US News: ‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside - PressFrom - United Kingdom
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US News‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside

14:45  13 may  2019
14:45  13 may  2019 Source:   msn.com

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In the countryside live a lot of families with their children because the houses there are bigger and they usually have got gardens and houses in This is why it is healthier to live in the countryside . There is also a lot of unspoiled nature where you can do outdoor sports like mountain biking, hiking or

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‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times Chris Harrisson, a farmer in Alston, England, checking on calves. Austerity has affected most of Britain’s rural areas, but Cumbria is particularly hard hit.

ALSTON, England — It was not until Trevor Robinson received a letter notifying him of a missed appointment at the hospital that he realized he had not spoken to another human being in more than six weeks.

Mr. Robinson, a 77-year-old retired landscape gardener, had spent most of that time alone, sitting on his favorite frayed leather recliner looking out the window at the moorland surrounding his cottage in the northwestern county of Cumbria.

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These changes can be dangerous for people, for our fragile planet .All this makes people worry. However, there is still attractive countryside in the Southeast. The County of Kent, situated here is The Welsh speak English , of course, but the Welsh language is spoken widely, especially in the

Even if living in the county side provides you many good things, but there are still a few disadvantages. First of all, there are a lot of facilities for people in the city and they have more opportunities for making money. For example: own their businesses can easily support their lives .

“When you spend every second by yourself, you lose track of time,” he said as tears trickled down his face. “I feel lonely, very lonely, and bored.”

Mr. Robinson’s isolation, shared by thousands of older people in Britain, is the result of a chain of cause-and-effect that stretches from rural Cumbria to the halls of power in London. He used to ride a subsidized bus to town until the local council discontinued the route. The council was responding to steep budget cutbacks stemming from the Conservative-led government’s decade-long austerity program.

Even as austerity has sliced through nearly every aspect of British life, the government has protected high-profile benefits for older people, and it has raised the state pension on a more generous basis than previous administrations.

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The Belgians, living in the north, will often prefer to answer visitors in English rather than French, even if the visitor’s French is good. B−5: The rivers and hills of the Ardennes in the southeast contrast sharply with the rolling plains which make up much of the northern and western countryside .

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‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times A weekly bus between Nenthead and Hexham. About 60 percent of the area’s bus services vanished when Cumbria County Council ended subsidies in 2014.

But a free bus pass is of little use if buses no longer reach you, and many retired people have discovered that apparently minor cuts — the elimination of a bus route, the closing of a tiny health care center, community center or post office — can profoundly upend their lives.

The effects are especially pronounced in rural areas, where the isolation of older residents has emerged as one of the greatest, and largely hidden, costs of local councils’ straitened budgets, with funding slashed by half nationwide since 2010, the National Audit Office has found.

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While experts say these problems are common to much of Britain’s countryside, they are particularly severe in Cumbria. Best known for its Lake District National Park and historic lakeside mansions, it is also one of the poorest rural areas in England.

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The typical English countryside , the hills and fields, have all been shaped by generations of Let’s leave our planet in the best possible shape we can by all working out and following new rules Speaker E. My name is Bobbi. I’m a sophomore in college and live in the dorm. This is the first time

Twenty-nine of its communities are among the 10 percent most deprived nationwide. Household income levels trail the national average in all but one district.

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times The idyllic landscape masks pockets of deprivation, inequality and poor health comparable to some inner-city areas.

And by 2020, nearly a quarter of Cumbria’s residents will be over 65 — 5 percentage points higher than in 2008 and double the proportion projected for London. Half of those have long-term health problems or disabilities.

Cumbria has had problems since its lead and zinc mines closed in the 1960s. But they have been amplified by austerity. This year, Cumbria County Council plans to cut about $23 million from its budget to cushion a steady drop in funding from the national government — to $17.7 million this year from nearly $200 million in 2012.

By 2021, the council expects the grant to disappear entirely, despite recent declarations by Conservative Party leaders that the austerity era is over. In April last year, Cumbria put up its local council tax by 4 percent, the first rise in several years, after the government eased restrictions on such increases.

