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Stroud Against The Cuts

Our letter re: Stroud District Councillors refusing to pay £500,000 to central govt

Thursday, 19 October 2017 10:35 administrator
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We wrote the following letter, which was published in the Stroud News and Journal on Wednesday 18th October 2017:

 

Dear Editor,


At “Stroud Against The Cuts” we would like to say well done to the Stroud District Councillors who have told the government “Enough is Enough” and are refusing to hand back more than £500,000 to central government.


Austerity has been going on for seven years, ever since the Conservative Party has been in power. In the 2010/11 financial year, Stroud District Council received a Formula Grant of £6.55 million from central government. This has been cut dramatically since to the point where there will soon be no central government grant at all. Nationally, local authorities have been handed cuts of over £20 billion since 2010 – central government grants to local councils have fallen by 38%. This is unfair – it means wealthier areas that can raise more taxation locally are more able to provide for their residents than poorer areas where residents may need more support. Central government cuts have an impact: in this paper there have been stories recently that the council is planning to end free parking, and that around 20% of the staff at the council may lose their jobs. Meanwhile, the future of the Subscription Rooms is uncertain, and there are rumours about the Museum in the Park too.


Although political parties have important differences, it is good to see that local Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat district councillors will stand together against central government cuts to our district. Together councillors from these parties make up the majority of Stroud District Council, and their cooperation has made this challenge possible. Hopefully, their decision to challenge the government will provide an example to other councils within Gloucestershire - and support councils throughout the country who feel forced to take similar action.


Stroud Against the Cuts is not affiliated to any political party, and we have challenged the District Council on previous occasions. Credit where it is due, we would like to thank these councillors for showing courage and leadership in resisting the government; and we offer our support in applying further pressure.

 

Will you be one of the folk to fight for the NHS?

Sunday, 15 October 2017 20:57 administrator
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Will you be one of the folk to fight for the NHS? 

Please join us at Stroud Old Town Hall this coming Saturday 21st October for an event for anyone interested in getting involved in NHS campaigning locally.

Displays and drop-in 10am-12noon,

Workshop 12noon-2pm.

  • Do you want to know more about what is being done to the NHS?
  • Want to understand the impacts of cuts and privatisation locally?
  • Want to do something to prevent and reverse privatisation?
  • Fancy working with others including those who've had success fighting NHS privatisation locally in the past?


Then come to our "Will you be one of the folk to fight for the NHS?" event this coming Saturday 21st October.

We're hoping to create an open and welcoming space for anyone interested in NHS campaigning - from 10am-12noon we'll have displays with information, videos, and an opportunity to ask your questions one-on-one.

Then from 12noon till 2pm we'll have a workshop exploring what people know, what's going on, and what we can do to defend the NHS here in Stroud and Gloucestershire.

There's a lot to do, and we'd really appreciate help - come and find out how you can contribute.

 

More details and articles about NHS issues we will discuss on the day in our latest newsletter.

Facebook event to share/invite friends: Will you be one of the folk to fight for the NHS?

 

First time you've come across Stroud Against the Cuts? Read our latest newsletters.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 15 October 2017 21:39 )
 

Letter to local papers on NHS

Wednesday, 31 May 2017 09:51 administrator
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The following letter has been published in at least one local paper and was sent to others. It is written by Hannah Basson, Treasurer of Stroud Against the Cuts. References for the points made follow the text.

 

Dear Sir,

Stroud has a history of supporting health services being publicly-owned and funded. This is the most economical and fair way to distribute services, yet this government keeps attacking the NHS.

Of promised funding, less than half is new money. Once maintenance backlog and PFI repayments (including very recent ones) are factored, the real terms increase is about 13% of what’s being offered. Costly tenders for contracts, enforced since 2012, and forced savings of £22 billion hurt even more. Are these privatised contracts any better? Locally Out of Hours, hospital pharmacies, buildings maintenance, smoking cessation clinics, and transport services suggest not.

We are told investment is being made to GP services but unprecedented numbers are leaving and surgeries are shutting. GPs are told to refer patients on earlier, yet being told to refer less. Admissions to nursing schools have reduced by 23% since the government stopped training bursaries, there have been 90% fewer job applications from EU nurses since the referendum and there are still 1000s of vacancies.

