Monday 31 August 2015

URGENT: Act to save Cricklewood's last green open space from Barnet Council's land grab

Cricklewood Open Space (Thomas Bell Photographs)

This is what Barnet Council says to justify the selling off of Cricklewood's last green space:

The subject plot fronting B&Q, on Cricklewood Lane is currently an open space primarily used as a disabled access ramp to the B&Q store. It is regularly fly-tipped and attracts rough sleepers among other social issues such as alcohol and substance misuse. The proximity to local businesses means on-going disturbance to businesses, environmental degradation, and Health & Safety concerns resulting from substance/alcohol misuse and excessive littering. Retention of the site in its existing condition would not only allow these problems to continue, but also drain the Council’s resources in terms of on-going management costs.
Campaigners and residents from Barnet and Council came together in November 2013  to protest at the possible disposal of the green space outside B&Q in Cricklewood and are organising again as a planning application to build on it goes before Barnet Council on September 7th.

November 2013
The Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Development sent this message over the weekend:

Barnet  Councilare meeting on September 7th to discuss the sale of Cricklewood’s only green space, outside B&Q. It was given as public open space in 1987 when the retail park was built. Crown Estates sold it to Barnet in 2004 with a stipulation it would not be built on.  Barnet have managed to remove this requirement, and are selling public land with no public consultation.

All the known Cricklewood Green Space material is now on the BX Coalition website  LINK - scroll down for the last few postings there:

Actions you can take
-          Tweet @Barnetcouncil using #CricklewoodGreen
-          Sign the petition if you haven’t before and ask your neighbours to sign LINK
-          Write to the papers
-          Write to the committee about the sale of public land without consultation,
-          Join us in a protest outside the meeting on September 7th (check blog)
-          Keep checking the blog and Twitter @BXcoalition

From the Coalition for a Sustainable Brent Cross Development
Our co-ordinator  Alison is on holiday, please contact

Sunday 30 August 2015

Fruitful Fryent earlier today

A cascade of hawthorn berries

A stroll in Fryent Country Park earlier today revealed what appeared to be a bumper crop of fruits. Such abundnace used to be seen as a sign of a harsh winter ahead.  Some of the fruit bushges and trees are in the ancient hedgerows of the park, some in the Orchard at Bush Farm and some were planted by the Barn Hill Conservation Group.

I have posted a photo gallery of images below. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Brent Conservatives: 'Curioser and curioser'

Committee allocation

'Curioser and Curioser' may well be Alice in Wonderland's reaction to the situation of Conservative councillors in Brent. To recap, there are two groups of Brent Conservatives" The 'Conservative Group' of Kenton councillors led by Cllr Kansargra and the 'Brent Conservative Group' led by Cllr Warren. There are three members in each.

The two groups tussled for recognition by the Labour Group which resulted in mutual recrimination and Warren characterising the Kenton members as Labour dupes.

Now an Officer's Report LINK going to Full Council on September 7th reveals that Brent Conservative Group are not taking up their positions on the Audit Committee, Standards Committee and Corporate Parenting Committee.
Following the last meeting of Full Council, the Head of Executive and Member Services notified the Leader of the Brent Conservative Group, in writing, of the opportunity to nominate a Member of the Group to the remaining seats the Group had been allocated by 15 July 2015.

In response, the Group leader expressed two wishes: “1. Not to appoint from my group to our allocated committees, 2. To appoint from outside my group.” 

