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.”
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
Greater Norwich STREET VOICE is an independent community group, constituted and led by people who have experienced homelessness.
We particularly represent the voice of rough sleepers, SOFA SURFERS, adults at risk of homelessness or accessing supported housing…
We are feeling under huge pressure as we have been asked to fund our group only with donations because of CUTS in Norfolk County Council support.
We need £5,000 to help support our community group for the next year…
Can you please help us ?
We are assembled today to give a list of three key demands to the executive of Norwich City Council which are asfollows…
• We demand the Norwich City Executive or Cabinetactively refuse to sit and conduct business that involves the cutting of public services.
• We demand that they cease all matters immediately to put pressure on the shadow cabinet in Westminster to publicly declare the destruction of the welfare state by the current government as being unlawful without at least a public referendum, or a new election, due to the lack of Equality Impact Assessments being carried out by the Treasury.
• Based on the seriousness of the attempted re-workings of the entire public infrastructure, nothing short of non compliance by Norwich City Council is appropriate when representing the health, peace and safety of the people of Norwich.
NORFOLK COMMUNITY ACTION GROUP
Prime Minister David Cameron has thrown out a threat to the securityof council tenants. Cameron said he wanted to time-limit allnew council and housing association tenancies to as little as fiveyears: ‘maybe in five or 10 years you will be doing a differentjob and be better paid and you won’t need that home, you will beable to go into the private sector.’ David Cameron (3 Aug 2010)
This makes a lie of the Prime Minister’s pre-election promisesthat he would respect tenants’ rights. It follows savage cuts to Housing Benefit announced in the June budget, and threats to slash spending on public services. Even if unscripted, this new threat steps up what is an ideological attack on a fundamental principle of council housing as a pillar of Britain’s welfare state. It is the latest in a long line of such attacks on tenants’ rights. It hits at the principles underpinning the post war consensus millions of people support. Will he also say people who can‘afford’ the private market will be forced to pay for their healthcare or kids education? We need publicly-owned, secure and affordable council housingas an alternative to the high costs, risks and insecurity ofbuying or private renting.
A home, not an asset
Council tenants need and have the same right to a ‘home’ asanyone else – not just a temporary place to put their head downuntil they find something better. Good quality council housing is vital to ensure that whatever we earn everyone – and our children, and parents – has a home that’s secure and affordable. The principle that needs defending is that council housingshould be a mainstream tenure of choice, available to all whowant to rent as an alternative to the private market. The solution to a shortage of decent, affordable, secure andaccountable council housing is to build more! That would also have the benefit of creating jobs and opening up council housingallocation policies to the wide range of people who used to live oncouncil estates re-establishing mixed and sustainable communities.
No transit camps of poverty
Means testing council tenants, to force out anyone who gets abovethe bread line, would destroy communities. It would turn council estates into transit camps, undermining any kind of social cohesion.If anyone whose income rises above the breadline is forced out or threatened with rent rises, it would reduce the mixture of incomes on estates and increase the concentration of deprivation.
Means-testing would intensify the poverty trap. And differing rent levels is a crude step to bring market forces into council housing.
The threat of losing a secure tenancy or having to pay higher rentswould increase the poverty trap and be a strong disincentive tofinding (better paid) work. It is wrong to force someone out of their home and into the privatesector because you judge they can afford it – they could beout of work tomorrow. Short term work and fluctuating incomesare a major cause of mortgage arrears. Means-tested benefits are already a major problem for millions in short-term or low-paid work or running small businesses, giving little alternative to flexible or part time ‘informal’ (undeclared)– and non-trade union organised – work.
These attacks on tenants’ rights and council housing are part of thepush for further deregulation and privatisation. Private developersand landlords want to get their hands on councils’ publiclyownedland, replace it with more high cost private housing, anddrive out those who can’t afford it. The right to a secure tenancy was won by tenants’ determined campaigning. This forced the Labour government to include ‘securityof tenure’ in the 1979 Housing Bill, which was then included in the Conservatives’ Housing Act 1980. Those who are opposed in principle to high quality public services available to all and who want everyone forced into the hands of the private market are determined to undermine and weaken the positionof council tenants. Stigmatising council housing as ‘housing of last resort’ is one method. Trying to take away our ‘secure’ tenancies or impose means testing or time limits is another.
Unemployment, on council estates as elsewhere, is the result of increasingly low-paid and insecure work. The problem of homelessness, overcrowding and long waiting lists are not caused by security of tenure, but by lack of investment and failure to build new homes. There are two million less council and RSL(housing association) homes now than 30 years ago, due to privatisation and failure to replace homes sold off. That’s why we have two million households on waiting lists.
