UK Newswire Archive
The leader of Harrogate Borough Council has been suspended from the Conservative Party after being photographed dressed as Adolf Hitler.
22-10-2010 21:22Join us in Brussels for 4 days of debate, discussion, planning, films, cultural events, and action.
In November and December 2010, the UN climate conference “COP16″ will be held in Cancún, Mexico. There is a real risk that these talks will be used by rich industrialized countries, multinational businesses and international financial institutions such as the World Bank, to divide up and privatise what is left of our atmosphere, and impose their false solutions such as agrofuels, nuclear power, GMOs, carbon offsetting and the inclusion of forests in carbon markets.
Across Europe, we face our own problems regarding climate and social justice: the risk of a new generation of coal and nuclear power plants, dangerously weak national climate policies, the harsh austerity measures being pushed as a response to the economic crisis instead of a “just transition” to new sustainable forms of production and consumption.
Activists from environmental and social movements from across Europe will be gathering in Brussels from 26th to 29th November to share ideas, experiences and visions on climate and social justice in Europe.
Start making plans to attend, and please spread this call in your networks. Let us know if you would like to attend so we can get an idea of numbers that are likely to attend.
The event is being organised by European and Belgian environmental and social movements including Friends of the Earth, Climat et Justice sociale, and La Via Campesina. And we’re still looking for groups and individuals who can help us organising the event, or who want to organise a workshop, film screening, or other activity at the event.
On Sunday afternoon we’ll be joining the Belgian Climate Coalition to “Sing for the Climate”, to bring a climate justice voice to the event.
Following the Assembly, Young Friends of the Earth Europe are organising a convergence in Brussels for the 2 weeks of the UN climate summit.
Before and during the assembly we will be collecting messages to be taken to the UN negotiations in Cancun, to be shared with the social movements gathering there, and with the negotiators.
More information about the event, and how you can get involved:
22-10-2010 21:22"A Bristol blogger in the age of austerity"
Earlier in the month members of Spain’s General Confederation of Labour (CGT) managed to bust through their employers’, EADS (owners of Airbus), internet firewall and mail every Airbus employee in the world about the state of their management. CUTZ exclusively brings you that email:
From: LENGO, Francisco-Javier (Airbus Military)
Sent: 04 October 2010 12:47
Subject: REPLY TO THE MANAGEMENT'S COMUNIQUÉ
“REPLY TO THE MANAGEMENT'S COMUNIQUÉ FOLLOWING WHAT TOOK PLACE ON 29 SEPTEMBER LAST”
The Management of EADS in Spain, just like all the managements of multinationals and major companies, have a sole purpose: to obtain the maximum possible profit.
Just like other managements, the management of EADS has humoured all capitalist governments that have caused a loss of rights and a constant attack on working men and women in all states of the world.
This management does not condemn the methods of the Zapatero Government nor other powers. These only try to threaten workers as a group, but have the temerity to avoid [their] social responsibility, blaming the weakest and appealing to the “Rule of Law” that benefits them both.
This management does not deal with all incidents in the company on the same terms and as an example we recall its attitude to the scandals involving sales of Airbus Shares on the stock market.
The CGT calls upon the company to stop telling tales and to take account of the fact that we hold the line of defence for the weakest party in the employment relationship which is none other than the working men and women of our company and the even more exploited sub-contract workers.
Health and freedom.
The “scandals involving sales of Airbus Shares” refers to French financial regulators uncovering "massive" insider trading by 21 senior EADS executives exercising stock options ahead of a major profits warning in 2006. All the execs kept their jobs and huge salaries.
(Thanks to @wood5y for the translation. Follow him on Twitter. Get him drink if you see him!)
B R I S T O L
Bristol’s Liberal Democrat administration - just one week after announcing cuts of five per cent that would “not affect frontline services” - are embarking on the third reorganisation of adult social care provision in six years at Bristol City Council.
Two of the three specialist dementia care homes that Bristol City Council had been intending to build have been quietly shelved. The new plan is "to support people with dementia in their own homes". In other words they're going to have to look after themselves, apart from the odd visit from home care workers who are - as yet - untrained in dementia care. David Johnstone, the council's Strategic Director - Health and Social Care says "this does not mean we will be cutting services, it just means we need to do things differently."
Further changes include the scrapping of plans for more joint council-NHS Residential Resources Centres for people leaving hospital, “because there is already sufficient provision of residential Intermediate Care”.
