Letters to the editor: 02/03/17

(02 March, 2017)

Send them to letters@southwarknews.co.uk

13135

Living in cuckoo land

I read Donnachadh McCarthy’s  column  in your February 16 edition  regarding air pollution in London.

Today I travelled from Tesco’s Surrey Quays to Argos – Old Kent Road via Rotherhithe New Road, Catlin Street and Rolls Road, during that journey I counted two black cabs, 13 Uber Prius PHV’s and three ‘other’ minicabs.  So where does he get black cabs make up 23% of traffic and PHV’s 14%.

In central London and the City, Uber Prius outnumber the cabs, they park up in supermarkets, McDonalds, KFS carparks and on black cab ranks with their engines running, throwing bottles of urine and plastic bags with poo out of car windows onto the street.

Perhaps Transport for London should be approached by the Green Party to check if all these 100,000+ PHV drivers actually work for bona-fide minicab companies with office and land line phones as stipulated in PHV’s R&R’s or a technology copy or have they got a PHV license so that they can travel about in the congestion zone free polluting the air.

Not forgetting that black cab drivers spend 3-4 years studying the Knowledge, take a driving test, CRB check, have H&R insurance, trained in handling disabled people, wheelchairs and dogs.  Therefore when you get a black cab you know you are going to be safe and taken the direct root to your destination cutting journey times rather than all round the houses following a satnav, increasing the fare.

Also, does he live in cuckoo land by saying companies should take out the Mayor’s Bike Hire scheme or their own bike-share to get employees to meetings rather than taking taxis or PHV/minicabs, to reduce air pollution.

Vicki H, Rotherhithe

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‘Alternative facts’

I am writing about the story regarding the Lib Dems’ “Alternative Budget”Southwark News, February 16, 2017.

Perhaps topically, it seems to be one that is based on alternative facts.

One of those ‘alternative facts’ is the suggestion that last year’s care budget was overspent by £9.5m. In fact, a quick read of council papers would have shown the Lib Dems that the combined overspend last year for all children’s and adults care was £1.6m.

Of course, you  cannot turn on the news at the moment without hearing of the difficulties councils up and down the land are currently finding with adult care cost pressures. In Southwark , it is true that there was a risk that the adult care budget might have been overspent by £9.5m this year if the council had not taken action, but we have worked hard to reduce this during the year. We have been helped in doing so by being able to use the resources that the council wisely put aside precisely for such risks – and that the Lib Dems have opposed year after year. We would really have been in a position of financial mismanagement if we had listened to them before.

Another ‘alternative fact’ is that they have a better way of collecting council tax. In fact, in-year council tax collection rates improved from 91%  – the worst in London – when the Lib Dems last ran the council to 96.5% after Labour brought the service back in-house: an achievement that saw the council win the prestigious IRRV award for most improved council in 2014.

Finally, the Lib Dems suggest that they had fewer cabinet members when they last ran the council. A simple check of the facts would reveal that the Executive (as they called the Cabinet back then) had ten members – the same as today.

Yet again, the Lib Dems answer to the financial difficulties heaped on Southwark’s shoulders by government cuts is to build a fantasy budget built on fantasy facts. Thankfully, I don’t think  Southwark News readers aren’t daft enough to buy it.

Councillor Richard Livingstone, Cabinet member for Adult Care and Financial Inclusion, Labour councillor for Livesey Ward

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Thanks for write up, shame about errors!

Whilst it was great to see an article on the Dulwich Hamlet charity match against a side from Centrepoint, on page 3 of Southwark News on 23rd February, 2017,  which we at Champion Hill are grateful for, there were some glaring errors in it, which I hope you don’t mind me correcting.

Firstly, the match came about  after one of our Football Committee members, George Parnavelas, approached them, and not the other way round.

The game follows on from our Anti-Homophobia Awareness game against the Gay World Champions Stonewall FC in 2015 & FC Assyria, in a Refugee Awareness match last season. For ourselves highlighting social issues that affect everyone, through our medium of a higher-profile non-league club is just as important as raising funds on the night.  These games have become part of a now-established annual event for us, where we try to reach out & go ‘one step further’, rather than just paying ‘lip service’ to causes.

It is also about  making our guests, whether playing or not, enjoy a night that they will remember for a long time to come. That is why we offer these matches at half our usual admission, so everyone can afford to go, and we also make a point of not putting out our strongest side, as that would clearly be such a mis-match on the pitch, and that’s not what we set out to do.  It is never our intention to play at full strength in these sort of games.

Finally, you mentioned our ‘first 15’…perhaps your reporter could have a word with your sports desk, as there are fifteen players in a rugby union match, and a mere eleven in a football team, and unlike a rugby side…under our forward-looking manager  Gavin Rose, we do try to keep our ball on the floor!

Mishi Morath, (Dulwich Hamlet Football Committee, community liaison)

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