Letters to the editor

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From our edition of Ocotber 3, 2012

Fighting cuts

Sir, – I am writing regarding the threatened cuts to essential public services by North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) as reported in the News last week.

Like most people concerned about their children’s education, I am disgusted by NLC proposal to close Abronhill High School, and applaud campaigners in their quick response against this action.

However we should also direct our resistance against the other widespread cuts across the board affecting all areas of the community.

For example at a time of concern over increasing levels of child poverty, NLC propose to close all breakfast clubs.

At a time of concern over increasing levels of childhood obesity, NLC propose to close school swimming pools.

At a time of concern over growing numbers of vulnerable elderly, NLC propose to drastically cut Home Support Services.

NLC seek cuts of £73 million and this follows £53 million at the last round of budget cuts. It is estimated 1,300 jobs will be lost, seriously damaging the local economy, at the same time as Welfare Reform Proposals will take out an estimated £43 million from the North Lanarkshire economy.

Sadly the response from Mainstream Parties is to blame each other. Labour controlled NLC, blame SNP led Scottish Government, who in turn blame Lib/Dem/Tory Westminster Government, who blame the global economy! Depressingly, they all support cuts to public services.

There is however an alternative. The current economic crisis leading to these cuts to public services were not caused by teachers or home care workers, but by the Banks and financial institutions in their pursuit of profit. Let them pay for the crisis of their making. Increase taxes on the super rich and stop tax avoidance and evasion.

We must defend the Public Services so many of us rely on. As a member of the Scottish Socialist Party, I will be attending the STUC Demonstration organised for October 20, 11am, assembling at George Sq, Glasgow. Please attend and let your voice be heard. – Yours etc.,

MR ANDY LOCKE

Branch Secretary

Scottish Socialist Party, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Branch.

Numbers game

Sir, – So, now we know, the Motherwell Mandarins have decided on a package of cuts worth £105m and the axe will fall in December on the first £73.3m. As many of your readers will be aware, the first casualty will be Abronhill High and Cumbernauld High. James McKinstry, head of resources at NLC, sent a letter to parents on September 18 indicating that pupils of AHS will be relocated to Cumbernauld High. The reason being that the schools were not cost effective and underutilised.

The pupils at AHS number 486 and the number at Cumbernauld High is 640. NLC have just built a new Calderhead Secondary School in Shotts at a cost of £23m. The school roll will be 427. The population of Shotts is approximately 8000. The logic therefore, of closing AHS because of “underutilisation” will no doubt be explained to us, prior to the axe falling.

A few more examples of the Learning & Leisure Services recent budget – Alexandra/Rochsolloch Primary, Airdrie £11.6m; Greenhill/Drumpark Primary, Coatbridge £12.8m; Dunbeth Nursery, Coatbridge £2m; Firpark Primary, Coatbridge £19m; Calderbridge Primary £10.5m, Wishaw; Coltness High School £25.8m Wishaw; Chryston High School £22m. And let’s not forget the jewel in the crown, Ravenscraig Sports Centre at a cool £32m.

All of this budget was funded by the now discredited PPP/PFI schemes, so we’re now in hock for the next 25 years. Apparently when times are good, the schools in the Monklands heartlands have millions of pounds spent on them. Comes the crunch Cumbernauld is the target.

I’ve no doubt that many of the above schools needed replacing or refurbishment and I am happy that the children are educated in their new environment. However it’s glaringly obvious where the priorities of our councillors lie.

When it comes to the citizens, children and young people of Cumbernauld the ruthless and callous slash and burn tactics is the order of the day.

Nurseries, primary schools, health centres were the target for these vandals and now its the turn of our secondary schools. And it will not stop there. As an example swimming pools are in the firing line. Too many youngsters are now leaving primary school unable to swim. A number of years ago swimming was deemed a life skill that was both an entitlement and compulsory. The bean counters at NLC apparently don’t subscribe to that belief.

James McKinstry assures parents of pupils attending both High Schools that there will be a consultation process. Aye right! Remember all the other consultations when our nurseries, primary schools and health centre were being wiped out. This is shameful ploy employed by NLC to fool the populace into believing that their elected representatives are working for the good of the community.

The staff of these schools are fine, hard working professional people who only want the best for their charges. This must have been as much a blow to them as it was to the pupils and parents. Their morale must be at an all time low. Let’s get behind them, lets unite and fight this disgraceful decision, lets support them, build the barricades and raise the flag.

Let’s send NLC hameward tae think again.

Power to the people. – Yours etc.,

BRIAN KENNY

186 Rowan Road

Abronhill

G67 3DA

Morrisons

Sir, – Westfield Community Council was invited by Morrisons to the public consultation and asked our opinion of the proposed development.

Having looked at all the plans we were pleased with the overall development. They are looking at a bus lane, provision for taxis and extra footpaths. They are aware of concerns around the increase in traffic on our road - this is being looked at. They are looking for ideas as to what we the people would like in an area they will have for further development on this site. Cumbernauld needs new businesses and this will give us 300 new permanent jobs. Three surveys have been carried out with 87 per cent in favour of this development. – Yours etc.,

Westfield Community Council