The in-house Home Care Service is also being reorganised to include the failed ‘STAR’ reablement service. This is expected to push the unit costs of in-house council homecare up to even more unsustainable levels as a prelude to privatisation.
CALL CENTRE NEWS
Bristol City Council has finally released a very basic amount of statistics regarding their new customer service phone centre. Just how bad are things in this call centre?
Even without much official information available, news regarding this useless, anti-human shambles of a public service is beginning to come to light. 'Sy' tells us on Bristol Indymedia:
"Last Monday I rang the council tax call centre to tell them they had some wrong names on our bill. After 90 minutes of waiting on hold I gave up. I tried again on Wednesday and got through after a mere half hour wait. I've been trying to get this sorted since the 1st of June. Apparently they're totally swamped and are unable to address issues for months at a time, leading to numerous letters threatening court action to be wrongly sent out, because the call centre operators can only hold an account for 30 days at a time and it currently takes them far longer than that to deal with problems. Anyone claiming this service works well, or even adequately has clearly never had to use it."
A recent report to Bristol City Councillors regarding the call centre, meanwhile, simply fails to address whether the service works or not or whether this matters or not. "This programme has resulted in £525k being included in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) for 2010/11," says the report.
No worries then. As long as money's being saved to keep six-figure salary gravy train running what's the problem?
Despite 28 per cent cuts for local authorities being announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, Bristol’s Lib Dems are insisting that the one-off, one-year, five per cent cuts they announced last week are “broadly correct”. The Lib Dems only seem to have a one-year plan for a four year spending review then. Are they more concerned about next May’s elections than the long term interests of the city?
Bristol City Council’s Labour Group response to the cuts is chaotic at present. Old Labour Councillor Ron Stone wrote to the Evening Post on Tuesday saying, “I do wonder if we value the library service at the council any longer” after hearing libraries were being shut due to staff shortages created by the council’s ‘vacancy management’ policy.
Then on Wednesday New Labour councillor, Sean Beynon, their man on the human resources committee, announced on Twitter he had supported this vacancy management policy shutting down libraries and other frontline services because it was “its better to leave vac[ancie]s where possible rather than sack people”.
Does the left wing know what the right wing’s doing in the Bristol Labour Group?
The cost of school dinners has gone up in Bristol from £2.10 to £2.20 a day. The rise - just below 5 per cent - is around 50% above the inflation rate and unwelcome news for many as wages continue to stagnate and real incomes fall . Bristol City Council has provided no explanation for the rise.
Bristol's zero-rated housing benefit service says caseload numbers are up on last year and admits there is a backlog of new claims outstanding.
SOME RESIDUAL RISK?
Last week as the Lloyds Banking Group announced more job losses in Bristol, the city council's in-house 'experts' announced in an economic impact report to councillors: “There remains some residual risk of more job losses due to the location of head office functions of Lloyds and HBOS in the city.”
Pilot schemes to improve services at Bristol City Council's Bedminster and Knowle Customer Service Points have been scrapped early "due to staff shortages".
READ ALL ABOUT IT
The Bristol Branch of Unison reports that the first many Bristol City Council staff knew about their impending redundancy, announced by the local newspaper last week, was when they were directed from the Bristol Evening Post website to a set of accounts listing departmental cuts at the council. How charming.
The “no cuts to frontline services” mantra at Bristol City Council is fast unravelling. At least one department called in its social workers last week and told them half of them would be fired.
MORE STATE AID FOR TAX AVOIDER
Times may be tight at Bristol City Council but there's still no expense spared when it comes to helping out the Bristol City FC Chairman, Guernsey-based tax avoider Steve Lansdown - worth around £500m. The council has now commissioned polling company ICM to phone people in BS4, the area around Lansdown's proposed new football stadium on Bristol's greenbelt that has been halted by locals who have got the development site declared a Town Green. The purpose of this survey - beyond providing some state-funded material for Lansdown's increasingly desperate PR campaign - is unclear.
Bristol City Council is cutting its housing benefit fraud team by 20% despite claiming they have an increased workload. The council say, "we will use new methods and we hope to continue to deliver the same level of service from a slightly smaller amount of money". That's more staff worked to the bone then.
The budget for Ashton Park School, Bristol has been cut by at least £130k a year. The specialist sports school will be stripped of the status and the money - about £129 per pupil - will go into the national pot to be shared among all secondary schools. Last week Ashton Park opened an “inspirational” £18 million teaching block which has rooms especially designed for art, science, music and drama, as well as new ICT facilities.
