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60 Letters


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DEAR SIR, A new report published on

Wednesday, September 21, shows that Britain has more pedestrian deaths per head of population than other leading countries. The report from PACTS (the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety) shows that, while Britain compares favourably with other countries for all road deaths, pedestrian deaths are significantly higher. It’s incredibly depressing to read

that deaths among pedestrians are noticeably greater in Britain. Streets are where we live, work, play and socialise – they should be safe and enjoyable places for everyone. We would like to see targets for reducing road casualties reintroduced. Such targets operated under successive governments from 1987-2010 and proved effective, helping focus the work of policy makers and practitioners. Road danger has far reaching

public health consequences as it discourages people from being active. Inactivity currently costs the NHS in England and Wales over £0.9 billion a year and NHS Scotland £94 million a year. Investment from the Government to make our streets fit for walking will reduce these costs in the long-term by helping us create a walking nation, free from congested roads and pollution, reducing the risk of preventable illness and social isolation.

Tompion Platt Living Streets London


DEAR SIR, When grammar schools were

largely abolished to establish comprehensive schools, the error that was made was to drop from the curriculum several of the valuable subjects which had been considered essential for an informed adult, such as economics and social sciences, discussed amongst the pupils. There is no virtue at all in reverting to divisive grammar schools, but we must teach all children to form responsible views of human society. Repeatedly, this Conservative Government has declared that school education aims to meet the standards of present self- complacent businessmen such as Lord Sugar, to prepare children for ‘the world of work’, as cogs in a monster machine which intends to serve only the ‘elite’, who control and benefit from the profits. That is a wicked travesty of what

education seeks to achieve for the mind of every child. There should be lessons

Mwnt: by David Thomas

on topics such as civics and ethics, rights, duties and responsibilities, encouraging the pupils to think and discuss their own future contribution to the nation, so that one day, they will build a much finer, honest Britain to be proud of.

C. N. Westerman Brynna


DEAR SIR, I see that the Icelandic government

is thinking of launching a lawsuit against the Iceland supermarket chain over the latter’s brand name... Huh? Not only has the North Wales-

based supermarket had the name ‘Iceland’ since it was founded in 1970, but the country calls itself ‘Island’ and not ‘Iceland’ in its own Icelandic language. I own Cardigan Island Coastal

Farm Park in Gwbert, Cardigan. I wonder if the Icelandic government will try to sue me for using the word ‘island’ even though it’s pronounced differently? Not long ago, following the

financial crash of 2008, the Icelandic government owed several UK County Councils, including Ceredigion County Council, many millions of pounds, They froze our assets for years... with some very fishy behaviour! How much interest did they pay us on their massive debts? Huh!

Lyn Jenkins Cardigan Island Coastal Farm Park, Gwbert, Cardigan.


DEAR SIR, We face an urgent imperative to

help the UK’s young people. More than ever, we have a generation of youngsters in crisis. Barnardo’s research reveals an astonishing 88% of under 18s lack confidence. This figure is supported by the Young Women’s Trust who revealed today a generation of young women ‘wracked by anxiety, lack of confidence and despair’. Increasingly, we are seeing that ‘youthful optimism’ no longer exists. This epidemic of low confidence

and limited self-belief holds young people back from future success, but there is a more disturbing issue that we are also addressing - the abuse and, in particular, sexual abuse of children and young people by their peers. We have witnessed a 30% increase for our Child Sexual Exploitation Services in the past year alone and dealt with more than 9,000 referrals in the past two. This increasing demand for our

services is the backdrop for this week’s launch of our Ten Year Strategy. We already work with 248,000 young people and their families but, over the next 10 years, we must increase this to

meet the needs of millions more. With our new centres oversubscribed within the first day of opening, we are acutely attuned to the growing problems facing young people. Barnardo’s has been providing

services for 150 years, and will continue to be there for young people for as long as it takes. But this is a national responsibility that goes beyond formal organisations like ours. We all have a duty to show young people that we believe in them and will support them. 65% of adults we spoke to said they just ‘aren’t very good’ at telling youngsters they believe in them. This has to change.

Javed Khan CEO at Barnardo’s


DEAR SIR, Every day in the UK, 100 people

begin to lose their sight. And right now, there are over two million people affected by sight loss here in the UK. Thankfully, RNIB (Royal National

Institute of the Blind) offers a wide range of support, helping blind and partially sighted people to live independently and face the future with confidence. From its Talking Books service,

which provides more than one million audio books every year to people with sight loss, to its helpline which provides emotional and practical support, RNIB is there.

That’s why I’m backing RNIB’s

‘Wear dots, raise lots’ - a fun-filled fundraising campaign inspired by the system developed by Louis Braille featuring raised dots, which revolutionised reading and writing for blind and partially sighted people. It’s all about getting involved in

fun activities involving dots - whether it’s wearing a polka dot dress, shirt, or tie to work, holding a dotty cake sale or setting up a dots-themed nail bar and encouraging colleagues to make a donation in return for a dotty makeover. You could even play a dotty game

like dominoes or Twister - anything to get people together and raise money for RNIB. For more dotty ideas and a free

fundraising pack, sign up at www. or call 0345 345 0054.

Brian Blessed OBE RNIB Supporter

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