin Peppiatt, cabinet member, Children and Young People, writes:

The government are consulting on their most recent version of the proposed Schools National Funding Formula.

If implemented, it will mean Newham schools will lose more than £8 million from their budgets. This is the largest reduction of all the London boroughs and the third largest in the country.

It is time for the government to listen to our lobbying and the schools. Level up the underfunded areas rather than cut budgets from schools in places like Newham.

Newham schools have made tremendous progress in the past few years with the some of the best results in the country. This has been achieved by the hard work of staff, parents and pupils. This has been helped by the investment from central government and Newham Council. Our every Child a Reader programme and other programmes have been seen to have had a significant impact.

In cutting the schools funding over the next few years the government will be taking a backward step in social mobility and putting at risk much of the progress we have made.

Self-employed still face squeeze

Unmesh Desai AM, London Assembly Member for City and East, writes:

Sadly, self-employed people in Newham aren’t off the hook just yet, despite the government reversing their controversial hike in National Insurance contributions (NICs).

Whilst the u-turn is welcome – after all the government did pledge there would be no change to NICs during this parliament – it won’t help many low-earning self-employed people.

The government is pressing ahead with plans to force some self-employed workers earning below £5,965 a year to choose between a 400 per cent increase in their NICs, or lose out on their state pension.

The changes, which will come into force in April 2018, speak volumes about their attitude towards London’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. On the one hand the government insist that they want Britain to be the place for start-ups, but at the same time they are financially penalising many of the creative people needed to achieve that ambition.

The hike in business rates, and the refusal to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who already live and work in the capital, has left London businessmen and women with enough to worry about. They could do without the government adding to their troubles through ill thought out, punitive policies.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to be the most business-friendly mayor London has ever had. It’s about time the government started following his lead.

‘I am London, you cannot divide me’

Imam Haque, Lathom Road, East Ham, writes:

I was born many many years ago, and I have existed for centuries. You cannot come and destroy me with your horrendous act. I am a city where people from all cultural backgrounds and ethnicity live. They live in me with harmony, peace and love for each other.

You cannot sow the seed of division based on sect, caste, creed or religion. I stand for love, peace, diversity and harmony. You cannot divide me and my people with your sick mentality. You waged a war on me and I am going to defeat you. I have got a big army of more than eight million who live in this city. This eight million strong army will triumph over you.

You martyred our brave soldier whose name is Keith Palmer but everyone living in me is Keith Palmer and they will not let his sacrifice go in vain. You have seen the bravery of my police and you have also seen the bravery of my people. You do not represent any community or any faith, you represent the idea of division, hate and filth.

Terrorism cannot win over me and I will not let these cowardice acts rule the daily life of my people. I am the world’s oldest and strongest democracy and I am not afraid of cowards. I urge everyone, do not let these terrorists and extremists hijack the narrative of peace and love. Do not let them divide me. Let’s stand united and fight with them. Let’s triumph over them.

Dementia care still needs change

Tim McLachlan, Alzheimer’s Society director of operations for Greater London, writes:

The Spring Budget was an opportunity to take social care seriously.

While the £1bn announced for 2017/18 is only half of what is needed, this is the first indication of long overdue national leadership.

We all know that a sticking plaster doesn’t heal a wound. This is why the announcement of a Green Paper, to sort out long-term funding of social care, could be a much needed ray of hope in what has been a dark time. If we’re optimistic, it is a sign of much needed leadership, though long overdue, from national government on this issue. But they must follow through and deliver change to end the disgrace that is the current state of care in this country.

Dementia and social care are, largely, the same thing. Where other conditions need medication or devices to alleviate symptoms, the symptoms of dementia affect people’s ability to do day to day things – washing, dressing, eating.

With no cure on the horizon and few treatments, people with dementia rely heavily on care to meet the basic needs caused by the symptoms of their disease. Social care is the only treatment they have.

Until such long term structural changes are in force people with dementia will still have to pay for their own care, topping up or selling their family homes to do so. We are calling for even more reason to call for greater support for our campaign to Fix Dementia Care. Find out more.

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