Thursday, 16 September 2010

Under 16 swimming

An anecdote:  I was told by a teacher the other day that he was having to explain to his class the reasons why free swimming for under 16s had bee n removed.  He'd tried to be balanced and explain about the deficit, but the class weren't buying it.  "So why bring it in in the first place then?"  He explained about obesity etc and that there had been a change of government.  The response: "Labour got it right though".

Obviously I agree but, it prompted two thoughts or questions.

Firstly I'd be interested to see a demographic breakdown of how the cuts are affecting different age groups.  For all pensioners are - rightly - concerned about their benefits and pensions, I would suspect the hardest hit are the young, under 18s and 18-25s.  It would be hard for the analysis to quantify but U16 swimming, cuts to education, future jobs fund, freezing child benefit, loss of the Child trust fund, threats to sure start, all seem to hit children hardest.  That definitely doesn't seem fair, since this is the generation that is already set to inherit a pensions crisis and housing that is out of reach of ordinary
workers.

Secondly are the Conservatives/Libdems are setting up a generation who think they don't matter to politicians.  If so this is an obvious opportunity for Labour, and a responsibility as if they don't vote when they turn 18 they may never vote, much less end up politically active.  Having said that young people are so aware of issues from poverty to climate change today that hopefully they will be getting themselves involved!

And if any of them want to start a petition or campaign on free swimming in Reading, there's one councillor who will support you right here...

UPDATED: 3.15pm, removing typos