Readers' letters - October 13

Start valuing people as assets '“ don't think of them as costs

People tell me that, when visiting Ireland, it’s necessary to beware of political sensitivities. For instance, some Irish people would bristle at any mention of the various Irish potato famines. An alternative view is that there never was a famine and that only one crop failed...the potato.

The problem was that so many people subsisted on the potato. It was the staple of their diets and, as it proved, a food they could not do without. Other crops flourished as normal and there is evidence that Irish beef was being sent to market in England.

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For whatever reason, the people then in power did not organise the supply of alternative foods. Lots of people solved their problems by emigrating. Many of those who did not solve their problems died. That is why there is a school of thought which says that this was not a potato famine but a mass starvation.

A national newspaper has published details of a survey commissioned by the Trussell Trust and undertaken, in the summer, by researchers from Oxford University.

The survey found that “80 per cent of food bank users suffer from severe and chronic food insecurity, leaving them vulnerable to malnutrition and nutritional deficiency”.

Unbelievably, today, the number of people dying of starvation in the UK is on the rise.

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In 2015, 984 people died from malnutrition or dehydration – that is more than two people per day starving to death, here in our UK.

Is there a famine here? Is there a shortage of food? The answers are, no and no.

Some British people today are starving to death and the principle cause of that is Conservative Government policies. Let’s not mince our words. This is a starvation, no more no less. The indifference of the Government is astonishing and unpardonable. There is a moral imperative for the Government to adopt radically different policies.

Start valuing people as assets.

Stop considering them as costs.

No delay... Act straight away.

Coun Michael McLoughlin

Wigan Central Ward

Run to save

pets’ lives

Many runners recently found out whether they have been lucky enough to secure an eagerly anticipated ballot place in the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon.

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To celebrate 100 years of caring for sick and injured pets, leading pet wellbeing charity PDSA wants to field their biggest ever team of animal lovers. By joining Team PDSA, you’ll be making a difference to the lives of thousands of pets and their owners with nowhere else to turn.

For runners who successfully secured a ballot place, we would be delighted for you to join Team PDSA to help us raise awareness of the vital work our vets and nurses undertake every single day.

Runners will be given advice to help fundraise, and support throughout their marathon journey.

For anyone interested, please go to to find out more. On behalf of poorly pets, thank you.

David Brookfield,

Senior Veterinary Surgeon,

PDSA’s Manchester Pet Hospital

Making schools safer for pupils

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Thousands of children with long-term medical conditions, such as Type 1 diabetes and epilepsy, are not safe in schools because they are not getting vital support to help manage their condition.

Since 2014 all schools have been required by law to have policies in place to aid school staff to care for any child with long-term medical conditions. But nine in ten schools are either not aware of the law, or do not understand what it means for them in practice. This poses a serious threat to children’s health. It stops them from accessing the same opportunities as their peers and can have an impact on educational attainment.

That’s why, on October 23, we are presenting a petition asking the Minister for Children and Families to let schools know that they are, by law, required to have a medical conditions policy, and to require schools to publish policies on their website. And to make sure these policies are being followed, the minister should ask school regulator Ofsted to look at this during inspections. All children deserve to feel safe in school – these measures, we believe, will help make that a reality.

Health Conditions in School Alliance

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