November 30 – day of action in defence of public service pensions

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pics: ©Sarah Evans 11-11-30 All rights reserved

NW Hampshire Labour joined Andover TUC and visited pickets lines across Andover before joining a march and rally in Basingstoke.

Trade unionists from ATL, UNISON and Andover TUC addressed the rally and were joined by Cllr Paul Harvey, Labour councillor at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council who pledged to support public service workers in their stand to defend public sector pensions.

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NW Hampshire Labour pledge to join pickets lines to support public sector workers

NW Hampshire Labour Party has today pledged to support striking public sector workers on their picket lines on November 30.

NW Hampshire Labour chair Alan Cotter said: “Everyone deserves a decent pension and dignity in retirement, both in the public and private sectors, and we should not allow the government to divide us in its attempt to impose a race to the bottom.

“The average public servant’s pension is around £4,200 per annum and the majority of public servants are already low-paid workers carrying out vital work in our hospitals, for our armed forces, and in our schools and communities.

NW Hampshire Labour vice-chair Sarah Evans said: “The government’s proposals are not a genuine attempt to make the schemes more sustainable, but a cash-grab by the Treasury, imposing an additional tax on workers already facing a pay freeze in an attempt to make them pay debts resulting from the banking crisis.

“It is a myth that public sector pensions are unaffordable, and the reality is that the cost of public-sector pensions is set to fall.”

“It is scandalous that the government is targeting low-paid public-sector workers’ pensions when every year bankers, big business and wealthy individuals get away with £120 billion of unpaid tax – this attack on pensions is about paying for the biggest-ever act of corporate welfare seen in this country.

“There are already far too many people living in poverty in old age, and if the government does not step back it will be increasing the number of people who die every winter of cold-related illnesses because they have to choose between putting food on the table or heating their homes.”

Ends

For further information contact: Sarah Evans T: 07941 227757

In Andover join picket lines at the MOD HQ at MonxtonTest Valley Borough Council, Weyhill Road, Andover and Andover Job Centre Plus, London Street. Find out more by visiting: Andover TUC’s website.

 

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Welfare, an alternative vision: Public meeting Andover

Speakers from Andover Labour Party, Andover TUC and the Labour Representation Committee came together for a public meeting about the government’s brutal welfare reforms.
Taken from a report published by Hampshire LRC.

GOVERNMENT myths about the need to slash welfare spending are a smokescreen for an unprecedented attack on the most vulnerable in society, a lively meeting hosted in Andover by Hampshire Labour Representation Committee heard.

Pic: Derek Kotz Andover TUC (left to right) Mick Mumford, Andover Labour, Andrew Fisher LRC, Sarah Evans Andover Labour & Hampshire LRC, and Russell Frost Andover Labour

Pic: Derek Kotz Andover TUC (left to right) Mick Mumford, Andover Labour, Andrew Fisher LRC, Sarah Evans Andover Labour & Hampshire LRC, and Russell Frost Andover Labour

The big lie that welfare was unaffordable and had to be cut was stripped bare byLRC joint chair and Left Economics Advisory Panel co-ordinator Andrew Fisher – You can read his inspiring speech here: 11-09-14 HLRC – Welfare speech – Andrew Fisher

Sarah Evans former NW Hants Labour Candidate and meeting chair Sarah Evans pointed out that the government’s big lie about benefit fraud is just that, and that it is the tax evaders and avoiders who are the real criminals, and that it is their best mates who are now in government.

Graph showing £120bn unpaid & evaded tax, £16bn unclaimed benefits and £1.5bn benefit fraud (less than 1% of all benefits paid) Click on the image to download the PCS pamphlet, Welfare, an alternative vision

Andover Labour Party and community activist Russell Frost related how his great uncle – who was born in the shadow of the First World War and experienced the General Strike and the great depression of the 1930s before seeing the creation of the welfare state – had said he did not envy today’s young generation.

Russell described how the hopes and aspirations of his generation now looked like distant dreams as the government destroyed jobs and made access to basics like homes and education more difficult for everyone but the most wealthy.

