Review of the year: December

PARENTS and patients were put out as public sector workers went on strike in December, we revealed Hertfordshire County Council was investing in a killer, and a young girl had her pop idol dream come true.

•HUNDREDS of public sector staff walked out in protest against planned changes to their pensions causing a knock-on effect for parents and patients.

Teachers, health workers and council employees took strike action as unions joined forces to protest against Government proposals to increase contributions and make them work for longer.

More than 50 schools across Comet country shut for the day, forcing parents to make alternative arrangements while some outpatient services at Lister were cancelled. Councils reported minimal disruption to services.

•HERTFORDSHIRE County Council invested more than �50m in tobacco firms The Comet revealed, sparking criticism from anti-smoking groups.


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While Stevenage and North Herts district councils had rolled out anti-smoking programmes, County Hall had �50,471,640 from its pension pot invested in British American and Imperial Tobacco, which owns many of the major brands.

Action on Smoking and Health said there was an ethical and moral dimension to the council’s decision, and a financial one.

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The deputy leader of the council David Lloyd said it was important not to restrain the pension fund manager in any way in order to get the best return.

•A GIRL with a serious illness that forces her to miss out on much of the fun of childhood had a dream come true when she met her idols – pop stars JLS.

Kayley Baker from Stevenage is forced to carry a special backpack to school, which feeds her by a tube, and has to use a wheelchair because of conditions which affect her organs and bones.

But the bubbly 11-year-old, who her mum Michaela described as “always smiling” was given a day to remember when she was taken by wish-giving charity Rays of Sunshine to meet the four chart-toppers in London as part of a day trip.

Michaela said: “They sang to her and the boys spent five minutes each speaking to her. She was quite star-struck but asked them questions and chatted to them. She still doesn’t think it’s real.”

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