A message to the next Prime Minister. Whomever you are, please get a grip on these issues impacting Norfolk and beyond

PUBLISHED: 12:45 24 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:45 24 June 2019

Norwich foodbank. Photo: Nick Butcher

Norwich foodbank. Photo: Nick Butcher


Editor David Powles says that whomever the next Prime Minister is, they must get a grip on issues affecting so many in this country.

A handful of stories have really hit home over the past two weeks.

Norwich chief reporter Lauren Cope's excellent series lifting the lid on deprivation in Norwich was very powerful and will have been a real eye-opener for many.

I often talk about how we live in a city of two halves, and in many ways the same can be said of the county as a whole.

So many of us are rightly proud to call this place home and enjoy the many benefits living here provides.

However unfortunately there is also a group of people, and one that is growing sadly, who are not so lucky and for whom the struggle for them and their families is very real.

We cover this is an issue quite extensively - but Lauren's pieces were different in that they put the spotlight on what the human impact of such deprivation can be. And when we do that it really brings it home and is very powerful.

On a similar vein investigation's editor Tom Bristow revealed a growing trend for people, including young children, to be placed in bed and breakfast accommodation when in need of temporary housing assistance.

This is despite the fact that successive governments, from both major parties, have repeatedly pledged to do all they can to eradicate such practices.

I know the prospect of a family staying in a B&B may not sound too bad on the face of it, but step back and think about it for a second and you might come to the same conclusion that it's wholly unacceptable to place parents and children in what is often just one room, two at best, and in places that arguably should have been long condemned.

The third involved an event I was involved in, a day at The Forum to highlight the struggles facing hidden carers in the county. These types of people range from a young teenager who has a parent (or maybe both) in need of assistance, a wife or husband looking after their sick spouse or a family having to care for an elderly relative.

I met a wonderful woman named Jay and was transfixed by both her own story of having to look after both her elderly mother and then her husband in the latter years of their lives and the struggles she faced to get proper support.

I must give her credit though as despite this she remained fantastically positive throughout.

But there was a theme which underpinned all three of these stories - a feeling there just isn't enough being done to tackle issues that really have an impact on so many people's lives.

And in all cases at least some of that feeling of disappointment, and at times anger, was directed towards those at the very top of our political system - the government.

A government so wrapped up in Brexit, so caught up in who is going to be the next leader of the country, you sometimes worry what other issues they have not had the time or the inclination to focus on.

Across the country, not just in Norfolk, there appears to be a growing problem of the haves and have nots, with homelessness growing and foodbank use on the rise.

Meanwhile, as a nation but in particular in Norfolk, the average age is only set to get older as well all live out longer lives. That's great news of course but will also present many more challenges and questions around who will care for the elderly and how will that care be paid for.

I'm going to leave my views on who should be the next Conservative leader out of this column.

The reason being that whomever it is, I just hope they get a proper grip on some of the big issues massively impacting the lives of so many people in this country.

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