The TUC / People’s Assembly demonstration at the Tory Party conference on 4th October in Manchester looks set to be massive, with transport being arranged from around the country.
We are pleased to announce that UNITE theUnion has offered us free places on their coaches!
UNITE coaches will be going from Broad Street and West Bromwich. If you want tickets please phone 0121 553 6051 by Wednesday and tell them if you want to go from Birmingham or West Bromwich.
One of the key demands of the Kerslake report was for a ‘Birmingham leadership group’ to be set up independent of the Council. It is worth quoting what Kerslake says:
“The council should facilitate the creation of a new independent Birmingham leadership group. The group should approve the new long-term City Plan and be used to hold all involved in delivery of the plan to account.
This group should be used to help guide and deliver both the vision for the council and the partnership approach across the city. The group should be independent of the council, representative of the city’s communities.” (p55. Emphasis in original)
(UKuncut action against tax avoidance. Deloitte’s is one of the big 4 accountancy companies advising clients on tax avoidance)
Ladywood residents complaining that rubbish isn’t being collected and Council Houses not being repaired. The Council call centre that still doesn’t effectively respond to residents’ enquiries. The father of a service user expressed concerns of the 40% cut to the Adult social care budget. The impact of the £6m in year cut to public health. These were just some of the public contributions to the Birmingham Independent Improvement Panel (BIIP) public meeting last week.
‘Public health refers to all organized measures to prevent disease, promote health, and prolong life among the population as a whole. Its activities aim to provide conditions in which people can be healthy and focus on entire populations, not on individual patients or diseases.’
World Health Organisation
Major threats have emerged over the summer to an important range of public health services which are the responsibility of Birmingham Council. They are faced with a possible new round of cuts and possible outsourcing and privatisation. In July the Government launched a national consultation over proposals to cut the amount the NHS pays to local Councils to improve the health of the public. The favoured option is a 6.2% across the board cut to all Councils.
The struggle to save the community libraries and the Library of Birmingham has been going on for several years now. The campaign over the latter began in the spring of 2013, even before it was opened by Malala in September of that year, against the background of rumours of private control.
One aspect of the campaigning has been to highlight the importance of these institutions and to oppose the cultural vandalism of the constant attacks upon them. This has been pioneered by the Friends of the Library of Birmingham, Slaney Street, the young occupiers of the LoB under their slogan of “A People’s Library”, the Friends of Birmingham Archives and Heritage and others. (Links at end)
The Launch Statement of the forthcoming West Midlands Combined Authority, ‘Growing the UK Economy through a Midlands Engine’, was published on 6 July. Its agenda is private sector profit, public sector privatisation and the by-passing of local democracy.
The West Midlands refers to the area covered by the three Local Enterprise Partnerships: the Black Country LEP, the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP, and the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP. The WMCA comprises the 7 Metropolitan Councils: Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall, and Wolverhampton. Negotiations under way with neighbouring County Councils and District Councils could bring the number up to 13.
We want to thank all the 100 or so people that made it a brilliant turn-out in Birmingham yesterday for the Rally against the ‘Procurement for Health’ conference. We made it clear to delegates (and the public) through our leaflet that ‘procurement’ is not a dirty word per se – the NHS needs supplies and it doesn’t need to be ripped off.
The reason we turned up to the ICC is that the organisers were using terms such as “Get into this market worth £20bn” and ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Clearly this was not about the NHS not being ripped off but ripped apart, systematically, as private companies move in to cherry-pick: this event was not just about supplies for the NHS, but about taking services off the NHS.