Blog Archives

Petition against cuts in bus subsidies presented to Staffordshire Council

A petition of 1379 names against cuts in bus subsidies was presented to Staffordshire County Council by Councillor Charlotte Atkins on behalf of the Staffordshire Labour Group on Thursday October 12th.

Councillor Charlotte Atkins (Leek South Division) said,

“I am presenting this petition on behalf of all those who will be devastated by these cuts in bus subsidies – the most disadvantaged: the old, the young, the sick, the disabled and those on low incomes.

“Buses are a lifeline in a rural county like Staffordshire – providing access to employment, education, healthcare, shopping and leisure opportunities. These are all vital to the quality of people’s lives.

“Without these buses, we will be adding to the epidemic of loneliness and social isolation. That will add to the mental health problems which are already high within Staffordshire and have huge consequences for rural communities.

“These swingeing cuts – a 70% reduction to the bus subsidies’ budget – are being proposed without any alternatives being planned. Why isn’t the County Council exploring innovative solutions to address the transport needs of our most vulnerable citizens – working with taxi services, health organisations, supermarkets, leisure outlets, and communities to develop sustainable alternatives? This must be done in advance of the axe falling.

“For once, we need not just to consider the bottom line but the needs of our most vulnerable residents – whose voice is rarely heard. We need to focus on the human and social outcomes of these ill thought out plans.”

Talke and Red Street County Councillor, Kyle Robinson said,

“Many people in our local community will feel trapped if more bus routes are axed.  I will continue to raise concerns of those residents who are worried about the future of their local bus services.  Many residents in my division who use public transport are worried that they may not be able to reach Royal Stoke Hospital without having to use taxis or walk miles.  Perhaps it is time for the Government to consider renationalising bus companies before the whole system fails.”

Chesterton Borough Councillor and campaigner, Cllr Allison Gardner said,

“We have been campaigning and collecting signatures for our petition over the summer. These cuts have already resulted in bus companies removing routes altogether.  Audley have lost their Saturday bus service to Newcastle and the number 17 Hanley bus has been cut. Cuts to public transport means isolation of people who cannot afford cars or are unable to drive. This means our elderly, disabled, young and poor residents will be adversely affected – the very people we need to be supporting the most. They, and whole communities, will become increasingly isolated and their access to work, training, health services and shops will be reduced. In turn this will have a detrimental effect on our local economy as well as the health, well being and opportunities of our residents. This is a further example of the appalling cuts forced on local government by the Conservative government and it is time we all spoke up, whatever our political persuasion, and said enough!”

Minor Ailment Scheme – Can it help your family locally?

In recent months many parents have contacted me to say that they sometimes struggle to get an appointment at the doctors either for themselves or for their kids. We all know that NHS services continue to be under pressure partly due to underfunding and a huge demand on services.

I was reading about the Minor Ailment Scheme or Minor Ailment Service and it could be a big help to families and elderly people if the service is used properly. As a local Councillor I am regularly given updates about our health service and I show a keen interest in local NHS services. However this was the first I had heard about such a scheme. The main aim is to encourage people not to visit the GP with minor ailments in the hope this will free up more appointments for people in serious need.

So now I know a bit more about the scheme I have taken the liberty of listing all the local pharmacies in Kidsgrove and the wider area that are signed up to the Minor Ailment Scheme. Please see the section below for local pharmacies.

So what is it and how can the scheme help you?

Minor Ailment Schemes exist in some parts of the UK. These schemes allow pharmacies to provide you with medicines for free on the NHS, as well as giving over the counter advice and support about how to care for minor conditions yourself.

The medicines covered by the scheme vary depending where in the UK you live, so you will need to talk to a pharmacy that signs up to the scheme in your local area.

Eligibility is quite clear. Anyone who doesn’t normally have to pay for prescriptions from their GP – for example because they are under 16, over 60 or on benefits is eligible for the scheme and will not need to pay for the medicine that the pharmacist suggests.

Which local pharmacies sign up to the scheme?

  • Lloyds Pharmacy – 42 Market Street, Kidsgrove, Stoke On Trent, ST7 4AB
  • Well Kidsgrove – Mount Road, Kidsgrove, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4AY
  • Well Goldenhill – Ann Street, Goldenhill, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 5QJ
  • Well Talke – Freeport, Jamage Rd, Talke Pits, Stoke-on-Trent ST7 1QD
  • Packmoor – 1 Samuel Street, Packmoor, Stoke-on-Trent, ST7 4SR
  • Well Chesterton – 21-23 London Road, Chesterton, N-u-L, ST5 7EA
  • Boots and Asda stores with a pharmacy also sign up to the service.

Your pharmacy may be able to help with:

  • Colds
  • Coughs
  • Diarrhoea
  • Earache
  • Hay fever
  • Head lice
  • Nappy rash
  • Sore throat
  • Teething

There are a few things to remember regarding the Minor Ailment Scheme:

The minor ailment scheme is not a national scheme. It is not possible to say exactly which medical conditions are covered because this will vary depending on the location and the particular service.

The scheme is designed to offer medication to meet an acute need. It is not an opportunity for parents to stock up on free children’s medications. If a pharmacist thinks someone is abusing the system, they can refuse any request for treatment at their discretion.

The pharmacist has no obligation to provide branded medication such as Calpol. If there is a cheaper generic version available that is known to be equally effective, it is likely that will be provided instead.

(Some information obtained via http://www.nhs.uk)

Developer pushes to slash affordable Butt Lane homes

Taylor Wimpey Butt Lane Homes

New Taylor Wimpey Mitchell Gardens offices on West Avenue.

Taylor Wimpey has applied to reduce its affordable housing contribution from 25% to just 16% on its Mitchell Gardens development in Butt Lane. The developer has claimed that it’s controversial development of over 170 homes would not be financially viable if the company had to build the recommended quota of affordable homes. Residents have been left reeling after discovering the new plans submitted by Taylor Wimpey to Newcastle Borough Councils Planning Department two weeks ago.

Cllr Kyle Robinson said: “Taylor Wimpey have made a mockery of the residents in this town. Recent figures suggested that Taylor Wimpey’s order books for new homes is up 12 per cent from the same time last year to £1.9bn. This will equate to millions in profit for the company. How dare this company move into our Town, take up our green space and then plead poverty to wriggle out of its obligations to the people. The real victims of this scandal are the young families trying to get on the property ladder, but have no way of putting down a deposit on the majority of these luxury homes. There is a local and national affordable housing crisis and yet again the Government is letting developers walk all over communities. I strongly believe this latest move is a form of social cleansing in the making. If local land is to be developed for housing then local people should be given the opportunity to buy these homes at affordable rates.  I have asked Newcastle Borough Council to implement an independent review of Taylor Wimpey’s claims that the development is not viable with 25% affordable properties included.”

Newly elected Butt Lane Councillor, Sylvia Dymond said: “There have been concerns for years that Taylor Wimpey would try and pull the wool over the eyes of local residents. We now see their true colours. The people of Butt Lane have been forced to sacrifice a huge amount of green space used by local people for many recreational activities. One of the criteria for approval of planning permission was that 25% of the development was affordable housing.  We have accepted that housing is needed in the Borough and around the country, but this whole saga is a slap in the face for those locals looking to buy an affordable home on Mitchell Gardens. I don’t know how much more of this we can take as a community.”

You can object to the Taylor Wimpey proposals by using the reference 15/00441/DOAHR and visiting: http://publicaccess.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk/online-applications/