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Stroud Against The Cuts

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 )
 

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 )
 

Student Assembly Against Austerity: National Convention

Friday, 20 February 2015 19:25 administrator
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"Austerity and all the hardship it causes has been sweeping this country since the Coalition Government came to power in 2010. Now we’re just months away from another General Election and the only ‘good’ that’s come from these unnecessary cuts is the movements that have come together to fight them and provide a platform for the ‘There is an alternative’ message. At the forefront of this movement has been The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, an initiative bringing together anti-austerity voices from across society, from trade unions and parties like the Green Party to grass roots campaigning groups."

 

So writes Sahaya James - one of the national organisers for the Student Assembly Against Austerity (SAAA), Co-Convener of South West Young Greens and a supporter of Stroud Against the Cuts. Please read the below article by her on the recent National Convention of the SAAA. If you are interested in local student activism please contact SATC via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Sahaya directly via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

"The student wing of the People’s Assembly, aptly named the Student Assembly Against Austerity (SAAA), was born in August 2013 and first assembled at a meeting in November of that year. Since then they have led the successful campaign against the sell-off of the student loan book and co-organised the 10,000 strong free education march on November 19th. In September last year they also launched the Student Manifesto 2015: fourteen democratically selected demands from the student movement made to politicians and political parties in the run-up to the General Election in May.

 

On Saturday 31st of January dozens of student activists from 22 campuses gathered at SOAS for the Student Assembly Against Austerity’s National Convention to decide and discuss an action plan for the student movement in the lead up to the General Election.

 

The Convention’s packed agenda was centred around some of the Student Manifesto’s key demands and opened with an inspiring panel entitled ‘No more austerity!’, which heard from a range of political figures such as Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Diane Abbot MP and activists such as Stand Up to Racism’s Sabby Dhalu, SUArts President Shelly Asquith and Christy McMorrow, who has been leading a campaign for free education at Sheffield Uni.

 

Following on from this the day was filled with a series of interactive workshops on:

  • ·         Fighting austerity on campus: for affordable housing & stopping course closures
  • ·         Hardest hit: fighting cuts, bigotry and inequality
  • ·         No racist scapegoating
  • ·         We have a right to resist - #CopsOffCampus
  • ·         FE students and the fightback – bring back EMA and defend youth services
  • ·         For an ethical education – fossil free, no to war

 

The day ended with a closing session on ‘Students and the General Election’ that gave everyone an opportunity to feedback from the workshops they had attended, vote on the Student Assembly’s Action Plan for the coming months and hear from a panel of incredible speakers, like comedian and activist Francesca Martinez, Stop the War Coalition’s Lindsey German, Green Party Deputy Leader Shahrar Ali, the People’s Assembly’s Sam Fairbairn, NUS National Executive Aaron Kiely and Jonas from the Mexican student movement, who gave an emotional account of how the Mexican state ‘disappeared’ 43 students.

 

A recurring theme for many of the speakers was the ways in which racism and xenophobia had entered mainstream politics throughout Europe along with the austerity policies so many governments have adopted. With the rise of UKIP in this country, the importance of the upcoming Stand up to Racism demo on March 21st was emphasised repeatedly.

 

The Convention was a massive success with the majority of attendees being new activists, many of whom were very excited to take what they had learned back to their campuses, with dozens signing up to hold their own Student Question Time event with the support of the SAAA."

 

Sahaya James is one of the national organisers for the Student Assembly Against Austerity, Co-Convener of South West Young Greens and a supporter of Stroud Against the Cuts. If you are interested in local student activism please contact SATC via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or Sahaya directly via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

 

 

REBUILD THE NHS - Public Meeting 23rd February

Friday, 06 February 2015 09:45 administrator
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THE NHS IN CRISIS..? REBUILD THE NHS!


Public Meeting
Monday 23rd February
The Old Town Hall, Stroud
7.30-9.30pm (doors 7pm)

Is the NHS sustainable?
Is PFI bankrupting the NHS?
What’s wrong with privatisation?
What demands should we make?
How can we rebuild the NHS?

THREE CO-ORDINATORS OF THE CAMPAIGN THAT STOPPED LOCAL COMMUNITY HEALTH SERVICES BEING PRIVATISED AND AN NHS WORKER SPEAK:

Cllr Caroline Molloy - Editor of the OurNHS website, freelance writer, and
Green district councillor for Stroud Central.
Chris Moore - led the local anti-poll-tax non-payment campaign in the 1990s,
Trade Unionists and Socialists against Cuts (TUSC) candidate.
James Beecher - Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts, Economist.

Hannah Basson - an NHS health worker and Equalities Officer for the Gloucester
Health branch of Unite the Union (personal capacity).

 

Our NHS is under sustained attack
Earlier this year our local A&E department declared a ‘major incident’.
Local non-emergency ambulance services have been handed to a
private company. Health and social care services have seen their
budgets cut, while the government’s 2012 Health & Social Care Act
was just the latest way to introduce privatisation. Morale in the NHS
is at a low ebb and workers deserve better.
 

We urgently need to develop a concerted campaign to Defend Our
NHS. Join the campaign against NHS privatisation: say “No!” to an
American-style market-based health system.
 

...but we can resist - and win!


In 2011 and 2012, a determined Gloucestershire-wide campaign led by Stroud Against the Cuts successfully used legal action, petitions and protests to force local NHS bosses to halt the transfer of local community hospitals and 3000 health workers out of the NHS.


What you can do – Raise your Voice!