Having been advised that only members of the Brent Conservative Group can be nominated, the Group further expressed the wish that, apart from the Alcohol and Entertainment Licensing Committee, the seats on the committees remain vacant.
One might think that given this stance the seats could be offered to the Conservative Group or the lone Liberal Democrat councillor but the officer's report states:
According to the 1990 Regulations, if a political group has failed to express its wishes in relation to the appointment of a committee seat within a period of three weeks, “the authority......may make such appointment to that seat as they think fit.”
Full Council’s default power is therefore discretionary: the outstanding appointments “may” be made but there is no requirement to do so. Further, the power to appoint has to be interpreted in its statutory context and, in particular, the requirement for political balance. Members are advised that where a political group has been allocated a seat on a committee, Full Council can exercise its power of appointment to that seat only by appointing a member of the political group in question. Accordingly, only a Member of the Brent Conservative Group may be appointed to the seat allocated to it on the Audit, Standards and Corporate Parenting Committees.
With Brent an almost de facto 'one party' council it appears to be an abdication of responsibility for the Brent Conservative Group (as much as I disagree with their policies) to refuse to take up positions on the committees. This is particularly so in relation to Audit and Standards where there are current concerns relating to the conduct of officers and members in the Cara Davani case (subject of a Brent Conservative Group motion at Full Council LINK). Corporate Parenting LINK is of crucial importance as it oversees the Council's responsibilities for the well-being of children in its care and those leaving care.

The report also puts forward the possibility of the appointment of Cllr Dr Helen Carr  (Lib Dem) to the Health and Well-being Board subject to approval of a constitutional amendment tabled at the same meeting.

Saturday 29 August 2015

'Global visionary' Narendra Modi likely to face demonstrations at Wembley Stadium extravaganza in November

When Brent North MP, Barry Gardiner, invited Narendra Modi of the BJP to the House of Commons in 2013 there were chaotic scenes LINK outside the Brent Civic Centre where Gardiner was holding his surgery. Gardiner was Chair of Labour Friends of India at the time. The visit did not take place.

Members of the South Asia Solidarity Group  were protesting over allegations that Modi was implicated in the Gujerat riots of 2002.

Now Prime Minister Modi is due to visit not the House of Commons but Wembley Stadium. Asian Lite Com reports: 
The Europe India Forum (EIF) said it will be hosting a reception in honour of Prime Minister Modi at Wembley Stadium on 13 November.

Over 70,000 people are expected to attend this special invitation only “Olympic style” event. It will be the largest reception any foreign head of government has ever received in the UK.
The BBC is currently running an 'India Season' with the Indian economy expected to overtake that of China in the near future. UK-India relations are at the top of the political agenda.

The EIF indulges in laudatory purple prose as it describes Narendra Modi's appearance at Wembley LINK:
With the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, due to visit the United Kingdom later this year, the largest Indian diaspora in the world is eagerly waiting in anticipation to deliver the loudest, greatest and most vibrant welcome he has seen outside of India. UKWelcomesModi will bring together individuals from the 1.6 million-strong Indian community in Britain- from all backgrounds, generations and regions – to celebrate two great nations with one glorious future. It is the Diwali event for the family this year- with a cultural showcase featuring the best of Indian and British talent; a landmark speech to be delivered by Prime Minister Modi and a grand finale featuring the biggest fireworks display in the whole country. 

UKWelcomesModi pays tribute to the deep ties between India and the UK, highlighting the formidable contribution made by members of the Indian diaspora in all walks of British life. Prime Minister Modi’s already iconic leadership has made waves across the world.

UKWelcomesModi is honoured to host this new global visionary who will give us a glimpse of India in years to come as it forges new paradigm of growth and success for not just Asia, but the rest of the world too. Organised by the Europe India Forum and in partnership with Indian cultural and community organisations across the country, the event is set to be the highlight of 2015. The Europe India Forum is a not for profit organisation promoting Europe-India relations for communities, by communities.
However Modi remains a controversial figure. South Asia Solidarity wrote on their website earlier this month: LINK
In the run up to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK, four of the UK’s foremost Dalit organisations have written to Narendra Modi, expressing their dismay about the recent revelations by investigative news portal Cobrapost. Their letter notes that senior BJP politicians were involved in the massacres of some 144 Dalit men, women and children in Bihar and that Mr Modi has so far neither spoken out against  the self-confessed killers and their accomplices nor taken any action against them.
Spokespersons from the organisations urge Mr Modi to act because his lack of action on this issue gives the shocking  message that Dalit and oppressed caste lives do not matter in India’ . They urge him to act urgently to ensure that the self-confessed killers are brought to justice and that all the politicians, including senior BJP politicians, are dismissed from their posts, arrested and charged.
Asked if there would be demonstrations against Modi's visit to the UK  Amrit Wilson of South Asia Solidarity said:
We have not forgotten the Gujarat genocide, the Dalit massacres or the attacks on women. Every week, there are new cases of rape and murder with Modi's party and its associated Hindu supremacist organisations clearly implicated. But Modi is silent. He is coming to the UK to arrange the sale of even more of India's resources to British corporates. So yes, we will protest and we hope British anti-fascists will join us, because this is  fascism