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Taking all into account, I think that living in the city is much better nowadays, because of the opportunities it gives. Today living in the rural Some people believe that city is a much better place for living compared to living in the countryside . I too agree with this view due to vast opportunities

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“It’s always been expensive to deliver services to rural communities because the population is so spread out,” said Peter Thornton, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance. “But since the central government cuts that started in 2010 this becomes more of a challenge each year.”

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times John Walton, 91, is among the patients who stayed in one of the two beds at Alston’s Grisedale Croft care home. Alston’s community hospital shut its inpatient unit in 2016.

The council’s first major cut to services came in 2014: ending bus subsidies. It saved around 9 million pounds, around $12 million, a year, and lost about 60 percent of the area’s bus services.

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times Cumbria is best known for its Lake District National Park and multimillion-dollar lakeside mansions, but it is also one of the poorest rural areas in England.

“But we are starting to rethink ways of providing transport,” Mr. Thornton said. “There’s increasing recognition of how these cuts have contributed to the problem of rural isolation and the impact on people’s mental health.”

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times Martin Foster and his daughter, Ellie. Mr. Foster is a builder who has worked in construction from a young age and Ellie, 15, goes to school in Alston.

Bus cuts are also becoming a national issue. The leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, proposed last month to spend £1.3 billion, or about $1.7 billion, to restore lost services.

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In the country people enjoy lives and take pleasure in their daily activities. As a disadvantage of living in the countryside we may consider the commuting Then I would like to move to the country to have a rest. I think that everyone of us will take into consideration all aspects before he decides to

The Sunday Times has named the Best Place to Live in Britain, along with a series of regional winners around the UK. The top locations were assessed on factors including jobs, schools, community spirit and shops, along with local insight.

Until recent years, the quality of life for seniors had steadily improved. From a high point in the mid-1990s, the poverty rate among older people had declined, the Joseph Rowntreee Foundation says, falling to 13 percent in 2012-13 before rising to to 16 percent in 2015-16. But one in six pensioners remain in poverty, and the rate has started to increase.

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times Since 2016, Alston, nestled in the remote hills of the Pennines in northern Cumbria, has been an hour’s drive from the nearest hospital bed.

“After positive progress, it is worrying that the number of pensioners living in poverty is once again on the rise,” said Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, Britain’s largest charity working with older people. And with the slowdown in economic growth associated with Britain’s tortured withdrawal from the European Union, the government is facing renewed budgetary strains.

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times A playground in Alston. The local county council has had its government grant reduced by more than 90 percent since 2012.

A Steadily Shrinking Life

Five years ago, Mr. Robinson used to take a bus to the city of Carlisle, about 40 minutes away, where he shopped at his favorite grocery store, Morrison’s, shot darts at a club and played cards and watched television with his best friend, Billy.

That ended in 2014, with the withdrawal of bus subsidies.

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times Declining employment opportunities and cuts to social benefits are driving away young people, depriving many seniors of a lifeline.

“I tried taking the new bus, but it only waits in Carlisle for an hour and a half before coming back,” Mr. Robinson said. “That’s just not enough time to get anything done, and if you miss the bus, you’re doomed.”

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All the students run into the North Sea at sunrise to celebrate the coming of spring and for good luck Pamela was happy to live in the city. She came from a small village and moved to the city only two Jane’s parents wanted to buy a house in the countryside and were looking for something “nice but

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‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times Basic services are disappearing in poor areas of Cumbria. Pictured here is the former site of a Barclays bank. Alston’s last bank closed in 2016.

Since then, Mr. Robinson has barely left the house. He spends most of his $175 weekly pension on food from the local store, which he gets a lift to once a week, and he rents a television.

“I used to buy my favorite beef lasagna and fresh veg from Morrison’s,” he said. “But there’s not much choice in the village, so now I’m mainly eating instant soup.”

He said he called the council to inquire about transport options to the city, but he was told, “Sorry sir, we simply do not have the funding.”

Mr. Robinson draws a simple lesson from all this: “You need to be rich or upper middle class to survive in the countryside nowadays.”

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times William Athey lives alone on his family’s farm in Nenthall, Cumbria.

