Notts Uncut (Part of UK Uncut) event in Nottingham on Saturday 21st March at 1pm, plus a Budget Day protest on the 18th.


*** Visit Notts SOS Facebook page for these and many other events: https://www.facebook.com/groups/129772307075242

ACTION CALL OUT: The Great British Tax Robbery: CITIZENS’ ARREST Notts Uncut (Part of UK Uncut) event When? Saturday, March 21 at 1:00pm Where? Boots at The Victoria Centre in Nottingham Details? on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/350093095186852/

Twitter hashtag for other UK Uncut events: #taxdodgingistheft

“Election season is upon us. For the past four years we’ve been fighting the coalition government’s savage public sector cuts and exposing their lies and hypocrisy. Labour and the coalition promise more cuts to come. Lets come together on Saturday the 21st March for a national day of action to send a clear message to the political parties: reverse the cuts!

The government told us they’d “protect the poorest and most vulnerable”. They said “those with the broadest shoulders will bear the brunt of the cuts”. And what have we seen? Dismantling the NHS and wrecking the welfare state. Cutting schools, youth clubs, sure start centres, domestic violence refuges and libraries. Slashing local council budgets. Attacking disabled people with inhumane ‘work capability assessments’ and cuts to vital benefits. Removing access to justice through legal aid cuts. Allowing the big six energy companies to push people into fuel poverty. Cutting jobs, wages and pensions. Selling off social housing and moving people away from their communities. Driving hundreds of thousands into food banks and making families choose between heating or eating.

Angry? Join us on Saturday 21st March on the trail of one of the most obvious crimes of all time: the Great British Tax Robbery. We’re targeting the governments’ favourite tax-dodging bank, HSBC. David Cameron says we can’t afford funding for the welfare state. But the deepest and most brutal cuts to our vital public services have been enacted whilst big banks like HSBC who caused the financial crash pocket billions in tax avoidance and help other companies to do the same.

George Osborne thinks it’s “not his job” to clean up corrupt tax-dodgers. So it’s up to us to show HSBC for what it really is: a crime scene. On Saturday 21st let’s send a clear message to the government and HSBC that what they’ve done is CRIMINAL.

Dress as your detective of choice or as a tax-dodging robber with a bag full of public service swag. We’ll turn our local HSBC into an ‘active crime scene’, cordon off the area, take ‘witness statements’ from passers-by and get set to expose the crimes against our public services.
The government talks about ‘benefits scroungers’, but we all know who’s really scrounging off the state. It’s time to bring the REAL CRIMINALS to JUSTICE.

Lets come together on the 21st and take a stand against austerity.

See you on the streets!

An organising meeting will be posted shortly!”

Also: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 05:00 PM at Brian Clough Statue in Nottingham a Budget Day protest will take place organised by People’s Assembly using a ‘pots and pans protest’. Part of a national day of action.

“On Wednesday 18 March George Osborne will publish his final budget before the general election and we’re sure it will be full of tax breaks for his friends in big business, banks and hedge funds. But will he mention food banks, poverty and the housing crisis? Join us after work at the Brian Clough statue with your pots and pans and drums!

By all accounts it will be savage. £12 billion cuts to the welfare budget at least, according to the papers. A budget designed to pour heap on the poorest, and to buy votes in the weeks before an election. With a Labour party unwilling to speak out we need protest to voice opposition and make this the final austerity budget.

With less than 2 months to go before the election it’s vital that we protest austerity, otherwise the parties will continue it regardless of the winner. Join us on Wednesday with your pots and pans, and get involved in the protest against austerity!

