LETTERS: From unitary concerns to a question about our front page...

Your views
Your views

Here’s a round-up of all the letters we received this week. Send yours to editorial@buckinghamadvertiser.co.uk

Front page news?

Along with a great many other residents of Buckingham and surrounding villages we enjoyed the annual Christmas Parade last week.

The organisers and the participants, as well as those who helped with traffic management and other logistics, all did a grand job!

One of the highlights of the parade was the large, beautifully crafted ‘Buckingham Swan’, which enjoyed one of the loudest cheers as it passed. Sadly, it will apparently not survive to appear again next year.

Many of us may have hoped that, after such a successful Parade, the Buckingham Advertiser would celebrate this major town event on a more seasonal and optimistic front page instead of using this page to highlight a local drugs issue in a style more akin to that favoured by national newspapers.

The Parade was duly covered on inside pages, but sadly without the very photogenic and emblematic Swan recorded in the Advertiser for posterity!

Brian Orger

Name and address supplied

More opportunities

We know that disabled people are much less likely to be in employment than the rest of the UK population.

The latest research from Leonard Cheshire Disability is therefore not surprising.

The charity has found that nearly three quarters (73%) of the public feel that disabled people should be given more opportunities to find work.

This is why we launched our new programme Change100 which matches talented disabled students with some of the UK’s leading companies. Since we launched the programme last year, we have had excellent feedback from leading employers on the calibre of the students, and all those seeking work have secured employment.

Applications are now open for disabled students from universities across the UK to apply for our 2015 Change100 programme.

If you are studying or have just graduated, visit: www.leonardcheshire.org/change100 to find out more about this exciting opportunity. The deadline for applications is 30 January 2015.

Make this New Year’s resolution one to remember.

Peter Jenkins

Managing Director, External Affairs at Leonard Cheshire Disabilities

Unitary concerns

Firstly can I say that I am not writing this either in opposition or support of AVDC’s independent aims.
I am writing it to give ale constituents help in forming their own opinions with regards to this issue.

AVDC, in its wish to become unitary needs to be clear on how it would run vulnerable people’s services . All we have read so far is that unitary would be cheaper to run.

We must remember that councils are not for profit organisations, but they are key to safeguarding young, elderly and vulnerable people’s needs.

This rush to look relevant,is in my opinion a main reason that AVDC is seeking to go unitary.

I hope this is not a false flag operation regarding key 
services which may later result in service cuts. Delivering services with a smaller income after taking them from Buckinghamshire County Council.

I wish for the record to place some perspective on services AVDC will need to deliver if the public choose to create this unitary authority.

Adult safeguarding: AVDC would from day one be looking after people with physical disabilities, mental health issues, adults in care and those with learning disabilities and people with serious illness and dementia.

These people would need a 24/7 vulnerable persons 
response team.

They would also need to put in place social care teams to stop any vulnerable persons being mistreated or abused.

One of the most complex matters they will have to undertake is children’s services.

AVDC would have to build a team of social workers for the new area.

These social workers would also seek to look at matters like fostering and adoption with a first response team plus a full database working in line with Sections 17 to 47 of the Children’s Act 1989. This covers disabled children’s safeguarding plus children with serious disabilities, as well as seeking to prevent and protect children from risks such as abuse or exploitation.

From day one AVDC would have to have this in place, costed and operating.

The public need to know the facts on a number of questions.

These are: What would the admission policy be for secondary and primary schools?

Will the unitary authority council support grammar schools?

How would this council operate with regards to the 11+ replacement test?

Would there be a school catchment area within any Vale unitary council area?

All of these questions should be answered before members of the public make their choice.

I have placed this letter before you, not to give my opinion but to point out my own concerns regarding vulnerable members of the public under a future unitary authority.

These matters need public guarantees of services being given with supported facts on how this would ever operate within the new council.

I wish for a full public 
debate within the Buckingham area on whether a unitary authority for Aylesbury Vale would truly work in the interests of people in the north of the area. For in the end it is a public choice and the public must have all the facts before choosing to say yes or no, to leaving Buckinghamshire County Council which has been their service provider for the past 125 years.

Robin Stuchbury

Councillor for Buckingham and Labour group leader at 
Aylesbury Vale District Council

Don’t be tempted to turn heating down to save money

With the cold weather setting in and the expensive festive period upon us it is tempting for homeowners in Buckinghamshire to consider turning down their heating to save money.

However, the latest government report shows that living in a cold house can lead to long term health problems including breathing and heart complications.

There is a particular concern for older people living in rural homes which are typically less well insulated. This group is most at risk and figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 87% of the preventable excess winter deaths in England and Wales last year were people over the age of 65.

In total, during 2012/13 250 people died in Buckinghamshire as a result of being too cold.

With the coldest months of the winter yet to come, OFTEC, the UK trade body for the oil heating industry, is 
reminding households of a few simple steps they can take to save money on their 
heating over the holiday without turning it down and feeling the cold.

OFTEC’s advice includes:

· Adjust the timer on your heating system so the house warms up at the correct time

· Ensure nothing is blocking any radiators as this reduces their effectiveness

· Keep the rooms you use at a warm temperature – 21 
centigrade is recommended for a main living room. Turn radiators down in unused rooms.

Malcolm Farrow

OFTEC