S O U T H G L O U C E S T E R S H I R E
Three sports centres in Downend, Patchway and Yate have been privatised. They are now part of a trust that already runs other South Gloucestershire leisure centres at Bradley Stoke, Kingswood, Longwell Green and Thornbury.
N O R T H S O M E R S E T
The leader of North Somerset Council, Nigel Ashton has told residents they may have to get used to a 'lower level of services' when the funding cuts come into force. North Somerset Council will have to make cuts of between 25-40 per cent. It is not yet known which services will be hit.
The Weston and North Somerset Trades Union Council met for the first time in 20 years this month. Its chairman Richard Capps is calling on people to protest against Government cuts, which he says will cost public sector jobs and wreck public services.
Andy Prior from North Somerset's National Union of Teachers attended the meeting and said, "We did not cause this crisis and we are not responsible for it but we are being forced to pay for it through the services we use and our jobs. It was the gangster like behaviour of the bankers in the financial sector that caused this."
Mr Prior says his union is 'implacably and unequivocally' opposed to the cuts and called for a 24-hour public sector strike.
THE legal process to close a Weston-super-Mare school ahead of it becoming North Somerset’s first academy has got under way. North Somerset Council has agreed to start the statutory process of closing Wyvern Community School so it can open as the Hans Price Academy next spring. Expect many more schools in North Somerset to follow.
B A T H
Kevin Kilcoyne, PCS union branch secretary, says the MoD will be wiped off the map in Bath. Work at the Foxhill, Warminster Road and Ensleigh MOD office sites in Bath is likely to be moved to the Abbey Wood complex in Bristol with the loss of up to 3,000 jobs. Hundreds of MoD jobs in and around Corsham, Wiltshire are also under threat.
A Bath charity says its funding for a free, independent counselling service for young people is likely to be axed in the next round of council cuts. Off the Record is expecting to see its £60,000-a-year contract with Bath and North East Somerset Council brought to an end in April.
O T H E R L O C A L A U T H O R I T I E S
Proposals to restructure Cheltenham Borough Council are likely to result in major job losses. Council bosses want to turn the authority into a "commissioning authority", appointing volunteers, private companies or its own outsourced staff to provide public services from April next year. Chief exec Andrew North says "nothing is out of bounds" claiming the move will save the council millions of pounds a year.
EXCUSE OF THE WEEK
The chief executive of Marketing Gloucester, has finally been sacked " by mutual agreement." Graham Walker had been on "gardening leave" in his £65,000 a year post because of a "challenging financial situation" in which debts of more than £90,000 were uncovered at the tourist information agency. He blamed this on the effects of the recession. Gloucester City Council give Marketing Gloucester £163,000 in funding a year.
C S R
Nigel Jump, the SWRDA's chief economist said the Chancellor's comprehensive spending review announcement confirms that up to 120,000 workers in the region will lose their jobs as a result of public spending cuts.
The biggest cut in this week's Comprehensive Spending Review was the local government ‘departmental expenditure limit’ (DEL) - that's your local authority's budget basically. It will be reduced by 28% from £28.5bn now to £22.9bn in 2014/15.
Auditors KPMG say the cuts will "severely test the financial viability of some councils". Its local government head Iain Hasdell says, "In order to survive, councils will need to be ruthless in urgently deciding on front line service priorities and ending the delivery of lower priority services."
The Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) think tank has warned that the cuts are so huge and unprecedented that they will forever alter the way councils work. "Many people in local government will feel gloomy today because of the impact on services, communities and jobs," said LGIU chief executive Andy Sawford.
Public transport fares will rise after the Chancellor, Osborne, confirmed that the Bus Services Operators Grant to councils will be reduced by 20%. Further transport increases are on the way too as the 1 per cent cap on regulated rail fares will be increased to 3 per cent above inflation from 2012.
Local government transport grants will be cut by 28% across the board. This pretty much puts an end to any local rail plans such as the Portishead line and the bendy-bus plans and the like in Bristol.
Wealthy business leaders from across the West were invited by business quango GWE Business West to watch and discuss Osborne's spending review. GWE reports, “the overall view from those present was that the review could have been worse”. How?
Police in England and Wales will lose 20% in central government funding over the next four years. However, local authorities can raise the police precept in your council tax to reduce this cut to 14% reports the BBC. They cut: you pay!
All of Bristol's government owned buildings will be privatised. In future, government agencies will pay market-rate rents to a public-private partnership body.