Nottingham People’s Assembly
http://www.nottspeoplesassembly.org/

People’s March for the NHS – in Nottingham again on Saturday March 28th, 2015


People’s March for the NHS will visit Nottingham again on Saturday March 28th. The start time is 11am at The Forest Recreation Ground, Gregory Boulevard, NG7 6HB Nottingham. A march will then leave Forest Recreation Ground to Speaker’s Corner (next to Brian Clough statue, Market Square Nottingham) for a rally at 12.30pm. The march is organised by ‘People’s Vote for the NHS’ which is aiming to get Labour back in power to ‘save’ the NHS.
See also event page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/936262406398523/

Analysis on the NHS policy of the main parties can be examined here:
http://election.kingsfund.org.uk/

A socialist left viewpoint on ‘are Labour and Tories the same’ with an eye on elections is here: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/01/labour-and-tories-aren-t-same-so-why-do-voters-still-think-they-are

One personal viewpoint on Labour’s NHS record local to Nottingham can be found here in the Notts SOS blog from October 16, 2010: http://nottssos.org.uk/2010/10/16/get-involved-with-notts-sos-%E2%80%93-appeal-from-a-nottingham-city-nhs-worker/

Another view on the cuts and NHS with local relevance, this time from the Anarchist Federation, Nottingham local group, is the anti-cuts leaflet, published shortly after the last General Election, to be found here [PDF leaflet] http://www.afed.org.uk/nottingham/af_anti_cuts_leaflet_sept_2010.pdf

Nottingham City Council budget cuts protest rally on Monday 9th March 2015, 1pm


PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate release
Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham: Cathy Meadows 07913476905

Local Group rallies against Nottingham City Council budget cuts in Nottingham Market Square on Monday 9 March 1pm

A campaign group is rallying outside Nottingham City Council’s budget meeting at the Council House at 1pm on Monday 9 March. The group want to protest against :

  • proposed increase to council tax
  • cuts to advice services
  • unspecified cuts to leisure services which could mean cuts to library services including shorter opening hours, fewer staff and increased for computer use at libraries
  • lack of detail in budget proposals during the consultation period (see above)
  • failure of the City Council to publicise Bedroom Tax refund available to all social housing tenants in the City who were overcharged under to the Consequential Provision Regulations (CPR) 2006.

The group which campaigns against the bedroom tax and cuts to council tax benefit say that people hit by the bedroom tax and those receiving council tax support are having to use money meant for food, fuel and bills to try and make up shortfalls in council tax benefit and housing benefit – This is causing extreme hardship, debt and stress made worse by the threat of pursuit by Nottingham City Council . On top of that services which support people with debt, and court cases are being cut.

See also: http://nottssos.org.uk/2015/02/21/nottingham-council-cuts-consultations-what-will-it-mean/

Nottingham Council cuts consultations – what will it mean?


budget-moneyIf you’ve not already seen the dire projection for the Nottingham City 2015/16 budget see this Council page:
http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/yourcityyourservices
Similar stories are being told in Nottinghamshire County, and in Derby and Leicester.

The question is what can be done? One thing we can see clearly is we now have Labour Councils in the City and County in Notts both poised to make ordinary people pay for the so-called economic crisis and ‘deficit’ through imposed ‘austerity’. All we are being asked to do is help them choose what to cut, or to increase cost to users, so there will inevitably be ‘winners’ and ‘losers’, while the big bad central Libdem-Tory coalition government is blamed. Clearly the councils are lobbying hard for more money, even to the extent mounting an East Midlands-wide campaign to highlight existing serious problems of deprivation.

Since the broad-based group that launched Notts SOS and this website (and the regular newsletters) is no longer operating, we have a fragmented set of left-wing currents in Notts who believe, for the most part, that the best way to effect a change is through the ballot box, either the Labour Party (and Green Party) supporting ‘People’s Assembly’ or the TUSC and Left Unity coalitions who are standing candidates in the General Election. There is an overlap between TUSC and the Bedroom Tax campaign that has challenged the City Council over its implementation of this (hopefully soon to be doomed) very nasty public housing policy. PA have also opposed bedroom tax evictions, notably that of Tom Crawford. and were also delighted by Notts County Council’s vote to support a ‘Jarrow March’ last year for the NHS, going through the North of the county (berating the ‘no’ votes from coalition councillors). Others have been picking up the pieces of the cuts by running Food Banks, such as the NG7 one at the Sumac Centre (which recently stopped operating).

