Archive for ‘Anti-cuts’

May 26, 2017

Tory cuts obsession threatens our future by Bernard Hyde, Green candidate for Chatham and Aylesford

sure start demoThe threatened closures of Sure Start Centres in Medway are part of a political strategy that has been threatening our social support systems since 2010 when the Tory-led Coalition Government came into power.   It was at that point that the Tories decided that it was “fair” to inflict the debts caused by the bailout of unscrupulous banks following the financial crisis on the rest of us, and in particular the poorest and most vulnerable in our society [1], by starting a programme of continuing cuts which have attacked our social security and public services.

The argument by the Coalition Government was that it was unfair to inflict this debt on future generations.  Putting aside that the current Government has actually grown the level of debt it inherited [2], this misses the fact that the size of public debt is only one aspect that will determine the potential of our children’s and grandchildren’s adult lives.  The condition of public infrastructure, hospitals, schools, housing, transport, social care, social support services and the natural environment our children and grandchildren will inherit will all have a huge impact on the quality of their lives. There is little advantage to having low public debt if you will not be able to be treated when you are sick, housed when you are homeless, or if the natural environment which supports your very existence has been destroyed beyond saving.

We inherit the planet from our parents, but we also borrow it from our children. It is our duty to act in an intelligent, mature and compassionate way towards those around us and those who come after us.

Bernard Hyde
Green Party candidate for Chatham and Aylesford

NOTES:
[1] http://www.social-policy.org.uk/downloads/idow.pdf (p8)

[2] https://fullfact.org/economy/labour-and-conservative-records-national-debt/

 

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August 17, 2016

Standing up for unsung heroes – carers (interview with Caroline Lucas by David Wilkins)

This interview was conducted by new Medway Green Party member, David Wilkins. His article was printed in the Brighton and Hove Independent on 4th December 2015.

Caring for the carers

Justice for the long-term disabled and carers is a cause Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas is keen to champion.  On Carers Rights Day 2015, Ms Lucas explained why she was determined to make a difference.

“We do an injustice to carers because we don’t give them the support and the credit for the incredibly hard work that they do” she said. “Essentially  we’ve got a whole army of people who are unsung heroes, working behind the scenes looking after elderly parents, colleagues, friends or children.  I want to make sure they are better supported.”

Many carers believe they should be entitled to basic treatment such as respite care, a view Ms Lucas supports. This led her to support a defeated bill in parliament, arguing for free hospital parking for carers.

She said: “It was a small thing, but it was an indication and recognition of the amount of work carers have to do.”

When Ms Lucas was first elected as MP 2010, she met  Liz Dwiar and her twin sister Pauline.  Miss Dwiar had given up her job to become full time carer for her mother who’d suffered a debilitating stroke.

“What impressed me about Liz was that she worked immensely hard but had so much joy in doing it”, Ms Lucas said.  “To see someone give up the job the they love doing and give up the life that they loved because of their responsibility, and indeed, the love for her mother was genuinely moving”.

Ms Lucas remains deeply worried about the planned cuts to the welfare system, and said: “The benefit system and welfare system doesn’t help carers.  They only need to be earning a small amount of money from elsewhere and the carers allowance gets reduced.  We need to take George Osborne seriously when he says we’re all in this together.  If he’s serious about that, then he ought to be making sure that we don’t have a series of cuts that seem to be targeting the most vulnerable the hardest.”

“The amount of work carers do without being thanked is enormous and society should be saying a very big thank you not only with words, but hopefully follow that up with some policies to better support them as well.”

June 13, 2015

End Austerity Now Demo 20th June 2015 by Trish Marchant

20_June_demo_web_flyer_2Saturday the 20th of June is a national day of campaign and action against the ideological austerity measures of this wholly Conservative government. It’s our time to stand up for the rights of the vulnerable and ignored, for workers and non-workers, for the disabled and the elderly, for those reliant on our welfare system and those struggling to find a secure job.
The Tories are planning even more cuts to public services and yet seem oblivious to the tax avoiders and the negative affect their cuts will have on the majority. Cuts on council budgets reduces social care provision. That puts pressure on local hospitals.  Pressure on hospitals means additional spending on agency nurses. Agency nurses cost more and put pressure on hospital budgets that have already been stretched due to reducing tariff payments (the money hospitals receive for work done). Hospitals end up in special measures so government regulators bring in highly paid “trouble shooters”. Its bonkers and yet this is happening now across all public services. Ask yourself why HS2, the high speed rail link that will save most of us no time, but cost £50 billion at least, is going ahead at that huge cost when your local library is closing.Why are the rich getting richer when your council can’t even afford to replant a tree after a storm? Why is there so much tax unpaid by large corporations?

