Category Archives: Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group

Handsworth Against the Cuts Hold Stall Against Leisure Centre Privatisation

Activists from Handsworth Against The Cuts (HATC) lobbied MP Khalid Mahmood’s constituency surgery about the the council’s attempt to privatise the leisure centres. Concern was expressed by the MP’s
representatives and also a willingness to have attend/ hold a public meeting. We were also told that the councillors in the ward were against the privatisation. Other HATC activists had attended a Handsworth community conference and had raised the issue there that morning as well, so the pressure is being applied.

On the same day a stall was done at the Leisure Centre, we now have 489 signatures opposing privatisation, not including the petitions that people have taken away to get friends, neighbours and family to sign. There is a great depth of feeling on the subject…

Saturday 10th March is a day of action on Leisure Centre privatisation with stalls being held around Birmingham – see here for details

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Birmingham City Council, Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group

Day of Action Over Leisure Services Privatisation

As we reported on Monday, Birmingham City Council have begun a process that could see a £200m outsourcing of leisure services to private, profit seeking, companies.

This affects people all over the city, and Handsworth Against the Cuts were out on Saturday, raising awareness and gathering signatures on a petition to keep these services in house.

Outsourcing and privatisation are all too often used as a way to cut costs at the expense of services or through changes to staff pay and conditions, rather than as a way to improve the services provided.
As the council seek to make £100m of additional cuts over the following year, we can be sure that this is being used as a way to cover some of that, or at least it will be if we let it.

On Saturday 10th March, Birmingham Against the Cuts will be co-ordinating local groups and individuals around the city to petition at leisure centres that are under threat.
As we receive confirmation of times, this list will be updated. If you live near one of these centres, or use it regularly, go and join them, or tell us that you will be there between certain times, and we will put that on this list and try to get people to join you.
A city-wide petition is being finalised, and will be available to download and print closer to the day, along with leaflets and posters.

— Alexander Stadium,
— Beeches Pool,
— Billesley Indoor Tennis Centre,
— Castle Vale Pool,
— Cocks Moor Wood Leisure Centre,
— Erdington Pool,
— Fox Hollies Leisure Centre,
— Handsworth Leisure Centre, 11am on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th Handsworth Against the Cuts
— Harborne Pool and Fitness Centre,
— Kingstanding Leisure Centre,
— Linden Road Leisure Centre,
— Moseley Road Pool: 11am onwards, Friends of Moseley Road Baths
— Nechells Sports Centre,
— Newtown Pool,
— Northfield Leisure Centre 11am onwards, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts
— Saltley Leisure Centre,
— Shard End Leisure Centre,
— Small Heath Leisure Centre,
— Shenley Court,
— Sparkhill Pool and Leisure Centre, 11am-1pm Sparkhill & Springfield Against the Cuts
— Stechford Cascades,
— Stockland Green Leisure Centre,
— Tiverton Road,
— Wyndley Leisure Centre.

Please note that this is not a complete list – the tender document says that these are included, but does not limit privatisation to just these facilities – so if your local centre is not listed here, do not think you are safe.

Email us at BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com or just turn up if your centre already has times listed.

2 Comments

Filed under Birmingham City Council, Erdington Against the Cuts, Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group, Kings Heath & Moseley Against the Cuts, Sparkhill & Sparkbrook Against the Cuts, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, Stockland Green Against the Cuts

Today Birmingham City Council Will Vote Through £100m Of Cuts – Here’s What We Won And What We Are Losing

Today from 2pm, Birmingham City Council meet to debate and vote on the budget for 2012/13. Over the last 6 months, consultations have been ignored or sidelined by the ConDem coalition locally, in favour of rushing through as many cuts as possible before they lose control of the council at the local elections in May.
With over 200 pages and £100m of cuts being made, we’re not going to list everything here. The complete budget is available here. If anyone wants to tell us about a particular cut that is going to affect you, or that you are aware of, please do so, either by email (BirminghamAgainstTheCuts@Gmail.com or by commenting on this post.
Many of the cuts announced still have consultation processes to go through or complete. Through the consultation process and alongside lobbying, demonstrations and where applicable strikes, with the support of the people who need the services being cut, we can stop some of the cuts.
But if we are to stop all of the cuts, then we need to be changing things at both national and local level, arguing for the alternative to cuts, and resisting cuts through action on the streets.

