"I have long argued that the giving of offence, and even hate speech, should be a moral matter but not a matter for the criminal law. That is as true on the football pitch as on the streets. We should always challenge racism. We should also always challenge attacks on liberties in the guise of faux antiracism." Kenan Malik

Local Government

‘Norfolk County Council Ready For Strike Action’


Always enjoyable to read that the County Council are ‘reassuring’ the public! And if you don’t feel ‘reassured’ you can always get in touch with the Councillors named at the bottom of this piece, not for further ‘reassurance’ you understand…but for their individual ‘political comment’….

As you were…

Norfolk County Council is reassuring the public that plans are in place to minimise any potential disruption during next Wednesday’s one-day national strike.

It is impossible at this stage to predict what the exact impact will be but the County Council will post any closures or disruption on the home page of its website – http://www.norfolk.gov.uk – as soon as information becomes available. Your local radio station will also have updates during the day.

So far the County Council has been informed of 43 full of partial school closures but as schools are communicating with parents and carers direct we expect this figure to be substantially higher on the day.

People are being urged to help the authority on Wednesday by only calling about emergency or time critical issues and not about routine matters if at all possible.

Cliff Jordan, Cabinet Member for Efficiency, said: “We are doing our utmost to limit the effects of next Wednesday’s action on front-line services and will try to keep essential services running, wherever possible. Departments are currently working to understand the impact at a local level, and directing resources to support the most vulnerable service users in line with our well established business continuity plans.

“We anticipate a large number of Norfolk’s schools will be closed on Wednesday and parents and carers should expect to be kept informed by the head teacher concerned. We have asked schools to inform families as soon as possible about their plans. I would urge people to contact their school direct if they need further clarification.

“Outside of schools we expect most County Council services, such as care services, park and ride, recycling centres and libraries, to be open for business but we will try to let people know of any disruption as soon as possible.”

County Hall will be open as will the County Council’s Customer Service Centre, which will prioritise emergency social care and highways calls.

Norse Care, which runs 26 care homes and provides care at 13 housing with care schemes in Norfolk, is implementing its contingency plans.

Tricia Fuller, Norse Group Human Resources Director, said: “We can assure residents and their families that we are doing everything we can to maintain the smooth running of all Norse Care homes in Norfolk.

“Arrangements are being made to ensure that sufficient care staff are available to cover for any who do not come in on 30 November. Our priority will be our residents’ welfare and we are confident that this can be safeguarded, even if there may be some disruption to their normal day.”

ENDS>

Notes for Editors

There are 414 NCC schools (3 nurseries, 359 primaries, 39 secondaries, one all-through school, 11 special schools and one short stay school (formally PRU), split across four sites).

There are 15 academies and one free school.

In total there are 430 state funded schools in Norfolk.

For political comment

Corporate Affairs and Efficiency:

Cllr Cliff Jordan (Cons) Cabinet Member for Efficiency on 01362 820422 (daytime)

Cllr Diana Clarke (Lib Dem) on 07920 286637

Cllr Jennifer Toms (Green) on 01603 610032

Cllr Colleen Walker (Lab) on 01493 782272

http://www.norfolk.gov.uk/News/NCC096136

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Community Resistance: Kirkby Rent Strike 1972, Somethings Don’t Change.


Background: “Since 1945 Liverpool and its dockland have changed almost beyond recognition. Devastated by war and then transformed by post-war strategies to address some of the appalling social conditions, initiatives to attract industry to the area and the registration of dockers with schemes to decasualize port employment, the economic, social and cultural life of the dockland has been turned upside down. One of the most significant changes however, has come with the attempts to tackle the enormous problem of housing. Slum clearance programmes decanted many thousands of families from dockland Liverpool to purpose built overspill estates on the outskirts of the city. One of the most significant of these outer developments was Kirkby, located at the northwest edge of the city. This was a village of around 3,000 inhabitants in 1939, which by 1961 had grown to become a new town for over 50,000. Ultimately envisaged as a self-sustaining community with its own economic, social and cultural functions, Kirkby’s further expansion was ensured when in 1965 Liverpool Corporation committed itself to the clearance of another 30,000 ‘unfit’ dwellings, mainly from the traditional dockland areas.


