The heavy-handed response by the Met Police to the vigil, at Clapham Common, for Sarah Everard, was the leading story on Sunday. Peaceful vigils were held in Glasgow, Nottingham and elsewhere. The awful irony of this was not lost; that the murder of a woman by a serving a police officer, ends up with more women being man-handled by the Police. Sunday was also Mothering Sunday.
Author: Sally Young
Sally Young has lived in the North East of England all her life. Sally is a social activist - she focuses on change (for good), having a voice and making changes. She has set up and run several charities in the North East and has been involved in national initiatives. She worked in and with the NHS for many years in a number of different roles promoting involvement in health. Sally has worked in and with local communities and voluntary organisations for over thirty years as a volunteer, staff member and trustee. Sally lives in Newcastle and is particularly interested in tackling inequality and poverty with a focus on women, children, refugees and asylum seekers. She has been a City Councillor in Newcastle. She has written and contributed to a number of reports on poverty and the voluntary sector.
This letter is being sent to the current Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in the hope he might pull it out of his budget box next Wednesday 3 March, to make it the foundations for his announcement.
Over four million children nationally are now affected by child poverty. This is unacceptable. Moreover, help to give every child the best start in life is diminishing. It is true that funding has been provided for free childcare for children aged three and four and also for some two-year olds although not all can access it as there is insufficient provision for what is needed
Although it’s been illegal in the UK to pay women less than men for fifty years, a 15.5% gender pay gap still exists. This year the Equal Pay Day in the UK was 20 November, the day women effectively start to work for free because, on average, they are paid less than men. Sadly there will be many redundancies after furlough and the perilous state of childcare means a disproportionate number of these are likely to fall on women.
From the 1970s onward, successive governments have pulled back from the state provision of a nutritional meal. Remember “Thatcher the Milk Snatcher”? Usually the dogma was around the Nanny State – though I’m rather taken with David Baddiel’s comment that the ”people who most object to the Nanny State are nearly all brought up by nannies”. The growth of the food industry, junk food, consumer choice and fast food – also the drive of privatisation, reduction of council costs, crackdowns on benefits and the reduction in numbers of those entitled to Free School Meals resulted in a decimation of the school meals service.
Social care should be about meeting the needs of people as best we can; not reducing personal interactions to financially viable, fully costed impersonal transactions. People are not cost units.
The North East, with its skills and industrial know-how should be at the forefront of a green revolution. As others have already advocated, it has the potential to become an international hub of carbon neutral technologies and wind-related energy sources.
Employers are starting to realise that they can cut down on office costs, reduce the difficulties and risks of social distancing and quarantine and enhance the geographical diversity of their workforce. Workers can see the advantages of not having long commutes, saving transport costs, possibly having more autonomy on how they work, and a potentially more pleasant environment. Clearly there could be a massive impact on the environment in reducing emissions.
At the beginning of March this year I met up with some friends in Sheffield. We had all been involved in a project on poverty some years ago; as often happens, we had become friends and had kept in touch over the years. We are all women aged over 60, from different places, different work […]
The North East Covid-19 Economic Response Group (or ERG), could shift to put wellbeing, tackling inequalities and climate change at our core.