Cutting Benefits, Rejecting Applications

Two years ago, barely able to walk after he developed an infection following bunion surgery, Mr. Robinson applied for an attendance allowance, a benefit for people over 65 who are disabled. His problem was deemed not severe enough.

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times A bed that is no longer in use at the shuttered inpatient unit at Alston community hospital.

“You pay taxes your whole life thinking the government’s going to take care of you when you’re old and dying, but their message to me was loud and clear,” he said, his voice rising. “They don’t give a damn.”

Many seniors and their advocates say such rejections have grown increasingly common as welfare rules have tightened.

“General benefits are a lot harder to get than 10 years ago,” said Hugh Tomlinson, the deputy C.E.O. of Age UK in South Lakeland, part of Cumbria. His clients’ rejection rate for attendance allowance, he says, has doubled in three years.

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I believe that hobbies are different in each country and each nation, though sometimes they can remind one another. Firstly, I think that a lot depends on the weather Still, we anyway go out of town and spend some time together in the countryside every month. I like those small journeys very much.

“A lot of those decisions get overturned on appeal,” Mr. Tomlinson said, adding that he suspected the rejections were part of a new strategy calculating that few older people would take that step.

“Our offices,” he said, “have had to convince a lot of people to appeal.”

Not so long ago, Mr. Robinson and other seniors could have fallen back on their families for help with shopping and doctor’s appointments, not to speak of simple visits. But diminished job opportunities and benefit cuts have forced many rural young people to move to distant cities.

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times Steve Frogley, 69, a retired electrician, at his home in Alston. After catching pneumonia he had to invest all his savings in central heating.

Trevor Robinson’s son, Liam, had to leave a rental near Alston, about 25 minutes from his father’s house, when the authorities cut his benefits last year, saying he had not applied for enough jobs.

He disputes that, and points instead to Cumbria’s budget for job seeker’s allowance, which has been cut by almost two-thirds, to $11 million in 2016-2017 from $32 million in 2009-2010.

He says he also could not afford the heating bills, another major obstacle for rural residents, especially in high altitude areas like Alston. He now lives in subsidized housing in the city of Lancaster, about an hour and a half’s drive from his father.

‘This Is All We Can Afford’: Shrinking Lives in the English Countryside © Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times Twenty-nine of Cumbria’s communities are among the 10 percent most deprived areas of the country.

“I miss the clean air and space of the country and being able to check in on my pops,” he said. “But this is all we can afford.”

Hospitals and Nursing Homes Closing

Perhaps most disturbing for older residents is the shrinking health care sector, as hospitals close and doctors cluster in larger towns.

This has been driven in large part by a funding formula that measures wealth partly on the number of cars per household — an absolute necessity in remote areas, but not in cities.

As a result, officials say, Cumbria receives one of the lowest public health allocations per capita in the country, around $50 compared with about $235 in London.

In 2016, Alston community hospital’s inpatient unit, with its seven beds, had to close because of staffing shortages caused by its isolation and lack of transport. Local residents met the decision with fierce opposition, because the beds were often the only place where the dying could spend their final days among friends and family.

“I’ve seen two people there who were about to leave us,” Steve Frogley, 69, a retired electrician, said. “Now, people in that state are all the way in Carlisle or Hexham, and it’s really hard for their loved ones to go and visit them.”

Carlisle and Hexham are about an hour’s drive from Alston.

The N.H.S. North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group announced the permanent closing of the beds last March, saying it would treat more people at home.

But many in Alston seemed unconvinced.

“The hospital is sadly missed,” Mr. Frogley said. “It’s the biggest loss to the community since I’ve been here. It would have been a wonderful place to die.”

Stormzy 'should replace Mozart' in UK music classrooms.
Schools have been urged to swap Mozart for Stormzy in a bid to get more pupils engaged in music lessons. National charity Youth Music has said the curriculum needs a major shake-up to improve levels of attendance and aid the development of disillusioned youngsters, with the more than 200-year-old symphonies of the Austrian composer unlikely to ever find a place on their Spotify playlists. More popular modern genres like grime and hip-hop are said to remain completely absent from most UK classrooms, despite artists like Stormzy using his work to address social issues.

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