Category Archives: Public Services

Barnet Tories to introduce parking charges at local parks

Conservative-run Barnet Council has agreed to charge up to £6 a day for parking at local parks. The decision was forced through by Conservative councillors at this week’s Environment Committee (21 Jan). Labour councillors voted against the policy.

 Although the principal of charging was agreed, a consultation will be held on the charging proposals for specific parks.

The parks affected in the first phase are: Barnet Playing Fields, King George V Playing Fields, Mill Hill Park, Old Courthouse Recreation Ground, Scratchwood Open Space and West Hendon Playing Fields.

The Council believe the policy will raise up to £150,000 a year.

Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “This is an ill-conceived money making scheme from Barnet Tories that is simply going to lead to park goers parking in neighbouring roads, many of which already lack enough spaces for residents. Rather than another consultation on this scheme, it simply needs to be scrapped”.


Ends.
Notes:
1. A copy of the report on parking charges at local parks (Agenda Item 8): http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=695&MId=9733&Ver=4

The most dangerous part of TTIP that lives on

Just three years ago our movement was instrumental in stopping TTIP, the EU-US trade agreement. It wasn’t easy. Together, we collected 3.3 million signatures. Hundreds of thousands of you protested in the streets. We took on the corporations, the lobbyists, 28 governments and the EU Commission. And we won!

Now we have to do it again to kill off ISDS – which was one of the most dangerous parts of TTIP – once and for all. Over the last three years, this system has been badly wounded. For the first time, with a strong push in 2019, we can get rid of it for good. A Europe-wide campaign against ISDS and for more corporate accountability has just started to make the best of this opportunity!

Sign the petition to support the new campaign now!

ISDS stands for ‘Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement’. It is an obscure parallel justice system only accessible to large corporations. They can use it to sue states and prevent new rules that were intended to protect people and the planet. If on the other hand people are harmed by a corporation, they often don’t have any way of winning justice. This is a horrendous injustice!

Some ISDS cases are well known, like Vattenfall demanding 5 billion Euros of public money for the German nuclear exit. But hundreds of other scandalous cases are still receiving close to no public attention. And new treaties containing a parallel justice system for corporations even keep on being signed! In order to stop ISDS we need to oppose these new deals and get rid of existing ones.

Click here to sign the new petition to end ISDS!

This week, corporations are gathering in Davos at the World Economic Forum. They will dine and chat with world leaders until Friday. Those companies include Chevron, which sued Ecuador to avoid cleaning up their oil pollution in the Amazon, and still refuse to pay the victims of their dirty business. Cargill, which sued Mexico after the Government implemented a tax on sugar to address the country’s obesity crisis. Dow Chemical, which sued Canada for banning harmful pesticides, and dozens more.

Today, we crashed their party. Our colleagues from the “Rights for People, Rules for Corporations” campaign are in Davos. Dressed as wolves, they revealed that more than 40 corporations attending the World Economic Forum have used ISDS to sue governments and extracted vast sums of taxpayers’ money. Some of these same corporations have infringed on human rights but people and the planet cannot bite back. It is time to stop this injustice!

We demand the EU and member states to support a tough global system that can punish multinationals for their crimes. We need rights for people and new rules for corporations! ISDS must be stopped! And 2019 is the year to do it.

Please join this new movement and sign the petition today!

#bingate public meeting Colindale Library, 7 Bristol Avenue, NW9 4BR, at 6.30pm on Monday 28th January

Our bin services are in crisis. Literal mountains of rubbish have been building up in many estates across the borough, with the west of Barnet hardest hit. Council management have shamefully brushed off disgusting scenes in Grahame Park, by saying it was simply “forgotten”. Forgetting to collect rubbish in a major working class estate is not just a nuisance, it’s a health and environmental hazard.

The problem comes directly from serious mistakes made by Barnet Council, which prefers to pay huge sums of our taxpayers’ money to Capita instead of investing it in good, accountable services, and chooses not to listen to its workers.

Despite warnings from sanitation workers, routes were changed and facilities downgraded without taking the needs of communities into account.

Shamefully, the council is preventing any discussion of the crisis, and has prevented opposition councillors and the public from bringing up the issue at the Town Hall.

Barnet Alliance for Public Services have called for public meetings to discuss the emergency. Facebook event here.

