Sunday, 29 April 2012

The housing emergency that will soon devastate Brent families

Acknowledgements to Martin Francis


 "They are making the poor, poorer," was the reaction of one parent
 when Chalkhill Primary School held a briefing about the Coalition's
 welfare reforms.

The school, recognising that many of its families would be hit in the
near future had arranged for Reed in Partnership and Brent Housing
to explain what was happening and 50 or so parents attended the
meeting on Friday morning.

As the parents realised,that their lives were about to be turned
upside down, the anxiety in the room deepened.

Brent Housing admitted there was little good news but emphasised
the need for planning ahead of the main impact of the changes which
will hit in April 2013.  They offered advice on how to bid for properties
and transfers for council and housing association tenants
(Call 020 8937 5211) and help for those renting in the private sector
 (020 8937 5211/4441/2369).

They suggested that the reforms might mean moving to Barnet or
Harrow or further afield for some tenants. They were able to offer
to help negotiate new rents with private landlords when the London
Housing Allowance (LHA) no longer covered the full rent, perhaps
with a 9 month protection if the rent was increased pending finding
new accommodation.

For many, the combination of the reduced Housing Benefit,. the
overall income cap, changes in the hours needing to be worked for
Working Tax credit, and the likely charging of at least 20% council tax
to all but the most vulnerable,  will bring about a drastic reduction in

It is clear that many families will not have enough to spend on food, 
heating and necessities after rent has been paid and thus will have 
no option but to move out of London unless they can find work.

This was where Reed In Partnership came in with its offer to help
'progression into work' , emphasising that it was not 'forcing people
into work'. They offered:
  • Individual appointments to make 'better off' calculations 
        comparing income from work with income from benefits. 
  • Opportunities to go on courses, develop English language skills,  
        and help looking for long-term sustainable jobs.
  • Step by step help with housing, childcare, budgeting, connection 
        with appropriate programme
  • Help into volunteer activities that would contribute to a CV
  • Help with interview skills and appropriate clothing
  • Help with public transport , providing travel cards while waiting
       for first pay packet
A mother who had received help from the programme spontaneously
stood and said how much it had helped her. She said that they had
helped her buy clothes for her job interview and that now she was 
employed she was better off than when she was on benefit and less 
socially isolated at home.

Reed In Partnership contacts: Marilyn Grundy 07534 189 557
Wembley Works, Forum House, Lakeside Way, HA9 0BU
Sessions: May 3, 17, 31 9am-noon

I am sceptical that with the numbers of people involved and with
current high levels of unemployment in Brent how many people will be 
able to benefit but it clearly offered some a glimmer of hope. However 
for some mothers with very young children at home it does not seem to 
be an option. For many moving to 'cheaper' areas, probably with even 
fewer job opportunities (that's one reason why property is cheap after 
all) will be the only alternative to penury.

Overall, the impact of all this must be to increase the number of
children living in poverty with inevitable consequences for health
and educational progress. If families are forced to move out of
London children's schooling will be disrupted and nuclear families
will be separated from support from their extended families and
communities, finding themselves isolated and possibly facing racism
and prejudice from the receiving communities.

According to Saturday's Guardian, back in 1994, Housing Minister
Grant Shapps stood in what they call the London ward that represented
Chalkhill, then a notorious concrete block estate.  Shapps boasts, "My
brilliant slogan was 'Vote for me on Thursday and we'll start knocking your
house down on Friday', and I came within 103 votes of taking a safe
Labour ward".

I would like Shapps to come back to the Chalkhill Estate and  talk to
people whose lives he and his Coalition colleagues are about to wreck.

It appears to me that this government is like the military, making war
and killing people in a far away country. by clicking on a computer screen.
They are as remote from the lives of ordinary people in places like Chalkhill
and the impact these 'reforms' will have on their lives, as those military
personnel were from the lives of ordinary people in Iraq. I suppose the
question is are they oblivious to the consequences, or is that what
they want?

The Chalkhill meeting showed the importance of outreach work by the
Council at a venue where they can meet families affected by the welfare 
'reforms' and rise awareness of the issues. I hope other schools will hold 
similar meetings.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Mayday Rally 201

Tuesday, 24 April 2012


> Date: Tue, 24 Apr 2012 10:53:02 +0100

> Dear ALL,



> The result of the UCU and UNISON Staff Survey on ‘Confidence’ in the Vice Chancellor and his Senior Management was as follows:

> 338 members of staff voted
> 306 staff voted no confidence in VC
> 32 voted confidence in the VC

> This represents a massive 91% rejection by the staff of the current Vice Chancellor’s unrelenting strategy to shrink, sell off or privatise the university’s physical, human and educational resource. It is a resounding “NO” to his policy on “shared services” (outsourcing). It is a rejection of his decision to close the Women’s Library and the Trades Union Collection. It is a condemnation of the student over-recruitment in 2011-2012 that led directly to a fine of £5.9m by HEFCE.
> It also parallels the rejection by London Met staff representatives and by the London Met Student Union of the Vice Chancellor’s ill-thought out views on Islam and drinking on campus. London Met Student Union is currently carrying out a parallel survey amongst their member on the Vice Chancellor and his policies.

> Malcolm Gillies has been Vice Chancellor at London Met for just two years since January 2010. He came in with the incredibly useful advantage (to him) of not being the previous Vice Chancellor Brian Roper and not being associated in any way with the previous Board of Governors who had resigned in December 2009. Virtually everyone at London Met was prepared then to invest confidence in him and to help him take London Met into a new positive future. That at least 306 staff reject him now is a damning indictment of the strategy he has adopted and the actions he has taken ostensibly for the ‘public good’ of London Met.

> We know that the turn-out in the survey would almost certainly have been higher had the Vice Chancellor not 'requested' staff in a formal ALL-STAFF communication not to take part in the survey. This intimidation was accompanied by threats to UCU and to UCU local officers if the survey was not withdrawn.

> Ironically at various points in his ill-chosen very public debate over Islam the Vice Chancellor has referred to internal debate going on at London Met into this and other issues. The reality is that our current Vice Chancellor cannot stand any debate at London Met over anything and has sought to suppress this vote of confidence for fear of the result. At a very insecure moment with ongoing job loss, we understand why quite a few staff felt too nervous to even take part in the survey. A significant number of staff have already stated this to UCU officers. This in itself is a worrying reflection of the situation at London Met! We therefore do genuinely thank those many members of staff (UCU, UNISON and non-members who we hope will now become members!) who nevertheless did vote.

> It is now clear that the current Board of Governors of London Met must intervene and re-direct the current flawed management of London Met. UCU, UNISON and the leadership of the London Met Student Union have sent the results of the survey to all governors and have requested a formal meeting with the Board as soon as possible.

> UCU members have recently voted in favour of strike action and action short of a strike following London Met management’s refusal to reduce in any way the number of current redundancies required under the s188. We will be discussing how to take forward that ballot at the next UCU meeting Wednesday May 2rd (see below). As part of the unions’ unilateral attempt to reduce redundancies, UCU and UNISON have already sought a meeting with the Board of Governors under the university’s dispute-resolution procedure. We have invoked this procedure to seek means to avoid 229 job losses by the end of July 2012 and the threat of a further £11million cuts in staff costs by the end of July 2013. We also wish to discuss with the governors the other elements of our dispute, the threat of new contracts and the appropriate levels of resource for subjects being ‘taught out’ in 2012-2013.

> To date the university has not responded with dates for meetings with Governors. Given the result of the Vote of No confidence we now have a mandate to go to the governors directly not just over the issues covered in the industrial dispute but also over management’s strategy for shrinkage at London Met.

> We will also be putting a version of this email out to the press and to HEFCE.

> UCU members are reminded that the next UCU ALL Member Meeting will be at City Campus on Wednesday May 2rd. At that meeting we will be discussing further steps arising both from the recent Industrial Ballot and the Vote of No confidence. Full details will follow. Please do attend.

