An 11 year-old “kind hearted” schoolgirl has slammed David Cameron for “making the poor poorer”, it has been reported.
In a letter to the Prime Minister and Tory leader, Halle Carnall, who attends the Accrington Academy, says her school friends are often left hungry and that she is worried about “what state this country will be in when I’m older”.
Her letter has been shared on Facebook over 40,000 times, after proud mum Joanne, 31, uploaded it to the social network to share with family members.
Joanne told the Accrington Observer:
“After school, Halle was sat in her bedroom, I thought she was doing her homework when she came down and asked me to read her letter.
“When I read the first line ‘Dear Mr Prime Minister’, I almost laughed as I thought it was a joke but as I carried on reading I realised it was a very serious letter that she had put a lot of thought into.
“I uploaded a copy of the letter to Facebook, only to show it to my family, as they live in Liverpool.
“I didn’t expect anything further than a couple of likes and maybe a few comments from friends and family.
“We were in total shock to see that the letter had been re-shared almost 40,000 times, as far as China and New Zealand.”
In her letter to David Cameron, Halle congratulates the PM for winning the general election but warns against “selling the NHS and making the poor poorer whilst looking after you and your firiends”.
“I am worried you are making a poor choice that will impact on my future”, she says.
“I am very lucky that both of my parents have good jobs and I will have a warm meal tonight. However lots of my school friends and millions of others in your country are not so lucky and will be hungry today, tomorrow and for the next five years at least.”
In a call to unite the whole of society, Halle writes:
“Whether rich or poor we are all the same. We all have the right to a good standard of education, healthcare if we are poorly and job opportunities.
“It scares me to imagine what state this country will be in when I’m older.”
She ends the letter by urging David Cameron to:
“Please consider me and million of children of just like me who deserve the best chance in life”.
Commenting on the huge response the letter has received on Facebook, Halle’s mum Joanne said:
“The response has been amazing.
“To us, Halle has always been a kind hearted and gifted child, but for total strangers to agree is just crazy.
“People have been commenting on how well written the letter is, and how Halle is so bright, caring and such a brilliant young lady.
“People have said they are looking at a future electorate and that she would make a fantastic MP.”
Source – Welfare Weekly, 19 May 2015
Fewer pupils in the region are attending fee-paying schools, new figures show.
There are 69,847 pupils at private schools in the North belonging to the Independent Schools Council (ISC), compared with 70,577 pupils in 2013.
Across the country, 7% of schoolchildren are at independent schools. The underlying trend over the last year has been growth, but pupil numbers declined in the region, falling by 1% in the North.
Almost half of the country’s independent schools are located in London and the South East. According to the census, independent schools in different parts of the country have faced different sets of challenges.
Among those schools that participated in the census in both 2013 and 2014 there was a rise in pupils of 1% in London and of 0.5% in the rest of the South East.
Hilary French, headmistress at Newcastle High School for Girls, says the fall in pupil numbers has to be linked to the region’s struggling economy.
“People are doing really well in the South East but we are not feeling those effects yet,” she said. “The Government is trying to save money in public services, which is detrimental, because these services form a really large part of our economy.
“We have to be aware that some parents are struggling – the North East is the only part of the country that hasn’t seen a rise in house prices. We have to hope that the London ripple effect is all to come for us.
“But with the severity of the recession and what’s been happening to the economy here, a 1% fall is quite encouraging. All independent schools are businesses and any business has to look at its situation in the economy – how it needs to attract and retain customers. There are lots of excellent independent schools in the North East. Both Royal Grammar School and ourselves have waiting lists for pupils. Those schools which can move with the times and provide what the market wants are doing very well.”
School fees climbed by 3.9% last year, the lowest rise for almost 20 years. The overall average annual fee, excluding nursery fees, is almost £15,000.
The census said 166,268 pupils nationally – 33.4% of the total – received help with their fees. ISC schools provided more than £660m of help with fees in the academic year 2013/14, an increase of 5.1% on last year.
Schools gave more than twice as much help in the form of bursaries as they did in scholarships. The survey said means-tested bursaries were worth an average of £7,894 per pupil a year and were held by approximately 8% of all ISC pupils.
Pupils from overseas helped to buttress numbers during the recession, and last year their numbers rose 1.4% to a total of 25,912. The two regions supplying the largest number of overseas pupils are Europe (38%) and Hong Kong and China (37.2%).
