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ONCE golf was a sport only for posh people, but those days have long gone.

Nowadays it is part and parcel of the leisure time of people from across the social scale, many taking advantage of Birmingham's well-priced council-owned courses to indulge their habit.

Quite right, too.

Such activity helps people unwind from their stressful lives, weans them away from their sofas and television sets and helps them get the exercise they need to live long and healthy lives.

How unfortunate, then, that Birmingham City Council is planning a massive rise in green fees, especially at a time when ordinary folk are struggling to make ends meet because of the current economic downturn.

Likewise the planned rises in council fees for football, cricket, rugy and hockey pitches and for a simple game of bowls.

These are measures that will do nothing to encourage people to participate in sport, instead making them think twice whether they can afford to do so.

No-one denies that local authorities have tough decisions to make and must spend tax-payers' money prudently.

But there are better ways to make ends meet than asking golfers and other amateur sports enthusiasts to dip even deeper into their pockets.

Councillors should knock these proposals into the long grass.

THE arrival of a new year is always a time of eager anticipation.

How much greater that anticipation when we have welcomed a new life into our midst.

Only the stoniest heart will be unmoved by pictures in today's Birmingham Mail of some of the first babies to arrive in 2009.

Little ones like Freya Edwards, whose mother Janine Ball suffered a devastating and heart-breaking blow a year ago when hher son died after being born early Today we wish Freya and her parents a very happy new year. And we send the same message to all new parents.

Enjoy this speccial time.
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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jan 2, 2009
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