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Letters: What’s more important for New Forest folk – EV points or care homes?

AFTER reading the main headline in the A&T (19th Jan) and digesting the article on the budget cuts affecting the closure of a number of care homes in the area for the elderly, and then, in comparison, reading the article of a grant of £1.4m handed over by the government to Christchurch to increase the electric vehicle charging points there, it made me wonder and question what is more important?

Is it old people who, many of them living alone, who are now no longer able to care for themselves and are having to cope unaided in everyday life, or, is the money better spent on providing more EV points in order to service those growing numbers with electric cars?

EV charging stations being prioritised over care homes?
EV charging stations being prioritised over care homes?

It has to be acknowledged that there is world-wide problem with climate change, and it is obvious that we must adjust our style of living in order to improve things. But at the same time, surely it can’t be denied that it is just as important, if not more so, that the needs of these elderly people, many with medical conditions which have to be met, and living within an ongoing and ageing population need, are met. They are entitled to help and care.

Or, are they simply to be dumped at the wayside, forgotten, neglected and uncared for, only to battle on alone as best they can until their last breath is taken from them and to expire oblivious to all of us?

I think our priorities really need to be sorted out on this one.

M Hill,

* * * * *

IN the A&T on 19th January there were headlines about school patrols, care homes and tip set for axe, Forest’s house-building being revamped, giant pothole taking down cars, and five letters on subjects that suggest politics are not working.

Clearly residents are unhappy. They want more housing and better services but where can the cash come from to pay for them?

We could build 30 new eco towns providing, say, a million new homes built on greenbelt and new mass electric transit systems. To stop bed blocking in hospitals, I feel we need to, within the eco towns, build large villages of extra care beds including convalescent hospital beds funded by NHS plus a large number of social housing units for the key workers and say a mix of private housing so we will then then have a new town very close to a large town or city with proper community assets like childcare, schools, doctors and shops, and where residents are not so dependent on the motor car.

This should reduce rents and result in less housing benefit being claimed with less fraud. The eco towns with their electric mass transit systems attached linked to a city should take more cars off the roads in cities. As just 21% of men and women aged 17-20 held a full licence in 2021, our cities must be designed to cater for less people able to afford to drive – bearing in mind the large cost of new electric vehicles and the coming recession.

I believe that immigration can be controlled far better with identity cards, better joined-up services up services between local and national government and changes to tertiary education provision so we will need less immigrants. We should then lose the reputation of being ‘Benefit Streets’ to the world. We could then have a world class economy.

I suggest we must reform tax and welfare as well as social care with a new IT system, to maximise input of AI so less fraud and administration costs in government so less of everyone’s time is wasted by only having to deal with one organisation within government. I believe that tax and welfare and social care need to be designed round these two questions:

1) How can I make a claim to increase the money I need to live on above the absolute level of poverty in the UK (or perhaps 2% above this to allow for inflation in a normal year - the Government will need to determine that absolute level of poverty which could be your Essentials Guarantee)?

2) How can I report my circumstances have changed?

AI or debt recovery officers and fraud investigators in DWP, HMRC and local authorities all need to seek the answer to this question:

Is the customer’s wealth and lifestyle in line with their income, expenditure, and assets they have declared?

Perhaps we need more cross-party working so we can have an unbiased position in regard to this – whoever wins the election is faced with finding a solution to becoming a smarter government.

Geoff Bantock (ex HMRC retired 2011 after 40 years’ service)

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