Posts Tagged ‘cuts’

Two events have been called at Minet Library at Myatt’s Park, this Saturday, National Libraries Day, in response to controversial plans by the council to shut Libraries.

Lambeth Council is planning to sell the Minet and Waterloo Libraries.  Funding will also be stopped for Durning, Carnegie and Upper Norwood Library. If community groups do not come forward to take over Durning, Carnegie and Upper Norwood Library, they too may face closure.

Ruth Cashman, Unison Representative for Lambeth Libraries commented;

“Library staff and our Library Friends Groups have been gearing up for a huge membership and publicity drive around National Libraries Day and now we find out the Council has announced plans which threaten half of the borough’s Libraries. Frankly, it’s a slap in the face to library staff, our Friends of Libraries Groups and the communities we serve. We now know exactly what the long-running and costly Cooperative Libraries project was, an attack on a comprehensive public library service across the borough. Labour was reelected boasting that it kept all our libraries open, where is that commitment to the service’s future now?”

Lambeth Council launched the Cooperative Libraries initiative as part of its Cooperative Council Plans. Outlining the plans for the Cooperative Libraries Project in November 2011, Councillor Steve Reed, then Leader of Lambeth Council said;

“I’m excited about the future for Lambeth’s libraries.  While other boroughs have been forced to close libraries thanks to Government funding cuts, thanks to Labour in Lambeth  our library service is now secure for the future.”

UNISON say they will work with the community to fight the Council’s proposals.

The Save Lambeth Libraries campaign have called an event called “Save Our Library Because…” at Minet Library, at 3pm on Saturday 7 February, World Libraries Day. This is followed by a candle lit vigil in Myatt’s Field Park to protest both Library cuts and 50% cuts to the Park, called by the Myatt’s Field Hub.

The Save Lambeth Libraries campaign have called on everyone unable to attend the events to tweet their support for their libraries. Their Facebook Page states

“We are asking people who cannot make it down to the events to tweet a photo to Jane Edbrooke, Cabinet member responsible for Libraries (@JaneEdbrooke) and your local MP with the hashtag ‪#‎SaveLibraries. If you do not have a twitter account, send the photo to us at Save Lambeth Libraries and we will send it out for you. ‬

  • Take a big piece of paper
  • Write “Save Our Libraries Because…” across the top
  • Fill in your reason – it can be something you’ve written, a quote or a picture
  • Send us a photo of yourself holding your “Save Our Libraries Because…” page, tweet it, post it…”

ENDS

Download pdf version: PRESS RELEASE Library Workers Accuse Council of Insult to National Libraries Day after Cuts and Closures Announcement

Support our Fire Brigade!

Posted: January 14, 2013 by blackdaffodil in Demonstrate, Rally & Occupy!
Tags: , ,
 You’ve probably seen the recent announcement about the proposed closure of 12 fire stations in London – including Clapham. This involves the removal of 18 fire engines and the cutting of 400 firefighter jobs.
We hope to see you at the FBU lobby of the Fire Authortity meeting on Monday 21st January, assemble at 1:30 pm at  Brigade HQ, 169 Union Street, SE1 0LL
FBU Lobby

On the 23rd February Lambeth Council meets in full to vote on its proposed budget and we, Lambeth Save Our Services, will be protesting against it, just as we did on the 7th February when hundreds protested at the last cabinet meeting.

What is getting cut?

Almost every council service, anything up to 1000 council workers, 25% of all staff, this includes:

  • The entire park ranger service
  • The entire school crossing patrol service which serves 24 schools
  • More cuts in Children’s Services
  • Libraries budget slashed – staff cut, Nettlefold hall closed, four of nine libraries under cuts consultation
  • Discretionary freedom passes for adults with mental health problems
  • Regeneration schemes on housing estates
  • Cuts and privatisation in adult social care
  • Lambeth and Lewisham Colleges to merge – massive cuts to local education
  • Reduction in highway maintenance levels and potholes
  • Rent rises whilst there are less staff to keep estates safe, clean and in decent state of repair
  • Maintenance of the borough’s parks, cemeteries and crematoria is to be scaled back.
  • Street cleaning levels reduced
  • Many cultural events scrapped
  • Three out of four Public toilets to close
  • Noise nuisance service
  • Reduction in the Faith Engagement Programme, which helps to support events such as Holocaust Memorial Day and Peace on the Streets and other community events and projects.
  • Any much more. For more info see the council website (400+ pages!) or check this websites for Cutswatch updates

What is the alternative?