Support US school hunger strike fighting for high quality public education for African American children

(Photo: Sarah Jane Rhee)

In the 1980s I spent some time in the US visiting schools as part of my study towards an MA in Urban Education. I made contact with the organisation Rethinking Schools which is an alliance of teachers, parents and other educators pursuing social justice in education.  They combine trade union work with campaigns on the curriculum and testing.

The advance of neoliberalism in education and the undermining of public education by charter schools has put them on the frontline.

Today I received this call for support:

Rethinking Schools expresses solidarity with the 12 parents, grandparents, educators, and their supporters who are in the second week of a hunger strike for the Dyett High School of Global Leadership and Green Technology, an open enrolment public high school in Chicago’s historic African American Bronzeville neighborhood.

Our friends and colleagues with Chicago’s Teachers for Social Justice summarise the background of this struggle:
“In 2012 CPS voted to phase out Dyett after years of disinvestment and sabotage. It closed this last spring despite years of protest, organising, arrests, and pleas to the mayor-appointed Board of Education. Dyett was the LAST open enrolment public high school in Bronzeville, where gentrification is intense and charters proliferate. The plan for a revitalised Dyett (an academically rigorous, culturally relevant, community-grounded, critical, inquiry-based, social justice school focused on preparing young people to be community and global leaders and stewards of the earth) was developed through an intensive four-year process in collaboration with a coalition of community partners

“The fight for Dyett is the focal point of the racial justice, anti-neoliberal struggle to defend and transform public education in Chicago. It pits African American parents, students, teachers, and community residents and their Chicago Teachers Union and city-wide allies against Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his political and corporate allies. This is a critical battle. Twelve people are risking their health to fight for the right of African American children to have a high quality public education in 2015.”
Visit the Teachers for Social Justice website for updates and images.

Express your solidarity and help give this struggle as much visibility as possible. Teachers for Social Justice recommends:

Please use your web pages, organizational ties, media connections, and creativity to:
  • Post solidarity messages to the hunger strikers on Facebook: Dyett High School of Global Leadership and Green Technology
  • Tweet about the hunger strike using #fightfordyett #wearedyett
  • Advocate for media coverage, op-eds, send to bloggers for posting, etc.
  • Use your webpages and education contacts, coalitions to organize solidarity actions/messages, etc.
  • Call/fax/send letters to:
    Alderman Will Burns
    435 East 35th Street
    Chicago, IL 60616
    Office: (773) 536-8103
    Fax: (773) 536-7296

Friday 28 August 2015

Comments invited on Old Oak-Park Royal Regeneration community involvement proposals

The OPDC boundaries

This is a message I have received from Old Oak and Park Royal Development  Corporation (OPDC). 

 Dear All,

Please find attached the first e-newsletter from OPDC – this will evolve over time and the aim is to keep local businesses, residents and groups up to date with latest information about Old Oak and Park Royal proposals as well as highlight opportunities to get involved in shaping the development. Please help us to make it useful and tell us what you would like to see featured.

Also, our draft Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) is now out for consultation along with our draft Community Charter. The SCI aims to set out how stakeholders will be involved in the planning process and the Community Charter sets out how OPDC’s commitment to community engagement in all aspects of the regeneration in Old Oak and Park Royal.

