Tuesday, 20 November 2018

HOUSMANS IN-STORE EVENTS UPDATE

HOUSMANS IN-STORE EVENTS UPDATEA late addition to our events programme:

1. Student discount night at Housmans
Tuesday, 27th November, 6.30pm onwards

From 6.30pm to 8.30pm come grab a free beer and get a 20% discount off any purchase on display of your student ID at Housmans! 
Facebook event here

2. 'Corbyn: The Resurrection' with Steve Bell
Wednesday 21st November, 7pm
The Guardian's long-time cartoonist Steve Bell will be sharing his thoughts on the state of British politics and we'll have the projector out to show some pictures from his new Corbyn-centered collection too!
Click here for more info

3. AUTONOMY NOW present: 'Great Anarchists' with Ruth KinnaFriday 30th November, 7pm

Launch of new pamphlet series from Dog Section Press. These short introductions delve into the anarchist canon to recover some of the distinctive ideas that historical anarchists advanced to address problems relevant to their circumstances.
Click here for more info
4. 'Marx Returns' a book launch and discussion with Jason Barker, Alberto Toscano and Matthew Beaumont
Wednesday 5th December, 7pm
Join writer and filmmaker Jason Barker talking about his acclaimed new novel and what the revolutionary life and ideas of Karl Marx might mean for our current political crises. Joining the conversation will be Alberto Toscano (Reader in Critical Theory, Goldsmiths) and Matthew Beaumont (Professor of English Literature, UCL).
Click here for more info
5. The Left Case Against the EU with Costas Lapavitsas 
Saturday 8th December, 7pm
With Brexit negotiations reaching their crunch point by December, join us for what will no doubt be a fascinating discussion on what lies ahead for European politics.
Click here for more info
6. 'A Radical History of the World' with Neil Faulkner
Wednesday 12th December, 7pm
History is a weapon. The powerful have their version of events, the people have another. And if we understand how the past was forged, we arm ourselves to change the future. Join Neil to give an overview of a people's history of the world, compressed into an hour! Based on his new book published by Pluto Press.
Click here for more info
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Friday, 16 November 2018

Survey on Patient Transport reveals poor and unfair assessment process for Disabled and older people

Quote from Royal Free Hospital patient: Desperate, Anxious, humiliated - the questioning was aggressive. We need fairer Patient Transport eligibility criteria, that does not exclude Disabled and older people who desperately need it! Transport for All #PatientTransportforus
Survey on Patient Transport reveals poor and unfair assessment process for Disabled and older people
Dear Alan,
Over the past several months, Transport for All (TfA) have received an increasing number of calls to our Advice Line from Disabled and older people who were denied patient transport despite previously being eligible.

In August 2018 we carried out a survey to find out more about peoples’ experiences of trying to access patient transport services. Through this we have gathered a number of case studies that demonstrate how unfair patient transport eligibility criteria affected peoples’ lives and mental and physical wellbeing.

The majority of those found ineligible felt that their health or personal safety was put at risk by having to make their own way to hospital. For some it was impossible to make their own way to their appointments, leading to cancelled or missed appointments.

  • “A two and a half hour journey (each way), vomiting due to my chronic condition, exhaustion, increased anxiety” – Royal Free Hospital patient
  • “I fall often when in unfamiliar environments. I also suffer from a choking disorder and confusion especially when under stress... For me the journey to the hospital is a huge undertaking and a very frightening prospect” – Chase Farm Hospital patient
  • “I cancelled all of my hospital appointments as no one seems to care” – Homerton University Hospital patient
Our demands:
We believe that everyone with a legitimate medical need should have access to patient transport services.
Clearly this is not happening in every case at the moment.
We are therefore demanding that the Department of Health and Social Care update and improve their guidance on patient transport eligibility criteria so that it doesn’t put Disabled and older patients’ health at risk. It is clear that the current guidance is not good enough.
We are also calling for hospitals and NHS Trusts to make immediate changes to the way that they assess people for transport.
Click here to read our article and find out more about our demands
Get involved in the campaign
We need your support to spread the word about our concerns about eligibility for patient transport and there is lots you can do to help:
  • Tell us your story: We want to hear about your experiences accessing patient transport services. Please send them to joshua@transportforall.org.uk
  • Challenge your case: If you have recently been denied patient transport, especially if you were previously eligible, contact our Advice Line for help and support to appeal the decision
  • Use the hashtag #PatientTransportForUs on Twitter to spread the message
  • Become a member of Transport for All or donate today.

Best wishes,

Josh Lang
Campaigns and Outreach Officer

Monday, 12 November 2018

Telling the Mayflower Story: Thanksgiving or Land Grabbing, Massacres & Slavery?















Book launch
Telling the Mayflower Story: Thanksgiving or Land Grabbing, Massacres & Slavery?

