<30.8% A Very Poor Democracy


‘Clueless And Deluded’

Some think that because multi-millionaires in the UK are getting richer, and the Brexit vote hasn’t had much of an impact. But the average wage is being outstripped by rising prices, and peoples living standards are declining.
There have been changes to the NHS, resulting in more serious operations not being done within the 18 week target and people waiting in corridors in A+E. In 2015 the Conservatives put in their election manifesto a promise about making GP appointments easier. The promise has now been dropped, another broken promise. Theresa May wants the General Election to be about Brexit, lets hope that the facts about our poorly performing NHS and ailing social care do not get forgotten.

The police recorded a total of 4.8 million offences in the year ending December 2016, an annual rise of 9%. Knife crime rose 11 per cent and gun crime by 7% in the last year alone.

The cost of National debt payment paid by the Government in 2011/12 was £48 billion, in 2016/17 it was £62 billion, next year the same debt payments will amount to £68 billion. Theresa May thinks her leadership qualities are ‘Strong and Stable’, I would say ‘Clueless And Deluded’.

I am not sure if people would attribute any of these facts to Brexit, perhaps its as a result of Conservative policies? I am sure Theresa May and her wealthy family will not suffer due to reduced police and NHS funding, unlike us ordinary folk.


A&E Attendances Are Up 4.1%

It was interesting that my MP, asked the Secretary of State for Health, what the average employer pension contribution is for a junior doctor. The written answer that she received was that junior doctors are at the bottom of the pile, when it comes to employer contributions. I am not sure if her intension was to highlight the plight of junior doctors under this Government. Our NHS seems to be out of the media spotlight, now that Brexit and Grammar schools are under the media spotlight.

The performance of our local NHS trusts is well below standard. The long-term trend is one of missed targets, with emergency admissions up 3.8%, diagnostic tests up 6.1% and consultant-led treatment up 4.2%. A&E attendances are up 4.1%. The NHS is a wonderful organisation, but it seems that we are getting more emergency treatment. Is this because we are less healthy and general practitioners are failing to respond due to lower budgets?

Clean Air

In a case before the United Kingdoms Supreme Court, the UK is being held responsible by the EU for not fulfilling its duties to allow its citizens clean air. The EU air pollution laws attempts to put an end to the decades-long scandal of air pollution, which kills thousands of people in Britain each year. Three years ago, Mayor Boris Johnson, published research showing that it caused 4,300 deaths annually in London alone, while the Government’s official air pollution watchdog later put the nationwide mortality figure at 29,000. One in seven British children have asthma. David Cameron has included “environmental legislation” among the areas for renegotiation where he believes Brussels has “gone far too far”. Yet polls show that UK voters believe Brussels has a “negative role” in areas such as health care, employment, inflation, housing and tax, but many people consistently say it has had a good effect on the British environment. The EU is widely credited with forcing the pace on improvements to the quality of air and rivers.

No Room for Pedestrians

After I sent an email to the police complaining about cars being parked on the pavement, I was rather surprised at the reply “there is no specific offences of parking a vehicle with two wheels on a footpath”. The Highway Code states that you MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and you should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. The Road Traffic Act 1988 includes legislation making it illegal to park vehicles on cycle tracks, which includes shared use pavements. There is also an offence specific to HGV drivers parking on a footpath mainly due to the weight of the vehicles causing damage. But I am sure that many local councils don’t believe that it is just heavy lorries costing them thousands, or even millions over the years, to repair paving stones.

In 2011 it was estimated that Leeds City Council spent almost £2 million every year to repair broken pavements. David Cowdrey, of Guide Dogs’ Head of Public Policy and Campaigns, said: “We were staggered to discover how much councils are having to spend each year on repairing pavements and paying compensation claims, some of which is down to inconsiderate parking. Parking on pavements also creates an obstacle for pedestrians trying to use the pavements, making it difficult for mothers with pushchairs, wheelchair users and other people to use the pavement safely. At worst, pavements obstructed with poorly parked cars can stop visually impaired people from being able to leave their homes or get to the local shops.” I am sure that the police are aware that it is illegal to drive a vehicle on the pavement, but once they have got there, it seems that the police in Leeds just do not care.


Prescription Charges In England

The cost of prescription charges in England will rise by 20p to £7.85 from 1 April, the Conservative government has announced. But although the people in England will be hit by the charge, those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will continue to pay nothing. The new higher price being charged in England will only be paid by 10% of the people getting a prescription in England, because those that qualify are deemed poor, deserving or old. Those that qualify for free prescriptions also qualify for many other benefits.

The founder of the NHS, Aneurin Bevan, regarded the concept of charging as unethical to the notion of a service “free at the point of use” and controversy continues to surround the issue of prescription charges. The Macmillan Cancer Support charity was one of many organisations that campaigned for the abolition of prescription charges in England “so that no one is in the position where they can’t afford the treatment prescribed by their doctor or health professional.” This particular campaign was successful and as from 2009 cancer patients in England were made exempt from prescription charges. But what about other long term illnesses? What about families, that are not that rich, but do not qualify for any benefits? Back in 1948, Aneurin Bevan, credited with setting up the NHS, resigned because of the introduction of prescription charges for dental care and spectacles. Since then the welfare state has ballooned, but the core principle of free healthcare has been lost. Just one prescription item now costs £7.65 and a 12-month certificate is £104.00, and set to rise. The cost of eyeglasses and dental care can run into hundreds of pounds, but only 10% will pay any charges.

Increasing train fares

Although times are difficult, with almost zero wage increases, I can understand why people complain about rising prices. And the 6.2% price rise on the railways is more than inflation. But the trains are still good value, as can be seen by how popular they are. I don’t travel by trains that much, but when I have, the fare has been cheaper than travelling by bus or car. Taking the train costs between 10-30p per mile, which compares favourably with the bus and the car. The only time that cars win out, is when the car is not used by just one person. But since many car journeys are short and have just one occupant, the train often works out better option if the destination of the journey is served by the railways.

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