#SavetheWhittington update – 24 April, Day of Action in #Islington

April 20, 2013

The Day of Action is almost upon us. We are hoping that EVERYONE feels that they can do something to stop these awful cuts. If you are at work you could go to your surgery or local school before you have to leave for work and wear your mask and tell people about the dreadful cuts at our local hospital and the effect that privatisation is having on the NHS – ie cuts across the country and the selling off of our NHS.

You can take cards and tell people about about the all London demo on 18th May, which links up action across the various London Hospitals. We are far stronger if we join together.

Please let us know what you will be doing and where.

You can get cards and masks from the Whittington Community Centre in Yerbury Road. Or email, defendwhittington@gmail.com

These are the activities we know about:

  • 8.15 Goodinge Health Centre
  • Something at St Johns Way Surgery
  • Protests at Hungerford School NUT and GMB, Highbury Grove School and Islington Sixth Form Centre
  • Protest at Highbury Grove School
  • 12.?? Sing 4 the Whitt to rally and after rally
  • 1.00 London Metropolitan University , outside Tower Building in Holloway Road

1.00 Rally outside Whittington Hospital
Speakers: Dot Gibson, National Pensioners Forum, Emily Thornberry MP, Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party, Catherine West, Leader of Islington Council, Frank Wood, UNITE and Kings College Hospital, George Binette, Camden Unison.Trades Council, Denis Doherty, Islington NUT, Jan Pollock, DWHC

Hopefully we will be able to sing against the sell-off from the wonderful songsheets attached
Then we will be lobbying the Board, telling them through songs what we think of the sell-off plans!

Do come and have your say at to our Planning Meeting on Monday at 7.00pm at Archway Methodist Hall.

Leafleting for 24th
We need to get the news out. Please help us.
There will be leafleting at Nags Head from 12 today, and at Highbury & Islington tube on Wednesday 11-12, or you can collect leaflets from Whittington Park Community Centre, Yerbury Road and organise your own sessions.

Looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday and/or hearing about what you will be doing then.

Shirley Franklin
Chair
Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition
http://www.dwhc.org.uk <http://www.dwhc.org.uk>

@dwhcoalition
#SaveTheWhittington

Facebook Pages
Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/243554475615/

Stop the Sell-off Event page https://www.facebook.com/events/351416744979805/

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IHOOPS calls on #Islington Council to work with community to avoid #bedroomtax evictions

April 18, 2013

IHOOPS have had extensive consultation with Islington Council to seek to produce a statement on bedroom tax evictions. Following consultation, IHOOPS has produced a statement below.

IHOOPS welcomes the promise made by Cllr Richard Greening at a meeting of Islington tenants, campaigners and trade unionists on 19 March that the council will do all in its power to avoid evicting council tenants who fall foul of the government’s bedroom tax, and the commitment by Islington Council Executive Member for Housing and Development, James Murray, that the Council will not evict people who “have no option to move and their arrears are entirely due to the bedroom tax”. This progressive stance should assist those trying to gain better policies in other councils.

We recognise the difficult position Islington Council has been put in by the imposition of this iniquitous bedroom tax by the Tory and Lib-Dem Coalition government

We call on the Council not to evict tenants who have got in to arrears with their rent due to the bedroom tax and look forward to it working with the local community to avoid such evictions.

In particular, IHOOPS urges the Council transparently to assess reasonable requests to alter the recorded number of bedrooms

We are pleased that Islington Council is keen to unite with all of us – tenants, trade unionists, community groups, anti-cuts and disability campaigners and ordinary local people concerned about social justice – who are determined to stop the Coalition government from cutting our public services, taking away our jobs, stealing our benefits and, now, kicking the poorest out of our homes to pay for a crisis caused by their billionaire friends in the City and the boardrooms.

The Council estimates that 3,000 households in Islington could lose housing benefit and get into rent arrears as a result of the bedroom tax which will come in on 1st April. Around 2000 of these households will be council tenants and 1000 will be housing association tenants.

We welcome the Council’s commitment to do all it can to protect the interests of all of Islington’s residents and should encourage all other social and private landlords in the borough to do the same.

The Coalition Government claim the policy will free up much needed larger properties in the social housing sector. It will not do this as there are simply not enough smaller properties to go around and so people will be stuck in larger properties without the means to pay the full rent. And the truth is that the current housing crisis in London does not result from under occupation of social housing, the problem is years of sell offs of social housing and failure to build replacements. The removal of rent controls has made the situation much worse.