Most importantly Lambeth SOS believes that our local democratic representatives – councillors –  should not implement government cuts they openly disagree with. Lambeth Labour, who run Lambeth Council, admit that the government cuts to the budget are ideological. We agree – these are cuts made by a Conservative (and Liberal) government made up of millionaires who believe huge public service cuts and big business are the way forward.

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Todays protest is outside the town hall in Brixton from half past six. Please join us and help stop the cuts in Lambeth!

Lambeth Council has had 37 million pounds cut from its budget by central government for next financial year 2011/12. On Monday (7 Feb) the council cabinet meets to discuss their budget, with a final vote being taken on the 23rd Februrary. There have been 2 consultation meetings in January where opposion to the cuts was strong but the consultation process was poor at best. The day BEFORE the first consultation 39 of the Labour councillors, who run Lambeth, voted for their provisional budget. When challenged on this in the two consultation meetings councillors refused to explain the budget in any meaningful way, opting instead for small groups discussing community issues. How those meetings can possibly make any difference to the already decided budget I do not know.

Rightly the council leader Steve Reed says he is going to “prioritise services for people who are most vulnerable”. However 800 job loses and 37million pounds of cuts will undoubtedly devastate the lives of the most vulnerable as well as everyone in the borough. “Back office efficiencies” will mitgate the effect of the cuts according to the council. If there are 800 staff twiddling their thumbs in council offices Steve Reed should resign. The fact is we need these people to deliver the good service that Lambeth has in the past, and that is not to say improvements cannot be made. We need the poeple who answer the phones, audit the accounts and support our front line services. Without them quality of service will undoubtedly fall – and that is not acceptable.

However it is not just behind the scenes that are under attack. Front line servcies are facing the axe. Here are the some of the big cuts:

• The park ranger service
• Reduction in highway maintenance levels and potholes
• Less maintenance of the borough’s parks
• Regeneration schemes on housing estates
• The school crossing patrol service which currently serves 24 schools
• Street cleaning levels are likely to be reduced
• Christmas lights and decorations are likely to be stopped and businesses
approached to fund town centre decorations
• Three out of four Public toilets could close with the council instead promoting
its ‘Community Toilet Scheme’
• Maintenance of the borough’s parks, cemeteries and crematoria is likely to be
scaled back.
• Discretionary freedom passes for adults with mental health problems
• Noise nuisance service
• Reduction in the Faith Engagement Programme, which helps to support events
such as Holocaust Memorial Day and Peace on the Streets and other
community events and projects.

[Taken from the council website. More budget information in a previous post]

All this while consultants and senior management are taking home hundreds of thousands of pounds and the “Rudderless” housing department is in dissarray.

This is why we must all Lobby the counsil on Monday to give us a better budget based on the needs of the people of Lambeth. Join us and bring your friends.

Following pressure from trade unions, parents and community groups, the proposal to sack all school crossing patrols has been withdrawn with the council claiming it was all a “misunderstanding”.

Jon Rogers, Branch Secretary of Lambeth UNISON responded to the news:

“The council have been pressured into a climb down over their dangerous and short sited plans to cut all of Lambeth’s school crossing patrols. This decision has saved lives as well as jobs and it shows that if we fight cuts we can beat them.”

Wednesday 2nd Feb – Planning meeting tonight!

18:30 at the town hall in Brixton.

There is a room booked under UNISON tonight for our next planning meeting.  As always everyone is encouraged to come along, bring friends, and get involved in Lambeth Save Our Services.  Discussion will be focussed on preparing for Monday and Saturdays protests.

Thursday 3rd Feb – Lambeth United Rally against the ConDem Cuts

19:00 Coin St Neighbourhood Centre, Stamford St SE1.

Lambeth Trade Union Council have a rally in the north of the borough – near Waterloo – with lots of speakers including several from Lambeth Save Our Services. More info on this post from Monday

Saturday 5th Feb – National Save Libraries Day

12:00 Windrush Square, Brixton, outside Brixton Library.

