Hinterland - 03 July 2018

“Theres ane end of ane old song…” A gold star for anyone who can tell me where this quote comes from – and its not “Rabbie Burns.” It comes to mind because Hinterland, after a decade of one format passes to another this week. You only get a peek behind the curtain here and you have to click through to see the whole exciting show. Please do!! This week, behind the curtain you will find illumination, catharsis and frustration all rolled into one. I bring you stories of: the adult social care iceberg, fires on the moors, collapsing churches, everlasting landlords, social value and croquet – all of which are more relevant to your life in the world of rural services than you might think. Read on…..

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'Cuts leave scars': thousands join protest over NHS funding

Why do people protesting in such a passionate way remain far more sanguine about the challenges of adult social care? A very recent survey organised by the RSN and responded to by 12 major rural councils, revealed that they spend around 40% of their whole council budget on less than 5% of their population in terms of adult social care.

We have some very important public policy issues such as the NHS and Income Tax, which it is very dangerous to discuss in radical terms. I think our approach to them restricts our collective capacity to better organise our national finances and our individual lives. This article tells us:

Tens of thousands of people have marched through London to mark the NHS’s 70th anniversary and demand an end to government cuts and further privatisation of the health service.

Bearing placards reading “Cuts leave scars”, “For people not profit” and “Democracy or corporate power” demonstrators moved down Whitehall on Saturday afternoon to the chant of “Whose NHS? Our NHS”.

They stopped outside Downing Street to demand Theresa May’s resignation en route to the stage where they were greeted by a choir singing “the NHS needs saving, don’t let them break it”.


Major incident declared as moorland fires merge causing 'aggressive' blaze at Winter Hill and Scout Road

Whilst most of the people in the area are protected from these fires I have deep seated sympathy for the organisations affected by them. We have worked with landscape partners in the South Pennines consistently over the last decade. This area is getting public attention for scary reasons at the moment. Once the fires have died down I suggest you take the opportunity to visit it if you can, its one of the most breath-takingly beautiful upland areas of England and very little known outside of its hinterland. This article tells us:

Fire crews are returning for a seventh day as a "rapidly developing, aggressive fire" ravages moorland across Lancashire.

Two large-scale moorland fires merged on Saturday due to increasing wind speed and a major incident was declared as crews tackled the blaze.

Greater Manchester Police said fires on Winter Hill and Scout Road near Bolton have merged, with pedestrians and motorists urged to stay away from the scene.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said 10 crews remained on the scene overnight, but the number was increased to 22 from 4.30am on Sunday.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said on Saturday it had 28 fire engines tackling the moorland fires. There were approximately 120 personnel on the moors, split between seven areas of wildfire in Tameside and Winter Hill, Bolton.


Britain’s topsy turvy weather damages churches as more than ever need emergency cash

Churches are amongst the most widespread and accessible rural community assets. On an ecumenical basis many priests have a key role to play in supporting those most in need in rural settings. The Bishop of Manchester who, perhaps surprisingly to some, has a deep sympathy with rural issues, spoke very effectively on this theme at the launch of the new National Centre for Rural Health and Care which is a key new RSN partner in the health agenda. I think we underestimate at our peril the challenge of keeping local churches in a good state of repair to help support their wider non religious role as community centres. This article is a wake up call in that context. It tells us:

Dramatic weather patterns including storms and flooding have led to an growing bill to patch up England's thousands of historic churches. 

Eddie Tulasiewicz, of the National Churches Trust, said the issue had been a particular problem during flooding in Cumbria during recent winters. 

In particular, rooves and wooden church fittings have been damaged by wet winters and hot, dry summers, leading emergency applications to the charity to reach their highest ever level. 

"It's happening with lots of historic buildings - there has been flooding which has affected Cumbria quite badly, we had to bail out some churches there."

In the summer, he said, it's "very hot and dry, that affects wood."

The number of applications for urgent repairs and maintenance funding to the charity rose by 44 per cent between 2013 and 2017, from 328 applications in 2013 to 473 in 2017. 

The figures suggest that church rooves and drainpipes are taking a battering from wet weather, with almost half of all applications during one period connected to roof repairs or gutters. 

During 2015 to 2018, 45 per cent of the 1,274 applications to the charity were for roof repairs, to repair gutters or to fix drainage.  

The figures come from the organisation's report, which marks 200 years since the creation of the Incorporated Church Buildings Society, a Church of England drive to keep the country holy, which led to the founding of many Victorian churches.


Tenants to be given right to demand three year letting agreements from their landlords

On the face of it this looks like very good news for people who can find somewhere to rent giving them a stake in the communities they have grown up in rather than being driven away by high house prices or vulnerable tenure as a renter. The article tells us:

Tenants are to given the right to demand three year letting agreements from their landlords.

James Brokenshire, the Housing secretary, will set out plans to give private tenants greater security in their homes.

The Government hopes that offering longer term contracts will enable tenants to put roots down and feel part of local communities.

Both tenants and landlords will be allowed a six month break clause in the agreements so both sides can walk away if there is serious disagreement.

Landlords will be permitted to increase levy once a year increases to rents to ensure they keep pace with any interest rate changes.

Officials said the plans would "help renters put down roots, and give landlords...


Ministers shake up contract bidding rules

I have long been an advocate of social value and accessible public contracts. This article, which might be characterised by some as too little recognition, too late, tells us:

Measures to make it easier for small businesses, charities, co-operatives and social enterprises to bid for government contracts will be unveiled by ministers on Monday in an attempt to rebuild trust, following the collapse of Carillion.

In the wake of criticism of the government’s handling of the outsourcing company, ministers plan to change the rules so that when companies are bidding for contracts, their “social values” will be taken into account, as well as whether they provide value for money for the taxpayer.

Carillion, a building and services contractor, collapsed abruptly earlier this year with the loss of thousands of jobs. It recently emerged that taxpayers are expected to foot a bill of more than £150m.


And Finally….

Before tennis ruled Wimbledon, croquet was king in SW19

For those of you who like me get fed up with the unseemly grunts and profusion of towels and juice drinks associated with Wimbledon this article reminds us of the more genteel origins of this all too compelling fortnight.  Croquet in this former setting sounds like a restful and balmy alternative to the hurly burly of a local government day job. It tells us:

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club - now famous throughout the world as the home of tennis - was until 1877 known simply as The All England Croquet Club.

Rarely seen engravings and photographs from the club’s archives show men and women playing croquet together following its founding in July 1868.

But with the invention of lawn tennis in 1874 croquet’s days were numbered.

The game, being relatively leisurely, attracted few spectators and the club quickly realised it could raise the revenue it needed to survive by staging tennis matches on its closely trimmed croquet lawns, holding the first gentlemen’s singles championship in 1877.

Before long croquet was eclipsed and by 1904 it was no longer played at Wimbledon, only making a return to the club in the sixties when former tennis player Bernard Neal reintroduced the game.

Today a small, dedicated membership continues to knock balls through hoops in a small section of the AELTC’s grounds, away from the screams of the tennis crowds and the groans of the players.


About the author:
Hinterland is written for the Rural Services Network by Ivan Annibal, of rural economic practitioners Rose Regeneration.


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