I’m writing with my concerns that the Aberdeenshire Council TaxiCard scheme is to be scrapped on Friday, April 23 and the devastating impact this will have on Aberdeenshire residents – many living in rural areas and are reliant on the TaxiCard scheme to access essential services.
I realise there are huge challenges being faced by local authorities trying to make room in their budgets, but this cut affects the most vulnerable people in Aberdeenshire.
When my father was having radiotherapy treatments at ARI there were many patients using the TaxiCard scheme to attend their daily appointments, because patient transport in our area can involve a whole day to make a round trip. TaxiCard users can be living with dementia and unable to cope well with changes to their routines.
Others are registered as blind and may use the scheme for their own safety.
People in Aberdeenshire are limited by a lack of access to public transport, which is based on rural bus services and can require multiple bus changes in order to reach essential locations such as local hospitals and GP practices. People suffering from poor mobility may not live in close proximity to bus stops, or are unable to even embark on a bus journey.
As reported by the EE, the scheme offers a lifeline to those living in rural communities. A journey by taxi helps disabled people maintain their independence. People who were shielding during the pandemic may be hoping to return to their usual activities in time but the removal of the TaxiCard scheme could isolate those groups even further.
This is not the right time for a cut by Aberdeenshire Council to an essential service.
I do not feel that it will ever be appropriate to axe the TaxiCard scheme whilst there is no real alternative in place to help support the most vulnerable to live as independently as they can and to be able to access health care, employment and their wider support networks.
This particular budget cut is not just a figure in a spreadsheet – it is cruel and will negatively impact the lives of the 1,450 TaxiCard users.
An important role on the football field is the captain’s. He needs to be in the thick of the action all the time. No disrespect to the present Aberdeen captain and goalkeeper Joe Lewis, but you cannot command the team from the penalty box.
Stephen Glass has a difficult decision to make.. Andy Considine would be a better choice as captain.
He has been a faithful servant to AFC and deserves his chance. New boss, new captain.
Regarding business leaders’ call for support for the region: How about stop asking the government to do things? They only cost us more money. Look at the mess of education and health.
How about increasing the money in people’s pockets with a tax cut, eg VAT. The more money people have the more they spend.