Lambeth UNISON, Save Lambeth Libraries & Lambeth Save our Services, Friends of Libraries and others will be protesting about the impact of the Councils budget decisions on Libraries. Protests are happening against library cuts all over the country, in Lambeth both mobile libraries are to be closed, many job losses are planned and its very likely that several libraries will close. More info is available on our new libraries page. A flyer is also available.

Monday 7 Feb – Lambeth SOS lobby the Council Cabinet

18:00 Outside the town hall, Brixton

This is the big one! On monday the council cabinet vote through their cuts budget after an awful consultation period. We have to make them hear that the people of Lambeth did not elect a labour council to close vital services and sack up to a thousand staff whilst paying their chief executive $200k+. Join us and bring all your  friends and family to make this stop! More info on the 7th Feb protest.

Also we will be postering, leafletting and building for the protest on Monday all week – if you want to help please come to our planning meeting tonight or get in touch

Around 200 people amassed outside southwark town hall today to protest aginst the 33 million in cuts to the council budget. The police tried in vain to only allow a small group with banners in front of the town hall by locking the gates and marshalling people across the road to the designated demonstration area. When the crowd including Lambeth SOS members politely refused a council worker eventually opened the gates and the protest continued.

There were ad hoc speakers from various local organisations and campaigns, including Southwark SOS, trade unions and members of the occupation at Camberwell School of Art. The atmosphere was good with some excellent home made banners.

A number of people went into the public gallery where inside the Labour run council was deciding its budget for 2011 – The government is cutting funding to Southwark by 31% leading to £33 million in devastating cuts to local services.

Loads has been going on at Lambeth SOS and it’s about time to publicise it!

On Monday 17th January 2011 the Labour Party councilors met in the town hall and voted on the provisional council budget (ironically the consultation meetings start the next day – local democracy eh?). 39 of the councillors agreed the budget (more details on this for follow). Lambeth SOS, Lambeth Unison, Right to Work, Lambeth Trades council and others were on the steps letting our councillors know they should not pass on ConDem cuts to the people of Lambeth.

On Tuesday 18 January 2011 people from SOS went to the first of 2 Council budget consultation meetings took place (the next is today). There is a good discussion of what happened on urban 75 but basically £37 m in cuts, 600 jobs to go. Having a consultation meeting after the budget has been decided looks really bad for the council and its hard to see how much influence these meeting will have. Come to our demonstration on the 7th feb when the council cabinet votes to make our voice heard!

We had a planning meeting on Thursday 20th Jan. Really good turn out of about 25 people from loads of organisations and lots of new faces. we are getting bigger every week and  The main topic was our demonstration on the 7th Feb at the town hall. We are going to build for this really hard and we want hundreds of people to come along to show the council how we feel about their budget. Full minutes to follow but provisional key info about the budget:

  • 1-200 jobs gone/going this financial year at the council and 600 next year (from april) to be cut, that’s  35 million or about 15% of staff. This will devastate many services.
  • All school crossing wardens to go.
  • All park rangers to go.
  • Lots of money cut in libraries including likely job cuts.
  • Deep cuts in back office staff – call centres and customer centres included.
  • Several services to be prepped for hand over to voluntary sector.
  • Entire workforce offered voluntary redundancy.

So pretty grim stuff. To fight this we need everyone to come on the 7th Feb and be heard!

Council Budget docs available here http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/CouncilDemocracy/Consultations/BudgetConsultation.htm

Overview:  Scrutiny of the draft revenue and capital budgets 2011/12 – 2013/14

Full info (called appendix 1 – are they trying to hide it?): http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=26412 9

Capital spending info – big project money (appendix 2): http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=26419

ALSO – We will be promoting SOS today in Brixton and Streatham with stall so please come and say hello and help out. We will also and attending the consultation meeting today and leafletting tube stations all week. to help out email lambethsaveourservices@gmail.com.


lambeth soso logoChair: Paris. Minutes: Stuart
Present: 12 intrepid activists in snowshoes (around 25-30 apologies because of weather)

Important diary events coming up:

  • Thur 9 Dec: No Fees No, Cuts education march on parliament on day of vote on Fees Bill. Assemble 12.00.noon Malet St. Lobby supported by NUS.
  • 11 Dec Defend Council Housing Meeting, Renton Close Community Centre , Brixton Hill
  • 14 December Southwark SOS protest at Southwark Town Hall, Peckham Road 19.00, night of Cuts Budget, (NOTE: now cancelled)
  • 24 January special meeting of Lambeth Council Cabinet to discuss cuts budget. Voting on cuts budget: 23 February

