Reports from the End Austerity Now demonstration, 20th June 2015
Last Updated ( Sunday, 21 June 2015 16:06 )
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
Video clips and a picture from the march:
Public Meeting on Austerity ahead of 2015 General Election
Last Updated ( Monday, 23 March 2015 10:48 )
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.
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)
"End Austerity Now" demonstration, London, 20th June
Last Updated ( Friday, 29 May 2015 12:29 )
Coaches 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:
. 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!"
Press Release: Campaigners who fought NHS privatisation cry foul over Hospital pharmacy sell-off
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 17 March 2015 11:38 )
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 |
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
Notes for editors:
[i] Celesio AG is a German healthcare and pharmaceutical multinational.
[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”.