The government says that the NHS will remain ‘free at the point of use’, but this does not necessarily mean comprehensive, universal, or treatment according to need.

The national media publish stories of the cost of ‘health tourism’ (0.3% of NHS budget actually), yet seem at ease with a system that costs about 15% to simply fragment services in order to feed a growing private sector.

Our NHS costs less than most other comparable countries in the world and the Commonwealth Fund named it the most efficient. Seven years ago, it was at the top of the Commonwealth Fund league tables in most categories.

Think that we can’t afford the NHS? This is a fiction to divert your eyes from the truth, by a Health Secretary who co-authored a book that called for the NHS to be replaced by an insurance system. He is ably abetted by colleagues, such as a Conservative policy advisor who advised that the NHS would “cease to exist” within five years of a Tory government.

Sincerely,

Hannah Basson

(Treasurer, Stroud Against the Cuts)

 

This letter was sent without references but should you wish to follow up claims made, a few links are pasted below:

 

"Stroud has a history of supporting health services being publicly-owned and funded"

 

"[public ownership and funding] is the most economical and fair way to distribute services" - read e.g. "At what cost? Paying the price for the market in the English NHS" (direct link to pdf)

 

"[Of funding promised by the Conservative government], less than half is new money. Once maintenance backlog and PFI repayments (including very recent ones) are factored, the real terms increase is about 13% of what’s being offered" - read e.g "NHS spending per person will be cut next year, minister confirm"

 

"Costly tenders for contracts, enforced since 2012" / "a system that costs about 15% to simply fragment services in order to feed a growing private sector" - read Caroline Molloy from Stroud's essential article "The billions of wasted NHS cash no-one wants to mention"

 

"forced savings of £22 billion" - read Caroline Molloy's "NHS cuts - are we in it together?"

 

"Are these privatised contracts any better? Locally Out of Hours, hospital pharmacies, buildings maintenance, smoking cessation clinics, and transport services suggest not" - read e.g. "Private health contractor comes under fire for "putting profit before service""

 

"We are told investment is being made to GP services but unprecedented numbers are leaving and surgeries are shutting." - read e.g "If general practice fails, the whole NHS fails"

 

"Admissions to nursing schools have reduced by 23% since the government stopped training bursaries"

 

"there have been 90% fewer job applications from EU nurses since the referendum and there are still 1000s of vacancies"

 

"The national media publish stories of the cost of ‘health tourism’ (0.3% of NHS budget actually)"

 

"Our NHS costs less than most other comparable countries in the world and the Commonwealth Fund named it the most efficient."

"Seven years ago, it was at the top of the Commonwealth Fund league tables in most categories."

 

"a Health Secretary who co-authored a book that called for the NHS to be replaced by an insurance system"

 

"a Conservative policy advisor who advised that the NHS would “cease to exist” within five years of a Tory government"

 

NHS 69th anniversary event - Wed 5th July, 6-8pm

Saturday, 01 July 2017 19:45 administrator
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03/07/2016 Press Release: Campaigners mark 69th anniversary of NHS founding

What: Picnic with food and drink, music, face-painting and sharing of thoughts on the NHS

When: Wednesday 5th July, from 6pm (till around 8pm)

Where: Trinity Pocket Park, next to the Trinity Rooms (opposite Stroud Hospital/Stroud Maternity Hospital)

Description:

It's the 69th anniversary of the founding of the NHS on Wednesday July 5th 2017 (1), and campaign group Stroud Against the Cuts (2) will be holding a bring-and-share picnic involving music, face-painting, and thoughts on the past, present and future of the NHS - including short updates on local and national NHS campaigning. The event is part of the national Health Campaigns Together week of events and action in every area (3) which kicked off with the “Not One Day More” demonstration in London on Saturday 1st July (4). Organisers are inviting people to dress in 1948-style or wear NHS blue/white, and to prepare "party pieces" - short comments on recent experiences of the NHS, memories of how the service has changed, and perspectives on which aspects of the NHS we should celebrate.

