Your letters on striking teachers, blue badges and child maintenance
Here are the letters from next week's Fenland Citizen...
Striking teachers need our support
Around a quarter of a million members of the National Education Union (NEU) will be taking a first day of national strike action across England and Wales on Wednesday, February 1.
It will be followed by four days of rolling action, firstly in Wales, then by English regions, followed by a two-day strike across both nations, coinciding with budget day on March 15.
The strike, called as part of the NEU’s dispute over pay and funding, will provide a significant new impetus to the ongoing wave of strike action demanding real-terms pay rises.
In the NEU Cymru/Wales ballot, both teachers and support staff achieved the required turnout of over 50% to take official strike action, voting 92% and 88% to strike respectively.
The biggest number of votes to be returned was among teachers in England. Despite all the barriers to be overcome in getting such large numbers to return their postal ballot, over 120,000 (53%) did so, voting for action by a huge 90.4% majority.
This was no mean achievement, particularly for a union with a membership spread over 20,000 different schools and colleges.
A vital role was played by individual workplace reps, backed up by their local branch and district officers, chasing up members to return their votes.
Unfortunately, the support staff ballot narrowly missed the legal threshold with a 46% turnout.
However, with so many NEU members taking action, many schools will still be closed to most or all classes by strike action.
Rallies and demonstrations will be organised in many towns and cities, with the strike also coinciding with national action taken by the civil servants’
Teachers need our support.
Why do you have to renew every three years
Why do you only have to apply once as diagnosed with a non-curable, severe,permanent mental impairment for Council Tax exemption or reductions, only to find Blue Badges require that the same disabled person needs to renew their badge every three years ?
Surely under the same Confirmed Diagnosed Health Condition, you should be entitled to a permanent award for your blue badge.
Where the expiry date is, it should say ‘permanent award’ with a 10-year light touch review, like we do with “ongoing” awarded benefits like PIP.
What about car tax exemption and reduction? Why do you have to change the taxation class of the car? Why not reduce the price of the bill, so the registered person just pays a reduced price?
Surely that would save thousands of hours of unnecessarily processing of blue badges, make some cost efficiencies and divert valuable resources elsewhere?
Why are they writing off these arrears?
I find it incredulous that the child maintenance service is writing off arrears and debts owed to single parents with children still under the age of 18.
Surely these payments are for supporting the children and giving them a decent childhood standard of living, not living in child poverty.
So then for the crescendo. I’ve met a 55-year-old disabled man. He has a 30 year old daughter who lives in her own home with his two grandchildren and pays her own mortgage.
Apparently, my fella is still liable for the CSA/CMS arrears he owes his ex-wife, but the CMS won’t write them off despite him being disabled, or the fact he hasn’t seen the ex-wife in 15 years, so she may have remarried twice and live in A1ustralia for all we know.
So, when we contacted CMS, the person on the phone said it was our responsibility to find the ex-wife and ask her to write off the arrears by contacting them.
Absolutely fumingly stupid. Surely it’s all the wrong way round to hound a 55-year-old disabled man.
I’d rather give his daughter the £5,000 in cash than his ex-wife, or pee it down the toilet at the pub.
It’s stupid and pathetic. If this is the University IQ of our public sector workers the world will end in 2024.