The government’s efforts to dismantle comprehensive education were laid bare by local teacher, Andover Labour Party member and former parliamentary candidate for NW Hampshire, Mick Mumford who also dismantled the government’s case for cutting teachers’ and other public servants’ pensions, and the importance of communities standing together to defend education, services and pensions, including on picket lines.

The local effects of government austerity, implemented by an eager Tory Hampshire County Council, were described by Andover TUC secretary Derek Kotz, who lambasted the authority for leaving a trail of destruction of services for the most vulnerable through £55 million of cuts – including Andover’s own Cherry Orchard elderly care home.

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Andover Labour pledge support for cross-union campaign to defend public-sector pensions

Andover Labour Party has today announced support for the cross-union campaign to defend public-sector pensions, backing Unison’s motion to Labour Party conference and pledging to support  picket lines on November 30.

Andover Labour chair Alan Cotter said: “Everyone deserves a decent pension and dignity in retirement, both in the public and private sectors, and we should not allow the government to divide us in its attempt to impose a race to the bottom.

“The average public servant’s pension is around £4,200 per annum and the majority of public servants are already low-paid workers carrying out vital work in our hospitals, for our armed forces, and in our schools and communities.

“The government’s proposals are not a genuine attempt to make the schemes more sustainable, but a cash grab by the Treasury, imposing an additional tax on workers already facing a pay freeze in an attempt to make them pay debts resulting from the banking crisis.”

Andover Labour vice-chair Sarah Evans said: “It is a myth that public sector pensions are unaffordable, and the reality is that the cost of public-sector pensions is set to fall.

“It is scandalous that the government is targeting low-paid public-sector workers’ pensions when every year bankers, big business and wealthy individuals get away with £120 billion of unpaid tax.

“There are already far too many people living in poverty in old age, and if the government does not step back it will be increasing the number of people who die every winter of cold-related illnesses because they have to choose between putting food on the table or heating their homes.”

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Tory county council bosses condemned by NW Hampshire Labour for hoarding reserves and slashing vital services and jobs

Tory county council bosses have today been condemned by NW Hampshire Labour for hoarding more than £200 million in reserves while slashing vital services and axing more than 1,200 jobs.

 Labour has slammed the authority’s boast that it has banked another £48 million of public money – giving it the third-biggest reserves in the country – while it cuts £55 million from its budget.

Alan Cotter, NW Hampshire Labour chair said:  “It is appalling that this Tory council is sitting on such huge reserves, yet wants to close Cherry Orchard care home and other adult and children’s services.

“Along with 1,200 jobs, cuts to bus services, libraries and the 60 per cent cuts to youth services, it adds up to the nastiest attack on working people since the 1930s.

“The council’s financial position does not justify these cuts and underlines that the Tory party remains the nasty party because it is ideologically opposed to providing decent public services.

Sarah Evans, NW Hampshire’s Labour candidate at the last general election, said: “These cuts will cost lives and ruin the future life chances of the young and vulnerable, potentially leaving communities without adequate services when privateers like Southern Cross fold.

“The Tories are in economic cloud cuckoo land if they think that dismantling publicly run and funded services provided by dedicated staff will serve the needs of the people they are supposed to represent, or prove more efficient and cost effective in the long run.

“I worry for the young and the old and call on Hampshire County Council to reverse its plans and start putting working people, students and the elderly ahead of its ill-thought out plans.”

See also: Cuts-crazed council ‘sitting on millions’ in the Morning Star


Posted in Hampshire County Council, Savage Tory Cuts, Youth Services | Leave a comment

Brutal government plans for welfare ‘reform’ slammed by NW Hampshire Labour

Brutal government plans for welfare ‘reform’ have today been slammed by Sarah Evans, NW Hampshire’s Labour candidate at the last general election and NW Hampshire Labour Party chair Alan Cotter, who have called on MP George Young to have a heart and urge the government he is part of to abandon the Bill due to be debated on Monday.

https://nwhampshirelabourparty.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/brutal-government-plans-for-welfare-%E2%80%98reform%E2%80%99-slammed-by-nw-hampshire-labour/

Blue box is the £120 bn of unpaid, evaded and avoided tax, pink box is the £16 bn of unclaimed benefits, green box is the £1.5 bn of benefit fraud

Sarah Evans said: “This Bill is about taking £18 billion from the poor to help pay for £24 billion in tax breaks for the rich, and that is simply disgusting.

