Report on Brent Fightback Public Meeting held Tuesday 17 February
By Dude Swheatie of Kwug
- Anne O'Neil said that under the proposed budget cuts, daycentre services would be substantially reduced if not completely destroyed, limiting support for people wanting help in applying for ESA. These matters should be referred to at General Election hustings and in any contacts with parliamentary candidates, she said. She also said that care workers' contact time with the vulnerable adults they support would be halved from 30 minutest to 15 minutes.
Something she did not say about that that I know from previous painful 2005-2006 experience is that care workers do not get paid for the time taken in getting from one shift to the next, nor the travel expenses involved. That will make the plight of care workers untenable under Universal Credit, where people in paid employment would be liable to sanction of all their benefits for allegedly not trying hard enought to become financially independent of income-top-up payments!
- Anne Drinkell reported that older people have been largely scapegoated as a drain on A&E services; GP services are being largely privatised and the Health & Social Care Act should be scrapped; the Harmoni out of hours medical advice service has been taken over by the infamous CareUK; and hospital closures lead to a bonanza for property speculators. She too stressed the importance of General Election campaigning as an opportunity to put pressure on politicians.
- The speaker from Stonebridge Adventure Playground said that Stonebridge has actually been a borough-wide service and its fiscal eradication would be a crime against the community. Stonebridge Adventure Playground allowed kids a safe place for recreation and a badly needed break for hard-pressed parents. Closure of such safe places would put kids more prone to mischief. Adventure playgrounds had given the speaker — an ethnic minority member — advantages for advancement in life that he would not otherwise have had access to.
- The Our West Hendon speaker told of the incremental displacement of social tenancies to make way for privatisation of housing, and also said that the tenants had become a force to be reckoned with collectively while their tenancy rights had become eroded over time.
- Owen Jones said that Brent Fightback had acquired a well-earned reputation for fighting back against public services cuts and people should make maximum use of the General Election 2015 for redressing the damage caused by 5 years of cuts in public services. He also referred to the benfit sanctions fiasco and the way victims of cuts had been maligned, and Ukip's attacks on migrant workers as yet another example of scapegoating. Instead of Cameron and Osborne enlisting the services of tax-dodger Sir Philip Green to advise Government on how to cut costs, it would be much better for public services funding in this country if Government squeezed the tax dodgers and reduced the influence of the big four accountancy firms and Google etc that find all the loop holes they can to preserve the wealthy's advantages at the cost of thhe public purse.
|Saturday 21 February 2pm protest outside offices of Brent Central MP Sarah Teather, and at 3pm outside Brent Conservatives' offices|