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Stroud Against The Cuts

Defending our living standards and public services from cuts and privatisation - Where Next?

Wednesday, 24 June 2015 18:25 administrator
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Stroud Against the Cuts Public Meeting, Thursday 2nd July

Stroud Old Town Hall, The Shambles, GL5 1AP

Poster for the event
Wages are low and getting lower, and the Conservative government is planning cuts to housing benefit, tax credits, disability benefits and pensions. The NHS is at breaking point, social care provision is being cut, schools are struggling. Public services are being chipped apart and more and more money is diverted from services and to private companies' profits.

Stroud Against the Cuts fought NHS privatisation locally and won in 2011/12 - join us for an informal discussion about what we face in the coming years and how we can support each other and fight back!

 

You can indicate you intend to come, and help our publicity, by joining the Facebook Event - or sharing information about the event on twitter.

 

The aim of the meeting is to hear from as many people as possible - gathering ideas and assessing what people would like to focus on.

 

For more information, email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or text/call James Beecher on 07734 058789.

 

Reports from the End Austerity Now demonstration, 20th June 2015

Sunday, 21 June 2015 15:40 administrator
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On the 20th June, 2015, The People's Assembly Against Austerity organised a "End Austerity Now" demonstration in London. Stroud Against the Cuts, working with Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts, the Stroud and Cheltenham branches of the Green Party, and local branches of unions Unite and Unison, arranged three coaches to travel from Stroud and Cheltenham, picking up almost 150 people from these towns as well as Gloucester and Cirencester.

Here are some photos and links to reports from the day:

Two photos of the Gloucestershire Group from before the march, in Princes St - round the corner from the Bank of England

People hold the Stroud Against Cuts Banner with slogan "Save Our Services" at the start of the demonstrationPeople hold a Stroud Valleys Against the Cuts banner with the slogans "Defend Workers Rights and Pay" and "Save Our Services"

Video clips and a picture from the march:

 

Crown holds placards including "People's March for NHS", "Cut War Not Welfare", large foam scissors with "No Cuts" written on them

 

Thousands of people listen to speeches in Parliament Square, with the Houses of Parliament in the background

Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 June 2015 16:06 )
 

Public Meeting on Austerity ahead of 2015 General Election

Friday, 20 March 2015 11:14 administrator
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Poster for Public Meeting on Monday 23rd March 2015Poster for austerity election debate listing panel

 

Our next public meeting is again at The Old Town Hall in the Shambles, Stroud (GL5 1AP). We will be looking at the effects of Austerity in the UK and discussing "How we can fight cuts and privatisation", all in the context of the forthcoming General Election. All are welcome, and entrance is free, with a collection to cover costs.

Candidates from local political parties will be present to debate in a question time style event.

 

Confirmed speakers:

 

Adrian Walker-Smith, Liberal Democrat candidate for Stroud constituency

Caroline Stephens, UKIP candidate for Stroud constituency

David Drew, Labour Party candidate for Stroud constituency

Haydn Jones, Conservative Stroud District Councillor for the Severn ward.

Sarah Lunnon, Green Party candidate for Stroud constituency

Sue Powell, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate for Gloucester constituency

We have now been informed that a representative for the MyStroudMP campaign hopes to attend (Richard Wilson, the candidate, cannot)

 

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 23 March 2015 10:48 )
 

"End Austerity Now" demonstration, London, 20th June

Friday, 29 May 2015 12:15 administrator
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Poster to advertise coach transportCoaches from Gloucestershire to "End Austerity Now" demonstration

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity is calling a major national "End Austerity Now" demonstration & festival on Saturday 20th June to send a clear message to the Tory government: we demand an alternative to austerity and to policies that only benefit those at the top.

Stroud Against the Cuts is working with other local organisations to arrange transport by coach to the protest.

Coaches will leave from both Stroud and Gloucester (at around 8am on the day).
If you live elsewhere, including Cheltenham or Cirencester, please get in touch - we will arrange pick-up points as most appropriate depending on numbers. Final details will be circulated two weeks before the event, when we have a better idea of numbers. Already 50 people have booked with us to travel from Gloucestershire to London.

Tickets will cost £12 waged, £5 unwaged. No-one will be turned away for lack of funds but PLEASE BOOK your place(s).

If you would a seat on a coach, please contact: Hannah (one of SATC co-ordinators) via email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Alternatively call James Beecher on 07734 058789.

The new Stroud Against the Cuts Facebook page has an "Gloucestershire travels to the "End Austerity Now" demonstration" event where we will regularly share updates about the event, enabling you to help us publicise it ('joining' this will not guarantee you a seat - see above methods). There is also a Facebook event page for the national protest.

Make Banners for the "End Austerity Now" protest together

Banner making fun at the Prince Albert. Ready for the London Anti-Austerity Demo on 20th June.

Two Saturday afternoon sessions have been arranged - make banners and placards on the 6th June and/or make placards and banners on the 13th June (separate links to Facebook Events).

The organisers say: "Bring materials, paints, pens, people and dogs and make some great placards and banners for the March.

Everything made can be stored at the pub until the big day.

Open event. Please share far and wide. Everyone WELCOME!
"

Last Updated ( Friday, 29 May 2015 12:29 )
 

Press Release: Campaigners who fought NHS privatisation cry foul over Hospital pharmacy sell-off

Tuesday, 17 March 2015 11:31 administrator
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PRESS RELEASE             STROUD AGAINST THE CUTS         12/03/2015

Campaigners who fought NHS privatisation cry foul over Hospital pharmacy sell-off

Contact: James Beecher 07745 058789 | This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Stroud Against the Cuts, which led the successful campaign to stop community health services in Gloucestershire being handed to a social enterprise, has reacted angrily to news that Gloucestershire Care Services’ pharmacy provision will now be provided by private company Lloydspharmacy. Lloyds is owned by Celesio AG[i], a German company. Celesio is in turn majority owned by McKesson[ii], an American health and pharmaceuticals giant.

