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Pension fury

YOUR anonymous correspondent on the teachers’ pension strike (Letters) shows a remarkable lack of understanding for a school governor.

YOUR anonymous correspondent on the teachers’ pension strike (Letters) shows a remarkable lack of understanding for a school governor.

New teachers have not been entitled to a final salary pension since 2007 when contributions were increased.

Full pension age also then increased to 65. There is an issue about life expectancy, which could be negotiated, but the letter would have been better directed at Education Secretary Mr Gove who has refused an up to date actuarial assessment, wishes to have teachers working until 68 and pay nearly three per cent more each month with reduced final benefits.

Further, an average career scheme will be uprated on the basis of the lower CPI rather than the RPI.

This goes too far at a time when teachers are also experiencing a pay freeze.

There is only one conclusion that can be drawn – that what the Government wants is not based upon the viability of the scheme but as a contribution to the deficit reduction made necessary as a result of the efforts of bankers not teachers.

Did your anonymous governor protest when schools were given a bank holiday for the royal wedding?

The sarcastic tone of the letter also leads to a wider point. School governors are accountable to no-one yet have the power, as we have seen, to take our secondary schools out of a local authority partnership, into academy status.

Alan Tucker, Dorchester Road, Solihull


Price to pay

WHILST heartened that a supermarket chain is willing to listen to residents and amend their plans in response to local criticism, I am still dismayed at the prospect of a Waitrose in Knowle.

To me, this village is defined by strong community relationships, celebrated by a diverse, personal High Street. I am constantly saddened by how many British town centres are basic reproductions of each other, with national brands eradicating any individuality.

On the other hand, the most delightful retail experiences are often found in unique outlets, at indoor/ farmers markets, family-run cafes, etc.

If Knowle becomes a miniature clone of Solihull (and countless other destinations), the village, with all its residents, will lose the identity that has, so far, made Knowle a uniquely stimulating place to live.

I strongly hope I will always be able to recognise the place of my childhood, rather than losing it to bland consumerism.

Caroline Wood, Knowle


New skills

AS THE job market in Birmingham becomes increasingly crowded, it’s interesting to see that 85 per cent of businesses in the region rate a “can-do” attitude and soft skills, such as interpersonal and communications skills, as the most important attributes they look for when recruiting new workers.

With an influx of applicants fighting for fewer vacancies, from university-leavers competing for a small pool of graduate schemes, to a host of 18 year-olds entering the job market for the first time, it’s no surprise that businesses are spoiled for choice.

With ‘street-smart’ fast overtaking ‘book-smart’, applicants in Birmingham will be well advised to showcase their personable side in interviews, as businesses increasingly look for workers with the right soft skills.

Paul Lawrence, Virgin Media Business, Birmingham


So grateful

I WOULD like to express my gratitude to the three young women who found and returned my handbag and driving licence after it was stolen in a burglary that morning. They would not accept any reward. My faith in human nature was crushed and restored in one day.

Solihull Lodge Resident



MANY thanks to the staff at Happit, Shirley for their kindness during a recent purse theft I experienced.

A member of staff accompanied me to the police station and looked after my baby while I dealt with the matters of cancelling bank cards, reporting the theft etc.

Other shop staff put my intended purchases one side for me to collect when I had the means to pay for them which was most helpful.

Great customer service all round... but Shirley shoppers beware, there has been a spate of pick pocketing so keep a close eye on your possessions!

Name and address supplied


Another world

PUBLIC sector pensions, private pensions, MPs’ pensions, and bankers pensions, so why is it that the first two must be cut, but the latter two seem to have immunity from cuts, in fact when you look at the MPs and bankers pensions you see massive growth in their pension pots.

You have to ask is it not time we re-addressed how bankers and MPs’ pension pots are topped up while other funds are drained?

ST Vaughan, Glastonbury Rd, Yardley Wood


Bric-a-brac call

THE Blue Cross Animal Adoption Centre is appealing for bric-a-brac for its fete on September 3. They need china, glass, toiletries, toys etc but unforunately not clothes, electrical items or big furniture.

Items can either be taken to the centre or to arrange collection call 0121 453 3130. All monies raised goes to the animals.

Neil Edwards, manager, The Blue Cross



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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