Birmingham’s Labour councillors cut vital services

protest agaings buget cut birminham
Protest against buget cuts, February 2017

Rather than offer any opposition to continual reductions in its central government grant, Birmingham’s Labour-run council has imposed cuts totalling £650m since 2010, with a further £100m due in 2017/18.

Schools have had £108m slashed from their budgets, the equivalent of 3,000 teacher’s salaries, with a further £94m of cuts to come. Teaching assistants have been the first to lose their jobs, but teaching jobs will also be lost and class sizes will rise. As a typical example, Erdington Academy has lost nearly £500,000, £576 per pupil. Many schools are asking parents to donate to school funds. This means that schools in working class areas are affected even more severely because parents there have less money to donate.

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Grenfell Tower: Condemn capitalism!

justice for grenfell

Capitalism is in deep and unending crisis. Profit increasingly takes a parasitic and criminal form: interest, speculation, tax havens, money laundering, organised crime, financial fraud, rigged markets. These are the means by which capitalists retain their profits as they are compelled to battle with each other for a share of the surplus value. Cheating and corruption become necessary to monopoly capitalism in crisis and is invaluable to the ruling class. Trevor Rayne reports.

The fire at Grenfell Tower exposes the scale of corruption that permeates authority in Britain. It is driven by corporations scrambling for profits, bending rules and regulations and breaking them to do so. In these calculations, human beings must yield profits and they are disposable. This crime was years in the making and the guilty hands are many, but the names will be few. The culprits hide behind masks of respectability and are protected by the narrow terms of reference of the public inquiry.

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Grenfell fire: social murder

grenfell riot

The fire that devastated Grenfell Tower on 14 June, leaving a yet unknown number of people dead and hundreds homeless, was not some terrible accident, but rather the culmination of a housing policy marked by decades of deliberate degradation of social housing. It could have happened on almost any council estate in the country, where what is left of publicly-owned housing is systematically sold off by Conservative and Labour councils alike, or left to rot as a prelude to demolition and ‘regeneration’ as profitable private assets. Successive governments have turned their backs on the housing needs of the working class. The residents of Grenfell Tower were murdered by a barbaric and crisis-ridden capitalist system that carelessly sacrifices human need to its relentless drive for profits. The Grenfell fire was what Aditya Chakraborrty, writing in The Guardian (20 June 2017) and citing Engels, rightly describes as social murder. CAT WIENER reports.

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Justice for Grenfell! Housing for all! Criminal charges now!

grenfell 2

A month after the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower that killed so many people and devastated the lives of hundreds more, survivors and local residents continue to be failed by the local council, by the government, by support services and by national agencies. It is an outrage that only a handful of families have so far been offered adequate and safe accommodation in the borough; that many are still being moved around from hotel to hotel; that those who have refused unsafe and unacceptable temporary accommodation are told they will be classified as ‘intentionally homeless’. It is completely unacceptable that despite Kensington and Chelsea council and KCTMO signing off on shoddy, cheap and unsafe refurbishment at Grenfell that did not meet fire regulations, no criminal charges have been brought against anyone for the social murder of men, women and children. The disaster at Grenfell was a direct result of negligence, incompetence and contempt for working class people living in the borough.

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Overall benefit cap 11 families evicted in Edinburgh

cap rents not benefits

Eleven families, with 42 children between them, have been evicted from their privately-rented homes in north Edinburgh. They had built up rent arrears as a result of the recent reduction in the overall benefit cap from £26,000pa to £20,000. The families had applied to the city council for Discretionary Housing Payments to cover the rent shortfall, but their applications had either been turned down or were insufficient. Some of them have now been split up or sent to temporary hostels, while others have been moved to accommodation in Bathgate and Broxburn in West Lothian, causing additional stress due to the distance from the children’s schools.

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