So what’s next if (and almost certainly when) most of these cuts or cost increases are enacted? Will getting tied up in the General Election publicity show be any use? It really seems a broad campaign without the baggage of party politics is needed more than ever in our region, to oppose austerity from the grassroots and to increase the use of direct action.


Here is a list of threatened services in Nottingham City, from the consultation website (most with a view to increase costs to individuals who use them, plus job 240 cuts and a council tax increase of 1.95%):
– Reviewing charges for Adult Social Care – Introducing an average contribution of £20 a week for around 250 citizens receiving Care, Support and Enablement services
– Increasing Fees and Charges Review of charges for Adult Social Care Proposals: Day Care from £5 to £12 per day, transport to Day Centres from £5 to £8 per return journey, Jack Dawe from £17.50 to £22.50 per hour
– Reducing case management capacity in the Youth Offending Team
– Removing vacant posts in Youth Provision
– Reviewing Sports and Culture fees and charges
– Increasing cost of school meals from £1.75 to £1.80 per meal
– Changing day centre and residential care provision
– Children’s Centres – Expanding opportunities for schools to use children centre buildings, while maintaining Children’s Centre services to the community

Scrap the Bedroom Tax – Press Release about City Council protest on 13-Nov-2014


PRESS RELEASE: For Immediate release

Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham: Cathy Meadows 07913476905

Protesters rally to demand Nottingham City Council refund bedroom tax tenants.

Tenants and supporters are protesting outside Loxley House at 1pm today because Nottingham City Council have:

– Ignored tenants who have tried to claim bedroom tax refunds (under CPR 2006 or 1996 loophole[i])
– Paid money to landlords which should have been refunded to tenants.
– Delayed investigating tenants’ exemptions and requests for refunds.

One tenant who was exempt but paid bedroom tax for nearly a year has been trying to claim a refund since June and has still not received it. Nottingham City Council paid the refund to Nottingham Community Housing Association but neither the Council nor the Housing Association will hand over the money. Another tenant had to write three letters to the Council between August and October before the Council would investigate whether they were exempt (which they were).

Because council housing benefit records do not go back far enough, the Council asked Social Landlords and City Homes to provide lists of tenants who could be exempt. These investigations ended in May 2014[ii] – but tenants who were exempt were left off these lists. Even though the Council have known since June 2014 that exempt tenants were left off the lists, they refuse to meet with campaigners and say they will not do anything else to try and identify tenants wrongly charged.

Protesters are demanding that the Council:

– Immediately refund all tenants known to be exempt.

– Respond promptly and properly to all enquiries about exemptions.

– Write personally to all bedroom tax tenants of 2013/14 whose claims go back further than the Council records, to inform them about the exemption.

– Publicise the exemption in the local press.

– Provide information, posters and leaflets about the exemption to all advice centres, job centres and community groups etc.

– Launch an independent investigation into why tenants have been left off lists and why the Council didn’t take further action.

– Launch an independent investigation into why the Council have paid money which should have been refunded to tenants, to landlords.

Ends

Notes for Editors

[i]The CPR 2006 was identified in December 2013. It affects working age tenants in social housing who have occupied the same home continuously (or have been forced to move) and have been claiming Housing Benefit since 1996.

[ii] Letter to campaign from David Liversidge, June 2014

Article from Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Scrap the Bedroom Tax about the affordable Housing Bill


The Affordable Housing Bill – a Campaign’s View

‘The bedroom tax? Hasn’t that been scrapped?’ We get comments like this at Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Scrap the Bedroom Tax campaign stalls now.  The Labour Party said it would scrap the tax and the Lib Dems said they no longer support it.

