Older people and welfare services.
At the last election only the Tories bothered to mention the needs of our older residents and then only fleetingly. When I challenged them they dropped the issue. We oldies are a minority group in that we are only about 25% of the electorate but we do vote regularly and hence are a much bigger electoral group. Ignore us at your peril. Over the last few years we have seen some pretty mean acts carried out by officialdom. I am referring to the introduction of car parking charges for blue badge holders at Sandwell’s hospitals. To the changes that took place to improve the meals on wheels service and to the recent decision to increase these charges by 30% and the concerns there are about the future of luncheon clubs at Tanhouse Centre. None of our councillors or candidates have as far as I know spoken out publicly against any of these measures. Well it’s about time you did. A couple of years ago there was an initiative to increase welfare payments in the ward so that people who were entitled to them got advise on how to get them. This scheme was for a small area only but very successful. I would like to see our candidates campaigning for another scheme that covered the whole ward for families and pensioners whether in Sandwell Homes properties or owner occupiers. The housing office was closed down in Tanhouse and moved to Stone Cross so that it made life more difficult for older people to get advice. It strikes me these changes are made to save money without any consideration of the effects they are having on our community. We need some strong leadership on the council to fight for Newton. Lets hear it. Liberals have been claiming to be a strong voice but if they are then no one has been listening. We used to have a handy man and garden help scheme for older owner occupiers lets campaign to bring it back. You’re all going to be old one day. You know it makes sense.