Protest against cuts to adult social care & the closure of Cherry Orchard

Andover Labour Party activists joined Andover TUC and trade unionists, members of the community and students in Winchester to protest against Hampshire County Council’s cuts to adult social care and the planned closure of Cherry Orchard elderly people’s home, which will affect some of the most vulnerable in the county, and comes on top of already massive cuts to children’s services and to youth services.

The demonstration, organised by UNISON, met with supportive horn-beeps from passing bus and car drivers, and cries from the demonstrators of: “No ifs, no buts, no public service cuts.”

Banners and placards carried by over 50 people gave councillors, arriving to cut over £24 million from adult services, the chance to see the strength of feeling in communities across Hampshire.

You can see a short video clip of the protest by following the link to YouTube.

See also: Andover TUC’s website, Andover Sound’s reports of May 12, 2011 and May 15, 2011.

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Pics: ©Sarah Evans M: 07941 227757
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Demonstrate May 16 against closure of Cherry Orchard and all social-care cuts

Visit the Andover TUC website to download the flyer.

Demonstrate tomorrow (May 16) against closure of Cherry Orchard and all cuts to social care, says Andover TUC

ANDOVER TUC has urged people who oppose the closure of Cherry Orchard elderly care home to join an emergency demonstration in Winchester tomorrow (Monday May 16) organised by care workers’ unions against massive cuts in adult social care set to be nodded through by Tory Hampshire County Council.

The protest, called by public-sector union Unison, starts at the Hog Statue in the Hampshire County Council Castle Complex, Winchester, at 1:30pm, ahead of a meeting that aims to rubber-stamp £24 million of cuts.

Care services across the county, including residential homes and day care centres for the elderly, for people with learning disabilities and physical disabilities, face closure if plans tabled by the authority are passed, with charges increased or introduced for those that remain, Unison has warned.

The union says that the authority has begun moving people out of some centres ahead of the formal decision, making a nonsense of the supposed consultation process.

Andover TUC secretary Derek Kotz said:

“The proposed closure of Cherry Orchard here in Andover has rightly caused a storm of protest, and it is just one of a massive raft of cuts that Hampshire County Council is aiming to impose on some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“Care workers and users of these lifeline services across the county have complained that the consultation supposedly already carried out over the first raft of cuts has been little more than window dressing.

“That will only underline fears that the consultation over Cherry Orchard will be a sham.

“Andover TUC will be joining the demonstration in Winchester tomorrow and we urge as many who can get there at such short notice to get there if they can, so please get in touch urgently if you need a lift or can offer one.”

Note to editors: Anyone who needs a lift or can offer one should contact Derek Kotz on 07939 595 092 or Sarah Evans on 07941 227 757.

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Andover Labour condemns Tory plans to close elderly care home

Andover Labour Party has condemned Hampshire County Council’s plan to close Cherry Orchard elderly people’s home.

“This is a blatant attempt to push through a heartless cost-saving exercise at the expense of vulnerable people and hard-working staff,” said Alan Cotter, Andover Labour Party chair.

“If the consultation just announced is anything like previous Hampshire Tory consultations then the whole process will be seen as a sham, because it seems quite clear that the authority has already made up its mind.

“To cite the condition of Cherry Orchard if there are no plans to replace it, before closure, with a facility that meets modern standards is a transparent pretext that should be opposed by the whole community.”

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Unions, students and pensioners unite for anti-cuts meeting

PEOPLE who provide and use public services threatened by government cuts can defend them if they campaign together, say the organisers of an emergency public meeting to be held at Andover Guildhall at 7:30pm on Wednesday March 2.

Andover TUC is inviting townsfolk to hear the true extent of how the ConDems’ cuts would destroy jobs and inflict massive damage on the health service, education, pensions and the welfare state – and how unions and community groups together can beat them.

ATUC is also offering free coach travel to London for the national demonstration against cuts being organised by the TUC on March 26: contact Derek on 07939 595 092.

Student Julian Jones, a leader of the 20-week occupation of University College London and an organiser of demonstrations against the tripling of university fees and abolition of the education maintenance allowance, will be among the speakers.

He will be joined by a local representative of the National Pensioners’ Convention, which campaigns for pensioners’ rights, and against the raising of the retirement age and government policies aimed at devaluing pensions.

Paul Barnsley, national officer for the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), will detail how the government’s austerity measures are strangling the economic recovery – and how public spending cuts are also killing private-sector jobs.

Unite union regional organiser Ian Woodland will describe how unnecessary cuts threaten to destroy front-line services and jobs across Hampshire.

TUC regional secretary Megan Dobney will outline how unions and community groups are already working together to defend jobs and services – and why the TUC is organising a massive protest in London on March 26.

ATUC secretary Derek Kotz said: “The government is peddling the big lie that there is no alternative to savage cuts when there is already clear evidence that its ideologically driven attack on public spending is doing even more damage.

“The working people, pensioners and students being targeted by these cuts played no part in causing the recession, but the bankers and corporations who have been bailed out with our money are still laughing all the way to the bank.

“Fair taxation, a clampdown on tax-dodging and harnessing the banks to work for the economy rather than convert public money into fat bonuses would allow us to invest in the public services people need and a massive programme of council-house building.”