“While the government obsesses about benefit fraud, which costs £1.5 billion, unclaimed benefits account for a massive £16 billion, and big business and rich individuals get away with a staggering £120 billion in uncollected, avoided and evaded tax.

“There is clear evidence that shows the highest levels of work commitment are in societies that have generous welfare states, like Norway  and Sweden, and that when people feel like the welfare system demeans them and signifies failure they experience low personal worth and react against the system that oppresses them.

“Working people and the most vulnerable in our communities and are being targeted by the government, but there are already 2.5 million unemployed and fewer than 500,000 vacancies, yet the government demonises those out of work.

“The government has no strategy for growth and job creation, and its public-sector cuts will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs in the desperate hope that the private sector will step in.

NW Hampshire Labour Party chair Alan Cotter said: “The Archbishop of Canterbury was right to say that people are frightened of these welfare reforms and the return of Victorian concepts like the deserving and undeserving poor.

This Bill is about returning us to the Poor Law which the welfare state was supposed to get rid of, and it is very clear that taking from the most vulnerable will damage lives, create more joblessness and ruin the future life chances of thousands, not least for the young.

“It is the sign of a developed country that it treats all its people with respect and dignity, looks after the vulnerable and provides welfare to ensure that everyone has what they need to exist, and this Bill does the opposite.”

Lobby your MP before the debate on June 13 – download the template letter here Template MP Lobby letter – Welfare Reform

Posted in NW Hampshire CLP, Welfare Reform | 1 Comment

Twinings EU grant money blocked

EU decision to block £10 million grant for Twinings to export hundreds of jobs overseas has today been welcomed by Andover Labour Party. 

Pic: Sarah Evans - Save Jobs at Twinings

Pic: Sarah Evans - Save Jobs at Twinings

“This is a massive victory for working people across Europe and it sends a clear message to greedy company bosses who think it is ok to dump a loyal workforce and use our taxes in the form of EU grant money to relocate, said Sarah Evans, community campaigner and Andover Labour Party activist.

“It is the hard work of community campaigners, USDAW shop steward Pete Millward and Andover TUC that has won this victory, and Andover Labour party members are proud to have played an active role in this campaign.

“We congratulate the South East’s Labour MEP Peter Skinner for the leading role he has played in the European Parliament, after being contacted by campaigners to block the grant – from writing the first letter to commissioners and his persistence in securing this victory alongside North Shields Labour MEP Stephen Hughes.

“Twinings workers in Andover and North Shields are rightly angry that UK jobs have been axed, so a profitable company can chase cheap labour overseas and it is with massive regret that we couldn’t have done more to get Twinings to reverse its ill-thought-out decision.

Labour’s MEP for the South East, Peter Skinner:

“From the beginning when this was first brought to my attention by trade unionists in Andover we have been attempting to get the European Commission to change its plans to allow a grant worth many Millions of Euros for the relocation of workers to Poland from the two plants in the UK – one in the SE and the other in the NE of England.

“The loopholes used by the company to pursue the grants have now been closed by the Commission who have met with me on three separate occasions – however the impact on jobs has not been reversed.

“The announcement today is a major success of the tough lobbying of the Commission. It is a victory for the working people in Andover and particularly the trade unions especially USDAW and the Labour MEPs.

“I know that local workers are rightly angry at the way in which this affair has been played out and at the injustice of grants from European tax payers being paid to make this relocation work which have now been stopped.

“I have worked on this campaign by taking a lead at the table in negotiations with the European Commission, and alongside my colleagues in the European Parliament can feel vindicated at this reversal of the grant decision.”

See the Daily Mirror coverage: Tea firm Twinings stripped of £10 million EU grant for exporting British jobs to Poland and The Morning Star. To read more visit the Andover TUC website.

Posted in Save Twinings Jobs, Uncategorized | 1 Comment