...and progress on jobs, but there’s more work to be done
CALLUM Wark was more than just a number. He was a teenager striving hard to forge a career for himself, a loving son and a devoted grandson.
In March this year, two days before his 20th birthday, Callum’s hopes and dreams were snuffed out by a foreign lorry driver who was more than three times over the legal drink drive limit.
Stoyan Andonov Stoyanov had drunk a full bottle of spirits in the 24 hours before the crash and had no knowledge of UK driving laws. Callum, from Swillington, didn’t stand a chance.
Yet Stoyanov has been sentenced to just seven years in prison, with an expectation that he will serve only half. For Callum’s family and friends, however, the suffering will last a lifetime.
While it’s true that nothing will bring him back, his parents’ ordeal since his death should shame this country’s so-called justice system.
Made to feel that Callum was just another statistic, they had the sense that everything was geared around his killer, rather than securing justice for their son.
While the maximum penalty for causing death by drink driving stands at 14 years, fewer than three in five receive a jail term of more than five years.
It’s why sentences need to be beefed up to provide an adequate deterrent – and liabilities such as Stoyanov must be deported as swiftly as possible, taking with them a lifetime ban from British roads.
Progress on jobs, but more work to do
ON the surface, at least, the latest employment figures make for encouraging reading.
They show that the number of families in which no one works has fallen to an 18-year low.
This is important if we are going to break the destructive cycle of children growing up in households where it’s the norm to rely on state handouts.
However, there is still an ongoing problem with a hardcore of families where no-one has a job and the question of what work people do.
If the recovery is to benefit everyone then low-paid part-time jobs and zero hours contracts are not the answer. Progess has been made, but there’s more to do.