Tens of thousands sign Vote for Homes letter calling on political leaders to rebuild UK’s ‘broken housing system’

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‘Great stories begin in social homes. But we’re living in a housing emergency, and we need to build more. Now.’

In England alone, 1.3 million households are stuck on waiting lists for housing. 145,800 children are growing up in temporary accommodation. During the last decade, 19,000 social rent homes have been lost every year. 90,000 social homes need to be built every year for the next ten years to end the housing emergency.

These alarming statistics are provided by the housing and homelessness charity Shelter. The research, carried out by Shelter and the National Housing Federation, found that the building of 90,000 social homes a year would pay for itself within three years, add over £50bn to the economy over 30 years, and support 140k direct jobs in the first year.

In the run-up to the general election, the charity has launched a Vote for Home campaign. Over 35,000 people have already put their signature to a letter calling on political leaders to fix the country’s housing crisis by building new social homes.

It urges Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer, Ed Davey, Carla Denya, and Adrian Ramsey to build social homes and “create a fairer renting system that will end the housing emergency.”

The letter notes how none of the leaders have promised to prioritise fixing the housing emergency.  


Continue ReadingTens of thousands sign Vote for Homes letter calling on political leaders to rebuild UK’s ‘broken housing system’

Starmer accuses government of ‘turning Britain’s waterways into an open sewer’ and where he got that idea from

Read more about the article Starmer accuses government of ‘turning Britain’s waterways into an open sewer’ and where he got that idea from
April 2023 Surfers Against Sewage and Extinction Rebellion protests in St Agnes, Perranporth, Truro and Charlestown which unveiled spoof Blue Plaques to the MPs and Conservative Government who allowed raw sewage to be dumped in the sea (Image: Surfers Against Sewage)
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Starmer accuses government of ‘turning Britain’s waterways into an open sewer’

Keir Starmer has accused the government of “turning Britain’s waterways into an open sewer”, as data showed raw discharges were sent into English rivers 825 times a day last year.

Private water companies have been consistently accused of failing to take action, and the Environment Agency admitted there were more than 300,000 spillages into rivers and coastal areas in 2022, lasting for more than 1.75m hours.

The alarming figures led to calls for the environment secretary, Thérèse Coffey, to resign, and added to the pressure on Rishi Sunak to do more to tackle the issue.

Clean water has become a politically charged topic in the runup to May’s local elections, and Labour and the Liberal Democrats are mounting campaigns against the government’s record on raw sewage.

and where he got that idea from?

UK Extinction Rebellion joins other groups to protest UK govt policy of open sewers throughout UK

Extinction Rebellion has been joining with other groups to campaign against UK government policy of treating rivers as “open sewers” but the phrase was originally mine. Granted it’s obvious but is there an earlier use of treating rivers as open sewers than mine?

Please be aware that I am opposed to UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer because he’s a nasty Zionist Neo-Con who has hijacked the Labour Party.

Continue ReadingStarmer accuses government of ‘turning Britain’s waterways into an open sewer’ and where he got that idea from

Labour right look to kick out SHA over criticism of Streeting and crushing defeat in exec elections

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Original article republished from the Skwawkbox for non-commercial use

Right-wingers hammered in Socialist Health Association elections said to be aiming to disaffiliate SHA on pretext after organisation condemned Starmer and sidekick Streeting for appalling health policy

The Labour right is angling to kick the Socialist Health Association (SHA) out of the party after the faction was crushed in the SHA’s internal elections – and in revenge for the SHA’s resounding condemnation of Labour’s privatisation-friendly health policy.

The right-wing slate had tried to boycott the elections claiming, presumably after seeing how poor their chances were, that the election was set up against them – but left it too late and the vote went ahead, with the right losing by a ratio of roughly six to one. As one wag put it, it must have been quite some fix to achieve that kind of ratio.

The previous SHA exec last month issued a scathing condemnation of Keir Starmer and his health spokesman Wes Streeting’s plan to extend the use of private healthcare in the NHS, the contempt the pair have shown for the health policy unanimously voted for by Labour members at last year’s party conference and the pair’s readiness to accept large donations from donors with private health interests – a position now resoundingly re-endorsed by SHA members:

At the 2022 Labour Party Conference, the Health Composite Motion moved by the Socialist Health Association (“SHA”) stated that Labour would adopt “a position of outright opposition to and commit to vote against any and all forms of privatisation of the NHS” and “commit to returning all privatised portions of the NHS to public control upon forming a Government”. It also banned Labour MPs from accepting donations from private companies interested in outsourcing NHS functions. See Conference Arrangements Committee Report 4, page 12.

The SHA’s motion was endorsed by a compositing process involving rank and file members, local constituency parties, trade unions, and the shadow frontbench. The Labour Conference passed it unanimously.

The NHS is at breaking point after 12 years of Tory privatisation and outsourcing. It is therefore beyond disappointing that Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting has come out in favour of using private providers to bring down NHS waiting lists.

That is not the position democratically agreed at Labour Conference. And it is simply wrong, for the following reasons.

  1. It is simply wrong to say that the private sector has greater capacity to clear NHS backlogs. The people working in the private healthcare sector are, by and large, the same doctors and nurses who work in the NHS, and with the exception of the overseas health workers, the vast majority of them were trained in the NHS. Every hour of staff time devoted to private healthcare is an hour of staff time taken away from public healthcare for those who need it most.
  2. It is simply wrong to say that the private sector is more “efficient”. One example of this is that the Institute for Public Policy Research has found that Tony Blair’s Private Finance Initiatives cost the NHS almost £80 billion for only £13 billion of investment. The only party which benefits ‘efficiently’ from private finance is big finance – not patients.
  3. It is shameful that the Shadow Cabinet has failed to stand shoulder to shoulder with health unions in demanding fair pay and conditions for their members. The BMA has calculated that junior doctors have suffered a real pay cut of 26.1% since 2008 – meaning an exodus of qualified doctors driven out of the public sector just when patients need them most. Staff working conditions are patient treatment conditions.