The growth of Kirkby was not without its difficulties. It has often been cited as a classic illustration of the failures of planning and mistaken overspill development. The image of a tough community, uprooted and placed by an uncaring local authority in a bleak estate with no facilities or services, suffering high unemployment and racked by vandalism was a caricature, but nevertheless contained elements of truth. Problems with housing in Kirkby, particularly the poor quality of design and construction combined with a long backlog of repairs, were manifest from the earliest days. On the whole women were left with the responsibility of tackling the local authority about these problems in what were predominantly family homes. Furthermore, when in the early 1970s factory closures and growing unemployment further threatened Kirkby, women on the Tower Hill estate formed a discussion and support group to help themselves and their families through the crisis. However, when the 1972 Housing Finance Act resulted in a further £1 rent rise, this brought grievances that had been bubbling under for the previous decade to a head. The women formed an Unfair Rents Action Group and responded by organizing a 14-month long rent strike.

Militant collective organization no longer remained the preserve of male members of the household. In the new setting of the overspill estate, women recognised the value of the militant tradition. Outside of the labour movement or the factory floor, women in Kirkby mobilized to forge their own solidarity and collective organization. This movement sought not only to benefit the household economy through the fight against unfair rents, but for a time would also campaign for the benefit of the whole community. Traditional dockland militancy and community solidarity had clearly evolved to remain of use in its new location.”

Wake up Lefties, start finally dealing with the real issues which are in our communities, the issues haven’t changed and neither have you! 


Norfolk Community Respondents Initiative


There’s been a lot of talk over the last few months by the coalition government about the need for the public to accept difficult decisions that the state are making on our behalf.

These decisions are now about to affect all of us. Decisions we were not party to and have little say in. Most of them will likely be irreversible.

As you know,they involve cuts in our services such as in our health care system, in housing, cuts to state benefits, cuts in education, in fact few sectors of public ownership will remain untouched. More than that though, the level of cuts to the public purse are starting to affect the private sector too and very few of us over the next few years will be unaffected.

Let’s be brutally honest here-many of us will soon be losing our jobs, our houses, our benefits, in fact our whole way of life will likely see major upheaval, all across the country. Norfolk will not be spared, in fact there’s every reason to believe we’ll be one of the worst hit regions.

While this is occurring the left-wing in Britain march in our cities waving placards declaring FIGHT BACK and the right-wing rub their hands with glee and constantly repeat the mantra IT’S ALL LABOUR’S FAULT.

What the left-wingers mean is

‘I have a public sector job-support me or you’ll regret it!’

They offer little response when you ask,

‘Why? What are you going to do for us? Why aren’t you marching on our estates and offering us assistance-we’re the ones who’ll really be hit!’

What the right-wingers mean is

‘Don’t blame us for the mess we’re about to launch at you, just be grateful you live in Britain! We suggest you blame the foreigners among you.’

They offer little response when you ask,

‘How come the wealthiest in our country are getting wealthier and the rest of us are close to losing everything? If it’s all Labour fault why is there an international financial crisis, did they cause that too?’

We believe neither the left-wing or the right-wing, or the political parties that represent these clubs that come knocking for a few days every four years at election time with their promises, care one iota what happens to us as long as we do not become a problem. We are required to support the left, and accept the actions of the right.

Likewise while the right-wing would have us at each other’s throats using race as the issue, the left-wing would define us by identity (race, sexuality, disability, age, etc) and separate us accordingly, our own identity ghettos if you like.

These are simply two sides of the same coin. Both actions take away our fundamental and collective unifying force which is the power to organise ourselves and our lives based on our common goals and interests. No longer should we be celebrating our differences but recognizing our similarities.

And we should start by organising ourselves within our streets, neighbourhoods and communities.

