Stoke-on-Trent City Council have once again demonstrated just how skewed their priorities can be by announcing that they will be axing a “lifeline” support service to disabled children and their families the same week as they establish two ‘inquiry panels’ to look at modifying residents attitudes to junk food and cigarettes.
The Sentinel newspaper reports:
“For the past three years, Julie Jones, of Meir Park, has relied on the £40 she gets from the council each week to pay for carers to take her severely disabled son Adam out for an activity, usually bowling at Festival Park, one night a week.
Adam, aged 15, was born prematurely with fluid on the brain, leaving him with cerebral palsy, no feeling down his left side, epilepsy and mental impairments.
He requires 24-hour care”.
This sort of respite for the carers of severely children disabled is, it seems, a luxury compared to the establishment of two ‘task groups’ who will be duplicating the work of the NHS stop smoking service and various other quangos by trying to psychoanalyse their public and coerce Stoke residents into what they deem to be a ‘healthy lifestyle’.
It seems that it was Labour group leader councillor Joy Garner who recognised the dire need for such focus panels, having spotted the proliferation of fast food outlets in the city. Rather than leave the public to their own devices (and local businesses to make money), the decision was taken to spend time, energy and everybody’s cash teaching the presumably non-thinking heathens of Stoke just how eat, drink and generally behave.
How many posters, talks, cooking classes, free gym trials and counselling sessions will be born of these two new review groups? How much will their research cost in staff time and resources? We don’t know, but we might guess that it’d be more than enough to pay for Adam Jones to go bowling once-a-week.
Our taxes are supposed to aid and assist the elderly, disabled, vulnerable and those who’ve fallen upon hard-times, not to study the rest of us like lab-rats. The health of the residents of Stoke is their own responsibility and how they eat is entirely their perogative. Stoke-on-Trent City Council need to reassess their remit, and if they can’t use public funds properly then they ought to grant hard-working locals a tax-cut.