The bedroom tax policy is a potential disaster for thousands of local residents. And at an average cost of around £11,000 per eviction we know that the council shares our view that it doesn’t make sense at even the most basic economic level.

The decision of Dundee Council to do all it can to mitigate the effect of the tax on tenants is a welcome sign of opposition to the Coalition government’s attacks on the welfare state, which we need to step up the campaign for around the rest of the country.

IHOOPS believes that now is the time to stand up to this nasty but weak and increasingly unpopular Tory and Lib-Dem Coalition government. We believe that all those opposed to the government’s attacks on the welfare state should unite to do their best to ensure that not a single Islington household loses their home as a result of this vindictive ‘tax’.

IHOOPS, as an independent organisation, will continue to oppose all evictions related to the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts.


#Savethewhittington – Day of Action, 24 April

April 16, 2013
  • Stop a serious hospital beds crisis
  • Rally at the Hospital at 1.00 and then the Board Meeting at 2pm
  • Mobilise for Defend London’s NHS demonstration on Saturday, 18 May
  • Tell DWHC what your doing.

Make a spectacle!

Get friends, neighbours and colleagues to wear a cat mask for the Whittington. At Whittington Park Community Centre, Yerbury Road. you can find masks, leaflets explaining the Day of Action, cards for the 18 May demo and posters for shops, schools and GP surgeries. For information about the mask, singing and other activity contact, defendwhittington@googlemail.com

Where you can protest for 24 April

  • Your local surgery: find other patients, stand outside the surgery and tell them about the sell-off and 18th May
  • Your workplace:     protest with colleagues, or your trade union branch/group in your tea/lunch break
  • Your school/college: stand outside your school/college and leaflet other students about what is happening at their local hospitals – before school, at break/lunch, after school

Hospital Rally

You can join our ‘Sing to save the Whitt – see attached for more information, rehearsal times, songsheets, etc. Email, defendwhittington@googlemail.com

Please Help us Build for the Day of Action

Spread the word – through Facebook, tweeting and leafleting.

Leafletting

  • Wednesday 17 April 8-9am – Whittington Hospital (main entrance)
  • Thursday 18th April 5-6pm – Tufnell Park tube
  • Friday 19th April 7-9am – Finsbury Park tube (Wells Terrace entrance)
  • Friday 19th April 5.30-6.30pm – Finsbury Park tube (Wells Terrace entrance)
  • Wednesday 24th April 11-12noon – Highbury & Islington tube

We are aiming to leaflet local schools and colleges, surgeries, tube stations, the Hospital (in our masks!). Please let us know when and where you can help.

Planning meeting

Please get involved in our activities through our next Planning Meeting:

7.00 Monday 22nd April  Archway Methodist Hall, Archway Close

Shirley Franklin

Chair

Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition

http://www.dwhc.org.uk <http://www.dwhc.org.uk/&gt;

@dwhcoalition

#SaveTheWhittington

Facebook Pages

Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/243554475615/

Stop the Sell-off Event page https://www.facebook.com/events/351416744979805/

Please sign the petition to stop the Whittington Hospital Sell-off!

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-sell-off-and-cuts-at-the-whittington-hospital/sign.html


IHOOPS Meeting Notes, 2 April 2013

April 9, 2013

Venue: #Islington Town Hall

1. Bedroom Tax
IHOOPS is looking for volunteers to help organize public meetings about the bedroom tax and venues.

Following a successful meeting on the bedroom tax in Canonbury on 19 March, IHOOPS agreed to hold two further campaigning meetings. One meeting will be in the north of Islington, possibly on the Andover Estate, Seven Sisters Road and another in the south likely to be in the St Luke’s Estate. IHOOPS decided it was important to hold meeting with people affected by the tax.

2. Haringey Benefit Cut Demonstrations – Sat 13 April
11:00, Tottenham Town Hall (near Seven Sisters Road)

1000 Mothers March for Justice against benefit cuts is organized by a group of north London. IHOOPS plan to demonstrate with the banner. IHOOPS supported the march’s call to cap rents not benefits, to axe the bedroom tax, no evictions and to provide affordable homes for all.