Anti-cuts and anti-austerity events take place every week in and around Birmingham. We do our best to list all of them on our upcoming events page. Through mass action we can change things – right now the workfare schemes are in huge trouble, and the Health and Social Care Bill (NHS reforms) has gone from looking like a lost battle to fully on the rocks, as healthcare professionals line up to condemn the bill.
Join Us.

Here is some of what has been won and lost in this years budget.

1,200 jobs are expected to be lost – in addition to the 4,800 that have already gone as £100m gets slashed from Birmingham City Council’s budget – taking the total to over £300m. Just over half of the £500m Barclays are being made to repay from a tax avoidance scheme.

Adults and Communities

118 jobs will be going in home care, as the council cuts back the services to only be available for people immediately upon leaving hospital. Anyone else receiving home care will be forced into the private sector.
269 jobs will be lost in adult education. It is not at all clear what this will actually mean, or where the jobs are. However, at times of rising unemployment, it can never be good to lose the people who might be able to help retrain and give people skills.

Shelforce

80 jobs to be lost as this business which provides supported employment for disabled adults, and until recently produced a profit for the council, is still looking to be closed. The fight to keep it open and get the council to invest in the business so it can return to profitability continues, and this is not definitely lost yet.

Homes and Neighbourhoods

Library services are being cut. No libraries will close, but most are seeing their hours reduced.

Handsworth library – originally earmarked to only be open 3 days per week, will now open 5 days per week after a campaign by local group Handsworth Against the Cuts. They were not able to restore Friday openings unfortunately.

As reported yesterday, Leisure services are to be privatised in a £200m outsourcing operation. Handsworth Against the Cuts began petitioning last week, and we are organising a day of action on Saturday 10th March to build awareness of this move. All our local groups will be arranging petitioning sessions – if you can join them, let us know. If you want to hlep in your area and there is no local group, we have petitions and are making leaflets, and can try to put you in touch with other people in your area.

Children, Young People and Families

100 jobs have been saved, for now, at Connexions (although their budget was already reduced by around 40% last year). The council have agreed to continue the service, hoping that they will be able to raise money by selling their skills into schools. Connexions used to supply services directly to schools from their budget, but now if schools want careers advisers, they have to pay for them out of their budget.
This is an example of how the government is cutting education budgets by the back door, but it is also an example to show us why we need to oppose all cuts – this move is simply looking to shift the cut from the council budget to the schools budgets. Only by ending the austerity agenda and implementing alternatives to the cuts can we truly defeat this cut.

I have saved the most maddening cut for last.
£6.7m is to be cut from the Childrens’ placement budget. This covers looking after children who are taken into care. It is also an area that is still under consultation, in part thanks to the campaigns that have saved Charles House and Cambourne House.
Two other houses have been earmarked as facing closure: 56 Millmead Road and Mulberry House.
Closing care homes means needing to rehouse the children who live there.
The council say this will be done by increasing fostering.
But at the same time they are cutting the adoption and fostering budget by £1m.
The alternative is to pay the private sector or other local authorities to look after the children concerned. Last time the council closed Childrens homes, it increased costs by 41%.

Through concerted actions by parents and campaign groups, Charles House and Cambourne House were saved – these were respite homes for disabled children, rather than homes for children in care. Many of the children in care will not have parents who will fight for them. It is up to the residents of Birmingham to ensure that they are properly looked after, and to come together as a community to protect and help some of the most vulnerable citizens, who are also too young to have a voice at the ballot box.