We would like your comments on these documents, please follow the link to find out how to get involved in the consultation on the draft Statement of Community Involvement and draft Community Charter.

Kind Regards,

Alex Day

Tory heartlessness: Deaths of claimants after being declared 'fit for work'

The statistical basis of this story has provoked discussion (see below)  but the real issue is the heartlessness of government policy.

Statement from DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts)

DWP has at last published the mortality statistics for the ESA group. It will take time to analyse them, but what they show is that the WCA is not fit for purpose.  2500 people have died after being found fit for work. Another 7,200 people died after being placed in the WRAG, the group for disabled people who can do ‘some work’, another 7540 died waiting to be assessed

But these figures do not tell the whole story. They ignore the suffering of disabled people who survived, being found fit for work but unable to claim JSA because they cannot meet the conditionality of the benefit. The suffering of 3000 disabled people sanctioned every month, and who cannot compensate for their loss of income, because they were found unfit to work, and they are.

The suffering and the humiliation of disabled people who have to prove their impairment/long term health issues over and over again to DWP staff who don’t believe them. The suffering of disabled people being portrayed as scroungers by the media. This suffering cannot be captured by statistics.
Under the last Labour government, the aim was to force 1 million disabled people out of benefits and into work. Almost 10 years later, the aim is the same, while in a meantime a Coalition minister recognised that people on disability benefits were ‘sicker’ than they thought.

And those in the middle group, who would expect before too long to be mandated to the Work Programme, have proved to be sicker and further from the workplace than we expected. So it will take far more time than we predicted for them to be ready to make a return to work

This has not changed. Some people will never get better and need long term support. To pretend that they can do ‘some work’ is disingenuous, as no employer is prepared to offer ‘some work’ to disabled people.

People died because of the welfare reforms, but others suffered and still suffer. Let’s not forget any of them

Thursday 27 August 2015

Truth or Cover Up? Brondesbury Park Conservatives table motion calling for independent inquiry into Clarke-Davani case

Brondesbury Park  Conservative ward councillors have tabled the following motion for the full Brent Council Meeting to be held on September 7th 2015:

This Council agrees to an independent inquiry into all aspects of the Rosemarie Clarke Employment Tribunal case.

This Council agrees that the inquiry shall commence at the conclusion of the Tribunal remedy hearing. We further agree that the inquiry costs shall be funded from reserves ,and that the new Chief Executive shall be charged with setting up the inquiry panel.

The new Chief Executive will have overall responsibility for setting the terms of reference, but this Council agrees that the following questions will be included in the terms of reference...........

1. What was the rationale behind the Council initially bringing disciplinary action against M/ s Clarke.... and was it fair and reasonable?

2.Why did the Council pursue this matter so vigorously through the Tribunal ......and was it fair and reasonable?

3. What part ,if any, did this case figure in the departure of Fiona Ledden from Brent?

4.What part, if any, did this case figure in the departure of Cara Davani from Brent?

5. What were the financial arrangements behind Ms Davani ‘s departure from Brent, including any Brent  indemnity given to Ms Davani in respect of Tribunal costs awarded against her personally?

6. What part, if any, did this case figure in the departure of Christine Gilbert from Brent?

7. What part did Cllr. Butt play in this case throughout its course?

8. What were the total costs in this case.......and was it a fair and reasonable way to spend Council taxpayer monies?

This Council believes this  is an important independent inquiry, and that both Brent Council staff and Brent residents would support such an inquiry

Cara Davani - will Brent's Full Council meeting be allowed to hear the "two questions", and get the answers?

A guest blog by Philip Grant.