 

James Beecher, Chair of SATC said: “The views of local people and NHS workers have been made abundantly clear in the past – we do not want our services privatised. When our campaigning forced a survey over the proposed privatisation of Gloucestershire Care services (GCS), 91% of staff and 96% of the public who voted wanted local community health services to remain in the public sector.[iii] CEO of GCS Paul Jennings has recently claimed that “It doesn’t matter who provides the service”, but if he’s so confident of this, why wasn’t anyone asked?

 

He added: “People want services to stay in the public sector for good reason: private providers cherry-pick services they think they can extract a profit from. Pieces of the NHS are chipped off, fragmenting and complicating service provision. Staff are cut, conditions worsen, and everything is conducted in secrecy behind ‘commercial confidentiality’ and exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act. Meanwhile, the expense of running tenders and a market in NHS services waste far more money than any supposed efficiencies achieved could save[iv].”

 

In an interview broadcast on BBC Radio Gloucestershire this morning[v], CEO of GCS Paul Jennings confirms that the on-site pharmacies at Stroud and Cirencester district hospitals will be lost as part of the arrangements with Lloyds. Mr Jennings also confirmed that negotiations between the current and future employers haven’t yet been resolved 3 weeks before the new employer takes over, leaving staff wondering where, who for and whether they will be working, and said he could “neither confirm or deny” whether the current provider of pharmacy services, Gloucester Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, didn’t submit a bid because they felt it was impossible to provide an improved service for a substantial cut in funding.

 

Caroline Molloy, Stroud Against the Cuts co-ordinator and Green Party Cllr for Stroud Central said: “What always seems to happen is they secretly sign off a contract that neither staff nor public want and what actually happens to staff and to the service the public receive is treated almost as an afterthought to be worked out on the back of an envelope at the last minute. We don’t know much about the details here, but we do know the price offered was too low for the current NHS provider to believe it could continue to provide a quality service – where’s Lloyds’ magic wand?”

Nationally there has been controversy around the speed with which pharmacy contracts are being handed to the private sector, and it has been pointed that that private companies are able to undercut the NHS due to a VAT loophole exempting private companies but not NHS providers from VAT on medicines

 


 

[6].

Notes for editors:

 


[i] Celesio AG is a German healthcare and pharmaceutical multinational.

[ii] McKesson Corporation is a Fortune 500 company that has been winning various NHS contracts, and in 2013 was responsible for commissioning support units being compromised due to payroll services provided by the company failing: http://www.hsj.co.uk/news/commissioning/exclusive-csus-hit-by-payroll-failures/5061930.article. McKesson’s purchase of Celesio is also being legally challenged: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7542f2be-e0da-11e3-a934-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3UHdO07wF. 

[iii] See details of the 2012 surveys here: http://www.stroudagainstcuts.co.uk/fightback/healthcarecuts/38-healthcare/131-press-release-crunch-point-arrives-in-long-campaign-against-local-nhs-privatisation.html. Nationally, polls regularly show that at most one in five want more private involvement in the NHS. A recent poll by YouGov, for instance, showed 74% of people think hospitals should be run in the public sector, with 18% saying they think the private sector should run these services”. Just 3% agreed with the statement “it doesn’t matter which sector they are run in, as long as the standard of service is maintained” See www.y-g.co/1NNZNJd. Indeed “In six out of eight major public service areas, the option of running them in whichever sector that can maintain standards comes last, behind nationalisation and privatisation. Most people think the public sector should be the provider of every service apart from utilities and banks”.

[iv] “No-one knows the exact cost of this bureaucratic ‘marketplace’. A recent estimate by rebel Lib Dems put the figure as high as £30billion a year. Dr Jacky Davis and other doctors and campaigners including the National Health Action Party have put it at £10billion a year. The Centre of Health & the Public Interest put it at a ‘conservative’ £4.5billion a year,” write Caroline Molloy in a recent assessment of estimates of the cost of the NHS market: https://www.opendemocracy.net/ournhs/caroline-molloy/billions-of-wasted-nhs-cash-noone-wants-to-mention. This week Caroline Lucas MP raised this issue when launching the NHS Reinstatement Bill in parliament “Market structures in the NHS cost more than £10bn a year, and the money could be better spent on patient care, Caroline Lucas has told the prime minster,” reported the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-31835402

[v] Mark Cummings interviewed Paul Jennings as part of a piece beginning at 1 hour 36 minutes, and 30 seconds into this programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02kq17s#auto

[6] The Union Unite “obtained a memo sent by the Department of Health to NHS trusts’ chief pharmacists across the UK highlighting how: “VAT is charged on pharmaceutical drugs, but HMRC allows chemist outlets to reclaim the tax for many medicines. However, it does not allow NHS pharmacies in hospitals to reclaim it. The tax authority regards dispensing drugs to be part of a hospital’s ‘non-business activities’, and so not VAT-recoverable.” The memo adds: “NHS Trusts are increasingly examining opportunities to contract out for the provision of outpatient dispensing services.”” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/revealed-the-vat-loophole-driving-nhs-pharmacy-services-into-hands-of-private-sector-9622064.html. 

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 March 2015 11:38 )
 


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