3. Evict a Millionaire Protest, 13 April
Organised by UK Uncut, protesters gather at Kings Cross at 11:30 and travel to the protest site. Details, http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/actions/1007

4. Ian Duncan Smith Petition
IHOOPS is calling on people to sign and circulate the petition calling on Ian Duncan Smith to live on £53 a week. The government’s Welfare Secretary claimed he could on a BBC programme. 400,000 people have already signed. The strength of support for this petition shows how much opposition exists to these vicious attacks on the poorest.

Sign the petition, https://t.co/271rgcyHv2

5. Next IHOOPS meeting
19:30, Tuesday 16 April (Please note this is a slightly later start than usual)


#SavetheWhittington Update

April 4, 2013

Just before the Easter break angry Whittington community members again asked the Board to stop the sell-off and told them what they think of their horrible plans. This was a tuneful and vociferous protest, and delayed Board procedings for an hour. Yet again the Board refused to respond to our question of whether they will halt the sell-off.

Even Health Minister Jeremy Hunt is saying that Hospital Boards should not make too many cuts in their plans to get Foundation Trust status. He also said they should consult with patients. Our Board has not consulted, only informed.

It is Hunt’s Government’s legislation that has created the need for Foundation Trust status – to make the Hospital into a business unit that can be privatised. This, together with the underfunding of the NHS, has caused the Board to propose these disgusting sell-off plans. We still ask them to join us and not to make the cuts, not to sell off our hospital land, jobs and beds.

What’s next?
We hope you will ALL join us on our Day of Action on Wednesday 24th April to protest against the Sell-off and to encourage people to come to the all London Hospitals Demonstration on 18th May. Please encourage your unions and colleagues to join you in a lunch/break time protest at your workplaces, schools, GP surgeries, health centres, libraries (cat mask and cards attached), and distribute the cards for 18th May. Please let us know when and where you will be doing this and send your photos to this email address. We hope to leave Stop the Sell off placards at the Whittington Community Centre for you to collect a few days before the 24th.

 

Leaflets for Day of Action From 9.30am tomorrow Friday 5th April you can find leaflets to distribute for the Day of Action, cat masks and cards for the 18th May demonstration at the reception at Whittington Park Community Centre, Yerbury Road, N19 during office hours – access to reception can also be gained via the cafe (entrance to toilets) on Saturdays.

We will also be holding a Rally at 1.00 outside the Hospital and then Mass-lobby of the Board at the Board Meeting at 2pm. It would be great if you could join us! Again bedecked in cat mask, etc!!!

Planning Meeting
Do join us at our planning meeting at 7.00 pm this Monday 8th April, at Archway Methodist Hall.

 

Shirley Franklin

Chair

Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition

http://www.dwhc.org.uk

@dwhcoalition

#SaveTheWhittington

Please sign the petition to stop the Whittington Hospital Sell-off!

http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/stop-the-sell-off-and-cuts-at-the-whittington-hospital/sign.html


#Islington meeting wants no #bedroomtax evictions

April 2, 2013

IHOOPS is calling on Islington Council to clarify any confusion about its eviction policies concerning the bedroom tax.

A 70-strong meeting agreed the call at the Walter Sickert Community Centre in Canonbury Crescent on Tuesday 19 March.

IHOOPS invited the public and community activists to debate how to resist the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition’s cap on housing benefits due to come in April.

PIC IHOOPs, Housing Meeting, 13-03-19

Local campaigner speaks up at bedroom tax meeting

The call followed Labour’s Deputy Leader of Islington Council Richard Greening’s attack on the tax and promise not to evict anyone without an alternative home.

Eviction policy

Yet, the meeting demanded to know whether the Council would evict anyone who refused the alternative.

An audience member said to Cllr Greening: “They’re asking people to move out of their homes when fat cats have dozens of rooms. I say to the council, we want to fight to defend our welfare state and if you want to stand with us, you’ve got to say you won’t implement the cuts. You’ve got to put your money where your mouth is and say no evictions.”

In response Cllr Greening said that the Council had to balance support for people in need with the need to raise money for vital services. He said: “You are absolutely correct to demand no evictions, we understand that, but we also have to find money to keep public services running. I’m not going to give you the answer you want. But I’m going to say that we’re with you in campaigning against this tax.”

PIC IHOOPS, Housing meeting1, 13-03-19

Cllr Greening: Council needs rent money to fund services

Chair of Islington Trades Council and IHOOPS member Gary Heather warned against in fighting between people opposed to the cuts.

He said: “Richard Greening was invited by IHOOPS because IHOOPS wants to work with the Council. I think Richard was being honest when he said he doesn’t want to evict anyone. We mustn’t fall out with a council that is building council housing that is not implementing market rents. It would be a big mistake if IHOOPS led a movement that wasn’t going to work with the Council.”