The saga of my two questions to Brents interim Chief Executive, Christine Gilbert, over a probable pay off to Cara Davani, continues. See LINK for the back story. Despite my email reply on 13 August to the latest response from Brents Chief Legal Officer, on behalf of Ms Gilbert, I have heard nothing further from either of them. I had sent a short reminder to both officers on 20 August, including the following:

I am sure that you realise that there is no valid reason why Ms Gilbert should not answer the two questions I first put to her six weeks ago. Her continued reluctance to give those simple yes or no answers, and to explain the justification for any such pay off to Cara Davani if either or both of the answers is no, can only fuel speculation that she is trying to conceal some impropriety.

It would be unfair of Ms Gilbert to leave this matter unresolved, so that her successor, Carolyn Downs, has to pick up the pieces when she takes up the post of Brents Chief Executive on 7 September. It needs to be dealt with now.

If they thought that my two questions would go away if they simply ignored them, they were mistaken (although Ms Gilbert will be leaving Brent shortly, so perhaps she doesnt care that someone else will have to deal with the problem she has created). In the interests of transparency, here is the full text of an email which I sent to the Chief Legal Officer at around 7pm on Wednesday 26 August, headed 

Notice under Standing Order 39 - Deputation for Full Council meeting on 7 September 2015

Why did I send it so soon? A person wishing to make a Deputation to a Full Council meeting has to give written notice not less than 5 days before the date of the meeting. The date of the meeting is Monday 7 September (at 7pm), but the deadline for giving notices under Standing Order 39 is midday on Thursday 27 August. Under Brents rules, you can't count five days on the fingers of one hand!

Text of Full Council deputation email to Fiona Alderman on 26 August:

Dear Ms Alderman,

I am writing to give notice under Standing Order 39 that I wish to make a Deputation to Brent’s Full Council meeting on Monday 7 September 2015. Please acknowledge receipt of this notice, and let me know how many other such notices, if any, have been received within the time limit for that meeting.

The title of my Deputation is “The importance of high standards of conduct in carrying out the functions of Brent Council”, and a summary of its content is as follows:
·      A welcome to Brent’s new Chief Executive, Carolyn Downs, and reminder of the importance of that position in setting an example of the highest standards of conduct.
·      Expressing a feeling that conduct at senior levels in the Civic Centre may have slipped below the high standards expected in recent years.
·      Cite one recent example where proper accountability and openness does not appear to have been shown by Ms Down’s predecessor, namely serious concerns raised from 12 June 2015 onwards over a possible “pay off” to the former Director of HR, which have not yet been resolved.
·      Repeat the two questions which were first put to the interim Chief Executive on 9 July, and are still unanswered, despite reminders, and requests from two Conservative group leaders and a number of individual Labour councillors.
·      Explain why it is important that these questions should be answered, and why any “no” answer needs to be backed up with an explanation of why any decision to make a “pay off” was considered to be justified.
·      Remind all councillors of their duty to satisfy themselves that any such “pay off” is not a misuse of Council funds.
·      Encourage councillors and officers to make answering the two questions the first step in a return to high standards of conduct under our new Chief Executive. 
I am aware that Standing Order 39 sets out a number of conditions which must be met before a request to make a Deputation to Full Council can be accepted.

Under 39(a), I can confirm that I am a ‘member of the public’ (a Brent resident and rate/Council Tax payer at the same address in Fryent Ward since 1983). Although I have requested to be allowed to present deputations to the Council and Scrutiny Committee during the past six months, I have not actually ‘made’ any such deputations, and my subject is not a repetition of a subject on which a deputation has been ‘made’.

Under 39(b):-
i.         My Deputation directly concerns a matter affecting the borough (resolving serious concerns raised by residents over a possible “pay off” to a former Brent employee) and relates to a Council function (the way in which Council officers, Full Council and its committees, deal with concerns raised over possible misuse of Council funds).

ii.         Although the second of my two questions includes the words ‘any Employment Tribunal or other legal proceedings’, my Deputation does not ‘relate to legal proceedings’. I will not mention any proceedings by name, or name the claimant in the particular Employment Tribunal case (where the judgement is already final) that has given rise to my interest in this matter. Nothing in my Deputation will have any effect on how the Tribunal decides its remedy hearing, only on whether Brent Council will respect and accept that decision after it is made.