Ms French added: “We are finding that overseas pupils, particularly from China, want to come to us as a day school and stay with either relatives or host families.”
Source – Newcastle Journal 30 April 2014
> At one time I’d have maybe filed a story like this under ‘Urban Myth’… nowadays, who knows ?
Britain today – everything is for sale.
Cash-strapped Britons are lining up to sell a kidney on the black market, a Sunday Post investigation has revealed.
Advertising organs for sale is illegal in the UK and anyone caught attempting it can face a three-year jail term.
But a Sunday Post investigation found people across the country so desperate for cash they were willing to flout the law.
Our reporter posed as the brother of a woman desperately needing a transplant and placed an advert on a Facebook page specifically set up to buy and sell organs.
Within a week he had received 11 offers from desperate people worldwide willing to risk their lives to drag themselves out of poverty.
Many of the black market operations take place in India, Pakistan or China in an underground industry controlled by ruthless gangs.
Donors from Britain would need to travel abroad to avoid tough checks — including medical assessments and in-depth interviews — carried out by the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) on all live donors in the UK.
Among the people to contact us was a man from north-east England who claimed he realised it “would be a big thing to do but for the right amount I would be willing”.
Our reporter held detailed discussions with the self-employed dad-of-three, including his blood type, the state of his health, a £30,000 payment for the donation and arrangements to meet in person.
A 22-year-old dad living in Northampton was happy to accept £20,000 for his kidney because he and his pregnant fiancee desperately need to raise enough money to return to their native Hungary.
The cash-strapped dad, who has studied at two colleges in Northamptonshire, became frustrated our reporter was not progressing the deal quickly enough and has since placed a new advert, wanting a sale “as soon as possible”.
Others to respond included three Indians willing to travel abroad, a Mexican man who revealed he was desperate for cash and a woman from Tanzania.
Meanwhile the site also contained recent adverts placed by desperate Britons willing to risk their lives and freedom for cash.
A 28-year-old man from Banchory, Aberdeenshire, placed a message online in which he claimed he would talk to anyone willing “to make an offer”.
The man who works as a chef in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, had several replies to his message.
A mum from Hampshire has placed two adverts online describing herself as having an O-negative blood type and “has a passport” suggesting she is prepared to travel abroad.
Experts at the World Health Organisation, which in 2012 revealed 10,000 black market operations involving organs were taking place every year, reacted with shock at our probe.
Luc Noel, a special advisor based in Switzerland, said: “Your Facebook experience is revealing. It demonstrates the vulnerability of some people and the power of easy money. This is one of the reasons to prohibit payment.
“Meeting patients’ needs also demands that there should not be any divide created by financial incentives.”
Jeff Powell, campaigns and policy director at anti-poverty charity War on Want, said: “It is shocking that people are so poor that they would be willing to sell a kidney for cash. This level of desperation is a direct result of governments, both at home and abroad, prioritising corporate profits and the interests of the rich over the fight against poverty and inequality.”
Alan Clamp, chief executive of the HTA which regulates live organ donations throughout the UK, said“It is illegal to offer or seek payment for organs for sale under the Human Tissue Act, and no operation from a living donor can go ahead without our approval.
“Before a transplant from a living donor goes ahead, the hospital transplant team will assess if the donor is suitable and run several tests to ensure the transplant will be as successful as possible.
“An independent assessor, acting on behalf of the HTA, will then carry out interviews with both parties and report back.
“We need to satisfy ourselves that the donor knows the risks involved, that the donor has given consent freely and no reward has been offered or received.”
Kidney transplants should take place when tests show the damage is so great the patient will require dialysis within six months.
But because of a chronic shortage of available organs this seldom happens, unless the patient receives a live donor from a family member of friend, with a compatible blood and tissue type.
The average wait for a transplant is three years but for people with rare blood groups and tissue types the wait can be much longer.
NHS Blood and Transplant has revealed across the UK there are currently 7,044 patients on the transplant waiting list of which 5,668 are for kidneys.
Currently there are around 10,000 people in the UK needing a transplant and three people die every day due to a shortage of organs. During 2012/13, 4,212 transplants took place, the majority of which were from dead donors, with 1,000 from living donors.
In 2011 broadcaster Jon Snow launched a campaign to encourage altruistic kidney donations after it was revealed wiping out the kidney transplant waiting list would save the NHS £650 million over five years.
