Monthly Archives: January 2011

Forests and allotments – selling ’em off or raising prices in Nottingham and Notts


National Forests, including Sherwood Forest in Notts and allotments across Nottingham City are one very vunerable focus of national government and local authority plans to ‘reduce the deficit’ by either privatising assets or making us pay vastly more to use them.

Last week it was highlighted in the press that Sherwood Forest in Notts is to be included in the sell off of Forestry Commission land as part of the forthcoming Public Bodies Bill – there have been previous reports but the Bill is due in parliament within the next few weeks. National campaigning exists http://www.38degrees.org.uk/page/content/save-our-forests-campaign and especially in Gloucestershire about the Forest of Dean seel off, but a vibrant local campaign will be needed here to stop Sherwood Forest being sold off. A national protest rally was held earlier in the month with more than 3,000 people and a petition of over 110,000 pledging to defend “the people’s” trees from what is likely to be a corporate land grab:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jan/03/forest-of-dean-protesters-woodland. What more can be done here in Nottingham and Notts?

Furthermore Nottingham City Council is holding a consultation of changes to allotment tenancies, rent levels and plot allocation. They claim that the review “aims to encourage more people to get involved with growing food in Nottingham.” In fact, the changes would involve the trebling of rents for allotments in Nottingham. More details on Nottingham Indymedia: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/854
and http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/889

Save Our Forests Campaign – want to get involved?

The government is planning a massive sell off of our national forests. They could be auctioned and fenced off, run down, logged or turned into golf courses and holiday villages.

We can’t let that happen. We need to stop these plans now. National treasures like The Forest of Dean, Sherwood Forest and The New Forest could be sold off. Once they are gone, they will be lost forever.

There has been significant media coverage of the risks to the public forests and a huge “Save Our Forests” petition at http://www.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-forests has attracted nearly 130,000 signatures and is growing all the time – please sign it.

Local campaigns have also been set up to fight the sell off in Cannock Chase and the Forest of Dean; but there isn’t much time. The Public Bodies Bill, the legislation that will enable this to happen, is due in parliament in the coming weeks.

Please contact us if you want to get involved in a Save Sherwood Forest Campaign and let us have your ideas about what we can do. You can also visit the Facebook group site: Save Sherwood Forest !!! ( FoSF ). Also on Facebook: What is the issue about the forest sell off — what is happening and why does it matter? And who cares?

More background info from Climate Alliance…

Public Bodies Bill
The Public Bodies bill, of which the ‘modernisation of forestry legislation’ is a part of, is going through the House of Lords at the moment and will then move to the Commons. So anyone who is in contact with their MP or wants to be on this issue, has time to call or write to your MP and raise your concerns/opposition/request for amendments to the bill. The link below takes you to the status of the bill & a short explanation of it, plus you can sign up to email updates which alert you whenever there’s progress/activity on the bill.
http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-11/publicbodieshl.html

Natural Environment White paper
This white paper is still open to to grassroots consultation, responses can be submitted until the end of January.
http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/whitepaper/

Parliament briefing updated 23rd Nov 2010: The Forestry Commission and the sale of public forests in England
http://www.parliament.uk/briefingpapers/commons/lib/research/briefings/SNSC-05734.pdfThis document provides historical & current background info on the sale of the public forest estate, plus a number of other links to info sources.

Forestry in England: A new strategic approach (apparently!)
http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/news/2010/10/29/forestry/
Letter to MPs from DEFRA to clarify position on public forest sale.

Forestry commission: Modernising forestry legislation
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-7T9B67
The Forestry Commission’s position on the government proposals

More general comment & analysis

London School of Economics – Detrimental consequences of sell-off:
http://tiny.cc/ybm2g

Jonathon Porritt blog:
http://www.jonathonporritt.com/pages/2010/11/forests_on_the_front_line.html

Tax Breaks on forestry investment:

http://www.moneyobserver.com/issue/features/pros-and-cons-forestry-investing

http://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/2011/01/07/forestry-commission-sale-is-a-massive-tax-planning-bonanza-for-the-rich/

http://www.stepjournal.org/journal_archive/2010/step_journal_april_2010/top_tips.aspx

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Unison: alternatives to proposed Nottinghamshire service and job cuts


Just before Christmas, Notts Unison wrote a letter to Councillor Kay Cuts, leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, outlining alternatives to the proposed Nottinghamshire service and job cuts: Open letter to Kay Cutts 20 dec 2010. No reply has been received as yet.

Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts! – diary dates in Jan 2011 and beyond


Some of the upcoming education cuts related events from Jan 2011 onwards can be found on the Nottingham Students Against Fees and Cuts! website.

Students and education workers at Conservative Party HQ - showing a lot more people than the so called rogue minority reported by the mainstream media

“It takes the biscuit” – local action against VAT increase on 3rd Jan 2011


A digestive biscuitOn Monday 3rd January 2011 a group of activists gave out biscuits and leaflets in Nottingham and launched a website Takes the biscuit saying,

VAT
Value Added Tax (VAT) is a particularly unfair form of taxation. Poor people pay more as a percentage of their income than the rich.

VAT Increase
On Tuesday January 4th, the VAT rate goes up to 20%. This is part of the coalition government’s “deficit reduction” plans and was announced in George Osborne’s “emergency budget.”

Broken Promises
Nobody voted for an increase in VAT. During campaigning before the General Election, David Cameron said, “We have absolutely no plans to raise VAT.” The LibDems actively campaigned against a VAT increase, accusing the Tories of hiding a secret “VAT Bombshell.”

The Cuts
“The cuts” are a way of making ordinary people pay for the economic crisis caused by the bankers. When the banks got into difficulty, the British state stepped in to prop them up, but at huge cost. In order to make up this money, the government is now attempting to pass this cost onto ordinary people by cutting services, laying-off staff, increasing charges, inflating tuition fees and raising VAT.

Not Necessary
We believe that these cuts are unnecessary an attack on our communities. In fact some leading mainstream economists agree including the Guardian’s Larry Elliott and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz who have both warned that the severity of cuts being pushed by the coalition could kill off the economic recovery and push us back into a recession.

Government of Millionaires
The current government is made up of millionaires and public schoolboys who don’t understand the lives of ordinary people. When the new cabinet was announced in May, it emerged that 18 of the 23 full-time cabinet members were millionaires.

The Chancellor George Osborne is a prime example. Born Gideon Oliver Osborne, he is a former public schoolboy, attended Oxford, stands to inherit the Baronetcy of Osborne and is worth an estimated £4million.

Fighting Back
We have seen groups emerging across the country to resist the cuts. In Nottingham, Notts Save Our Services has been launched to try and coordinate local campaigns. By linking up the cuts against different cuts (to education, health, welfare, social care and much more) we can put more pressure on the government than we could working separately. The campaign to reduce (and perhaps ultimately abolish) VAT is another strand of this campaign.

Biscuits
The biscuit theme was intended as a way of making a fairly boring issue (VAT) at least vaguely interesting.

We chose biscuits because of the bizarre laws which mean that biscuits are subject to VAT, but cakes are not. In a relatively well-known case, McVities went to court in order to prove that Jaffa Cakes were indeed cakes and hence exempt.

Fighting Academies in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire – Broxtowe meeting Thursday 6 January 2011


Broxtowe Anti Academies Alliance is meeting in Beeston tomorrow night (Thursday 6 January 2011) at 8pm.

The Alliance was set up by a group of parents, teachers and school governors last year in opposition to George Spencer School becoming an academy and we have continued to campaign locally. A second Anti Academies Alliance has recently started up in Rushcliffe, but as far as we are aware, these are the only active campaigns (outside the teaching unions) in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

If anyone is interested in setting up an anti academy campaign in the city or county and wants to come along to our meeting to discuss how we can support you, please email broxtowe [at] antiacademies.org.uk and we can let you know the venue of the meeting.

