One of the cruellest effects of the austerity programme pursued by the coalition and Conservative governments since 2010 has been the surge in the number of us who turn in destitution to food banks. In 2008/9, the Trussell Trust provided 29,000 emergency food supplies; in 2016/17, it provided 1.2 million.Read more
The Health Service Journal (week beginning 15 February) reports that the East of England had the steepest decline in accident and emergency performance in England compared to the previous year. Three trusts in the region, including the Cambridge University Hospitals Trust (for Addenbrooke's Hospital), were in the top ten biggest declines, despite attendance remaining broadly flat. It was officially acknowledged that the trusts had been affected by discharge delays.Read more
I'd like briefly to defend the sense and the necessity of street protest, including the ongoing demonstrations in Cambridge against the racist politics of the new US president Donald Trump (Cambridge News, 23 and 31 January), which the People's Assembly has joined.Read more
Cambridgeshire library services suddenly introduced charges for book reservations in June this year – they are £1 per book for books between Cambridgeshire libraries, £2 for books from Suffolk libraries, and £7.50 for inter-library loans from other national libraries.Read more
Cambridgeshire residents should be seriously concerned that access to an important part of their library service now depends on their ability to pay ('Dismay at £1 library charge', Cambridge News, 8 June). The new reservation charge will be a disproportionate blow to, among other groups, those of us who don't live in easy reach of the county's urban libraries and rely on reservations to get the books we need at smaller ones. We can be certain that use of these libraries will fall as a result. And we can expect that falling usage will be given as a reason to close yet more libraries in a future round of austerity cuts.Read more
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am a volunteer with Norfolk SEND Partnership, and have been for the last seventeen years. I work mostly in the west of the Norfolk region.
I work with parents of children with Special Educational Needs, and as such many of these children cannot cope with mainstream school environments. They are either permanently excluded or simply refuse to attend school.
To Whom it May Concern,
You may be unemployed or underemployed; you may be a dedicated nurse, firefighter, or teacher who is sick of seeing public services undermined and their workers vilified; you may be disabled and have met with suspicion instead of support; you may be a migrant who is tired of being demonized; or you may simply be a citizen who cannot live happily in a sea of misery. Whoever you may be, you have no reason to be happy that the Conservatives were returned to power. Austerity will cut deeper and the tide of misery rise.Read more