The consultation on the childrens’ placement budget is ongoing. We will be campaigning on this, and we need support – especially if you live near a care home. Please get in touch with us if you want to be involved.

5 Comments

Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Photo Review of the Year 2011

Birmingham Against The Cuts was formed at the end of 2010 to fight the council and central government cuts. 2011 has been a busy year for all of us, with some truly memorable events. You can click on a picture to go to an article about it.
Tell us your outstanding memory of 2011, a year which has seen huge demonstrations around the UK, direct action, two huge strikes and of course the legwork of stalls, leafletting and petitions.
Our first organising meeting for 2012 will be on January 9th, 6:30pm, Unison Offices, 19th Floor, McClaren Building, 47 Priory Queensway, B4 7NN. Please come along to help plan campaigning for next year.

Campaigns

Save Our Neighbourhood Offices

Save EMA

(c) Geoff Dexter-Sherborne Publications

Council Cuts

Save The NHS

Hands Off Bournville School

Save Merrishaw Day Nursery

ATOS / Disability Benefits

Save Charles House

Demonstrations

Mayday Demonstration

February Council Cuts

March 26th

30th June

Sep, Lib Dem Conference

June, Justice For All

Nov 30th

Oct, West Midlands Pensioners Convention

Public Meetings

Held by Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts

Feb, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts meeting

September, Build the Alternative, Broaden the Struggle

Oct, Youth Fight for Jobs Jarrow March Recreation

Nov, Support the Strikers, They Strike For All of Us

Credit: Geoff Dexter

Feb Council Cuts Meeting

July, Hands Off Brum Services

People and Placards

March, International Women's Day

J30

July, Lobby of Council

J30 Strike

Sep, Lib Dem Conference

Nov 30th

Banners

Save Youth Services

Connexions

UK Uncut

Aston Uni Students

NCAFC Birmingham

UCU City College

Strikes

Dec 2010, Refuse Worker Strike

April, Connexions

May, EHRC

30th June

Sept, Unison at Lifford House

30th Nov

Nov 30th

Dec, Montgomery Primary School

Occupations

Nov, University of Birmingham Students occupation

Occupy Birmingham (now in the gardens behind Centenary Square)

Stalls, Leafletting and Petitions

Kings Heath

Feb, Kings Heath

April, Sparkhill

April, Cotteridge

Dec, Handsworth Library Petition

Ministerial Visits

February, Ian Duncan Smith

(c) Geoff Dexter Sherborne Productions

April, Francis Maude

June, David Cameron

With thanks to everyone who has contributed photos over the year.
For more photos of Birmingham protests this year, see Geoff Dexter’s Flickr Page

Leave a comment

Filed under Birmingham City Council, Erdington Against the Cuts, Events, Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group, Kings Heath & Moseley Against the Cuts, Meeting, Sparkhill & Sparkbrook Against the Cuts, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, Stockland Green Against the Cuts, strike

Handsworth Library Petition Hand In

The petition calling for restored opening hours at Handsworth Library will be handed in by Councillor Waseem Zaffar at the Council meeting on Tuesday 6th December. Initiated by Handsworth Against the Cuts, the petition has gathered a magnificent 860 signatures thanks to the many residents and community activists who got involved. At a meeting on Saturday 26th November, residents pointed out that the library is used by people of all ages and backgrounds – by those who need to use the computers, by schoolchildren doing projects, and by elders of the community who enjoy the safe and sociable atmosphere.

Recent reports have revealed that cuts are happening to library services across the city – and these were never subject to consultation. Handsworth Against the Cuts will continue to push for proper opening hours for our own library, but not at the expense of others. We need to campaign to keep both our central and community libraries open for business.

2 Comments

Filed under Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group

Tomorrow: All Out! Strike for Pensions Justice!

Tomorrow is set to be a historic day, with one of the largest strikes in the history of the UK, as millions of public sector workers strike to defend their pensions, rejecting an offer by the government which would see them pay more, work longer and get less in order to pay off the deficit.

