Who cares about child poverty?
Not Labour, it would seem, unless it suits them, despite their assertions that they’re the only ones who care.
As Liberal Democrats, we were pleased to see Calderdale Council devise a Child and Family Poverty Strategy last year because it’s one way of helping to achieve a more equal society where people stand a better chance of getting on in life. But it’s only worth having a strategy if it’s put into action.
So I asked the Labour Cabinet what they were going to do about it. They said that they were going to have a working group but it took them a long time to set it up. Then they planned an “open space” event with an open invitation to talk about different aspects of child poverty and get good ideas about what to do. This approach works well.
Amongst some 70 people, nine Labour Councillors signed up for it but only one attended for part of the morning. Have they lost interest ? This seems to be another example of the dangers of setting out with good intentions but nothing happening unless some effort is put into it.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NHS
The future of local health services in Calderdale is a critical issue for us at the moment. I’m immersed in the People’s Commission on Health and Social Care (and especially thinking about Accident and Emergency services), and the Health and Wellbeing Board “signing off” the next round of our application for the Better Care Fund which will help us integrate health and social care services.
And then my family had direct experience of local services over the weekend - I was only able to attend part of the Cabinet meeting because I had to go and visit my son in hospital, having been admitted there through A and E over the weekend.
I’m pleased to report that he’s recovering and the service was very good. This episode reinforces the value of the NHS and the importance of making certain that we face up to the demographic and financial challenges to provide the best fit-for-purpose health service for us all.