And your Tory councillors are complicit in this as much as they might protest against budget cuts.

So true socialist Labour members fly your flag,  Lib dem supporters come out into the light you are free again, fellow Greens show them how its done. To everyone.  If you go you can say “I was there because I care”.
Find out more:
http://www.thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/end_austerity_now_national_demonstration_saturday_20th_june

Trish Marchant
Medway Green Party Member

November 18, 2014

Green By-Election Candidate Responds To Voters’ Biggest Concern

Green parliamentary candidate, Clive Gregory, has responded to the biggest issue of concern in Rochester and Strood, the state of Medway Maritime Hospital.There are two Foundation Trusts in Kent, Medway and East Kent, and both are in special measures due to inadequate standards of care in some areas. Medway has also recently been threatened with closure of the Accident and Emergency Department as a result of doing badly in the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report.  The failing hospital and problems with NHS services in general have been identified as the biggest concern of Rochester and Strood residents.

Clive Gregory comments:rsz_p1030793
“Medway Maritime Hospital is a victim of the creeping privatisation of the NHS which is undermining our health service in general. We should all be critical of the way the funding is allocated, the complete lack of understanding that the hospital is old and in need of major investment, and the way the services are hampered by recruitment problems and central government funding cuts. Closure of A&E would put lives at risk should it be permanently displaced. Not only that but Medway Hospital is a huge local employer; the impact of its closure would be far-reaching beyond that of patient care. The hospital simply cannot be allowed to close.

“The commitment of staff has given the people of Medway excellent neo-natal and maternity services, as highlighted by the CQC. The staff surely deserve the security of a properly supported and funded workplace away from the cut-throat environment of the competitive marketplace, made even worse by staff shortages. Furthermore, it is clear from the experience in Kent, that Foundation Trusts are simply not working. Foundation Trust licences can and should be revoked.  All that is needed is the political will.
“At a local level, I would be putting pressure on Jeremy Hunt to provide the financial support we need.  I would also be seeking a greater relationship between Mid-Kent College and Medway Maritime Hospital with apprenticeship programmes training more young people in the skills the hospital most needs.“The Green Party is committed to the principles of Nye Bevan’s 1948 NHS, and, in government, would make investment that goes beyond that promised by any other party.  This investment would reverse the cuts that the NHS has suffered. It would be paid for by such things as introducing a wealth tax on the richest 1% and a tiny tax on banking transactions which would raise billions. We would also repeal the NHS and Social Care Act. The NHS should be focused on providing good quality care rather than profit for shareholders”.

The restructuring of the NHS by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, voted in by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs, including the, at the time, Conservative MP Mark Reckless, has allowed, for the first time since its creation, private companies to compete for contracts with existing NHS services and the majority of NHS contracts are now let to private companies. It has also removed the democratic link which made the Department of Health responsible for providing a good quality service.

Clive Gregory says:

“The restructuring of the NHS, which the Tories promised would not happen if they were in power,  has led to private companies cherry picking services which are most likely to make them a profit, stripping away vital NHS funds, and leaving the most expensive services for chronic long term conditions, to be mopped up by an underfunded NHS.  This will be made worse if a new secret deal between the US and the EU goes ahead called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP for short. TTIP would allow private companies to sue the government if decisions were made that affected their profits.  “The Greens are saying no to TTIP, and no to privatisation of the NHS.  As a minimum we would insist that the NHS is taken out of TTIP. I have recently signed a pledge to do exactly that during my by-election campaign. Profit has no place in the NHS.”

