Hinterland - Friday, 16 February, 2018

In Hinterland this week: Jeremy Bentham on tour, NHS and dementia stories, what is modern slavery? We look at Jane Austen and attitudes to rural England – and examine the prospect of more interest rises to come.
Many thanks to those who came to our regional meeting on Monday in Stafford. We’re in Sidmouth next on 6 March. More information to follow

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Almost two thirds of voters back extra 1p on income tax for the NHS

In terms of funding for a beleagured NHS, which our research for the National Centre for Rural Health and Care tells us is short of many key staff in rural areas this article is intersting reading. It tells us:

Almost two thirds of voters back putting an extra 1p on income tax to solve the funding crisis engulfing the NHS and social care, a new poll for the Observer has found.

The Opinium survey found that 65% would be happy to pay an extra penny in the pound ring-fenced for health and social care, even after being shown what the increase would actually mean for their personal tax bill.

It found that the NHS and health was the priority issue for voters, with 68% of voters identifying it as important. Brexit was in second place on 42%, with immigration a concern for a third (33%) of voters.

By an overwhelming margin, voters think the NHS is underfunded (77%), while most think the police (66%) and schools (59%) also require more money.

Jane Austen ‘shrine’ church in row with historian over plans to commemorate estate’s new owners

I just had to add this article because it reflects why so many urbanites think rural dwellers are stuck in the past. The historian’s attitude also reflects the views of many that rural places should somehow remain pickled in aspic….

It’s a “shrine” for Jane Austen fans who travel from all over the world to see the village that inspired their heroine.

But a church in Adlestrop, the village which is thought to have inspired some of the author’s greatest works, is risking their ire over plans to introduce a plaque to a woman from a family who are relative newcomers in the area.

Since the 16th century the Leigh family, Austen’s relatives, had owned Adlestrop Park, the great house which is thought to have inspired Sotherton Court, the estate in her novel Mansfield Park.

But the house has been restored and is now owned by the Collins family who are also generous donors to projects including the refurbishment of the church’s five bells.

Now the rector and churchwardens have asked a consistory court to let Dominic Collins install a hatchment, a coat of arms display, in the church in memory of his late wife.

But the idea was opposed by local historian and Austen expert Victoria Huxley, who said it was inappropriate to install a memorial to a family who were not the Leighs.

She wrote: “I was very surprised that someone with a relatively short link to the village (compared to the age of the church) should seek to place their coat of arms in the church, and I do not think that most people in the village have been alerted to this request,” adding: “I feel that only a family which has strong ties over several generations should have such a display.”

She added that she believed such tributes were only appropriate to commemorate the “Lord of the Manor”.

However, heraldry expert John Martin Robinson told the court that “Lordship of this or that manor is no more a title than Landlord of The Dog and Duck”.

June Rogers, Chancellor of the diocese of Gloucester, ruled that the plan could go ahead.

She said: “The Jane Austen connection does not preserve in aspic this Church. As the Leighs succeeded Evesham Abbey, so the Collins family is now in residence. Another layer has been added to the life and continuity of this village.”

UK wages soon to catch up with inflation, Bank of England survey finds

Stories like this – particularly against the background of lower wages and higher living costs in rural areas make me worry about imminent rises in interest rates.

British workers are set for the biggest annual pay rise in a decade, according to forecasts from the Bank of England’s agents, as the rising minimum wage and staff shortages finally begin to lift wages above inflation.

Companies expect to increase pay by 3.1% in 2018, compared with 2.6% last year, according to the latest survey of private-sector employers by the Bank’s network of agents across the country. A total of 368 businesses responded to the survey carried out between late November and mid-January, accounting for 845,000 UK employees.

The early indications for pay growth in the report, which is closely watched by rate-setters on the Bank’s monetary policy committee, suggest wages should begin to rise above the rate of inflation, which stood at 3% in January. The survey pointed to pay growth across the board, barring the construction sector, which is flirting with recession amid falling rates of work since the Brexit vote.

Cornwall migrant workers want police apology after raids

This raises a really interesting question about the difference between the perception and reality of “modern slavery”. It tells us:

Nearly 200 migrant flower pickers employed at a farm raided last week have written to police demanding an apology for being made to feel like “victims”.

Three men were arrested on suspicion of modern slavery and gangmaster offences after the raid near Helston, Cornwall.

The letter, signed by 189 workers, says morale has been affected and defends the farm bosses.

Devon and Cornwall Police said it cannot comment on a live investigation.

The arrested men have since been released while investigations continue.

The majority of those employed at the Bosahan farm are from Lithuania and Romania.

Justinus Stanislaus, a Lithuanian translator who is helping the group, said: “They want to prove to the world that they are not victims of modern slavery.

“It’s a wonderful place to work and they are treated well. They refute everything that has been said in that respect”.

On the evening of the raid many of the workers gathered at Camborne Police Station to protest against the arrests.

The following day, Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer explained the raid, saying: “There were reports into police of alleged labour abuse, alleged offence of modern slavery.

“Therein lies the dilemma – you have to at some point intervene and you just sift your way through the evidence.”

A third of people with dementia in England ‘not receiving full care’

Worrying stuff particularly in view of the higher proportion of oleder people in rural Engalnd. This story tells us.

The NHS specifies that everyone diagnosed with the condition should have an individual care plan that is reviewed at least once a year.

But Age UK found that as of November, out of the 458,461 people with a recorded diagnosis of dementia, only 282,573 had a new care plan or at least one care plan review on record in the previous 12 months.

The charity describes the plans, which set out the tailored support someone should receive and should be updated in line with the progression of the disease in the individual, as “the gateway to follow-up support from the NHS”.

With the number of people with dementia in the UK forecast to rise from 850,000 in 2015 to 1 million by 2025, Age UK warned a failure to provide the plans will hamper the ability of the growing number of people with the disease to live in the community.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: “Our analysis suggests that many people with dementia are losing out on the NHS follow-up support they need and are supposed always to be offered, once they have received their diagnosis.

Body of 18th century philosopher Jeremy Bentham to be shipped to US… after a little plumping

Jeremy Bentham invented utilitarianism. The origin of much 19th Century Social Policy – a rather gruesome story about his preserved body is set out below….

Few people would relish the prospect of their lifeless skeleton being wired up, stuffed into sawdust-filled clothing, bundled into a crate and shipped to the US for museum-goers to gawk at.

But for British philosopher Jeremy Bentham, it is almost certainly what he would have wanted.

The social reformer who died in 1832, insisted that his body be preserved after his death as an ‘auto-icon’ which could be wheeled out at parties if his friends were missing him.

A notable eccentric, Bentham called his walking stick Dapple, his teapot Dickey, and kept an elderly cat named The Reverend Sir John Langbourne.


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