Friday 30th November at 5:30pm
Launch of a Socialist History Society Publication

UCL Institute of the Americas
51 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PN
admission free, but registration is required…
Authors:
Danny Reilly & Steve Cushion
Chair:
Colin Prescod Chair of the Institute of Race Relations

In the autumn of 1620 the ship Mayflower, with 102 passengers, landed in North America and started the colonisation of the area that became known as New England. The Mayflower had landed in a region where the Sachem of the local Wampanoag Nation was Massasoit, who subsequently helped them survive. In the autumn of 1676, following the defeat of a war of rebellion led by Massasoit’s son Metacomet (King Philip), the ship Seaflower set sail from New England with a ‘cargo’ of Indigenous American slaves bound for the English Caribbean colonies.

The creation of the New England colonies by thousands of English colonists in the seventeenth century involved the rapid decline in the indigenous population, the violent seizure of territory and slavery. However, the 400-year anniversary commemorations in the UK seem to be overlooking this.

The Mayflower journey was part of Early English Colonialism:
• The invasions of Virginia, New England and the Caribbean were accompanied by land seizure wars against the Indigenous peoples of North America
• The economic success of New England depended on trade with the slave colonies of the Caribbean, and included the trafficking of slaves
• The colonists established a pattern of ‘extravagant’ violence in the wars they conducted against Indigenous Nations that was continued for 300 years
• The establishment of a tradition of sanitizing the story of English colonialism in the Americas that has lasted 400 years.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Why Universal Credit Should Become a Core Trade Union Issue





Why Universal Credit Should Become a Core Trade Union Issue


A briefing on Universal Credit, prepared by Waltham Forest Stand Up for your Rights, who have called for a protest against Universal Credit on December 1st, 11am at Chingford Mount [E4 9AA] in the constituency of Ian Duncan Smith, the author of the scheme.
Who in the Future will be Affected by Universal Credit (UC)?
1. To date, of the 1 million households now on UC, the vast majority (except in local pilot areas), have been the unemployed. However that is about to change. From now on across the country all new or updated benefit claims (with a few exceptions) including those in work who receive Tax Credits have to be made through UC.
2. DWP also plans to force everyone on benefits (including those on Working and Child Tax Credits) to claim UC even if there has been no change in their circumstances. DWP has refused to initiate transfers of Tax Credit claims on to a UC regime. Instead people have to initiate UC applications, a fraught and costly process. Testing forced transfers, called ‘managed migration’ by DWP, is due to start for some Tax Credit recipients in July 2019.
3. Nationally, DWP’s plans mean 3 in 4 of the planned total of 7 million families on UC, would be in work. So of the estimated 16 million people nationally in families receiving UC, around 12 million would be in working families.
Background
4. This note outlines the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) plans on UC as at early November 2018. These plans have changed many times. DWP has said they may change again if more problems with UC come to light.
5. UC has been criticised by welfare and other advice agencies after cases of severe hardship came to light and a series of analyses on the impact of UC especially after funding was cut. Arguably UC has become so discredited that what its future should be and indeed whether it should have a future is a matter for serious political debate.
Why have People found the UC Application Process so Fraught?
6. Firstly the forms are very lengthy – running to tens of pages. Secondly DWP want people to fill them in online. Even experienced advisers find the process; setting up accounts, locating and scanning in all the documents which DWP require to ‘verify’ a UC claim, often takes many hours, not counting verification visits to DWP offices.
7. DWP’s own research found barely half could complete the process without help. One in 4 claimants were not able to claim at all without help. Many have found applying for UC more difficult than applying for Tax Credits.
The UC application process is most intimidating and unsuitable for those with poor language, writing or IT skills.
The process especially frightens those with mental health problems eg anxiety, as DWP’s own research shows.
8. Thirdly the risks, if things go wrong, have been largely put on to the applicant. Imposing on applicants financial penalties arising from the complex UC application process, is unreasonable given the widely known problems people have faced in completing UC applications to DWP’s satisfaction. Government November 2018 changes have reduced, but not removed, risks imposed on people when those on Tax Credits are forced to apply for UC.
9. If people do not successfully apply within 1 month of a DWP deadline they risk losing ‘Transitional Protection’ which protects, for a while, their money if UC pays less than they get with Tax Credits. Further DWP only allow UC claims to be backdated by one month – less than the 3 months allowed for backdating of some benefit claims.
Do Tax Credit Recipients lose Money?
10. First of all, UC claimants face gaps in payment imposed by DWP in two stages. The UC system builds in a gap in payments, reduced in the 2018 Budget to a minimum of 3 weeks, after applying for UC. On top of that gap 1 in 5 claimants have faced on average a 4 week delay by DWP (ie on top of the 3 week gap) in receiving some or all of their money. DWP do not expect the % facing additional delays in some UC payment to be reduced during 2018.
11. Indeed there may well a big rise in the current UC claim processing delays by DWP under the strain of a six-fold increase in the rate of new UC claims planned by DWP for 2020 plus the more complicated circumstances of future UC claims with working income and child care costs, (unlike the mainly simpler unemployed cases so far).
12. Secondly amounts paid under UC differ from what working families get on Tax Credits. Some would get more money under UC. But overall working families face a net loss on average of about £250 a year on UC, after the 2018 Budget measures notably the higher work allowances. The Budget reduced, but did not end the losses.
13. UC losses are bigger for (mainly female) single parents, and disabled people loss of Severe Disability Premium.
UC hits women more. The combined impact of tax and benefit changes hits women 7 times as severely as men.
14. UC’s Minimum Income Floor has adverse impacts for many self-employed people eg taxi drivers, often BME.
15. Tax and benefit measures in the 2018 Budget only partially offset the overall losses since Summer 2015 from for instance the benefit freeze. Overall tax and benefit changes reduce income just for the lower income groups.
Does UC Contribute to a More Hostile Environment for Workers?
16. As well as financial losses, UC can intrude into peoples’ lives. Under the UC regime, workers can be pressed by DWP to job search to increase hours or earnings. This is worse for some eg single parents with child care duties.
17. For the first time workers are now at risk of ‘sanctions’ – loss of benefit. UK has the 2nd most demanding set of ‘benefit conditionality’ terms out of 39 countries. Under UC sanctions are 4 times more frequent than pre-UC.
18. Insisting everyone has to apply for UC online is not user friendly, especially for those nervous of computers.
Is Universal Credit Actually Simpler?
19. One advantage claimed for UC is ‘simplification’ with 6 benefits rolled up into 1. The comparison is misleading: no one person ever receives all 6 benefits simultaneously. It is also partial: UC does not include some benefits.
The difficulty of making UC claims shows that any ‘simplification’ is not usually to the advantage of applicants.
20. Other aspects of ‘simplification’ may not help people. Paying UC as one payment may be convenient for DWP, but it means women will lose out when all money goes to one person, the higher earner, usually male. At the moment Child Tax Credit and the childcare element of Working Tax Credit typically go to the woman in a family.
Women with no direct access to money find it more difficult to leave when facing domestic abuse or violence.
Are there Other Benefits of UC?
21. DWP has claimed UC increases work incentives. That is so, but to a very limited extent. For the (1 in 3) people in work facing the highest effective tax rates they are cut from slightly over 90% to 85% with UC. The evidence is such incentives have little effect. Using sanctions implicitly admits that the work incentives are not effective.
22. DWP has argued that benefit take-up will rise under UC. But the user–unfriendly nature of UC, its toxic reputation and what an official report calls DWP’s ‘culture of indifference’, reduce the chances of higher take-up.
23. The DWP says that UC will reduce fraud and error. The NAO report refers to ‘a lack of evidence’ on this claim.
Conclusions
24. Government UC plans will increasingly affect people in work. Recent changes to UC have reduced the delays and the financial costs for workers, but not eliminated them. Reducing delays and more funding are not enough to make UC suitable. It is very user-unfriendly and intrudes oppressively into peoples’ lives. A harsh UC regime drives people into taking unsatisfactory work, putting downward pressure on work T&Cs – a core union concern.
25. There is a very strong case for Trade Unions to call on political parties to back ‘Stop and Scrap UC’ and, so long as UC continues, urging councils to minimise the impacts. Some Boroughs have set up information, advice and advocacy services eg Tower Hamlets, and others have committed to not evict tenants in arrears as a result of UC.
26. Pushing more people on to UC should be immediately halted, whilst a fundamental review considers the options.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