iii.         My Deputation does not relate to a matter which is, or has been, the subject of a complaint under the Council’s complaints processes. 

iv.         My Deputation is not, and will not be, ‘frivolous, vexatious, or defamatory’. I have made every effort to get serious concerns, which I first raised two and a half months ago, settled by direct requests for information and answers, backed up by reasoned argument. As senior officers of the Council have, so far, failed to resolve those concerns, I am seeking to use a right given to Brent’s citizens under its Constitution to bring the matter before Full Council, and use it as an example to support the new Chief Executive in promoting high standards of conduct at Brent Council.
I believe that my Deputation meets the conditions set out by (a) and (b) of Standing Order 39, but there is one further proviso at (b):

‘The Chief Legal Officer shall have discretion to decide whether the deputation is for any other reason inappropriate and cannot proceed.’

That proviso gives you great power, but before you exercise that power I would ask you to consider the following points:-

a.    Deputations were introduced in changes to Brent’s Constitution approved by Full Council in June 2014. In commenting publicly on this provision at the time:
‘Cllr Butt said, “New proposals allow the public to speak in council meetings for the first time ever is aimed at bettering how the community engages with the council and allows residents to hold us to account.” ‘ [”Brent & Kilburn Times”, 12 June 2014]

b.    Two of the seven “purposes” of Brent’s Constitution, set out at Article 1.4 (in Part 2) are:
‘create a powerful and effective means of holding decision-makers to public account;’
‘ensure that those responsible for decision making are clearly identifiable to local people and that they explain the reasons for decisions.’

c.     Article 1.5 of the Constitution states:
‘Where this Constitution permits the Council to choose between different courses of action, the Council will always choose that option which it thinks is closest to the purposes stated above.’

d.    Standing Order 39 is part of Brent’s Constitution (in Part 3), so that in exercising your discretion between allowing my Deputation to be heard, or deciding that it ‘cannot proceed’, I believe you should choose the option which ‘is closest to the purposes stated above’. (See b. above)

e.    As Monitoring Officer, you have a constitutional role in ‘the promotion and maintenance of high standards of conduct’ at Brent Council (Article 13.5). One of the aims of my Deputation is to assist in promoting high standards of conduct, and to encourage others to do the same as part of a “fresh start” under Brent’s new Chief Executive.

f.      For all of these reasons, I believe it would be inappropriate if you were to use your discretion to decide to prevent my Deputation being presented to Full Council on 7 September.

I look forward to receiving your confirmation that I can make my Deputation to Brent’s Full Council meeting on Monday 7 September.

I am copying this email to Lorraine King, news editor of the “Brent & Kilburn Times”, who will be interested to see how Cllr. Butt’s promise of allowing residents “to hold the Council to account” works in practice, and to Martin Francis, whose “Wembley Matters” online blog has championed transparency over the concerns I have raised, and whose readers have supported my efforts to get answers to my “two questions”.

Best wishes,
Philip Grant.

Labour leadership contenders' stance on environmental policies

Environmentally conscious Labour readers of this blog may be interested in the candidates' answers to questions put by Friends of the Earth. Below I republish the original FOE blog that can be found HERE
We asked the Labour leadership candidates to tell us where they stand on green issues. Here is what they said (or didn’t say).

Two weeks ago we wrote about the scale of the Government’s destruction of green policies and the urgent need for strong opposition to these changes from the Labour party.

We also set out 10 key environmental policies we think Ed Miliband’s successor must adopt, in order to hold the Government to account on crucial issues like climate change and the depletion of the natural world.

We sent these policies to the four contenders for the Labour Leadership and asked them to get back to us with their responses.

What the Labour leadership contenders think

Despite extending the deadline (twice) and repeated private and public reminders (here and here for instance), we didn’t hear a peep from two of the candidates, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. (But see note at the end of the article)

Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn did get back to us, but with varying degrees of detail.

