Letters to the editor 07/07/16

(07 July, 2016)

This week we have yet MORE on Brexit, reaction to developer's affordable housing cop out, and the government's let down on people's visibility

The electorate is always right

In her column (June 30) Helen Hayes, MP for Dulwich & West Norwood, calls for a second Referendum.

She cites that Leave won with just a small majoirty. So a majority of 1.2 million is small is it?

In politics a majority of one is sufficient. Ms Hayes goes on to claim the Leave campaign told lies. So the Remain campaign were completely honest were they? They ran a negative campaign. All doom and gloom.

The Remain campaign had the goverment machinery behind it. I do not believe for one moment that No10 did not coordinate world leaders and other overseas politicians coming out in favour of the UK staying in the EU. Leave had to fight against all the odds and still triumphed.

Ms Hayes is a London based MP but London is not England. Not by a long chalk.

I recently went to France to watch England play in Euro 2016 and asked Northerners I met what the feeling was up there. To a man they told me everyone they knew wanted out because of genuine concerns about immigration, a taboo subject for the Labour Party.  To these Northerners It was not the main issue. It was the only issue.

They said they kept being reminded by the politicians that immigration is beneficial to the country but for the life of them, they could see absolutely no benefits where they lived.

Has Ms Hayes ever spoken to people from the back streets of places like Barnsley or Huddersfield? If she had, she would have got a different picture.

It is ironic that Leave won due, in no small part, to Labour voters ignoring the party line because they do not feel the Party represents them any more.

Indeed, when it came to the Referendum they had more in common with the voters in the Shires.

Believe me, Northern voters had made their minds up some time ago about how they were going to vote. All the  debate about NHS funding etc in recent weeks had no effect whatsoever.

Remain voters are bad losers who believe in democracy as long as the result goes their way.

Ms Hayes, of all people, should be aware of a truism in politics, namely, that the electorate is always right.

Patrick Burke, Barbican


Hadley can afford affordable homes

Your revelation last week that Hadley group is trying to escape its obligation to build 35 per cent affordable housing on grounds of ‘viability’ needs to be challenged.

It claims it meets its section 106 ‘planning gain’ duty by building a new stadium on Metropolitan Open Land (MOL). Hadley says this may cost £5 million.

If you divide the purchase price by 155, the number of units proposed, it arrives at £38,000 per unit. London developers normally expect building land to cost about a third of the eventual selling price.

Working on an average selling price of £500,000 per unit, that would suggest a  ‘normal’ land cost of £166,667 per unit, giving a difference of £128,667 per unit. Multiply that by 155 and you obtain a notional gross profit on the land alone of £19.4 million. That’s all before building begins.

So Hadley could well bear the cost of affordable homes. The development is more than viable. And so is the football club with a four-fold rise in average attendance of more than 1,300, rising to more than 2,500 for some games, plus proportional profits from beer sales.

But by far the club’s greatest asset are its loyal fans and hardworking volunteers who last year worked an estimated 2,500 hours for the club.

Jonathan Hunt, Champion Hill SE5


Sight test for those with learning disabilities

In a report launched in parliament we at SeeAbility  say NHS England’s national sight testing and funding system is letting down the one million people with learning disabilities in England.

Us and leading eye health organisation the Local Optical Committee Support Unit (LOCSU) are calling for an urgent overhaul of the system as there are huge levels of sight problems amongst people with learning disabilities and people are currently missing out on the eye care they need. Some are even tragically losing their sight.

SeeAbility’s report, ‘Delivering an equal right to sight’, finds numbers in England are at their highest level yet:

  • one in ten of the learning disability population will be blind or partially sighted
  • six in ten people with learning disabilities will need glasses
  • studies indicate four in ten of the 100,000 children in special schools have never had a sight test and up to half of adults with learning disabilities have not had their eyes tested in the recommended period
  • Children with learning disabilities are 28 times more likely to have a serious sight problem than other children

People with learning disabilities, their families and supporters are being asked to sign a petition calling on NHS England to deliver a more inclusive system and offer free sight tests for all working age people with learning disabilities.

Sight tests not only help people get the glasses they need, they can identify serious sight threatening conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. There is currently no NHS plan for eye care and little mention of the high risk of sight problems or the need for checks in new national learning disability strategies.

The current NHS contract for sight tests fails to recognise that people are likely to need additional time or appointments to complete a sight test, as well as better support with glasses. Those of working age may not be eligible for NHS funded sight tests, unlike other high risk groups which are, such as those with a family history of glaucoma.

SeeAbility also says there needs to be awareness training in health and social care on the risks and signs of a sight problem in people with learning disabilities. Eye care services need to provide accessible information and reasonable adjustments, and the report features projects across the country supporting people with learning disabilities that others can learn from, including SeeAbility’s work to deliver sight tests and glasses to children in special schools.

SeeAbility’s new report ‘Delivering an equal right to sight’ and a link to the petition is available at www.seeability.org/equalrighttosight.

From anonymous



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