The well-publicised Affordable Homes Bill, which proposes changes to the tax,  recently got through its second reading in parliament, with support from both parties. But bedroom tax tenants are still suffering.

‘Y’ is terrified about the impact of a summons on her mental health and has borrowed money to pay her bedroom tax arrears. She doesn’t know how she’ll pay it back or what will happen when the arrears build up again.

‘A’ and ‘Z’ pay their bills fortnightly and buy as much food as they can afford and then stay at home until the next benefit payment.

‘K’ suffers from depression and is grieving the recent death of a close elderly relative. She is now facing mounting arrears as that relative helped her pay the bedroom tax.

‘P’ was refused a discretionary housing payment (DHP) and is using food banks to feed her family.

The bill does nothing for them now and it may still do nothing if and when it gets through eight more stages to become law.

The bill does not abolish the bedroom tax. It exempts households where:

  • certain home adaptions have been made because of disability
  • people expected to share a room can’t because of disability
  • no reasonable alternative accommodation has been offered

It doesn’t exempt households who need an extra room for medical equipment or for overnight carers for disabled children. Or parents who are not their children’s main carer, or their children are away studying or in young offenders’ institutions.

All the exemptions rely on tenants being aware of and proving that they are exempt – not an easy task – in Nottingham our campaign is still coming across bedroom tax tenants who have not been made aware that they are eligible for a refund because of the pre-1996 tenant loophole confirmed in January 2014, or are having to fight to get a refund from Nottingham City Council.

The Labour-dominated city council doesn’t even ensure tenants are aware they can apply for Discretionary Housing Payment before taking them to court for bedroom tax arrears.  Also Advice centres who could support tenants are already working at full capacity and at least one advice centre in Nottingham no longer helps tenants complete the new eight page DHP application forms.

Critically the bill does not challenge the fundamental principle of the bedroom tax: if someone does not leave their home, their housing benefit will be cut and they will be expected to use money meant for food and bills to cover their rent.

While it brings hope, publicity about the Affordable Housing Bill is confusing and potentially reduces active support for bedroom tax campaigns.

“There will be no evictions from council run properties… as a result of the bedroom tax.” Milan Radulovic, leader of Nottinghamshire’s Broxtowe borough council made this commitment in April 2013 and has kept to it. With 17 Labour, 17 Conservative and 10 Lib Dem councillors, it shows that councils can be pushed if some councillors are prepared to take a lead. But this is not enough. They are still implementing the bedroom tax though not evicting.

Labour has a majority in local government, they could stop the bedroom tax tomorrow if all their councils made similar announcements. They should cancel all bedroom tax debts, using reserves in the short term and launch a mass campaign with unions, campaigners, community groups, disabled groups and others to demand the shortfall from the government.

DPAC 4th of July 2014 ‘Independent Living Tea Party’


From Disabled People Against Cuts
http://dpac.uk.net/
Event in London at Dept. of Work and Pensions.

DPAC is delighted to extend an open invitation to celebrate Independent Living Day with us on the 4th of July at the ‘Independent Living Tea Party ‘. 
 
The party will begin at 2pm at the DWP, Caxton House in Tothill Street SW1. There will be fun & games, and entertainment; and of course, some civil disobedience. 
 
We have come a long way since the demand for Independent Living was first made nearly 50 years ago. Then, as now, IL was our solution for how society supports disabled people to take our place as equals. For how society addresses inaccessible institutions, structures and process it created, which do more to disable people than their impairments ever could. 
 
There are many strands of Independent Living, and all are under threat. Cuts to:
·                                 Support funding – such Social Care, the ILF & Disabled Students Allowance; 
·                                 Education – in areas like the wholesale destruction of SEN Statements and the continued segregation of disabled children into ‘special’ schools;
·                                 Transport – the withdrawal of Taxi-cards, freedom passes and the halting of planned works to make infrastructure more accessible, amongst a host of other cuts combine to make disabled people second-class citizens in society.
 
