Advertiser letters: London transport and childhood stress

The government has reduced TfL funding.

The government has reduced TfL funding. - Credit: Archant

Letters, contributions and comments sent in to the Advertiser this week.

Invest in transport now

Unmesh Desai AM, City and East, writes:

The government’s irresponsible decision to remove £700 million per year from TfL’s budget is extremely concerning at a time when we have heard that passenger numbers on the Tube have begun to fall. Worryingly, this cut has also led to all non-essential road improvements being delayed for two years.

The removal of this comes as a direct result of the failure of the previous mayor, Boris Johnson, to make the case to his own government to keep up investment into London’s transport network. It also means that astoundingly, London is one of the only major cities in the world with a public transport and road network that does not receive government funding to support its transport costs. Despite the damaging actions of the government, the mayor has acted to protect TfL’s frontline services and sustain his record investment into modernising our transport system. At the same time, the mayor has also reduced TfL’s operating costs for the first time in its history- by £153 million in the last year alone.

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I am fully behind the deputy mayor for transport’s recent calls for TfL’s grant to be reinstated by the government in the upcoming Spring Statement.

Help eradicate childhood stress

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Lynn Gradwell, director, Barnardo’s London, writes:

A recent Barnardo’s survey found three quarters of all London school children say school is one of their biggest causes of stress – higher than anywhere else in the UK.

More than half of children aged 12 to 16 years old in our capital feel sad or anxious at least once a week, and an overwhelming majority - 73 per cent - think it would be helpful if they had a counsellor or another professional at school to talk to when they’re feeling down or upset. It is deeply worrying that so many young Londoners are growing up feeling this way, with the poll revealing that those feelings intensify as they get older.

The survey also shows that children like to speak to a range of people when they are feeling troubled, calling into question the government’s mental health green paper proposal to train just one senior lead in each school about mental health. We need to create a culture where everyone has a greater understanding of what keeps children mentally well and when professional help is needed. We want parents and carers to be confident in recognising if children are unhappy and teachers and other professionals to be sufficiently trained, adequately resourced and available to support them.

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