IHOOPS’ secretary and chair of the meeting, Suzanne Jeffery, said the public could discuss this and other ways to resist the bedroom tax at the next IHOOPS meeting on 2 April at Islington Town Hall.

The meeting supported:

  • creating a petition demanding no evictions,
  • backing the defend London’s NHS demon on Saturday 18 May,
  • opposing evicting people out of London and
  • supporting a ‘mothers’ anti welfare cuts protest in Tottenham at Tottenham Town Hall, 11:00, 13 April.

PIC IHOOPs, Housing Meeting, handsup, 13-03-19

Meeting supports call for clarity on eviction policy

Council support for vulnerable tenants

In his talk, Cllr Greening also said that the Council supported replacing willing tenants in under-occupied homes with households experiencing over-occupation.

He stated that the Council can make funds available to households facing difficulty due to the bedroom and it supports advice to tenants such as financing a new Citizens Advice Bureau in Islington. He warned that this Council’s funds would run out.

He said the solution to the tax was that the Tories should face a new general election because of a split with the Lib Dems.

He said: “We have to reduce the Liberal Democrats to a cinder and they should stop supporting the most right-wing government in my lifetime.”

Fair private sector rent

The meeting heard that the lack of social house building over 30 years resulted in serious shortages and that the Tory abolition of fair rent tribunals, allowed rents to escalate. The Con-Dem Government solution is to rob from the poor and not to cap the super profits of the landlords.

Islington MP, Jeremy Corbyn told the audience that the principle of a welfare state needs to be defended and people need to go on London-wide demonstration on the bedroom tax.

He said: “We have hundreds of families threatened with removal from this borough. I am meeting people all the time where they have been asked to pay £1500 a week from their benefits. That’s before the cap of £500 pounds a week. The worst case I’ve come across is an ex-council flat where someone is charging and getting £600 a week where the council flat next door is £100 a week. It’s disgusting which is why I have introduced a private members legislation to control rent levels in London. It’s high time we had a fair rent policy in the private sector. IF we don’t, we get social cleansing in central London as a start.”

Pilgrim Tucker of Unite’s north London Community branch spoke about her union’s efforts to organise those not in employment particularly to campaign against welfare and job cuts.

The PCS speaker Tony Reay described the cuts as revenge for the gains of the working class over many years. He wanted to see benefits workers claimants talking and united in the struggle against the Government. This call for unity was repeated by many in the audience.

Eileen Short from Defend Council Housing said giving advice was not enough. She said campaigns should unite, campaign against evictions by private landlords, publish a proper council budget, and that communities and councils should protest, occupy offices and show that the tax is unworkable. She said: “I don’t know why councils are not marching on Whitehall.”

Disabled people facing onslaught

Tracey Lazard from Inclusion London talked about inequality faced by disabled people that will be made worse by the bedroom tax. She said: “WE are facing an onslaught of attacks. Disabled people face systematic discrimination but it’s getting worse. Everything that disabled people and their allies have fought for over the last 30 years is at risk. If the government gets their way disabled people will be shut away in their own homes or in residential care.”

She pointed out that:

  • disabled people are 5 percent of pop but are baring 29 percent of the cuts,
  • disabled people set to lose £9bn in benefits,
  • 73 disabled people declared are fit for work die a week,
  • 420,000 disabled couples will lose benefit because they cannot share a bedroom,
  • by 2018 607,000 disabled people would have lost disability living allowance,
  • by 2018 there will be a 50 percent cut in social care funding for disabled people and
  • scrounger rhetoric has led to increases in disability hate crime.

Tracey said that disabled people were fighting back and the campaign against ATOS has been working. There are legal challenges to the government over its consultation on disability living allowance and against Barnet Council’s privatization programme.

She went on say: “I might be naïve but I think we can win this. I think a majority of people do not want to punish the poor to give more money to the 1 percent.”

Eileen Short of Defend Council Housing suggested some courses of action, including publicising the discretionary budget so that it is claimed and seen to be too small, and campaigning for landlords, other than councils, not to evict. Other options of protest were also discussed.

Suzanne Jeffrey said last weekend there were anti-bedroom tax marches around the country including 900 in Liverpool, 500 in Manchester, 250 in Norwich, 250 in Durham, and 200 in Newcastle.