Thursday, 20 December 2012

Brnet Brent Fightback meeting Wednesday January 9th 7.30 pm

The next meeting of Brent Fightback will be on Wednesday January 9th 7.30 pm at Brent Trades Hall (it says London Apollo Club over the door) 375 High Rd, Willesden NW10 2JR.

The New Year will begin with a renewed assault on our public services which needs a renewed and vigorous resistance. Among the subjects to discuss and plan action over will be:
  • The continuing campaign against NHS cuts and the privatisation of our health services. 
  • The housing crisis and the effects of benefit caps, bedroom tax etc
  • Cuts to the Council's budget and the effect on jobs and services
  • Gove's attacks on teachers' pay and privatisation via academies and free schools
  • AOB
NHS: NHS NW London is due to give their response to the Shaping a Healthier Future "consultation" on February 19th. A meeting on December 6th of 80+ NHS campaigners from right across London named February 16th as a London day of action against NHS cuts especially the closures of A & E and maternity departments. Campaigns have been invited to send representatives to a meeting of London Keep Our NHS Public on Wednesday January 9th at Camden Town Hall 7.30 pm to firm up these plans and make a final decision between an All London Demo or coordinated local demos.

The Brent 38 degrees group which is working on trying to prevent further commissioning of services from the private sector by Brent CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) meets at 3 pm at the Priory in Belsize Rd on Saturday January 5th and hopes to meet with the CCG at their next meeting which is also on January 9th!

For background information about the state of the NHS it's worth reading these articles:
This Guardian video  and there are links to several other very pertinent Guardian articles
When A & E departments close, hospitals also lose their maternity services and many other services too. this article from the Mail illustrates the crisis in maternity care which can only worsen if more services are closed: 

Housing Crisis: The proposed benefit cap, the "bedroom tax" which cuts housing benefit for people with spare rooms and the cut in government funding to Councils for council tax benefit which means that almost everyone, however low their income, will be expected to pay some council tax, are set to cause a housing crisis on an unprecedented scale. Already, families are losing their homes. Brent Council plans to move people to Hertfordshire and beyond, people with box rooms deemed to small to be used as bedrooms are still being charged the bedroom tax. At the last Fightabck meeting, it was proposed to hold a People's Assembly on Housing in February at the Harlesden Methodist Church and to invite participation &/or sponsorship from groups like Cricklewood Homeless Concern, Private Tenants' Rights Group, N18, Shelter, The Councihan Family Campaign, Brent Law Centre and Housing Emergency which includes the Defend Council Housing Campaign. Leao Neto, the minister from the Methodist Church is interested and says it might even be possible to make this a joint event. The local papers are interested.

Councils cuts: The Council's budget setting meeting is in February. Eric Pickles has just announced further cuts to Council funding. Mohammed Butt spent time recently helping out at a foodbank, but what will Brent Council do to join with the people it is supposed to represent to prevent them being ConDem-ed to further misery in the New Year?

Education: The Slithy Michael Gove, having urged headteachers to dock pay from teachers taking part in the current work to rule, has now announced that he is going to do away with the national pay framework and allow schools to pay teachers whatever they like. He's thrown down the gauntlet, but shamefully, the NUT Executive has failed to pick it up. Meanwhile, OFSTED is doing the Government's dirty work by judging popular schools with happy children to be "in need of improvement" thus preparing them for takeover by their mates in the Academy chains. He's also making it easier for Free Schools to get buildings to set up in, whether they are suitable or not. (This item on education represents my personal rant, and is not necessarily the opinion of Brent Fightback - Sarah)