BRIEF REPORT OF BRENT FIGHTBACK MEETING THURSDAY NOVEMBER 4TH (from a post by "Brent Fightback")
Cllr Roxanne Marshari spoke briefly about the specific impacts of cuts on young people:
· 4,500 young people in Brent will lose their Educational Maintenance Allowance.
· NUS research finds that 8/10 young people will be deterred from Higher Education by the trebling of fees.
· The cancellation of the Building Schools for the Future scheme means that many will continue to be taught in crumbling buildings. Copland is one example.
· Connexions service which helps young people into work is under threat.
Brent has a higher than average population under 25. The Council is making efforts to involve young people in their work and decisions through Brent Youth Parliament and a mentoring scheme where individual councillors mentor a series of young people for six months at a time.
Sharly Boukhari firstname.lastname@example.org is campaigning to defend the EMA
Phil O’Reilly reported that Brent Council is seeking to move all employees onto Outer London allowance which would mean a cut in pay for some of up to £1500 a year. All employees had received a letter saying that there will be £37m of cuts next year. Phil and Hank Roberts repeated their concern that Ann John was not responding to communications from the Unions representing Brent’s employees.
Martin Francis commented that already schools are aware of a deterioration in LEA services provided by Brent as staff and resources are cut. This could lead to a downward spiral with more schools turning to the private sector, the Authority earning less, services deteriorating further...
Ann O’Neill queried why, if the cuts are 26% over four years, they are being front loaded for bodies providing services for the Council. They are being asked to make 25% cuts now. It doesn’t feel as if the Council is protecting the most vulnerable and some officers are going about cutting quite gleefully.
Roxanne Marshari commented that cuts to local government grants are designed to shift blame for the cuts from the government onto councils. There was no disagreement with that statement, but there was general agreement that we would welcome a clear statement from the Labour Group on the Council about which side they are on and an acceptance of the necessity for working with all the unions representing the Council workforce. Pete Firmin will draft a letter to the Labour Group from Brent Fightback and circulate it to committee members.
Hank Roberts suggested a protest or series of protests outside Sarah Teather’s surgeries.
Emma Tait suggested that a number of marches each formed from a threatened group, could converge on a single point.
Jean Roberts emphasised the importance of writing letters to the local papers.
Plans for debate with Sarah Teather still not finalised. She is still available on 8th and 15th December, problem is finding an opponent who is available on one of those dates. Both Space1 and Space2 at the Library Centre are free on 15th. Pete will continue trying to find someone to debate.
The governors of
Kenmont Primary School, just in Hammersmith, but withmany children from Brent, have approached about the possibility of becoming a primary academy or being linked to Burlington Danes an existing secondary academy. This was done without consulting parents and there is a strong opposition among them. Brent Fightback expressed support for their campaign. ARK
Disputes, protests and forthcoming meetings:
FBU strike planned for 5th – 6th Nov called off. Dispute is going to arbitration and the threat of mass sackings has been temporarily lifted.
NUJ at the BBC Strike going ahead on 5th -6th Nov with a call for a solidarity meeting outside White City at 12 noon on 5th.
RMT & TSSA next strike 28th – 29th Nov
Tues Nov 9th Defend Council Housing Protest outside Parliament 5.30 pm as Housing Benefit Cuts are debated
Wednesday Nov 10th Joint UCU & NUS demonstration FUND OUR FUTURE: STOP EDUCATION CUTS Assemble 11.30 pm Horse Guards Ave 11.30 am
Tuesday November 23rd 7.30 pm Brent Campaign Against Climate Change Public meeting: Willesden Green Library Centre. Leaflet attachedThursday November 25th Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group Public Meeting with Glenda Jackson MP Tricycle