We recently received a message from a supporter we have been speaking to over the phone,

“ I feel very strongly these groups are very important to communities – there are many people dealing with very serious problems with anti social behaviour, problems with their neighbours and hate campaigns where serious threats of harm are made to some families and the Police say they are unable to help as the communities are too scared to speak out in fear of  a back lash mostly due to of race, disability, culture and religion or just being a bit different? From personal experiences I have and am still fighting a battle of over 2 years against being bullied by local drug dealers, anti social behaviour and isolation and a hate campaign due to disability/mental health issues of a young member of our family. We have been forced into isolation and our neighbours around us from being able to speak to us in fear of them being targeted next, leading us to be forced to leave our home and friends just because they are not willing to be bullied by the offending people and do there best to report issues of crime in their community.

It was only 1 week ago the situation got so dangerous we were offered safe-housing in a B&B in a non disabled friendly place over 50 miles away from our loved ones and our pets to be put in kennels. But as much as we were scared and very fragile we refused to be bullied out of our home until we are ready and have somewhere suitable for our needs. – congratulations to those who have set up these support groups to help others. I can help in anyway I gladly would offer my help.”

The simple fact of the matter is that in many cases similar to the above the very organisations who could/should be helping to solve the highlighted issues rarely prove to be fit for purpose before or after the governments cuts. The Police work on a scaled target system and would be first in attendance if you lived in a mansion on Norwich’s Newmarket Road, but a council house
on the Heartsease? They may pop in several days later if you’re lucky, if at all.

Likewise the council, the social services…all appear to do more to hinder than help. Do we not pay our taxes? Are they not supposed to be working for US? Either they’ve forgotten who they serve or we’ve simply got it all wrong.

We are calling for a local debate. A debate for direction to set up local neighbourhood groups to tackle the repercussions of the cuts we now face and some of the more unsavoury issues the likes of the Police, the Council, political parties and the Womens Institute can’t handle! A debate in respect of forming a Norfolk Community Respondents Initiative which would be the first port of call to cover all situations in our communities from the basic checking in on the elderly in winter to turning out against bailiffs harassing members of the community, to the more difficult subjects such as violence on the streets outside our houses and so-called ‘antisocial behaviour’.

We would welcome input from all and will be organising local public meetings shortly and will post up the details in the next month. All we ask is that people leave their political parties at the door on the way in and come with an open mind and serious ideas and see if together we can’t create the communities we deserve as opposed to the ones our government suggests we live in. On a day when it emerges that the wealthiest boardroom directors are giving themselves 50% pay rises while we are close to destitute, it’s time we started finding inspiration from each other rather than populist celebrity.

We do not look to the past to some imaginary golden age when our communities were some how idyllic. We do however believe the future can be a lot brighter if we act together and finally wake up to the fact that the state and all it’s services are mostly not worth the price of a peak rate telephone call.

The Norfolk Community Respondents Initiative coming to your neighborhood soon.


Today’s Dale Farm Judgement From The High Court.


 

 

Click on image to read…


IWCA: Oxford City Council on film


Here’s look into progressive political arguements and the alternative from the usual lefty rubbish the majority of the working-class in the UK are sick and tired of. While the same faces jump on the same bandwagons, hand out the same dreary leaflets year after year, and encourage the segregation of our communities by supporting the lie that is government led divisive ‘multiculturalism/identity politics’, there are those about who see past the nonsense and are genuinely fighting for the working-class.

Here is one Stuart Craft at work in Oxford City Council. We have quite a soft spot for Stuart who never fails to tell it like it is…

“We don’t really recognise the term left anymore, because looking around I don’t see any of the people that profess to be left or socialist as actually pro-working class.”

Enjoy..

“IWCA councillor Stuart Craft points out that Oxford City Council’s supposed desire for integrated communities as expressed in government PREVENT strategy and its continued funding of ethnically segregated youth clubs and other facilities are totally at odds with each other.

PREVENT was launched to ‘stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremists’ and is supposed to help ‘create and support cohesive, resilient and empowered local communities.’ Yet PREVENT funding seems to be targeted along racial/ethnic lines despite the fact the council plan admits racial/ethnic conflict isn’t the problem in Oxford.