 

October 21, 2014

No Cure for Debt – the CAB and Wonga Disaster

So the folly of the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) going into league with the debt inducing pay day loan company, Wonga, has finally come to fruition. The ironic pact was to give the CAB and locals the true scale of debt, its causes and perhaps a path to a general solution. But no, the survey has failed to materialise and even the chair of the committee has resigned from the job. But was it not another irony that the chair was in the first place Tracy Crouch MP. For as surely as eggs is eggs it is the Tories who have caused more debt than even the Labour government before them. By deregulating banking, gambling and loan companies; By taking away protection for workers, tenants, the retired and the unemployed; By allowing house prices to inflate to a crash not once but now, again, at this time. It is widely recognised that house prices are unstably high. Even things like making bankruptcy easy, which it shouldn’t be because of the damage it can cause to your future finances, and many other moves over the last 20 years that favour the rich at a detriment to everybody else.

The report never came because the CAB are overworked; Overworked by all those people in debt. It’s worse than that, as you have to be in massive debt to even get an appointment. But the CAB has had its budget cut like everything else since the banks robbed us blind.

I despair how money and power have come to be so corrupted in recent times. The games played by UKIP to garner media attention whilst masking the fact that they are just a bunch of right wing Tories, backed by rich eurosceptics, is just another example.

The ploys used by the rich and powerful: they chair committees, they criticise each other, but they never let us know what we can do. When did Social Services explain everything to you, or the Benefits agency, or the NHS for that matter. But they also blame the little people who have no right, or path to reply. This makes it seem that the workers cause the problems instead of the rules they work by, or the cuts they have to try and work through.

So here we are, no surprise. No report on debt but all the pay day loans shops still open. No wide promotion of the excellent and socially beneficial Medway Credit Union, which you can find on the upper floor in the Pentagon, on the right if you go up the escalators.

I would be disappointed, if I had even expected more, but frankly I didn’t. Same old politics same old power brokering, vested interests and blame culture that keeps the powerful in power. Shame on them all.

Clive Gregory

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Rochester and Strood

 

 

 

 

 

February 12, 2014

Press Release: Medway Greens back MEP in criticising “utterly inadequate” response to extreme weather

Keith Taylor, the Green Party MEP for South East England has labelled the Government’s response to the flooding as ‘inadequate’ and called for the Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, to be sacked by David Cameron.

As Medway experiences record rainfalls, and strong winds, and with neighbouring towns and villages under water, the Medway Green Party has urged the Government to heed the warnings of South East Green MEP, Keith Taylor. Keith Taylor calls for serious consideration of climate change related weather conditions, including a reversal of flood defences spending cuts and the sacking of the Environment Secretary.

Keith Taylor says:

“The Government’s planning for this flooding, and their response since it began, has been utterly inadequate. We have known for a long time that climate change will cause more events like this, yet we were utterly underprepared for these devastating floods.

If the Government is serious about tackling flooding in the future then they must both work to develop flood defences and, crucially, do everything in their power to cut our addiction to climate changing fossil fuels.

The fact is that the Government’s Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has cut funding on measures aimed at protecting Britain from global warming and he repeatedly fails to take climate change seriously.

In the short term the Government can do two things to help the fight against flooding. Firstly they should reverse cuts to the Environment Agency and secondly they should sack Owen Paterson, an Environment Secretary who just isn’t up to the job of protecting our environment.”

Evacuations due to predicted flooding, and episodes of flooding, were experienced in Strood, Rochester and Gillingham late last year. Severe weather warnings were issued by the Met Office this week with predicted rainfall (on Wednesday) a third of a month’s normal rainfall for this time of year along with 80 mph winds.

The Met Office’s chief scientist has said that climate change is likely to be a factor in the extreme weather that has hit much of the UK in recent months (1). Evidence suggests that we can expect more of this kind of extreme weather in the future (2).

Keith Taylor’s call for Owen Paterson to be sacked comes after he was accused by environmental groups of ‘incompetency’ after slashing spending on measures to help Britain cope with global warming.

ENDS

Notes:

(1) Met Office: Evidence suggests climate change link to stormswww.bbc.co.uk

(2) The elimination of the volume of Arctic sea ice is likely to bring in permanent change towards extreme weather conditions such as drought, flooding, cold spells and heat thinkprogress.org

August 22, 2013

Press Release: Medway Greens out in Force to Petition against Bedroom Tax Evictions

IMAG0154 (1)Medway Greens organise petition in Rochester.