The impetus for Labour’s ban on accepting donations from private companies interested in outsourcing NHS functions was a report that, in  2022, Wes Streeting accepted a £15,000 donation from hedge fund manager John Armitage. Mr Armitage’s fund owns shares worth more than half a billion dollars in UnitedHealth. UnitedHealth is America’s largest health insurer. It has spent millions of dollars lobbying US politicians against healthcare reform through seven different lobbying forms. This includes lobbying against the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which would guarantee supplies to insulin to diabetics who depend on it to survive. It is one of the largest profiteers from NHS outsourcing and one of the biggest potential beneficiaries of future privatisation.

It is therefore also beyond disappointing to see that Wes Streeting has accepted a further £60,000 from MPM Connect. Wes Streeting and the other recipients funds from MPM Connect (including Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper and Mayor Dan Jarvis) should urgently confirm just what MPM Connect does; the terms under which they accepted a total of £340,000 from MPM Connect; just what MPM Connect expects in return; and whether its “investments in the employment sector” include further NHS outsourcing.

Accepting donations from private companies interested in NHS outsourcing creates an apparent conflict of interest, and undermines public confidence in Labour’s commitment to rebuilding a publicly owned and provided NHS.

We call on Keir Starmer and Wes Streeting to commit to the policy democratically agreed by the Labour Party – preventing further privatisation and immediately returning all privatised parts of the NHS to public ownership and control.

Mark Ladbrooke
SHA Chair

Harry Stratton

SHA Secretary

Esther Giles
SHA Treasurer

In apparent revenge, Skwawkbox understands that the Labour right – which now dominates the party’s national executive, is planning to table a move to expel or disaffiliate the SHA from the party, on the pretext that the result was somehow rigged despite the massive majority for the left slate, along with the membership status of one or more of the SHA’s elected officers.

The gross hypocrisy of this excuse cannot be overstated. The right-wing ‘Jewish Labour movement’ – of which many of the SHA right-wingers are strong supporters – was not disaffiliated by the party even though it retained members and officers who were actively, openly and officially campaigning against Labour and for the CUK ‘funny tinge’ party in UK elections, an act that is supposed to result in automatic expulsion and lengthy ineligibility to rejoin.

But it seems the right is so desperate to eradicate any left strongholds in the party – and to cover up the betrayal of the NHS by what passes for Labour’s ‘leadership’ – that it will resort to even the most grotesque and shameless lengths to achieve it.

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Original article republished from the Skwawkbox for non-commercial use

Continue ReadingLabour right look to kick out SHA over criticism of Streeting and crushing defeat in exec elections

Starmer betrays vulnerable and low-paid by abandoning promise to scrap Universal Credit

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Original article republished for non-commercial use from the Skwawkbox

bySKWAWKBOX (SW)09/01/2023 3 Comments on Starmer betrays vulnerable and low-paid by abandoning promise to scrap Universal Credit

Yet another promise shredded as Starmer maintains 100% weasel record

Starmer and a starving child

Keir Starmer has broken yet another promise – maintaining his perfect betrayal record – by abandoning his pledge to scrap the hateful and cruel Universal Credit system through which the Tories have inflicted years of misery and poverty on the UK’s lowest earning and most vulnerable.

Starmer’s Work and Pensions spokesman Jon Ashworth, challenged directly whether Starmer – who has already been mocked this week for claiming he will ‘renew’ the UK after thirteen years of Tory cuts without spending more – would honour his promise to scrap the system that has pushed huge numbers into abject poverty, responded that:

We’re going to reform universal credit … it’s a computer system. We’re not going to go back to the six different benefits that I think it brought together but we are going to reform it.

The lumping together of benefits that were previously tailored to the needs and circumstances of different types of claimant is one of the fundamentally damaging aspects of Universal Credit – and Labour had unequivocally promised to get rid of the whole system and ‘replace’ it with something fit for purpose, to show that ‘Labour is on the side of working people’, millions of whom rely on benefits to top up low pay they are forced to accept while employers fatten profits:

Starmer has already shredded every one of the promises he made to Labour members, including his promise to renationalise the NHS and utilities, a plan that is hugely popular with voters across the political spectrum. Now – after he and his health spokesman accepted large donations from private health interests – he has said that he intends to use more private providers behind the NHS badge and refuses to commit to increasing public sector pay or the services they provide.

Starmer was asked this week by an interviewer what the point is of voting Labour when he will be no different to the Tories. If there is any difference, it’s an even lower level of trustworthiness. A Starmer promise is not fit to wipe your backside with.

Original article republished for non-commercial use from the Skwawkbox

Skwawkbox’s top 12 exclusives of 2022

Continue ReadingStarmer betrays vulnerable and low-paid by abandoning promise to scrap Universal Credit

Working people deserve better than Austerity 2.0 from Labour

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UNITE leader Sharon Graham is absolutely right to demand assurances from Keir Starmer that a Labour government will not mean a continuation of austerity.

On this issue she speaks not just for her union but for the working class as a whole.

Austerity has beggared Britain over the last 13 years, impoverishing the public realm, cutting real wages for millions, and it is at the root of the cost-of-living crisis engulfing the country.

It is the expression of the drive by the capitalist class to make workers pay for the crisis which has unfolded, with pauses but without ending, since the bankers’ crash in 2008.

An end to austerity should therefore be the first and unbreakable commitment of any Labour government, as it was under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.


Continue ReadingWorking people deserve better than Austerity 2.0 from Labour