We work hard to care for service users, where’s the care for us?















I’m writing to you today because my workmates and I are about to have our pay cut.
My name’s Tracey and I’m a care worker. I regularly spend nights away from my family caring for those in need. It’s a job I love, but it’s certainly not easy.
Care provider AFG has decided to cut our pay, meaning we will earn below the minimum wage on sleep-in shifts. This will leave me and my workmates struggling to make ends meet.
This cut will amount to a loss of up to £90 per week for care workers. Over a year we could stand to lose up to £4500.
With the support of our union, Unison, we’ve started this petition demanding that AFG reverse this pay cut. Already, more than 1,500 people have signed our petition.
We want to show AFG that union members and the community support care workers earning a fair wage. We can’t do this without your support.
Morale is at rock bottom, we are all such good workers but the company has shown no loyalty to us. We used to put 110% in. Now we feel worthless.
We work hard to care for service users, where’s the care for us?
Kind regards,
Tracey
Care Workers for Change
P.S. Once you've signed the petition, can you share it with your friends and family? Here's the link: https://campaign.goingtowork.org.uk/petitions/care-at-night-pay-us-right

Thursday, 1 November 2018

NATIONAL UNITY DEMONSTRATION AGAINST FASCISM AND RACISM SAT 17 NOV

anti tommy robinson
NATIONAL UNITY DEMONSTRATION AGAINST FASCISM AND RACISM
SAT 17 NOV | 12.00
LONDON
Facebook Event » 

We are experiencing the biggest rise in support for fascism, the far right, racism, Islamophobia and Antisemitism since the 1930s. In Britain fascists and racists are mobilising on a scale not seen for decades. We must unite against this threat. A range of national figures are supporting this national demonstration. We will shortly update with more details.
The demonstration is initiated by Stand Up To Racism, co-sponsored by Unite Against Fascism and LoveMusic HateRacism, and supported by Diane Abbott MP and John McDonnell MP amongst others. More details will follow.