07:00PM, Saturday 23 October 2021
Future of St Mark’s minor injuries unit
I was shocked to read of the continued closure of St Mark's unit, especially as neighbouring units have been re-opened.
I had read of this fact in the recent Lib Dem news.
It would be good to have a full picture of what is intended, whether there are better things planned or whether this is the sort of reduction in public services we must expect in the future.
Could you organise a proper journalistic investigation?
I am sure it would be of great interest to people in Maidenhead and around.
Editor’s note: We are keen to hear from more people who have been affected by this closure. Get in touch by emailing email@example.com
Unscientific badger cull licensed in Berkshire
Despite the recent Government announcement that the badger cull was being phased out, sadly we had confirmation last month that a licence for culling has been granted for Berkshire – this is in addition to the culling that was seen last year to the north of the county under the Oxfordshire licence.
So the cull is far from over – the senseless slaughter of this protected species will continue at least until 2025 and potentially longer – and now it’s firmly on our doorstep.
Thus far, nationally, over 140,000 badgers have been needlessly and cruelly culled as part of the Government’s bTB policy – a policy that has been a failure and done nothing to solve the bTB issue for farmers in what is a cattle based disease, and one in which 94 per cent of transmission has been proved to be cattle to cattle.
Another 140,000 badgers are now due to be killed over the next 5 years, which is a travesty for this iconic mammal that has been part of our landscape since the ice age.
There are those who believe that the badger population is out of control, but by DEFRA’s own admission, badger numbers are not based on any scientific study, but purely on ‘anecdotal’ evidence.
It is an absurdity to base a culling policy on a population assumption that has no grounding in hard facts and one which risks the local extinction of badger populations.
In addition to doing nothing to solve the issue of bTB in cattle, it is also immensely cruel.
Anyone with an ounce of compassion should be moved by the cruelty of this ineffective and unscientific cull, one which leading vets and the RSPCA have long called for to be scrapped on grounds of cruelty alone and one which the Independent Expert Panel appointed by DEFRA to assess the cull, deemed ‘ineffective and inhumane’.
It is additionally shocking that not a single one of the badgers killed during the recent culls have been tested for TB.
The answer to solving bTB in cattle should be to focus on the cattle themselves – one where farmers should be incentivised to develop robust biosecurity measures and one where the testing regime is radically improved.
The Government needs to push forward with better testing methods and must speed up its plans for vaccination research and deployment for cattle – but most of all it needs to stop the badger ‘blame game’ and stand by its commitment to end the culling of badgers for good.
Chairman – Binfield Badger Group Berkshire
How can key workers be facing pay freeze?
It is a national scandal that a third of key workers have had to use food banks during the pandemic.
After everything they’ve done for us, they deserve a pay rise. But what we heard from the Prime Minister and Chancellor at the Tory Party Conference earlier this month is far from that.
Key workers kept us going through the darkest days of the pandemic and now they are facing a pay freeze.
When the supermarkets needed to be stocked, they were there. When the elderly in our community needed care, they were there. When our hospitals needed to be cleaned, they were there.
And yet, key workers still earn eight times less than the national average.
This isn’t just about doing the right thing by our key workers.
Analysis published by the TUC shows how the economic recovery can be sped up by reversing cuts to key workers’ pay, making pay rises for other workers more likely too. Parliamentary constituencies will get an average economic boost of £6.2m if real terms pay cuts since 2010 are reversed.
We need our MP to listen and take action – we all stand to gain from key workers receiving the pay rise they deserve.
Sensible solution to Irish border issues
According to Brexit minister Lord Frost ‘the unity of the country is paramount’.
Unfortunately that is very much open to question as far as his boss Boris Johnson is concerned, seeing that he readily agreed to leave Northern Ireland behind under EU economic rule, with oversight by the EU court, when the rest of the UK was being removed from the orbit of EU law.
And given that almost to the man and woman they did as Boris Johnson ordered and voted for a Bill which would repeal Article 6 of the Act of Union there must also be a big question mark over the commitment of so-called ‘Conservative and Unionist’ MPs to the unity of the country.
To be charitable, perhaps they did not properly understand what they were doing; which may also apply to the Prime Minister himself, despite ample warnings from his predecessor whose own daft scheme would have at least kept the whole country together under swathes of EU laws.
It is now getting on for four years since the Irish government under Leo Varadkar decided to build an insurmountable mountain out a molehill on the land border, and Theresa May had plenty of opportunities to dismiss their ploy as the nonsense that it was but chose not to do so.
The sensible solution is the same now as it was then: controls on the small volume of goods exported from Northern Ireland into the Republic, to be operated away from border, as declared feasible by Lord Frost, not controls on the much larger volume of goods brought into the province.
Dr D R COOPER
Belmont Park Avenue
From the North Pole to your own letterbox
We all need a touch of Christmas magic this year. That’s why Santa’s workshop is open, and Santa and his elves are busy writing, sealing and posting letters that will put smiles on the faces of children everywhere!
With a letter from Santa, you’ll bring magical tales from the North Pole right to your doorstep. There are eight fantastically festive designs, from traditional Christmas to a North Pole Safari.
Whichever letter you choose, each one is more personalised than ever this year. You can add your child’s name, age, hobbies, what they want for Christmas and your very own PS message. Plus, it will be addressed and posted directly to your child via sleigh mail.
After sending a massive 170,000 letters last year, we’re looking forward to reaching even more children this year.
And with a donation to the NSPCC, you’ll help Childline be here for children who need someone to listen.
So, what are you waiting for? Order your personalised letter from Santa by December 14 to make sure yours arrives before Christmas.To order your letter please visit: nspcc.org.uk/santa
Local Campaigns Manager
NSPCC East of England