Post letters: Budget, Job Centre campaign, hospital thanks, culture bid and support children

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 December 2017

Theresa May's government has been criticised over Universal Credit. Picture: PA

Theresa May's government has been criticised over Universal Credit. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

Budget hits vulnerable again

Andrew Achilleos, Dagenham resident, full address supplied, writes:

The roll out of Universal Credit is going to significantly effect the lives of 20,274 local people

Since it was introduced in other areas it has left claimants waiting up to 12 weeks for their first payment, pushing many families into the hands of payday loans, food banks, and even hostels. 12 weeks, when the Tories UC changeover policy stipulates six.

In the autumn budget the government scrapped the seven day processing time. Reducing the wait for initial payment from ‘six weeks’ to ‘five weeks’ - we all know this means 10 weeks.

Will a private landlord wait 10 weeks for rent? Can a family wait 10 weeks to put food on the table?

The budget also outlined that claimants could get a 50 per cent advance payment, which is deducted from future payments - I never thought I’d see the government taking the mantle of a payday loan company.

UC is a sound idea, but it can’t be wheeled out until the particulars have been ironed out. That means making sure there are safety nets when people fall victim to the governments admin errors.

Another ill advised, ill timed, catastrophe of a budget. Lashing out at the most vulnerable.

Thanks for your show of support

Stephen Hopich, full address supplied, writes:

I’m writing to thank the people drove their car and van drivers who hooted their horns to show their support as they passed by the Job Centre campaigners who were protesting to stop the closure of Dagenham Job Centre Plus, Chequers Lane.

It meant a lot to the campaigners.

Still going strong after hearing op

Bill Farrow, full address supplied, writes:

Earlier this year, June 7, you kindly published a letter from me thanking the wonderful surgeons and staff at Queen’s - ear, nose and throat department for a brilliant, very successful operation, which gave me back my hearing.

I have since written and recorded a song called ‘Aint We Lucky. We’ve got the NHS’. I sent a copy of this to as many hospital radio stations as I could - as far out as Bournemouth Hospital as a ‘big thank you’.

This is just to let you know that I am still out performing thanks to those marvellous surgeons and I will be at The Romford Folk Club at The Sun Public House on Tuesday, December 5.

Go to YOUTUBE, NHS - Bill Farrow.

Culture bid can encourage pupils

Dr Leonard Restall, formerly of Barking, writes:

The report of a bid for Barking to become the London Borough of Culture is a wonderful sense of confidence in the local borough and would create great challenges as well as give increased quality of satisfaction for local residents.

The challenges would require total commitment to the role of culture, which is the set of customs, traditions and values of the local society. It could include the development of art, music, dance, religion and any other universal activities enjoyed and participated within a community.

These challenges do not appear to be beyond the capacity of the local borough to meet and to gain from, and would considerably enhance community well being.

Buildings of cultural significance in the local borough may not be many at the moment, but it will be the development of attitudes that can compensate for the shortage of them. This can be found in history where great cultural centers were built to accommodate various activities such as art galleries, theaters, and music centres.

Within education it would provide further incentive to contribute more to the local culture by becoming more involved and focused on some of the universal activities common to the local region such as art, and music. The spin off would be very educationally advantageous for students and could develop within students a greater sense of belonging to their local borough.

This could be a winner for all aspects of business and society so let us get behind this bid.

Budget fails to boost NHS funds

Dr Gary Marlowe, BMA (British Medical Association) London regional council chairman, writes:

With the NHS facing one of the most challenging periods in its history, the budget announcement has fallen short of what is needed to address the long-term funding problems which unfortunately look set to continue.

In north, central and east London, increasing pressure on services means that many waiting time targets haven’t been met for years and patients face longer delays to see their GP as the crisis in general practice has left many surgeries struggling to cope.

As government figures published this week reveal a significant fall in the number of GPs and three in four medical specialities struggling to fill training places, recruitment and retention should be a priority for the NHS, yet the budget offers little solution to this crisis.

The chancellor’s failure to commit to extra funding for public health issues means that the damaging impact of alcohol, tobacco and poor diet will continue to cost the NHS billions each to year to treat. Whilst the proposals in the budget will go some way towards easing short-term pressures, this was largely a missed opportunity to prioritise patient care and create the sustainable future the NHS needs.

Support children this Christmas

Hannah Vince, fundraiser at The Children’s Trust, writes:

As Christmas approaches, we’re asking readers to help us raise money for some very special children during their Christmas celebrations this year.

The Children’s Trust is asking you to put on your seasonal smile, don your festive socks and frocks and show some Christmas spirit by getting involved in Festive Friday, a national dress-up day, on December 8. The downloadable Festive Friday toolkit complete with DIY selfie props is the perfect accompaniment for your Christmas party, in return for a suggested donation of £2.

Each pack includes classic Christmas pudding glasses, Santa’s hat and beard, a holly bowtie and some naughty and nice signs. Money raised will support children with brain injury.Sign up at

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