Andy Burnham's team provided us with this statement and an accompanying email explaining that many of the “quite detailed” policy positions we put to him “will be subject to the policy review that will take place leading up to the 2020 [general] election”.

The statement makes clear that under Mr Burnham’s leadership “environmental issues will be treated with new energy and will be given a prominent place in what will define the Labour Party” but provides little in the way of detail.

The clearest policy position in Mr Burnham’s statement is that “no fracking should go ahead until we have much clearer evidence on the environmental impact”. This is a welcome commitment, although short of the necessary pledge to oppose fracking full stop because of the unacceptable risks it presents to tackling climate change.

Jeremy Corbyn was the only one of the four candidates who replied in full to our specific asks.

The responses include a commitment to “take action now to keep fossil fuels in the ground” and “end dirty energy handouts, ban fracking and set a target date to end new fossil fuel extraction, and begin to phase out high polluting coal power stations with support for workers to re-train”.

Mr Corbyn said he would “call for unabated coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, to be phased out by 2023” and in a welcome move confirmed that “I am opposed to opencast coal mining which scars our landscape, and disrupts local communities with noise and air pollution.”

+++ UPDATE 24 August: Yvette Cooper gave a speech over the weekend outlining her "six point roadmap" on climate change ahead of the Paris summit at the end of the year. Read our take on it here+++

Green Party demands halt Work Capability Assessments immediately following deaths of those deemed 'fit to work'

Green Party work and pensions spokesperson Jonathan Bartley has demanded an ‘immediate halt’ to the government’s Work Capability Assessments for those claiming Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance.

His call comes in response to figures released today by the Department for Work and Pensions that show 81,140 people claiming ESA, IB or SDA died between December 2011 and February 2014. Of those, 4,010 (4.94%) had been deemed ‘fit for work’ following their WCA.

Meanwhile, of the 50,580 people who died while claiming ESA during the same period, 7,200 (14%) were placed in a work-related activity group designed to help prepare them for work.
Bartley said:

There should be an immediate halt to the Work Capability Assessment. It is now clear that tens of thousands have died within a year of being put through it, with thousands of these people placed in work-related activity groups or certified as ‘fit for work’. These decisions are inhumane and this mortality rate is a national scandal.

These tragic statistics expose the fundamental flaw in the government’s approach to the sick and disabled. It is unacceptable that a massive 14% of those who died within a year of their WCA were forced into a work-related activity group, and almost one in 20 were deemed ‘fit for work’, meaning they were forced to spend their final months seeking or preparing for employment.

The government needs to stop treating the sick and disabled as ‘scroungers’ out to rob the state, and instead apply some humanity and provide these people with the care and support they need.” 

Wednesday 26 August 2015

SELL-OFF film about the transformation of the NHS into a business ready for corporate takeover - Tonight 7pm

Your NHS has been quietly transformed into a business ready for corporate takeover and conversion to the American private insurance model. In 'Sell-Off', filmmaker Peter Bach exposes the two decade covert privatisation which has occurred without public mandate and against the public interest. It challenges the lies put out by politicians and mainstream media.

Join us at IHRC for a screening of 'Sell-Off'

WHEN: Wednesday, 26 August from 7-9pm

WHERE: IHRC Bookshop & Gallery, 202 Preston Road, Wembley, HA9 8PA (Nearest tube: Preston Road / Metropolitan Line)

Refreshments will be provided. Call 020 8904 4222

Peter Bach's powerful new film, "Sell-Off" maps out the steady privatisation of the National Health Service which is going on right now. Nobody listening to the evidence of a range of practitioners on the film can be in any doubt that this coalition government has accelerated the process of outsourcing of NHS services started by the Blair government, using the vehicle of the Care Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Foundation Trusts. Despite this, MPs and the government at continue to insist that the NHS is not being privatised. - The HuffingtonPost UK

Watch the trailer: