Wednesday, 19 January 2011

PRESS RELEASE

HANDS OFF OUR PUBLIC SERVICES



17th January 2011

HOOPS is stepping up its campaign against public service cuts in Tower Hamlets.  
On Wednesday (12th Jan) 150 people lobbied the Cabinet meeting at Mulberry Place.  Council workers, trade unionists and local campaigners gathered outside the town hall to protest against the East End being expected to clean up the financial mess caused by greedy and incompetent bankers.

Inside the Cabinet meeting, the Mayor (Lutfur Rahman) received an angry deputation from workers and union leaders.  
John McLoughlin, branch secretary of UNISON, said the Cabinet’s claim that their draft budget, meaning cuts of £70 million, would not affect front line services was ‘incredible’.  He condemned the plans to make hundreds of staff redundant saying:

‘Politicians always claim the cuts will start at the top, but they never do.  
It’s always low-paid, front line workers providing services to the most vulnerable in our community who are first in the firing line.’

Some of the home care workers in the audience facing the sack challenged the Mayor to come and see the work they do and accused him of not understanding the importance of their jobs.

On Saturday (14th Jan) HOOPS supporters held leafleting sessions around the borough, calling on local people to get involved in the anti-cuts campaign.  
In Roman Road Market Square, Gladys (73) said:

‘Seventy million pounds – that’s not a lot to them is it.  
How much are the senior managers getting paid?  There’s always enough money for bankers bonuses.’

This Tuesday (18th Jan) HOOPS will be holding a local public meeting in Bethnal Green.  
School students from Morpeth School who have been fighting tuition fees and the scrapping of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) will be among the speakers, along with the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Ohid Ahmed.  The meeting is at 7pm at the Cranbrook estate tenants’ hall, Mace Street.

HOOPS is building momentum and pressure towards a mass lobby of the Council’s budget setting meeting on 23rd February. 

Monday, 10 January 2011

HOOPS UPDATE - Monday 10th January

1. COUNCIL CUTS
2. LOBBY OF CABINET MEETING
3. SATURDAY 15TH JANUARY STREET STALLS
4. PUBLIC MEETINGS
5. TUC DEMONSTRATION
6. NEXT MEETING

1. COUNCIL CUTS
The scale of the government cuts and the impact on jobs and services in Tower Hamlets is now becoming clear. Tower Hamlets budget is being cut by the maximum on 8.9% this year. Council chiefs are now producing details of how they propose to make £30m cuts before March 31st 2011.

As predicted many of the cuts will affect the most vulnerable sections of our community - many of those facing redundancy are women part-time workers.

The Junior Youth Service is being disbanded and after school provision being cut back. Housing Link is being cut. Special Needs support for students is being cut back to the statutory minimum with 9 jobs to go.

This is just the start - more details will emerge in the coming weeks.

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2. LOBBY OF COUNCIL MEETING - JANUARY 12TH
The Mayor and his Cabinet are meeting on Wednesday January 12th to discuss the cuts package and HOOPS is supporting the call from TH UNISON to lobby this meeting - following our successful lobby of the full council in December.

Please see the attached flyer and circulate to colleagues and friends.

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3.
HOOPS LEAFLET
We are producing a HOOPS leaflet which we aim to have ready for the
STREET STALLS - SATURDAY JANUARY 15TH from 12:00 until 2:00pm.

These will have a twin focus of highlighting the specific cuts in Tower Hamlets and our opposition to them, and building towards the TUC national demonstration on March 26th.

Venues for these stalls are:
  • TESCO Bethnal Green Road
  • Chrisp Street Market
  • Whitechapel Sainsbury’s
  • Roman Road (opposite Bonner school)
This will give details of the cuts in Tower Hamlets and future activities. The leaflet will also ask people to contact their local councillor and urge them to vote against the cuts.

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4. PUBLIC MEETINGS
HOOPS is aiming to organise some public meeting around Tower Hamlets and will discuss this at our next meeting. However, we also want to encourage workplace and estate meetings which people can set up themselves and invite speakers.

One such meeting is happening on Tuesday 18th January in Cranbrook Hall Bethnal Green.

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5. TUC NATIONAL DEMONSTRATION
There are now 74 days until the TUC national demonstration on March 26th and we need to build a huge presence from the people of Tower Hamlets. This demonstration is probably the most important since 2003 and needs to be huge.

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6. NEXT HOOPS MEETING
The next meeting of our local campaign group is on Tuesday 25th January at 6:30pm in the Labour Party offices, 349 Cambridge Heath Road.


Monday, 6 December 2010

All to Parliament for the Vote on the Thursday 9th of December.

All to Parliament for the Vote on the Thursday 9th of December.

The Government plans to hold the vote on the increase in tuition fees by up to £9000 per year this Thursday 9th of December. There are also plans to scrap the EMA the benefit of £30 per week for students to stay on at College.

These Fees and cuts, adult funding cuts, plans to let working class universities like London Met ‘…go to the wall…’ and the end of funding for Arts and Humanities mean education will become the privilege of the very well off.

The UCU and NUS are calling on the trade union to join protest in Parliament on the 9th after work or during the day if you are free. There will be huge protests on the day in London. So far over 130,000 students take to the streets. There has been a wave of occupations in universities including LSE, Kings, UEL, UCL, SOAS, University of West England (Bristol), Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Royal Holloway, Brighton and more.

The Lib Dems are wobbling on how to vote. Vince Cable the Minister responsible for the bill might even abstain from the vote! The Coalition are backing off on plans to cut sports budgets for schools and have delayed housing reforms. We could win here but we need to put as much pressure on as possible.

Please write to your MP urging them to attend the vote and to vote against a rise in fees. www.faxyourmp.com <http://www.faxyourmp.com>

You can sign the petition below to save EMA.
http://emacampaign.org.uk/sign/ more details below.

Check out this video about EMA and student protest march from Westminister Kingsway College. Guardian website <http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/video/2010/nov/24/student-protests-tuition-fees>

The students have shown themselves to be the conscience of the nation and are fighting for all of us.

Let’s stand by our students, I hope to see you at Parliament on the 9th with your branch banner.

Best wishes ,

Richard McEwan
UCU Tower Hamlets College

Sign our petition opposing the axing of the Education Maintenance Allowance

http://emacampaign.org.uk/sign/

Supported by UCU, NUS, NUT, UNITE, UNISON, GMB, ATL
'We the undersigned oppose the axing of the Education Maintenance Allowance which helps thousands of young people to reach their full potential. We believe that the loss of EMA will damage our country's economic future and impact on social justice by making it harder for disadvantaged young people to access education and will lead to cuts in local provision as colleges respond to reductions in learner numbers. We therefore call upon government not to axe EMA and to continue supporting adult learners through the Adult Learning Grant.'

Monday, 29 November 2010

DEMO: Mulberry Place, 6.30pm Wed 8th Dec

The effects of the government cuts on Tower Hamlets are now becoming clear.

In order to set a budget for 2011/12 the council is planning to cut £38m from the budget, which will have a huge effect on jobs and services.

HOOPS is supporting a demonstration called by local trade unions outside the next council meeting on Wednesday December 8th – a flyer for this is attached.

We are asking councillors to join the campaign against the government cuts and to support the TUC national demonstration on March 26th.

We will be redrafting the HOOPS petition against the government cuts and asking councillors to sign it.

Please circulate the leaflet and encourage people to come along.

Lobby Tower Hamlets Council
Wednesday 8 December
6.30pm
Mulberry Place
5 Clove Crescent E14 2BG
Buses D6, 15, 277, Blackwall DLR
 
The cuts in Public Spending announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review will have a devastating impact on communities like Tower Hamlets. They will affect everything from Health and Education, to Benefits and other Services. They will impact on services and on jobs having a huge detrimental impact on the local economy. The Council has already given notice of the loss of up to 500 posts this financial year with more to follow. These cuts will have a real impact on services and jobs in our community. The Con Dem Coalition has no mandate for these savage cuts and the overwhelming majority of people inTower Hamlets have voted for Mayoral candidates and Councillors expressing opposition to them. 