1. Come to our public meeting on the NHS on Monday February 23rd.

2. Subscribe to our regular email newsletter. We send regular emails to
supporters with news on the NHS, cuts, privatisation, protests and resistance
- to join, just send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
3. Put the date of our next public meeting in your diary. We’ll be
discussing the UK economy since the financial crisis and the effects of
austerity in the UK. The meeting will take place at the Old Town Hall on
Monday March 23rd, 7.30pm (doors 7pm).
4. Help us distribute this information: share with colleagues, friends, neighbours, everyone - put it on noticeboards in your community, workplace and online.
5. Show solidarity with health workers demanding fair pay. Whether
you work in health or not, speak to your union rep and ask them to circulate
this information. If you are a health worker you can speak confidentially to a
campaigning member of staff via This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

• Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
• Telephone: James Beecher 07734 058789
• Twitter: @stroudanticuts


 

Last Updated ( Monday, 16 February 2015 12:08 )
 

Press Release: CAMPAIGNERS WHO WON LOCAL NHS BATTLE ORGANISE CRISIS MEETING

Tuesday, 10 February 2015 11:18 administrator
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PRESS RELEASE 10/02/2015                            Stroud Against The Cuts

 

CAMPAIGNERS WHO WON LOCAL NHS BATTLE ORGANISE CRISIS MEETING

WHAT: “THE NHS IN CRISIS..? REBUILD THE NHS! Public Meeting”

WHEN: Monday 23rd February, 7.30-9.30pm (doors 7pm)

WHERE: The Old Town Hall, Stroud.

In 2011 and 2012, a determined Gloucestershire-wide campaign led by Stroud Against the Cuts successfully (1) used legal action (2), petitions (3) and protests (4) to force local NHS bosses to halt the transfer of local community hospitals and 3000 health and social care workers out of the NHS (5).

Earlier this year Gloucestershire’s A&E services declared a ‘major incident’ alongside A&E services elsewhere in the country (6). On Monday 23rd February, four members of the co-ordination group that organised the successful campaign to save Stroud Hospital and others from privatisation will speak at a meeting exploring the question “How we can rebuild the NHS?”

Members of the Stroud Against the Cuts co-ordination group Hannah Basson, Chris Moore, James Beecher and Cllr Caroline Molloy will address questions including “Is the NHS sustainable?”, “Is PFI bankrupting the NHS?”, “What’s wrong with privatisation?”, and “What demands should we make?”. Hannah Basson is an NHS health worker and Equalities Officer for the Gloucester Health branch of Unite the Union (she will be speaking in a personal capacity). Cllr Caroline Molloy represents the Stroud Central ward at the District Council for the Green Party. She is also editor of the OurNHS website (7), and a freelance writer. Chris Moore led the local anti-poll-tax non-payment campaign in the 1990s, and is a Trade Unionists and Socialists against Cuts (TUSC) candidate. James Beecher is Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts.

James Beecher said: “We’re enormously proud that a campaign in Stroud was able to successfully resist the privatisation of local community health services, but since that victory in 2012, local non-emergency ambulance services have been handed to a private company, and around the country services are being forced out to tender and taken over by private companies thanks to the Health and Social Care Act – just the latest form of marketization and privatisation of our NHS. At the same time, health and social care services have seen their budgets cut, and workers have seen not only their pay decline dramatically in real terms, but – as in the case of District Nurses – experienced changes in their conditions of work that have led many to consider leaving the service. Morale in the NHS is at a low ebb and workers deserve better. We know we can resist, and win, so we’ve organised this meeting to provide people with information about what is happening and discuss the demands we should be making, and share lessons from our successful campaign” Stroud Against the Cuts have organised a further meeting, on austerity and the UK economy since the financial crisis, on Monday 23rd March, also at 7.30-9.30pm at the Old Town Hall.

Notes for editors:

 

1.    See the press release from the time “Landmark triumph for people power”. Covered in the Stroud News & Journal.

2.    See the press release from the time, “Gloucestershire People Power on Show Again”. Covered in Stroud Life and The Citizen.

3.    A petition of 6,530 signatures was collected in favour of keeping community health services public, and the formal ‘engagement’ exercise showed 96% of the public and 91% of staff who voted wanted services to remain in the NHS rather than enter a ‘social enterprise’.

4.    Several protests were held, including two of over 500 people in Stroud. Videos of many of the protests are available on the SATC website.

5.    The original plan was to transfer the following services to a ‘social enterprise’: the hospitals at Stroud, Berkeley, Cirencester, Dilke, Fairford, Lydney, Bourton (Moore Cottage), Moreton, Tewkesbury, the Health Clinics at Beeches Green Stroud, Stonehouse Health Clinic, Sandpits Clinic Dursley, Cinderford Health Centre, Coleford Health Centre, Lydney Health Centre, Hesters Way Healthy Living Centre, Hotts Health Centre Newent, Lydbrook Health Centre, Symn Lane Clinic (Wotton-under-Edge). All District Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Specialist Nursing, Out of hours medical and nursing services, Pharmacy, Sexual Health and Chlamydia screening, Podiatry, Dental services, Wheelchair services, Musculo-skeletal services, Telehealth and Specialist Domiciliary care were also to be transferred

6.    “A major incident [was] declared for two hospitals in Gloucestershire, due to high demand in A&E departments”, on 4th January, see the BBC News story. The major incident status was lifted on the 14th January, see the ITV News story.

7.    Read a recent article by Cllr Molloy, “The billions of wasted NHS cash no-one wants to mention”.

 

 


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