Letters, Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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What about those without gadgets?

IT is very sad that we now have a group of people who can be called the ‘digitally disenfranchised’.

 These are people who cannot afford to buy an expensive computer and are therefore at a disadvantage when it comes to applying for jobs or studying online.

 Most of us are now so dependent on our computers, iPads and smartphones etc, that if anything goes wrong with them, we can quickly replace them and get on with our lives. However, people who haven’t money to spare soon find that ‘hard copies’ (aka paper) are too slow and expensive.

 Up to 40 per cent of people in poorer areas of the country have no access to a computer, smartphone or an iPad.

 With local governments having to cut back on money allocated to libraries (where people without the means to a computer have previously gone), things could just get harder for people without a job and who are on benefits.

Euan E Tipe,

via email.

Prisoners’ kids need support

AROUND 200,000 children in England and Wales will spend their school holidays this summer with a parent in prison. When a parent is incarcerated, their children are left behind in the shadows.

 While not always the case, the imprisonment of a much-loved parent is often deeply upsetting and can mean being sentenced to long-term separation.

 Sadly, some young people never recover from this early trauma. Indeed, the children of prisoners are twice as likely to experience behavioural or mental health problems.

 Despite the potentially devastating effects of parental imprisonment on their families, no agency has responsibility for identifying or protecting these overlooked and isolated children or vulnerable adults. This is a tragedy because, with the right support, it is possible for families to both keep in contact and to break the cycle of offending for good.

 However, with the right support and government intervention, there is a golden opportunity to help turn life round for prisoners’ families.

 Barnardo’s is calling on the government to amend the Criminal Justice Bill so that in future, courts will be legally obliged to ask if individuals being sentenced have children or vulnerable adults dependent on them, so they can be properly supported. To find out more about our campaign, visit our website, www.barnardos.org.uk

Steve Oversby,

Barnardo’s North East.

Labour hypocrisy?

MP Bridget Phillipson is quoted in an Echo piece as saying “not one of the 85 cars in the Government car pool used to ferry important ministers around was a Nissan”.

 Perhaps if the last Labour government had left all the Nissan cars they had used, the current government would have continued using them. But wait a minute. The last Labour government ministers did not use Nissan cars, did they? More Labour hypocrisy?

Alan Wright,

High Barnes.