The campaign led by Charity Give a Kidney — One’s Enough revealed the average cost of treating a patient in the final stages of kidney disease is £150,000 over five years.
By contrast, the average cost of transplantation per patient over five years is £50,000.
Source – Sunday Post 09 March 2014
If children cannot read, write or add up well enough by the age of 14, he says, their parents should be denied state benefits and made to live on food vouchers.
That is the proposal of Lord Digby Jones, the only person to have ever served as a minister in Her Majesty’s Government without being a member of a political party.
> I think with views like that he’s an honourary member of all the main parties anyway…
And it is a good job that he has no political allegiance, because he is scathing about Labour’s pledge of a bankers’ bonus tax as the solution to the country’s woes and would certainly have faced a few awkward questions were he sitting at Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet table.
He has little time for any politician who pledges low taxes and high spending and believes Labour, Liberal Democrats and Tories alike to be guilty of such empty promises.
This is Asia’s century, he tells an audience of business people and academics in Wolverhampton.
The former minister for trade under Gordon Brown is adamant that there is no way for British manufacturers and service providers to compete with India and China on price alone.
The solution, he says is to offer better quality. And the only way to do that is a skilled workforce.
But there is a problem. Kids are not coming out of school with high enough standards of literacy and numeracy.
As the 58-year-old gives his speech at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park he says he knows that the left-leaning newspaper the Guardian ‘will say shame on you’.
He says it anyway.
“If children can’t read and write by the time they leave formal education the teaching profession has failed,” he says.
“The teaching profession will say they have kids who go home and they don’t see a book again until they are back at school the next day.
“If you have kids who can’t read and write to the appropriate standard by the time they are 14, you should have your benefits stopped.
“You can have food stamps. But the extra bit, the Sky dish, the fags, that stops until the kids can read and write.”
> Yeah ? But what if the kids who can’t read come from a family NOT receiving benefits ? Even, god help us, a rich family ?
Already it’s a two-tier system. Benefits = punish them, rich = oh, never mind, our connections will get him a job in the city even if he is as thick as a brick.
Speaking with the Express & Star, he also suggests that schools could lower the age that children can leave to 14, particularly if they are disruptive in class.
“You could solve youth unemployment if the education system could send young people out of school at 16 able to read, write and add up.
“I would have them out at 14 if they want to come. Get them out into the world of work.”
> Oh for fuck’s sake – THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH JOBS TO GO ROUND AS IT IS. And this guy advised the government ? My god… no wonder we’re in a mess.
He says he would want them to be given some form of vocational training or an apprenticeship if it suited them better than studying in a classroom.
“Having skills doesn’t mean a PhD,” Lord Jones says.
> So tell that to all the employers who seem to regard paper qualifications far more highly than time-served practical skills.
His frustration at the level of ‘functional illiteracy’ among young people in Britain goes hand in hand with his concerns that the country must change the way it does business if it is to compete with developing countries and the new economic powers of China and India.
In his speech Lord Jones suggests that Britain is on the verge of a calamity, even invoking the image of the ‘doomsday’ clock used to explain how close mankind is to some form of nuclear or environmental catastrophe.
“The Guardian will say shame on you. But this is five minutes to midnight my friend.
“This is Asia’s century.”
Lord Jones believes the employers have to innovate and add value to their products and services.
“If all you compete on is price, then China will have your lunch and India will have your dinner,” he says.
The 58-year-old former lawyer was director general of the CBI from 2000 to 2006. He was made minister of state for trade and investment in 2007 but did not join a political party, instead being made a life peer.
> “He was made minister of state for trade and investment in 2007 “ – just before things really started going pear-shaped. Coincidence ?
Innovation, he says, is not just about invention.
“It was a Brit who invented the World Wide Web, a Brit who invested the television, penicillin, the telephone.
“We remember how good we were at invention but who leads the world on this now? It’s about innovation, taking an idea to the market.”
> It was a Brit who invented Universal Credit and all the other “innovations” that don’t work but continue to swallow cash by the billions.
He tells his audience that politicians of all parties in all countries have ‘lied’ ‘every day in every way’.
> Well, can’t argue with that… but then he spoils it by repeating all the old crap about benefits and jobs and stupid, lazy people. He’s a political party all on his own.