Rather then implementing these cuts we call on the Council to

• Work with Trade Unions and Community Groups to oppose the ConDem Coalition cuts
 
• Expose the impact of the cuts on our community,
 
• Organise a series of community meetings against the cuts
 
• Support the TUC national demonstration on 26 March 2011. 
  Called by Tower Hamlets Council Joint Trade Unions supported by HOOPS Tower Hamlets

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Next student protest, Tue 30 Nov

THE OFFICIAL WALKOUT STARTS AT 11AM SO THIS MARCH (UNLIKE THE OTHERS) WILL START MOVING AT 12PM TO GIVE THOSE STUDENTS WALKING OUT TIME TO JOIN EVERYONE ELSE

THE PROTEST ROUTE HAS NOT YET BEEN FINALISED. A LONDON-WIDE ASSEMBLY WILL TAKE PLACE ON SUNDAY THE 29TH TO DECIDE WHAT ROUTE THE MARCH

Sunday, 21 November 2010

NEXT HOOPS CAMPAIGN MEETING - WED 24 NOV

Wednesday 24th November at 7:00pm in Oxford House. We are aware that this date is a Day X but we have already postponed this meeting b4 and we really need to meet before the Council meeting. It is possible to go to demo earlier, but yes we know its hard.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Statement about 10/11/10 student demonstration


A statement has been issued supporting Wednesday's student protests
We need unity to defend education and break the Con Dems’ attacks. Stand with protesters against victimisation.

• Stand with the protestors against victimisation

• Hands off our students, our colleges and our universities
• Broken windows cannot compare to the broken hearts and dreams of a generation denied education and jobs
Sign the Unity statement
We need unity to break the Con Dems’ attacks
Stand with protesters against victimisation
Wednesday’s national NUS/UCU 50,000 strong national demonstration was a magnificent show of strength against the Con Dems’ savage attacks on education. The Tories want to make swinging cuts, introduce £9,000 tuition fees and cut EMA. These attacks will close the doors to higher education and further education for a generation of young people.

During the demonstration over 5,000 students showed their determination to defend the future of education by occupying the Tory party HQ and its courtyards for several hours. The mood was good-spirited, with chants, singing and flares.

Yet at least 32 people have now been arrested, and the police and media appear to be launching a witch-hunt condemning peaceful protesters as “criminals” and violent. A great deal is being made of a few windows smashed during the protest, but the real vandals are those waging a war on our education system.
We reject any attempt to characterise the Millbank protest as small, “extremist” or unrepresentative of our movement. We celebrate the fact that thousands of students were willing to send a message to the Tories that we will fight to win. Occupations are a long established tradition in the student movement that should be defended. It is this kind of action in France and Greece that has been an inspiration many workers and students in Britain faced with such a huge assault on jobs, housing and the public sector.
We stand with the protesters, and anyone who is victimised as a result of the protest.

Initial signatories include:
Mark Bergfeld, NUS NEC
Sean Rillo Raczka, Birkbeck SU Chair and NUS NEC (Mature Students’ Rep)
Vicki Baars, NUS LGBT Officer (Women’s Place)
Alan Bailey, NUS LGBT Officer (Open Place)
Kanjay Sesay, NUS Black Students’ Officer
Matt Bond, NUS Disabled Ctte (Open Place rep)
Michael Chessum, Education and Campaigns Officer UCL SU
Jade Baker, Education Officer Westminster Uni SU
Cameron Tait, University of Sussex Students' Union President
Nathan Bolton, Campaigns Officer Essex University Students’ Union
Clare Solomon, ULU President
Jim Wolfreys, UCU NEC
Dr Marion Hersh, UCU NEC and Scottish Executive
Alex Gordon, President, National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers (RMT)
Lee Hall, playwright ‘Billy Elliot’
Hilary Wainwright, Transnational Institute
Alex Callinicos, Professor of European Studies King’s College London

Billy Bragg
Songwriter
Noami Klein
Author and Activist All in a personal capacity

  http://www.petitiononline.com/st53231/petition.html

The next meeting of our local anti-cuts campaign is on Wednesday 24th November at 7:00pm in Oxford House.

This is the day after council unions meet with the Chief Executive so we may have some picture of what the budget looks like in Tower Hamlets.

We should take the example of the students and bring some of that feeling to every campaign that fight and cuts.

The TUC has named Saturday March 26th as the day for the national demonstration and we need to make sure that this is huge, but there will be a lot of campaigning and activity before then.

Hope to see you on Wednesday 24th.