Contact: Andrea Oates, Broxtowe Anti Academies Alliance, Email: broxtowe [at] antiacademies.org.uk

Also – according to Executive board minutes 21 December.Nottingham City Council is looking at Northgate Primary and nursery school joining up with Djanogly as a 3-19 years academy.

Say No to Fire Cuts – Save Carlton’s Firefighters


Government budget cutbacks to Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue could have devastating consequences for residents of Carlton, Netherfield, Colwick and surrounding districts if plans go ahead to remove one of two Fire Engines and the loss of more than 20 Firefighter jobs from the just-completed £3.5m Fire Station at Carlton.

A website and FaceBook group has been set up to highlight these cuts to local fire cover and to highlight the strength of public feeling against these measures.

See the website at http://www.savecarltonretained.co.uk for more information on the forthcoming campaign and sign the petition today!

Please pass on this FaceBook group to anyone in the area today. Your help is urgently required!

“Say No to Fire Cuts and Support your local Firefighters”

Notts Cuts Watch #11 [plus videos of recent Anti Cuts, Corporate Tax & Student Fees demos]


Notts Cuts Watch #11, from Notts Indymedia, covers cuts and anti-cuts news in the period from Monday 20th until Sunday 26th December 2010.

Even as Christmas approached, the cutting of public services in Nottinghamshire continued. The festivities have taken the sails out of the resistance to these attacks, but I’m sure it will be back with a vengeance in the new year. (On which note, make sure you put the Combating the Cuts event on January 15th in your diary.) Until then, why not spend some of the post-Christmas lull reading up on exactly what’s being cut? Knowledge is power and all that.

Continues here: http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/articles/831

Also on Notts Indymedia, a video of our recent Anti Cuts, Corporate Tax & Student Fees demo involving a walk-through of Boots:
http://nottingham.indymedia.org.uk/videos/832

More Nottingham video here from demos on the 18th Dec 2010: http://ukuncut.org.uk/actions/149

Beeston & Chilwell Defend Library Services campaign launched – public meeting 20th January and stalls on 15th & 16th – plus info about library cuts in the City too


A campaign has been launched against cuts at Beeston & Inham Nook Libraries and for a good local library service for all.

BEESTON & CHILWELL DEFEND LIBRARY SERVICES – PUBLIC MEETING

Venue: Chilwell College House Junior School

Date/Time: Thursday 20th Jan 2011, 7.30pm to 9pm

There will be a stall and leafleting of Beeston High Rd (outside Boots the Chemist) on Saturday 15th Jan (10.30 am – 12pm). There will also be a leafleting of Beeston West, Beeston North and Beeston Central on Sunday 16th Jan. 10.30am. Volunteers welcome and please get in touch by email or mobile (07710 903 483) if you’d like to be involved.

See also: Local corrie actor (sutton in ashfield) speaks out against the library cuts: http://m.mirror.co.uk/article?a=m4:22833474

And in the City ….

Recent news on cuts to City Libraries:
* Opening hours to be cut by 10%, with consequent cuts in staffing
* Some redundancies, including library managers
* Book budget cut by 25%
* Carlton Road Library closing later in the year (previously known)
* No cuts at senior management level
* Further cuts likely later

This is in the addition to the established campaign, which relates to County Libraries (book budget cut by 75%!).

National link: Voices for the Library.

Sign the petition to defend ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)


NATECLA (National Association of Teachers of English and Community Language to Adults) have launched a petition to defend ESOL provision. In Nottingham, loss of ESOL funding will impact on users and jobs in Further Education colleges.

The Coalition Government plans to radically reduce spending on ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) provision, whilst imposing new restrictions on fee remission. Asylum seekers will be excluded entirely from publicly funded language classes, whilst others will be expected to pay more. It is widely accepted that language education is crucial for migrant integration. Cutting language education will further marginalise migrants, making it harder for them to find decent jobs or to participate in the local community.

Please sign petition today and circulate the message widely!
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/defend-esol/signatures.html