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles’, letter to local authority leaders:
B U S I N E S S
A freight operator at Filton airport has gone bust for a second time owing around £70,000 to Bristol businesses and £1 million to 50 staff made redundant in April. MK Airlines was wound up at the High Court after accruing debts of more than £104 million.
Bristol greengrocer chain, Stokes plc, has gone into administration resulting - so far - in 80 redundancies across ten stores. The company, which claims it is largest independent greengrocer in the UK, employs 277 staff in 27 stores in south-west England and Wales.
Plymouth-based Fine Tubes, which makes high-precision metal tubes in stainless steel, nickel alloys and titanium, is cutting 38 jobs because "key contracts have been hit by delays. They employ 335 people.
BRISTOL AND BATH SCIENCE PARK
All is not well at the South West of England Regional Development Agency's (SWRDA) 25 hectare science park at Emersons Green, Bristol. Although work has started on the roads, infrastructure and the first building on the site, the planned £25 million National Composites Centre is now under threat as the SWRDA may be forced to withdraw the funding.
T R A N S P O R T
The BBC backs Cutz's story that the £1bn plan to electrify the Great Western Main Line between London and Swansea will be axed.
Plans to replace First Great Western's ageing fleet of trains for the Bristol to Paddington service may be scrapped. Chris Irwin of TravelWatch SouthWest says, "we are looking at something like a 40 per cent cut in the money available. We are going to see less reliable services if the trains are not replaced."
E C O N O M Y
The £30bn Severn barrage tidal energy project from Weston-super-Mare to Cardiff has been scrapped.
"THIS RISE ADDS TO THE TOXIC MIX OF BAD NEWS AT THE MOMENT"
Another assault on stagnant household incomes while city traders make merry. Petrol will reach an all-time high price in the next few weeks. Higher oil prices, raised fuel duty and the blockade of Marseille by workers is increasing costs at the pumps. Oil prices have risen $10 a barrel in the past month and the fuel duty escalator has added 1p a litre to the price since 1 October. The blockade of Marseille has forced France to import fuel also sending the wholesale price of petrol soaring.
Prepare for a spike in food prices as the price of grain soars. Wheat stocks are around 10% down on last year and traders say "supply and demand is finely balanced".
Police forces will try to save £400 million a year by privatising custody suites. The plan is for G4S (formerly Group 4 Security) to provide police forces with outsourced custody suites staffed by G4S. For future reference, G4S are based in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
One of the South West's largest housing associations, the Aster Group, will be cutting jobs soon. At its height it had 17,100 homes and priced its assets at £570 million. It's not yet clear how many of its 1,000 staff are threatened with redundancy.
A late entrant for the Tories’ 'bonfire of the quangos'. Not strictly a quango, but the regional Bristol-based civil service department, the Government Office of the South West (GOSW) - set up by John Prescott's sprawling Office of the Deputy Prime Minister - was scrapped in the Comprehensive Spending Review. The department is based on Temple Quay.
Tax avoider Steve Lansdown's Bristol-based stockbroking firm - Hargreaves Lansdown - has seen its business increase by 14 per cent to £19.9 billion in the space of just three months. Guess where all our money's going ?
Bristol and District Anti-Cuts Alliance demonstration and rally TOMORROW, 11.00am, Castle Park, Bristol. They hope this will be supported by unions and other groups from around the south west.
Do you know about people, politics and policy in Bath, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire or beyond? Why not contribute to CUTZ and help make it the regional leader for cuts news?
Are you in a trade union? Do you know what’s happening in workplaces in the west? Write and tell us. Remember silence and secrecy are the bosses’ best weapons …
Being made redundant? Problems at work? Being cut? Contact BRISTOL IWW - the union that doesn’t keep secrets. firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 07506 592180
Got any news about cuts in Bristol, Bath or beyond? Send stories, rants, gossip and informed speculation to Cutz, the brashest and best cuts news in the west: email@example.com
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22-10-2010 19:45You probably know who I am (it's probably all wrong)-
We just had a little debate on one of our Facebook groups about the definition of patriotism. What does it mean to you? For example, if you're proud to be Irish, you're an Irish patriot. If you're proud to be Chilean, you're a Chilean patriot.
What if you're proud to be British or English, what does that make you? Does it make you jingoistic or a fascist?
No foamers please :)
22-10-2010 18:57Hot off the press ...
22-10-2010 18:30Teabaggers are being “bagged” back into the same old two party system—that is not just corrupted but corroded—so the joke will ultimately be on them—exactly in the same way that the joke was on progressives, who equally thought a corporate owned “top-down” Democratic Party was going to deliver a new deal of any kind—even as the bottom up got many of them elected into office.