Quote:

James Beecher, one of the organisers said: “We want to celebrate the principles behind the NHS – of comprehensive and universal health care provided on the basis of need not ability to pay, paid from taxation – the fairest way. We think high-quality, prompt, healthcare needs well-trained, well-rewarded workers – and that achieving a system that provides this efficiently and affordably means a service that is publicly owned and run – accountable to the public. On Wednesday, we will both celebrate the NHS and reaffirm our commitment to fight the policies which have undermined our the service in recent years and decades - through privatisation, emphasis on competition rather than cooperation, and attacks on the terms and conditions of workers – from doctors and nurses to cleaners. We’ll be mentioning the ongoing local Minor Injuries Units, privatisation of the Out of Hours service, the problems of the ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plan’ for Gloucestershire and other aspects of health campaigning locally and nationally.”

More information is available on the Stroud Against the Cuts website and on Facebook

Notes:

1.       The 5th July is the day then Health Secretary Aneurin Bevan launched the NHS at Park Hospital in Manchester (now known as Trafford General Hospital). Stroud Against the Cuts held a similar celebratory picnic last year and plan to hold a larger event to mark the 70th anniversary in 2018.

2.       Stroud Against the Cuts was formed in November 2010, and in 2011/12 successfully fought to prevent privatisation of Gloucestershire’s community health services – the event, like that campaign, is organised under the Keep Gloucestershire’s NHS Public name through which the group is affiliated to national groups Keep Our NHS Public and Health Campaigns Together.

3.       Health Campaigns Together is a national network of national and local groups campaigning on health policy.

4.       Members of Stroud Against the Cuts joined thousands of people at the Not One Day More demonstration in London, on a coach of 65 people including members of Unite Community, Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts, Unite the Unison and other groups.

Last Updated ( Monday, 03 July 2017 10:47 )
 

Letter from Archway Secondary School Mr Colin Belford to Parents/Carers

Thursday, 25 May 2017 13:49 administrator
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Please see below the text of a letter from the Headteacher of Archway Secondary School to Parents/Carers. We believe the content will be of interest to parents/carers at other schools and/or the general public, but offer no further comment here. We have reproduced the letter in it's entirety, with permission.

 

Archway School * Paganhill * Stroud

Gloucestershire * GL5 4AX

Tel 01453 763242

Fax 01453 766093

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

www.archwayschool.net

Headteacher Colin Belford


25 May 2017


Dear Parents/Carers,

A recent meeting of Secondary Headteachers in Gloucestershire considered the issues facing education in the County and what questions we might ask prospective parliamentary candidates in the run up to the General Election. Our Governors looked at the questions and felt that we should share them with parents. They are listed below.

Policy
1. What is your position on education? How high on your agenda is it?
2. Do you think education should be de-politicised to avoid sweeping change and uncertainty and is your party willing to commit to stability to avoid unnecessary and expensive changes in curriculum and accountability measures?

Pupils’/well-being
1. Do you think there is a link between changes to the testing regime and childhood mental health issues across key stages 2, 3 and 4?
2. What are your priorities in supporting schools in tackling societal issues, protecting children in the digital age and ensuring that the education system protects/supports the mental health of children?
3. Do your party’s educational policies deliver the skills necessary for 21st century employability and how will you continue to narrow the achievement gap for disadvantaged children?

Funding
1. Do you think that we can build a world class education system with a systematic drop in national per pupil funding?
2. What is your policy to ensure schools are sufficiently and fairly funded? Will you review the National Funding Formula to achieve this?
Continued/…page 2
1. What are your plans to tackle the crisis of inadequate core funding per pupil?
2. The previous administration says that it has protected spending per pupil but it has not protected costs per pupil so that provision is deteriorating. Will you ensure funding at least keeps up with increasing costs? How?

Recruitment
1. What are your party’s plans to deal with recruitment and retention crisis in teaching (so few joining and so many leaving), and how will you ensure that teaching remains an attractive and respected profession?

I hope that you find these useful.

Yours faithfully,

Colin Belford
Headteacher

Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 May 2017 13:57 )
 


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