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Hampshire County Council’s cuts to youth services

Andy Fitchet reports:

Pic: Sarah Evans

It was announced last week that Hampshire County Council (HCC) will have a £55m funding gap with the cuts from central government.

Because of this HCC are cutting staff numbers by 8 per cent equivalent to 1200 staff.

Disregarding the fact that this is counter-productive to job creation and getting the county out of an ever looming double-dip recession, these cuts will have damaging and long-term repercussions on the future of the young people across the county.

HCC are budgeted to cut almost 60 per cent of the staff working for the Integrated Youth Support Service (IYSS).

The workers who work for IYSS work with the most vulnerable and challenging young people we have in the county.

Young people who don’t/can’t engage in the education system and need that extra help to get them where they want to be in life.

Youth workers work in schools, run youth groups and work remotely away from the office to meet young people where they are.

They teach young people about sexual health, give young people the proper facts, not what they hear through the media.

They work with young people who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, abuse from families and abuse from themselves.

These valuable workers will be cut from 256 full-time equivalent posts to just 105 for the entire county.

If these carry on, across the county and nation we will have an unbearable situation on our hands.

We will see teenage pregnancy and termination rates rise like never before, young people with no qualifications or job prospects, no one to take over the reins of the country when this generation passes on.

St Mary’s Ward in Andover already has the third highest teenage pregnancy rates in Hampshire because of a lack of investment.

This will only become an ever worsening situation if nothing changes.

I hope that HCC will soon understand the dreadful mistake they are making and will decide to protect the next generation and invest in its young people today so we can have a great future tomorrow.



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Appalled by Hampshire County Council’s shock decision to axe jobs

From the Southampton Daily Echo

Andover Labour Party is appalled by Hampshire County Council’s shock decision to slash 1,200 jobs from its workforce. Not only that, they are now threatening to sack 5,000 of the lowest paid workers and re-employ them on worse pay and poorer terms and conditions. This is yet another direct attack on the worst off members of our town and society at large. Sadly it is also typical of the current Government’s thinking at all levels.

These unnecessary cuts will have a devastating effect on the services used by some of the most vulnerable in the county, as well as putting  public servants on the dole. The knock-on effect to those local private companies which rely on Council contracts will also be incalculable.

On top of the hike in VAT, pay freezes, the tripling of student fees and the sharp rise in inflation, ordinary people in Andover and across the county will suffer from the inevitable cuts in services provided by the Council. Particularly hard hit will be young people and the parents of children.  A disproportionate cut of about 60% is being made to Youth Service Staff bringing the number of youth worker and youth support workers to 105 for the whole county. Also many youth centres will have to close around the county leaving many young people no where to go to receive the advice they need. Outside schools, the young people of Andover already have very few facilities on offer, many of those situated in hard-to-find areas outside the town. It is also likely that support for children with special needs will become even less than that which is currently available.

The government’s attack on public services and welfare is wrong and totally unnecessary and amounts to making the victims of the recession pay for it with their jobs and services. The way the Council has implemented them is disgraceful. It is no good continually bleating on about the national deficit, caused by International bankers playing roulette with our money, which the current government inherited. These cuts are avoidable and have been chosen by politicians who have no intention of carrying out their promise that ‘we are all in this together’. Cuts have been made which affect the poorer members of society. Nothing has been done to deal with tax evaders or the bankers who created the situation in the first place. The rich are not being asked to help out by paying more taxes.

Alan Cotter
Chair, Andover Labour Party

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Are Andoverians paying to sack Twinings workers?

Pic: Sarah Evans - Save Jobs at Twinings

Pic: Sarah Evans - Save Jobs at Twinings

CAMPAIGNERS TO save Twinings jobs in Andover are demanding to know if British taxpayers’ money will be used to subsidise Twinings’ plan to sack 400 workers and move most production to Poland and China.

Andover Trade Union Council has written to Business Secretary Vince Cable, Europe Minister David Lidington and Andover MP George Young seeking an investigation into grants that Twinings is set to receive for establishing a factory in Poland.

The call comes after it emerged that the European Union Commission is seeking “formal guarantees” from the Polish government that Twinings is not using EU grant funding to relocate, rather than invest in new operations.

The EU Commission has already confirmed that Twinings’ Polish subsidiary has sought funding for a new £38 million plant in Swardedz through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and that it has been earmarked more than £8 million in grants from ERDF and Polish funds.

The Commission added that the project had been accepted by the ERDF, but that the contract had not yet been signed off by the end of May.

“The rules are quite clear that grants are available for new investment, but not for relocation, and Twinings is quite clearly relocating, at the cost of 129 jobs in Andover and more than 260 in North Shields,” Andover TUC secretary Derek Kotz said today.

“That can only raise the suspicion that British taxpayers, including Twinings workers themselves and Andover people, are subsidising Twinings’ plan to sack most of its UK workforce to chase cheaper labour overseas.

“It is shabby enough that a highly profitable company is planning to ditch a loyal and award-winning workforce, but to do so using British taxpayers’ money would be a shameful and almost certainly unlawful abuse.

“We know that the EU Commission is seeking assurances from Poland, but we need our own government to ensure that UK jobs are protected and we have asked the relevant ministers and our own MP to investigate.”

For further information visit the Andover TUC website.

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