Almost every public sector union is taking part in this co-ordinated action, and there are plenty of things happening in Birmingham. This strike is not just about pensions, it is also about cuts, and defending the whole idea of a public sector providing services on the basis of need.

From 4am there will be pickets at refuse collection depots around the city, with other workplace pickets running from 7am. Some confirmations of pickets have been received, and are listed here, but you should expect them at almost every council and government workplace.
Parents should have heard from schools as to whether they will close, but with almost every teaching union, including the NAHT head teachers union, on strike we expect to see all schools closed.

At 9am the first local demo, organised by Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, gathers in Cotteridge. It will proceed to join the Selly Oak rally, and then the main TUC demo.

10am sees 4 local rallies around Birmingham:
Selly Oak – at the University South Gates, by the New Bristol Road (the newly opened bypass)
Handsworth – By Handsworth Library, Soho Road
Erdington – Six Ways
East Birmingham Heartlands Hospital

These rallies will feed to the main TUC march which assembles from 11:30am at Lionel Street Car Park, and should proceed through the city centre. We have had uncomfirmed reports that Birmingham City Council want to charge us £10,000 to walk through our city! We hope that the TUC do not bow to pressure and pay up, and that we march through the city in defiance of this blatant attempt to prevent us expressing our democratic rights.
The march proceeds to a rally at the NIA which beings at 1:30pm – doors to the NIA open at 12:30pm. The rally has many speakers from the union movement:
CHAIR: Lee Barron, CWU Midlands Regional Secretary & Midlands TUC Chair
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary
Kevin Courtney, NUT Deputy General Secretary
Janice Godrich, PCS President
Karen Jennings, Unison Assistant General Secretary
Martin Johnson, ATL Deputy General Secretary
Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary
Barry Lovejoy, UCU Head of Further Education
Joe Morgan, GMB West Midlands Regional Secretary
Tony Woodley, UNITE Executive Officer

Tomorrow is set up to be a great day – all it needs now is you!
Remember that you can sign up to a union on the day and still strike, so at work today, or on the picket lines tomorrow, make sure anyone who isn’t unionised knows this, joins up and comes out tomorrow.

Leave a comment

Filed under Erdington Against the Cuts, Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group, Kings Heath & Moseley Against the Cuts, Sparkhill & Sparkbrook Against the Cuts, Stirchley and Cotteridge Against the Cuts, Stockland Green Against the Cuts, strike

Scathing Attack on Library Cuts from Former Head of Libraries

John Dolan, the former head of Birmingham Libraries, attacked the council’s library cuts programme in a open letter published in the Birmingham Post.

The Birmingham Post sets out cuts planned for Birmingham Libraries.This comes out one day before the last Council public consultation meeting on its budget plans. There was no mention of libraries in list of cuts up for public consultation. In all the public papers the words ‘library’ or ‘libraries’ are not used anywhere.

This is actually about dismantling the service through the back door while pretending to fix the front door. Birmingham has already dismissed most of the senior and middle management.

You should read the whole letter – it was also published on Voices for the Library

It comprises a comprehensive analysis of the way in which Birmingham City Council is seeking to dismantle an important service for the community. Handsworth Library will not open on Fridays, and many other libraries are also restricting their opening hours – We have been told the Central Library will now close at 6pm each day, making it difficult for anyone who works to use the service.
Aside from lending books, audio books and often music and films, libraries also offer internet access, often in communities that have low access rates. For someone who is unemployed, having access to the internet is vital to help find work or training opportunities.

Handsworth Against the Cuts is already campaigning about library cuts in that area, so if you want to be involved with that, get in touch with them. If your local library is facing cuts and you want to fight that and the library cuts in general, let us know, or come to our next open planning meeting on Monday 12th December. (let us know you are coming so it gets on the agenda).

Leave a comment

Filed under Birmingham City Council, Cuts, Handsworth Anti-Cuts Group