South Wales Echo letters: Friday, November 1, 2019

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Time to take action as Wales’ schools in crisis

Nine hundred and forty-two schools across Wales have suffered a real-terms cut to per-pupil funding.

My old primary school, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Abercynon, has lost more than £327,000 from 2015-2020, or £382 per pupil. Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun, my old comprehensive school, has lost £293,000 during the same period. Mountain Ash Comprehensive has lost £453,469 (equivalent to £389 per pupil) while Tylorstown primary has lost £352,175 or £811 per pupil.

You can check how much your local school has lost by visiting the School Cuts Cymru website.

Such cuts inevitably translate into larger class sizes, less money for equipment like software and even basic stationery, sparse resources for supply cover, fewer resources for school trips and the closure of after-school clubs.

It also means crucial counselling services are under constant threat, not to mention impossible strains on maintenance and repair budgets, which are also vital. Some schools are resorting to implementing shorter days or asking parents for donations.

Others have been compelled to ask teachers to help out with cleaning toilets, which clearly isn’t part of their job description.

These reckless austerity measures imposed by Welsh Government are inevitably impacting on the educational attainment of our children and young people, particularly in deprived regions which badly need more investment. There has been a 7.9% real-terms cut (including inflation) in the 2018/19 education budget to £2.566bn, and real per-pupil spending has decreased by 10% in a decade. Many schools are at breaking point with rapidly accumulating deficits, and it will only get worse unless they get the support they desperately need. Why should the future prospects of our youth be relegated to second-class status? Perhaps if the Labour-dominated Welsh Government cannot deliver, we should be looking towards building a socialist alternative.

Daniel Pitt

Mountain Ash

Council is going from bad to worse

Just when the public thought that the level of incompetence from Labour-led Caerphilly could not get any worse, Labour have once again shown that they are breaking new ground in the incompetence stakes.

First we had the car loan scandal, then the senior officer pay scandal, followed by the resignations of the former leader of council, who is now under investigation.

Now we find out that the council has underspent the capital budget by a staggering £37.6m, and despite this massive underspend, Labour CCBC has increased council tax by 7%, turned off our street lights, closed public toilets and intends to close leisure centres.

Clearly the comments from Labour CLP denouncing their own council as lacking knowledge and understanding of issues is on display for all to see.

Cllr Nigel Dix

Blackwood

Host Kidsmas Party to raise vital funds

Families across the UK are beginning to prepare for festive celebrations, but at Barnardo’s Cymru our focus is helping and supporting vulnerable children who may be missing out on the joy of Christmas.

This could be because they are leaving care, have been victims of sexual abuse or have mental health issues. That’s why we’re launching our new Kidsmas campaign to put children at the heart of Christmas.

We’re asking people up and down the country to host a Kidsmas Party at home, school, work or with their local community groups to raise money for vulnerable children.

Our free Kidsmas Party packs include games and fun fundraising ideas to help make your gathering a memorable one. I encourage everybody to get into the Kidsmas spirit this year by hosting a Kidsmas Party.

Not only will you have fun, but you’ll also help make sure more children are happy, safe and cared for this Christmas. Download or order your free pack at www.barnardos.org.uk/joinkidsmas.

Sarah Crawley

Director, Barnardo’s Cymru

Vote tactically to beat the monkeys

So that’s it, then. A fight between Jeremy Corbyn, under the control of Seumas Milne, avowed Stalinist, and Boris Johnson, under the control of Dominic Cummings, fanatical right-winger.

What a dismal choice. Two monkeys and two organ-grinders. All Brexiteers.

Wales can and must do better than that. Please vote intelligently and tactically to avoid a catastrophe.

Huw H Davies

Penarth

Plaid offering a beacon of hope

Our Prime Minister has failed to deliver any kind of Brexit in spite of his many promises. Instead of getting Brexit done we are now asked to elect a new government.

The last Tory Prime Minister took the same gamble and failed to settle anything. A People’s Vote, with all the options on the table, will be the only way to settle this mess.

In the meantime perhaps we can look at the very real and dangerous problem of the climate crisis that we are facing, which is far more serious. Our NHS will be under the usual pressures during the winter but the climate crisis and air quality issues will make this much worse very soon.

In Wales we are also seeing a growth of curiosity in Welsh independence, and more and more people feel that we will always be the poor part of the UK if we do not take back control of our own fate. Given the debates in Scotland and Ireland yes, Welsh independence will be more of an issue in this election.

Plaid Cymru offer hope regarding all of these issues and I am looking forward to offering a radical alternative and a proper debate in Cardiff North.

Steffan Webb

Plaid Cymru candidate for Cardiff North

Don’t let the UK be overwhelmed

Regarding the letter from Roger Lee (October 28), I totally agree with his comments regarding our MPs and the Brexit shambles.

Our MPs and AMs seem to forget they are elected into office by the people for the people, so should respect the referendum by the people, and here we are almost three and a half years since the referendum and still no progress.

I was in my thirties when we joined the then-common market in 1973. Now 45 years on, I am pushing 80 and have also voted Labour all my life, but no more while we have the likes of Corbyn and Mr Drakeford.

Also we have the likes of Jo Swinson, the new leader of the Liberal undemocratics, who is still wet behind the ears, intent on not accepting a vote of the people.

I think the main reason for voting out of the EU by the people is the EU’s open-door policy allowing free movement.

We are only a small country and yet it seems every Tom, Dick and Harry wants to come here. Our NHS and schools are overwhelmed and this has to stop.

T Avery

Pentwyn, Cardiff



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