22-10-2010 18:01Fur trade, death trade!
Say NO to bad landlords!
A demonstration against bad landlords will take place from noon onwards on Monday, 25 October 2010 in Edinburgh.
The gathering on Chambers Street, just in front of the Sheriff Court House, is aiming to give a voice to people who are affected by rogue landlords.
22-10-2010 17:07Bristol IMC here republish the feature from Nottingham Indymedia collective regarding the outing of Mark Kennedy as a undercover police officer.
The Notts Indymedia collective can confirm that the following information is correct: Mark Kennedy, also known as Mark 'Stone' has been working as an undercover police officer from 2000 to at least the end of 2009. During this period he has been actively involved in various environmental, animal rights, anticapitalist and antifascist groups and campaigns. He lived in Nottingham and was a well-known face in the local activist community. At this moment it is unclear whether Mark is still a serving police officer. Investigations into his identity revealed evidence that he has been a police officer and a face-to-face confession has confirmed this. Mark claims that he left the police force in late 2009 and that before becoming an undercover officer he was a Metropolitan police constable. The people involved in confronting Mark and getting his confession from him make clear that for security reasons no more information can be made public at this stage.
22-10-2010 17:04"Together, the two sets of disclosures would represent a massive breach of U.S. information security and raise questions about the viability of post-9/11 government policies that expanded the distribution of classified information as a means of improving coordination among intelligence and security agencies.
Military officials believe the Iraq documents will emphasize the failings of the Iraqi government and military, including allegations of Iraqi mistreatment of detainees and ineptitude in combat. They also are likely to include some classified U.S. diplomatic cables, officials said." Note the sustained minimization.
"This article suggests that there is no need for you to investigate these doucments. As before they tell us there is nothing of interest in them? How quickly they read them? I think they are hoping many will not bother. So please get ready to head back to Wikileaks and spread widely."
The Notts Indymedia collective can confirm that the following information is correct: Mark Kennedy, also known as Mark 'Stone' has been working as an undercover police officer from 2000 to at least the end of 2009. During this period he has been actively involved in various environmental, animal rights, anticapitalist and antifascist groups and campaigns. He lived in Nottingham and was a well-known face in the local activist community.
Investigations into his identity revealed evidence that he has been a police officer and a face-to-face confession has confirmed this. The people involved in confronting Mark and getting his confession from him make clear that for security reasons no more information can be made public at this stage.
The story came to light after the publicaction of the following article on UK Indymedia:
22-10-2010 16:22Your chance to shape Bristol!
There’s an opportunity to get serious about the city we love on Wednesday 27th October. If you have a genuine interest in Bristol and a passion for its future, then A Better Bristol for All will let you set the agenda!
A Better Bristol for All is a day-long workshop that explores the issues that really matter to Bristol citizens. Whether it’s an elected Mayor or the future for our young people or the disappearance of the house sparrow, the floor is yours to get people talking! We will be working in small groups and big groups, exchanging ideas and speaking our minds. What we won’t be doing is sitting listening to “the experts” tell us what they intend doing with our lives. This city is our home – and if we don’t decide its future then someone else will!
A Better Bristol for All is a free event. It takes place at the Council House, but it’s not run by the Council – it’s run by groups in Bristol who are concerned to make the city a more democratic and inclusive place. The results of the day, the recommendations, thoughts and proposals, will form a report which will be presented not just to the Council but to Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work & Pensions. June Burrough, one of the day’s main organisers, sits on the DWP’s Social Inclusion Advisory Group.
2010 is the European Year for Combating Poverty & Social Exclusion – and Bristol has been at the forefront of Britain’s response to it. The Department for Work & Pensions held the national launch for it here, and the Pierian Centre’s June Burrough has been appointed national campaign ambassador. Bristol reframed EY2010 in a more positive light, looking at ways to promote prosperity and social inclusion. Nearly 11,500 people visited the Portents installation on College Green – a project that the Pierian Centre ran to give a public profile to the unheralded groups and individuals working on social inclusion in our city. A Better Bristol for All is the next step on the way to creating the city we want.
A Better Bristol for All is a day for everyone. It’s fun and it’s free! It runs from 10am to 4pm on Wednesday 27th October at the Council House, College Green. To book a place ring 0117 924 4512 or email email@example.com. We hope you can join us!
22-10-2010 15:06Southampton EDL Social/Fundraiser