But we have fought this fight before – and won. Our Disabled Peoples Organisations, legal gains and the policy victories we have won previously are testament to the power, know how and skills disabled people have to develop solutions to problems created by society.  We must celebrate these achievements and remind ourselves that each of these successes have had to be earned, no-one ever gave them to us without a struggle. 
 
So celebrate with us, or alternatively create your own party. Get together with friends and supporters, and create the kind of vibrant, positive spaces we have always created. Bring the noise – bells, whistles, drums, pots & pans etc. Bring food to share. Bring your enthusiasm.
 
if you are planning your own party, here are some suggestions:
 
1) Choose your target –
focus on the important issues locally; support, education, transport etc – its up to you. Identify what you want to celebrate and who represents the biggest threat to that locally. Is it your local council or Uni? Is it a transport provider? Or is it someone else?
 
2) Tell everyone –
yes, EVERYONE. Media, campaign networks, activists, local people. DONT FORGET TO TELL DPAC so we can list and support your action!
 
3) Be heard, be seen –
make your event loud and proud. Bring music, choirs, drum, bells, whistles. Remind everyone out there that we won‘t be separated from society, we are society. We won ‘t go quietly.
 
4)  We’re also holding a Twitter Party on the Hashtag
#IL4JULY so that people at the DWP and at other events round the country
can tweet in pictures of their events and we can all join in. Further
details to follow, watch this space.
 
The famous Boston teaparty led to a revolution against the British government let’s see where our teaparty leads…..
 
 

Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham press release over City court summons to tenants


For Immediate release
Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham:                                       
Cathy Meadows 07913476905
 

Local campaign group calls meeting with Nottingham City Council over bedroom tax pre-court protocol failures. 

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefits campaign have requested a meeting with Nottingham City Council as a matter of urgency amid concerns that the Council are failing to follow the pre-court protocol for tenants hit with the bedroom tax.  They are concerned that the council is not engaging with tenants who are in bedroom tax arrears, not giving them the information they need, and not trying to make arrangements with them before taking them to court.  In the most recent example a tenant who is less than four weeks in arrears and whose arrears have been decreasing since January, has received a court summons for possession of their home from the council.

This is the second time the campaign group has requested in writing, a meeting with councillors, as well as previously making a verbal request.
 
Ends
Notes for Editors
[1] The council are applying to the court for Possession Orders, which give them permission to evict residents who can’t keep up with Bedroom Tax and/or Bedroom Tax arrears payments.  Social housing landlords must follow a pre-court protocol.  Tenants have the opportunity to put their case at the court hearing but do not receive legal aid to fund a solicitor to represent them in court. 
 
To contact Scrap the Bedroom Tax Defend Council Tax Benefit Nottingham contact:

07521 569 622 / 0791 347 6905
defendcounciltaxbenefits@yahoo.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/450355785005204/
https://twitter.com/defendbenefits tweet us defendbenefits

Trade Unions Unite For Militant And Sustained General Strike Len McClusky Announces


In a genuinely historic move, every trade union in the UK has signed up to a sustained general strike against austerity which could begin in the next few days Unite leader Len McCluskey has confirmed.

Read more: http://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2014/04/01/trade-unions-unite-for-militant-and-sustained-general-strike-len-mcclusky-announces/

Link

Anti workfare flying pickets rock Salvation Army in Edinburgh


Anti workfare flying pickets rock Salvation Army in Edinburgh
Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Anti workfare campaigners swooped on four Salvation Army shops in Edinburgh on 3rd March, blockading them all and turning away customers and a delivery lorry. Salvation Army managers were visibly rattled as a giant banner proclaiming IF YOU EXPLOIT US WE WILL SHUT YOU DOWN blocked the entrance to their shops.

Read more: http://edinburghagainstpoverty.org.uk/node/127