We need clar­ity

Rutherglen Reformer - - REFORMER VIEW -

A wannabe ter­ror­ist from Cam­bus­lang who had claimed on Twit­ter that he wanted to join ISIS was be­hind bars af­ter be­ing found guilty of in­tend­ing to stir up ha­tred on re­li­gious grounds.

Ab­dul Hafes (35), posted on Twit­ter he“hates Shia and Kurds”and said they should die.

He com­mented he wanted to join the ter­ror­ist group ISIS and asked for in­for­ma­tion to be emailed to him.

Hafes pled guilty at Glas­gow Sher­iff Court to in­tend­ing to stir up ha­tred on re­li­gious grounds and mak­ing racist re­marks and in­quir­ing about join­ing ISIS.

In the same week, a con­tro­ver­sial Repub­li­can march had to be scrapped be­fore it reached Ruther­glen on public safety grounds.

I write in the hope that South La­nark­shire Coun­cil could clar­ify some points with re­gard to the with­drawal of the school bus trans­port.

Could it be that the £72m paid out for the equal pay set­tle­ment or per­haps the £3.5m go­ing to the new Cathkin Re­lief Road. Are equal pay claims still to be set­tled this year are some of the rea­sons for the coun­cils cut backs af­fect­ing the school bus travel costs? The ex­pla­na­tion by South La­nark­shire Coun­cil is that these costs were met from the coun­cil’s re­serve funds – which leads me to ask; if we have that much in re­serves – is it so im­pos­si­ble to find £1mil­lion to en­sure the safety and well­be­ing of our chil­dren?

This year the coun­cil in­creased the coun­cil house rents by 3.5 per cent and now ex­pect par­ents who live in one of the top 10 data zones of poverty and de­pri­va­tion to find another £12 each week for each child to travel to school and let’s re­mem­ber some fam­i­lies have more than one child trav­el­ing to school.

The head of ed­u­ca­tion, Jim Gil­hooly did not know chil­dren from Carmyle and Fullar­ton Park at­tend Trin­ity High School, and is un­aware (as he stated at our public meet­ing) of ter­ri­to­rial is­sues be­tween our lo­cal sec­ondary schools. And why does he not know of the pres­ence of a po­lice of­fi­cer in Trin­ity High and Stonelaw High to help with these is­sues?

It would be in­ter­est­ing to know if any of our coun­cil­lors from the East and West wards who sup­ported this de­ci­sion took cog­ni­sance of ob­jec­tions or pe­ti­tions from the af­fected fam­i­lies. Surely elected mem­bers are put in a po­si­tion of trust to en­sure the best needs of the elec­torate in their con­stituen­cies are met and what bet­ter way of do­ing this than to en­sure the health and safety of our chil­dren and their fu­ture at all costs - in­stead of just fol­low­ing the party whip.

I and mem­bers of our lo­cal com­mu­nity be­lieve a much needed sec­ondary school for this area would be in the best in­ter­est of our chil­dren and would in the long run al­le­vi­ate all these prob­lems, but the coun­cil’s an­swer to this pro­posal is we can’t af­ford it stat­ing: “it would cost £30m”. There has been mas­sive house build­ing in our area: Drum­sagard; New­ton Farm; Gil­bert­field; Hall­side and with these builds are re­mu­ner­a­tions of com­mu­nity gain money and while I know that this would not meet all costs re­quired for a new sec­ondary school it could at least be a start but, to no avail, as I have learned from Lind­say Free­land, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive South La­nark­shire Coun­cil; that the com­mu­nity gain money al­ready in hand from Gil­bert­field and New­ton Farm is be­ing used to re­fur­bish Ud­dingston Gram­mar School, a school en­tirely out­side our area so funds lost to our lo­cal com­mu­nity.

Apart from no sec­ondary school Half­way and sur­round­ing ar­eas have no ma­jor com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties as they have in Fairhill, White­hill and Fern­hill, ar­eas which have brand new com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties at a cost of circa £5m each.

The ac­cepted pro­posal at the ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing on 26 Au­gust that af­ter April 2016 chil­dren who re­ceive free school meals will be the only chil­dren to ac­cess free school trans­port is atro­cious em­pha­sis­ing on chil­dren whose fam­i­lies are on low in­comes or un­em­ploy­ment; is this not what we as a car­ing so­ci­ety sought to erad­i­cate; to un-stig­ma­tise our most vul­ner­a­ble in our com­mu­nity?

All elected mem­bers who voted to re­move the school bus trans­port for our chil­dren should hang their heads in shame they for­get who they are elected to rep­re­sent and in our ar­eas it is some of the most de­prived fam­i­lies in Scot­land and if our elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives do not put our most vul­ner­a­ble at the heart of our com­mu­nity; then who will? John Edgar Let­t­er­ick­hills Cres­cent

re­move the free high school buses in April 2016.

We live in Half­way and they are ex­pect­ing my child to walk on an un­safe route to and from Cathkin High ev­ery week day, up to six miles per day. I have asked for a Road Safety Risk As­sess­ment and to date have not re­ceived one.

I am so an­gry that the com­mit­tee de­cided to go ahead with this de­ci­sion. I have put in my ob­jec­tions to this, been to lo­cal coun­cil­lors, MSP and emailed all ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers prior to this de­ci­sion urg­ing them to lis­ten to us par­ents and take into ac­count the safety as­pects that our chil­dren will face ev­ery day.

I am ap­palled that they have not ad­dressed any safety is­sues raised and went ahead with this pro­posal. All they seemed to be con­cerned about was sav­ing money. How can they put money be­fore chil­dren’s safety?

They have now de­cided to keep the buses on for chil­dren who re­ceive free school meals, this new de­ci­sion, which was never on the con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment, will have an af­fect on all chil­dren. It’s hard enough for chil­dren these days with­out them sin­gling out chil­dren whose par­ents need help with free school meals.

Also what about the par­ents who don’t qual­ify for free school meals but are on the bread­line? The so­ci­ety we live in to­day will make it so dif­fi­cult for these chil­dren. Ev­ery­one will know who’s on cer­tain ben­e­fits and who’s not. This is a ridicu­lous way to treat all chil­dren ir­re­spec­tive of their cir­cum­stances.

I am fu­ri­ous and up­set about these de­ci­sions, and shame on all 20 Ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers who voted for this. Let’s hope for all our sakes that come April 2016 when these cuts come that God for­bid noth­ing hap­pens to our chil­dren Vicky Allan Half­way



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