Many on the waiting list are not judged in ‘priority need’ –they are the butchers, bakers, teachers and nurses who want a first class council home with lower rents, secure tenancies and a democratically accountable landlord. Investment in council housing is central to meeting this need.
Robbed – not subsidised
Government is robbing council tenants (not subsidising us) to the tune of £1.5 billion a year –while over the last twenty years billions of pounds of public subsidy has been poured into RSLs, and taxation has favoured homeowners and more recently buy to let landlords. The bank bailout is the biggest home ownership subsidyof all time.
Hands off our homes, our rents and our rights. Build more council homes
Cameron admitted in Birmingham that “not everyone will supportthis and there will be quite a big argument”. Simon Hughes MP and others have already warned the Government not to pursue this policy, mindful of the anger earlier attacks on secure tenure have provoked.
Tenants have fought determined campaigns against privatisationand to defend our homes and rights. This attack will provoke fury among council and housing association tenants. With the cuts in housing benefit, the Government is declaring war on tenants.
We will broaden and strengthen our united campaign. Together tenants, trade unions, councillors, MPs and campaigners have fought off previous attacks on council housing, and now the voice of protest needs to ring loud in the ear of every councillor and MP.
Belvedere Centre, Belvoir Street, Norwich, 15th Dec 7.30pm – 9.30pm.
Ian Gibson (former Labour MP Norwich North),
Ed Bober (tbc) and
Rick Dutton (NCAG)
Controversial plans to cut fire cover in Norfolk were given the green light yesterday amid fresh fears that lives and historic buildings in the centre of Norwich could be put at risk.
Norfolk County Council approved the £1.5m cuts as part of a new safety plan aimed at boosting cover in rural areas and King’s Lynn.
As part of the changes the number of fire engines in Norwich would be cut from five to four after the opening of the new Carrow Station in Trowse, near Norwich, following the closure of Bethel Street, with 24 jobs lost.
Across the county a further 12 jobs will be lost at six retained fire stations, Cromer, Dereham, Diss, Fakenham, Sandringham, and Wymondham. But moves to scrap the retained crew at Gorleston have been put on hold for 12 months, though councillors were unable to give assurances that the proposals will not be revisited in the future.
The monitoring of rules governing a maximum 15 minute response time for second crews at some incidents was also scrapped.
Labour councillor Bert Bremner told county councillors that the plans were a “Tory gamble”, which would affect the safety of firefighters and the public, particularly in the Norwich area.
“At the big Zizzi’s fire last month in the centre of Norwich there were at least six fire fighting appliances and 40 fire-fighters,” Mr Bremner said. “Zizzi’s was right next to the beautiful Ethelbert Gate, one of Norwich’s treasured medieval buildings.
“The first crew to get to the fire was the second Norwich pump, the one Tory Norfolk will cut. What is to replace this second fire engine?
“The Tory cuts will mean only five fire-fighters are on duty at North Earlham so no speedy arrival of the ‘Aerial Ladder Platform’ and far greater damage and far greater risk of fire spreading. The Ethelbert Gate would have been at risk.”
Harry Humphrey, cabinet member for fire and rescue, said: “We have got reduced risk, and we have got action being taken with a new fire station at Carrow, which will result in Norwich being ringed by fire stations at Sprowston, Earlham and at Carrow.”
We watch with interest the FBU’s response to this major threat to the people of Norfolk…
NCAG have this evening received a communique from the Populist Iceni Insurrectionist Socialist Tendancy, a group not heard of since the fall of Thatchers government.
Message reads as follows…
To the people of Norfolk,
Twenty years after the biggest popular uprising for a generation it is time to shake off the cobwebs of complacency and awaken the class hatred and anger that has lain dormant for so long. The time is now upon us to once again take to the streets and instil fear into the hearts of the oppressor.
We call on all those who fought fearlessly for justice against the state in 1990 to once again take their place in history.
TODAY THE VERY LIFEBLOOD OF SOCIAL WELFARE AND THE HARD FOUGHT RIGHTS OF THE COMMON PEOPLE ARE ABOUT TO BE LOST. LAST TIME WE SMASHED UP OUR CIVIC HALLS. THIS TIME WE TEAR THEM DOWN, BRICK BY BRICK, AND BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.
We’ll see you on December 4th and beyond.
We’re back, we’re angry, and this time we finish the job!
Footage from Norwich Riots