1. Reports


a) 20 Nov Lambeth conference

: discussed the very useful workshops, Paris still collecting action points. Education group had exchanged emails and were setting up telephone network. Link to student demos and Stockwell Park anti-academy campaign. Welfare Group – discussing setting up a claimants action group, not just the unemployed because benefit cuts broader effecting in work benefits, housing benefit. Talked about having section of website, news-sheet at some point, local film showing with Southwark. Health Group discussed concentrating on the white paper and GP budget changes. Take up issues in patient participation forums. One such Lambeth Link meets at Stockwell resource centre on 17th January and we should attend to put case against changes. Try and link up with Southwark Keep Our health Service Public group at King’s Hospital. Housing Group discussed need to go out to TRA’s (Tenants and Resident Associations) make the case against cuts and for taking ALMO Lambeth Living under council control again. Invited to China Walk TRA in 13 Dec. Possibility of organising Alternative Housing Conference – challenge Council representative to debate ALMO. 29 Jan or 5th Feb possible dates. It was reported that Defend Council Housing having a lobby of parliament on 15 Feb. Also Unison still waiting on date for strike in Lambeth Living over redundancies maybe end January.

Agreed:

 


i.
If a strike was happening then the day of strike might be a good time for a rally/conference on housing in the afternoon, providing enough notice of strike was known – first strike maybe 22nd or 29th Jan.
ii. That the groups from workshops should try and organise in their areas with Thurs meetings an umbrella group of campaign. Contacts for 4 groups:
Education: btinternet DOT com> and (Paris)
Welfare: <RosanneAT lycos DOT com> and and
Housing: <danj23 AT yahoo DOT com> and
Health: <michellesmith1983 AT hotmail DOT co DOT uk> and possibly Teresa (contact through Andy above)

b). Coalition of Resistance Conference Sat 27th


Over 1200 present, useful workshops bringing together anti-cuts activists across country, series of good speakers – National Council of 120 plus agreed, will meet quarterly. Unite Executive has since agreed to back CoR – new Gen Sec McCluskie spoke at conference. (further info can be found at CoR’s website coalitionofresistance.org.uk)

c). Local Labour Parties


Stuart reported that left Southwark and Lambeth (LRC) was meeting Sunday evening. Jeremy reported invite to Streatham LP women’s group Sat 4th morning

d). Lambeth TUC


Jeremy reported that Anton the TUC sec will be contacting Lambeth SOS with a view to working together in future.

e) RMT strikes


Short report and discussion on ongoing RMT dispute over cuts and redundancies. No more strikes till January.

2. Students and Fees struggles

Report on days of action and occupations. The campaign is now focused on a national day of action on 8th December and mass demonstration/lobby of parliament on 9th December when the Coalition is hoping to rush through the legislation. Rob reported on organisation of school students locally.

AGREED:

 


i) Try and get delegates from students especially South Bank to meeting (main campus however is in Southwark)
ii) Lambeth SOS members where they can to leaflet Lambeth FE college students about 9th Dec. demo

3. South London Conference idea


Last meeting agreed to set up working group from Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Greenwich, Croydon to examine usefulness of conference of those groups early next year to develop links/action. Croydon now setting up a working group to get this off the ground.
AGREED

i) Stuart to try to set up meeting and work with Ruth on it.

4. Next meeting of Lambeth SOS

Thursday 16th December (this would also be a seasonal drinks type meeting)
Items must discuss: 1. Lambeth Budget meetings 2. Sth London conf progress

Summary of diary items

 


8 Dec Wandsworth launch of Anti cuts group
9 Dec: No Fees No, Cuts education march on parliament
11 Dec Defend Council Housing Meeting, Renton Close Community Centre , Brixton Hill
13 Dec Invited to China Walk TRA
14 December Southwark SOS protest at Southwark Town Hall
16 December next Lambeth SOS organising meeting., 6.30 Vida Walsh
15 January SE TUC day of action against cuts
17 Jan Lambeth Link NHS
24 Jan Lambeth Council Cabinet
End January Lambeth Living strike?
15 February Defend council Housing Lobby
23 February Lambeth council budget meeting
26 March National TUC demo