In fact it’s hard to see why Oxford has received this highly selective funding unless you factor the existence of the IWCA (as a class-based opposition to New Labour) into the equation.”


Councils plan ‘disproportionate’ funding cuts for services supporting vulnerable people


Councils are planning to defy ministers by pushing ahead with plans to cut funding for services supporting vulnerable people by far more than the government has recommended, according to a survey of over 130 providers in England.

Housing associations, charities and community groups fear town halls will raid funds intended to support vital services for groups like the elderly, homeless and disabled, in order to protect other spending priorities, according to the National Housing Federation.

The survey reveals 73% of providers have been warned by their local authority to expect disproportionate funding cuts to services which provide support, housing and advice to some of the most vulnerable people in their community, such as women fleeing domestic violence and people with mental health problems.

In some circumstances whole services face closure as cash strapped town halls look to make massive savings over the next four years by disproportionately cutting from one budget to fund another.

In the Spending Review, the Chancellor announced that money allocated nationally to Supporting People – which funds services for over a million vulnerable people– would be broadly maintained, with a 12% real terms cut over four years.

No legal duty

However the money is no longer ring fenced and councils can spend it on whatever they want to as it rolled into their general grant from central government. There is no legal duty to support many of the groups traditionally funded by Supporting People – despite their vulnerability. These include some single homeless people, many older people and those with drug and alcohol addictions.

Nottinghamshire council is warning of a 67% cut over the next four years, Somerset council has already confirmed an 18% cut next year. Nottingham City Council has proposed a 43% cut from April this year. Hartlepool Council have been consulting on a cut in funding of 30% from April this year. Cornwall Council has meanwhile confirmed it will reduce its funding by 40% over the next three years.

Ministers have however warned councils about excessive cuts to Supporting People. Questioned at a DCLG select committee, Housing Minister Grant Shapps said ‘the idea that local authorities should use Supporting People as their front line for reductions is completely against everything that we would expect to see.

And in a letter to local authorities on 22 December from the Department of Communities and Local Government stated: ‘Ministers do not, however, expect authorities to respond to reductions in their budgets by passing on disproportionate cuts to other service providers.

Uncertainty

A survey of 136 housing organisations and charities which provide services for some of the most vulnerable people in their community however revealed a vast majority of councils had already indicated cuts greater than 12%. It found:

  • Nearly three quarters of respondents (73%) said local authorities they work in had already indicated cuts of greater than 12%. 41% of respondents expected cuts over 20% in their area, and 18% of respondents expecting cuts over 30%.
  • 60% of respondents said their organisation would be forced to reduce the level of service they offered
  • We asked housing associations services for which client groups we’re most vulnerable to cuts. The top five client groups our members thought were most at risk of cuts were: Single homeless people, older people in need of support, people with drug and alcohol problems, ex-offenders, people with mental health problems.
  • There’s still considerable uncertainty, with 42% of respondents saying one or more area they work in were yet to announce cuts.
  • The Federation has called on local authorities to be transparent and account for exactly what they will be spending their Supporting People funding on. It warned the long-term financial costs would also outweigh the short-term savings from cutting back on services – as demands on the NHS, police forces and the courts surge as a result.

    Disproportionately hit

    Federation chief executive David Orr said: ‘Local authorities are facing significant cuts to their budgets and face the inevitable task of deciding where savings can be made.

    But what we are beginning to see is that services which provide a lifeline to thousands of vulnerable people are being hit disproportionately by councils – with the first to declare their hands indicating they intend to cut back their funding by up to 67%.

    Raiding these budgets to pay for other spending priorities runs contrary to what ministers want, what the public wants and most importantly what the vulnerable who rely upon them want to see happen.

    Councils must now be completely transparent with their local communities and account for where they plan to spend their Supporting People cash.

    http://www.housing.org.uk/Default.aspx?tabid=212&mid=828&ctl=Details&ArticleID=3619