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Hinterland - Friday, 27 April, 2018

In Hinterland this week, we consider climate change, nurses, housing issues, animal cruelty and at least one jollier story about scooters!

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Foreign Office climate staff cut by 25% under Boris Johnson

Good to see in the context of the FO’s work we’re keeping an eye on the climate change “ball” so important to the future of rural communities…..

The number of full-time officials dedicated to climate change in the Foreign Office has dropped by almost 25% in the two years since Boris Johnson became foreign secretary, according to data released under freedom of information (FoI) rules.

Johnson has also failed to mention climate change in any official speech since he took the office, in marked contrast to his two predecessors.

The cutback in climate change diplomacy has come despite the prime minister, Theresa May, asserting that the UK leads the world on climate action. The UK has been praised for its past climate diplomacy, which helped pave the way to the landmark Paris agreement.

“It is extremely disappointing,” said Prof Sir David King, who was the foreign secretary’s special envoy for climate change from September 2013 until March 2017.


Scrapping mortgage interest benefits leaves thousands at risk of homelessness, says Labour

I fear some very negative implications arising from this policy amongst rural “Jams” – especially bearing in mind it costs more to “get by” in rural England. This story tells us:

The government’s decision to scrap mortgage interest benefits has put thousands of homeowners at risk of homelessness, Labour has said.

The warning came after official statistics revealed that less than 10 per cent of those who previously received help from the state with their mortgages had taken up the new loan offered in its place.

Low-income homeowners had been able to access the ‘support for mortgage interest’ (SMI) payment since it was introduced in 1948. The then-Labour government introduced the benefit to protect people who became ill, unemployed or retired from having their houses repossessed.


Brexit blamed as record number of EU nurses give up on Britain

I know from the work we are doing with the National Centre for Rural Health and Care just how challenging the recruitment issue is for rural trusts so this is worrying.

On a completely different note I have just completed a piece of work to look at the rural/urban split of population in STP areas. It seems to me that many of them have (most probably unwittingly) emasculated the rural context in setting their boundaries. If you’d like some more information drop me an email.

Record numbers of nurses and midwives from EU27 countries quit Britain last year, fuelling fears that a Brexit brain drain will deepen the NHS’s already chronic staffing crisis.

A total of 3,962 such staff from the European Economic Area (EEA) left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register between 2017 and 2018. The register tracks who is eligible to work in those areas of healthcare in the UK.

The number of departures was 28% more than the 3,081 who left in 2016-17 and three times higher than the 1,311 who did so in 2013-14, the first year the NMC began keeping data on such departures.

At the same time, the number of EU nurses and midwives coming to work in the UK has fallen to its lowest level. Just 805 of them joined the NMC register in 2017-18. That total is just 13% of the 6,382 who came over the year before.

“It feels that efforts to boost the number of nurses are being dragged down by a botched Brexit,” said Janet Davies, the chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing.


Homes of elderly should be used to fund social care, NHS head says

Difficult issue this. Many of us in rural areas will feel instinctively uncomfortable with this, on the face of it simplistic, view of Mr Stevens. A view with potentially huge unintended consequences. The overall message which is emerging around this debate is that if you get old be sure not to get ill!!!

Pensioners’ homes should be used to fund social care instead of major tax rises on those of working age, the head of the NHS has said.

Simon Stevens said the “accumulated housing wealth” held by older generations should be used to pay for their care, saying they were in a “relatively advantaged position” compared to younger generations.

The comments to MPs are set to spark a fierce political debate about how to tackle a growing crisis in elderly care.

Last year Theresa May’s manifesto pledge to make pensioners pay more towards the cost of social care was swiftly dubbed a “dementia tax” because it would hit sufferers living at home while those with other illnesses would receive hospital care.

Mr Stevens said on Tuesday afternoon the assets of the elderly – including their homes – should be used to fund their care, backing schemes which allow councils to reclaim care costs from the sale of pensioners’ property.


Horses are being sold ‘cheaper than kittens’, RSPCA warns amid rise in cruelty cases

Im very fond of animals, we have two old horses at home, so this storyRSPCA, Cruelty brought a mixture of sadness and real anger to my mind. Domestic animals give us nothing but their dedication and loyalty. Most of these terrible acts happen in rural areas and we should all keep our eyes peeled…..

Horses are being left to die by irresponsible owners who are regularly fly-tipping the animal says the RSPCA.

Chief inspector at the charity, Sam Garvey has said she has seen horses being sold online for as cheap as £25 and some were even being sold for free, saying it was ‘buy the mare, get the foal for free’.

She stated there were cases that horses were being sold for “less than kittens”.

Nearly 1,000 horses were rescued in England and Wales by the RSPCA last year. This was the highest number for four years and the charity are calling it a “horse crisis” as some owners are opting to fly-tip their horses rather than pay for veterinary care or to put the animal to sleep.

Prosecution cases involving horses have also risen by 25% since 2015.


Are ride-share electric scooters the future of urban transport?

Can you imagine this on the streets of Southwold or Dursley or in the fleshpots of Gedney Drove End????!!!!!

Download an app, scan a scooter’s barcode and away you go, zipping at up to 15mph to your destination. You leave the scooter on the pavement for the next rider.

Bird, a startup run by former Uber executives, launched the scooters in Santa Monica last September. Hundreds were deposited around the city overnight, the devices so ubiquitous people literally tripped over them.

They have thrilled, bemused and aggravated – feelings San Francisco, San Jose, Austin and Washington DC are now experiencing as scooters from Bird and two other startups, LimeBike and Spin, hit their streets, with dozens more cities due to receive them this year.

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