CONGRATULATIONS to the Wigan students who received their A level results on Thursday. It is a happy contrast to the usual doom and gloom stories about teenagers to see the pages of the newspaper filled with the achievements of intelligent, thoughtful and successful young people.
However, I have been rather dismayed this year by the amount of attention (thankfully not repeated in your paper) given to exploring options open to young people, such as apprenticeships.
Some of this coverage rather seems to me to be doing everything possible to put young people off going to a traditional university, in the wake of the tuition fee rises.
I went to university to study a traditional academic subject, English literature, and I can honestly say it was the greatest experience of my life.
Universities are so much more than just a route to a career. They are a passport to the riches of the world’s civilisations and “the best that has been thought and said”, in the words of Matthew Arnold.
No-one should let financial considerations stand in the way of enjoying the wonderful experience offered by our seats of learning.
The disabled fight stigma
We read with concern the recent Scope report which revealed that nearly half (46 per cent) of disabled people find that attitudes towards them have worsened over the past year, with 84 per cent believing hostility might be due to negative media coverage about benefit cheats. Our own research echoes these findings, with only a fifth (20 per cent) of people on low incomes believing that those claiming benefits have a right to do so, and more than a third (36 per cent) saying claimants need to help themselves as opposed to relying on state support.
These stigmas are in spite of the fact that around a third of all disabled adults live in low-income households, twice the rate of that for non-disabled adults.
Low incomes are often compounded by the fact that one’s disability can incur significant extra costs. For example, nearly three-quarters of those we help cannot afford to visit family and friends, as many disabled people are unable to use public transport.
Though it is extremely hard for individuals to overcome the sort of labelling we have seen in the last year, we would urge anyone who is disabled to visit our free and confidential Turn2Us Benefits calculator at www.turn2us.org.uk.
We hope we can help more people see benefits are there for a reason; often they are the only income available to claimants who are prevented from working through circumstance, not choice.
Rob Tolan, Head of Policy and Research,
Elizabeth Finn Care
The blame game helps no one
THE traffic chaos which has been growing worse each day along Scot Lane, has caused fury among motorists, but no-one seems to want to take responsibility.
The blame game is in progress, as the council say it is not its fault and all complaints should be directed to Transport for Greater Manchester. The transport spokesman says they are doing all they can to fix it, but there’s isn’t much they can do.
Meanwhile, drivers once again are left to suffer.
Whoever is to blame, the events of the last few days have been an unmitigated disaster. In this day and age it shouldn’t be too much to ask to co-ordinate traffic lights and make sure they actually work.