> UCU Co-ordinating Committee

Friday, 20 April 2012

greek solidarity meetings

Greek Solidarity/Coalition of Resistance – London | April 24

April 12, 2012
Greek Solidarity/Coalition of Resistance – London | April 24
April 24, 2012 18:30
April 24, 2012 20:00
Room 612, Institute of Archaeology
Google Map
Gordon Square,London, Greater LondonUnited Kingdom
Greek archaeologists and union activists Despina Koutsomba and Fotios Georgiadis (Ministry of Culture and Civil Servants Union) will be visiting Britain on 24-26 April and speaking at this meeting, together with Professor Yannis Hamilakis from the University of Southampton. The film shot in Greece earlier this year as part of the British solidarity delegation will also be shown. All Coalition of Resistance activists and supporters in the areas should try and attend.

Greek Solidarity/Coalition 

of Resistance – Bristol | April 25

NEWCASTLE | April 26

« Back to Events

Greek Solidarity/Coalition of Resistance – Bristol | April 25
April 25, 2012 18:00
April 25, 2012 19:30

‘Solidarity Versus Austerity: Report back from Greece’ | April 26
April 26, 2012 19:00
April 26, 2012 21:00

St Johns Church Hall
Google Map
30 Grainger Street,Newcastle, North EastNE1 5JG ,United Kingdom

Google Map
Department of Archaeology and Anthropology
43 Woodland Road,Bristol, AvonUnited Kingdom

Stop Remploy Factory Closures

Friday, 13 April 2012

GREECE REPORT BACK from Romayne Phoenix

Extra item for the second Green Left meeting in Brighton tomorrow. GL Co-convenor Romayne Phoenix, who recently  visited Greece with a Coalition of Resistance delegation will report back on how Greek workers are organising themselves to cope with the extreme austerity measures being imposed by their government.

Could this information be of use to the people of Brighton in future?????????

Minutes of gptu meeting 11/3/12

Minutes of gptu meeting 11/3/12 now posted at

Friday, 6 April 2012

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

2 Green left Meetings in Brighton 14 April




Saturday 14 APRIL 2012
The Friends Meeting House, Ship Street , Brighton BN1 1AF     Tel:01273 770258   
12.30-3.00 Green Left meeting (Green Left members only) General GL business

3.30-5.30 Green Left meeting open to

all Green Party members


·      Can the Greens still claim to be
the “No cuts” party?

·      Why should voters vote Green if
Greens make cuts?

·      Should Brighton Greens make
more cuts next year?

·      At what point should Green 

councillors refuse

to make cuts?

Liverpool Against The Cuts: Adult Social Care Campaign

From: Liverpool Against The Cuts <>
Subject: Adult Social Care Campaign

Date: Tuesday, 3 April, 2012, 9:17

Hello friends,

Welcome to Liverpool Against the Cuts (LATC)/Social Work Action Network(SWAN) joint campaign against Liverpool City Council's cuts to Adult Social Care. I am contacting you all first and foremost to thank you for expressing interest in being part of this much needed campaign in Liverpool. The information we have been given so far is this:

1. The council have recently removed all funding for recipients of 'moderate' banding care packages - 66 people have already had their service taken away
2. The council are currently reassessing all recipients of social care services across the city. This will allow downgrading - i.e from substantial to moderate - taking more people out of the system.
3. Closure of day-centres by non-referral (stated by carers who have tried to access a day-centre)
4. Non- completion of Lime Court after 2 years (still no design and contractors)
5. Non-development of Speke and Lancaster day centre 'hubs'.
6. Privatisation of Beresford House - Beresford House is used for respite and residential clients, it is going over to the private sector; tenders have been submitted to the council. 

I would like to invite you all to a campaign planning meeting next week. We are hoping to have further information and a clearer direction for the future of our campaign. We can also discuss the above points in greater detail, so that people have a better understanding of the impact these changes will have upon service users, carers and workers. 

The meeting will be on 12th April at 6pm at Unite the Union, Jack Jones House, 2 Churchill Way, Liverpool, L3 8EF. Could I ask you to let me know if you are able to attend by responding to this email? 

Many thanks once again, hope to see you all next week!

Nicky Mitchell, Michelle Smith, Joe Greener - LATC and SWAN
Liverpool Against The Cuts

c/o RMT NW Office, 29 Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