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Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Getting our priorities right

If the riots and looting in the streets weren’t bad enough, there were two items in my Sunday paper this week that also depressed me.

Firstly there was a front page column explaining that some Councils were planning to use the Localism Bill to ban smoking in parks lest children see adults smoking.

Three things struck me as wrong about this:

  • this is not what the Localism Bill is for.
  • this is the Nanny State gone mad, the last thing we want to do is drive smoking underground, prohibition never works.
  • there are far more urgent matters for Councils to spend their precious time and money on.

Which brings me to the second matter from this Sunday’s paper, a series of case studies in the glossy mag about professionals who had lost it all and were now or have recently been homeless:

  • a female entrepreneur who the bank pulled the rug from, who ‘was given a mattress on the floor by a woman she hardly knew’ in place of the executive home she lost.
  • a former stockbroker, homeless for three years, who found a bed at a YMCA.
  • a chap who sleeps rough and keeps his shaver, suit and tie in a station locker and smartens up there every morning before going to the office, wondering when he will pay off his debts.

Is this where our current economic plight has led us? Young people riting and looting and people with ability, enthusiasm and a sound work ethic allowed to drop through the cracks.

I am delighted to have not yet  heard of moves to ban smoking in Solihull parks, may that remain the case. And we live in a borough where there is positive cross agency working to address homelessness, and give it an appropriate level of priority.

We need to do everything that we all can to ensure the horrors experienced in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Wolverhampton and elsewhere in the UK dont spread to anywhere in Solihull and the victims of recession and cuts are minimised and supported.

In the current climate it will probably get worse before it gets better.
Dave Pinwell, CEO of Colebridge Trust & SUSTAiN