And it will be those who innovate in the public sector, such as the councils now drawing up deep cuts, who get themselves back on track.
“Whether it was Conservative, Liberal Democrat or Labour, they all told us we can have it all. They told us we can have high public spending, low taxation.
“But ‘vote for me and I will cut your spending’ is not the greatest election slogan of all time.
“Tax the bankers? Rubbish. It will never deliver enough money. We all have to understand that the party is over.
> “Tax the bankers? Rubbish. It will never deliver enough money.”
Read that as : “Tax my mates ? Rubbish. It will never deliver enough money. Screw the poor instead.”
“The public sector has to do it in a different way. There will never be the same money around. We have to cut our cloth accordingly.”
He also warned about the pressures of Britain’s ageing population as he made a plea for people to get the skills and training they needed to get a job and have a long career.
> In a world of part-time, short contract, zero-hour contract jobs ? Its all short term nowadays – does anyone really want a life-long career doing zero-hour shifts for Poundland ?
“If you have a system of government where you’re going to be looked after for longer than you were putting into the state, you will go bust.
“People will live longer and with the scourge of dementia.
“No-one costs more to care for than a physically healthy but mentally challenged older person.
“Where are we going to get the money from? And don’t say just tax bankers’ bonuses. That doesn’t solve it all.”
> It’d be a bloody good start, though…
Source Wolverhampton Express & Star, 27 Feb 2014
UKIP‘s efforts to win in the North East were undermined last night as it emerged they wanted to run a man based in China as a Newcastle candidate.
The party selected Tom Magen to fight a Newcastle seat after he had emailed them to say that while his work takes him to China, he still has an Elswick address and would be happy to stand “as a paper candidate”.
The claims emerged after a would-be party agent withdrew from the UK Independence Party amid fears local issues were not being prioritised.
Mr Magen said he was in discussions with UKIP before he knew the extent of his work commitments, and subsequently withdrew his offer.
Emails seen by The Journal show that in September last year Mr Magen was asked if he would stand, with local party organisers aware of his China links at this time.
Mr Magen told organisers: “I am not sure if you are aware, but I am actually based in China. My UK home address is indeed in Elswick, but I am away for most of the year for work.
“I am happy to stand as a paper candidate but I doubt I will even have time to collect the 10 signatures needed to stand. The run-up to May is always an extremely busy time for me. I am not daunted by the prospect of standing at all.”
In reply local party chiefs told him: “Your offer to stand as a paper candidate is very welcome. We would be happy to collect the signatures for you. I quite understand that you will be too busy to campaign.”
In November last year an email was sent to party members naming Mr Magen among those selected to fight a ward.
News of the party selection emerged after independent grouping Newcastle First announced it was ending a merger with UKIP.
Ernie Shorton, Newcastle First leader, said: “The Newcastle upon Tyne Community First Party agreed to join forces with UKIP because we took a similar position on a number of significant issues, such as tackling uncontrolled immigration, the EU and opposition to high speed rail which will be disastrous for Newcastle’s economy.
“We have discovered that UKIP in Newcastle and Gateshead are a shambles, fielding candidates with little or no experience of campaigning with the regional infrastructure acting as a huge barrier. They selected some candidates they have never met – and one of them was based in China.”
Mr Magen said he had not got to the point of having his name formally listed with the council as a candidate, saying: “As I am based abroad for most of the year, I felt it would be wrong to stand as a candidate and informed the team. I confirm, I have never stood as a UKIP candidate nor have I had any contact with anyone from Newcastle First.”
The would-be candidate has previously stood for the Conservatives, in 2006 in Newcastle. In September last year Mr Magen, director of North East International Education Development, said that having been helped by UKTI to establish the business’ overseas links, it had brought its first cohort of Chinese students to the region for study.
Labour have seized on the spat as “proof” of UKIP’s indifference to local issues.
David Stockdale, vice chair of the local Labour group, said: “This debacle is proof if it were needed that UKIP don’t represent Newcastle’s best interests.”
A spokesman for UKIP said: “We regret that matters with Mr Shorton did not work out as we might have hoped. We wish him all the best for the future.
“The potential UKIP candidate to whom he refers had some links to China at the time he was selected. As soon as it became clear that his work would require him to take up residence in China, he immediately resigned as a candidate. This was the correct decision. There is no story here.”
Source – Newcastle Journal, 01 Mar 2014