Medway Greens were in Rochester High Street on Saturday 13th July to collect signatures from local people in support of their ongoing campaign against evictions due to the “bedroom tax”, a charge levied on households classed as under-occupied.

Trish Marchant, Medway Green Party Co-ordinator commented:

“Despite the scorching weather and, for some, Victorian attire which was unsuitable for the weather conditions, we had an excellent turnout of members to support our campaign. We have already collected many signatures towards our petition which will call on Medway Council to vow not to evict people who are unable to pay the bedroom tax”.

Trish added:

“A small minority refused to sign as they were in favour of the tax, but it seems they don’t realise that it’s working families and disabled people who are being hit the most. There were also a number of residents who shared their own stories. One lady said that her sister has to have a carer stay overnight regularly to administer some form of treatment, but that she has to pay the tax as the second bedroom, where the carer sleeps, is classed as spare”.

The Medway Green Party will be organising more petition stalls over the coming few months, with the next one planned at Chatham High Street, date to be announced.

***************************************************************************

ENDS

Medway Green Party can be found at:

1.      http://medway.greenparty.org.uk

2.      https://medwaygreenparty.wordpress.com

3.      https://twitter.com/medwaygreens

4.      https://www.facebook.com/medway.greens

June 8, 2013

The Peoples Assembly Reaches out to Medway

simon at peoples assembly

Simon Marchant at the Peoples Assembly

The first meeting of the Medway People’s Assembly took place in Gillingham on Monday. The event, sponsored by the Medway Trades Council and the Benefit Justice Campaign, and held at the Deaf Club in Balmoral Road, was well attended and included a contingent from Medway Green Party.

The local People’s Assembly is part of a national initiative which aims to join left wing parties and unions together to fight against austerity measures inflicted by the Coalition Government.  Notable national leading figures supporting the movement are Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion and Owen Jones, author of “Chavs, The Demonisation of the Working Class” and political campaigner. In addition unions such as Unison and RMT and political parties including SWP, the Socialist Party, TUSC and the Communist Party, have put their weight behind the campaign.

The meeting included speeches by Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary of the RMT, who spoke about the condition of the railway service, post privatisation, and continuing reduction in quality of service due to additional job cuts; Paula Peters from Disabled People Against the Cuts (DPAC) who spoke of the struggles people with disabilities have to go through when being assessed by Atos, pointing out that 59% of the cuts in benefits directly affect disabled people; and Jacqui Berry of Unison and the Trades Council who spoke about pressures on the NHS and the need for a united resistance to the coalition.

Trish Marchant, Medway Green Party co-ordinator commented:

“There was talk from the floor about forming a new party of the left, but the Green Party already provides a real alternative. We work hard to challenge the unfair and destructive policies of the coalition government up and down the country.  As an example, we will be having a demo and petition on the 15th June in Rochester that calls on Medway Council to follow Brighton’s lead in guaranteeing that those unable to pay the bedroom tax will not be evicted.”

From the floor, the meeting heard from a parent who was facing cuts in the care support package for her severely disabled son, and a retired railway worker who had no money for food over the bank holiday weekend.

A respectful minute’s silence was held for all of those who have lost their lives as a result of the ongoing benefit reforms.  This included many friends of DPAC campaigner, Paula Peters. She spoke of people who had taken their lives as a direct result of their experiences with Atos, the disability claims assessors, as well as Stephanie Bottrill who tragically took her own life because she couldn’t afford the extra £20 a week to pay the bedroom tax and blamed the government in her suicide note.”

Trish commented:

“With 500,000 people now relying on food banks in the UK and thousands dying as a result of their ongoing policies, it makes you wonder why the Condem government are still not being held culpable for their cruel and inhumane treatment of British citizens.  It cannot go on and we hope that the People’s Assembly gains ground in Medway and the rest of the UK and puts a stop to Cameron and his Eton cronies.”

***********************************************************************************************

ENDS

Notes:  http://thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/

Medway Green Party can be found at:

1.      http://medway.greenparty.org.uk

2.      https://medwaygreenparty.wordpress.com

3.      https://twitter.com/medwaygreens

4.      https://www.facebook.com/medway.greens