Colindale Library, 7 Bristol Avenue, NW9 4BR, at 6.30pm on Monday 28th January

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Councillor Alan Schneiderman, Labour lead on Environment
  • John Dix aka Mr Reasonable

Invited speakers:

  • Councillor Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council

Statement from BTUC and BAPS on Capita at Brent Council

Barnet Trades Council and Barnet Alliance for Public Services are concerned and dismayed that Brent Council wants to renew its contract with Capita. Our experience of Capita is that it has delivered appalling service and therefore we, together with our local Labour Party, are campaigning for all services run by Capita for Barnet to be brought in-house forthwith. #kickoutcapita is our grass-roots campaign.

Examples of Capita’s misdemeanours in Barnet include:

  • A two million pound fraud carried out by a Capita employee, Capita’s lax and opaque processes completely failed to detect
  • A call centre which has consistently failed to answer residents’ calls in the required time
  • Incorrectly withdrawing travel passes from disabled and vulnerable people
  • Actually cost taxpayers more money than in-house services would, through extra charges and “gainshare” payments designed to maximise their profits at public expense
  • Performed extremely poorly in audits of the council and brought down the overall standards of council services

We urge Brent Council not to renew its contract with Capita. Capita, along with other failed and failing outsourcing giants like Carillion and Interserve have proved to be entirely failed models. We want to Kick Out Capita from Barnet and bring all services back in-house and under local democratic control. Brent Council should do likewise. The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell has spoken brilliantly about how properly funded, democratically accountable in-sourced public services are the future for the country and we agree. Together we are stronger.

Unite’s campaign to end bandit capitalism

Unite has launched a campaign to tackle bandit capitalism and stop Carillion-style collapses.

Unite is fighting to ensure that the untold human misery of being dumped out of work without warning caused by such collapses is tackled once and for all.

As part of the campaign Unite has produced the Ending bandit capitalism: learning the lessons following Carillion’s collapse blueprint to end vulture capitalists ruining public services and destroying livelihoods and to stop “too big to fail” outsourcing firms like Carillion imploding.

The blueprint contains a package of measures designed to introduce better regulations and stricter rules to prevent companies being able to embellish their accounts and provide an entirely false trading position – actions that had disastrous consequences for Carillion and its workforce.

Since Carillion’s collapse Unite has led the way in calling for action to be taken to bring those responsible for the company’s collapse to justice. Unite has called for a public inquiry into Carillion’s collapse and an immediate criminal investigation into those responsible.

Write to your MP calling on them to introduce legislation that adopts Unite’s recommendations, which include:

• Requiring directors to focus on the long-term welfare of the company rather than short-term profits

• New rules which bar companies from prioritising dividends, bonuses and director’s pay over reducing pension deficits

• A stop to the government awarding contracts to companies in financial difficulties

• Long-term support from the government for sub-contractors and supply chains if a major company collapses

• Radical reform of the entire financial regulatory system, with the number of regulators being reduced and those that remain being given real power and teeth

• An end to the current outsourcing culture, with contracts being brought back in house at the earliest opportunity

• A transformation of employment laws to ensure unions have access to workforces to organise workers and prevent exploitation

• A reduction of the number of legal hurdles that must be cleared before cases taken for workers employed by a company in compulsory liquidation can go forward

BAPS Kick Out Capita meeting Tues 15 Jan 6.30 pm

On Tuesday 15 January at 6.30 pm, Greek Cypriot Centre, BAPS is meeting to discuss how to produce a guide to complete the Barnet Council Capita consultation.

https://engage.barnet.gov.uk/strategic-contract-review

The online consultation survey is here https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/barnet-strategic-contract

Attached – the questionnaire in PDF for ease of consideration, courtesy of Derek Dishman – Mr Mustard.

The purpose of the meeting is to agree a resident’s guide to completing the survey.

We will need to widely circulate the guide to as many residents as possible.

Time permitting we will also discuss #Bingate.

Please try to circulate the BAPS meeting and the content through all your contact lists etc.

See you all on Tuesday.

ePetition – Sort out Barnet’s bins

We the undersigned petition the council to Sort out the current bin collection problems, drop plans to charge for green waste collections and make a firm commitment to restoring a separate food waste collection service.

As a result of new bin collection arrangements introduced on 4 November 2018, collections are being missed across the borough, with some residents having no collections for several weeks. The backlog of collections is often leading to the council disposing of recyling along with general waste. In addition to plans to charge for green waste collections and stopping the separate food waste collection service, these changes are bad for the environment and will further cut the council’s recycling rate.

Labour councillors are proposing the petition on behalf of residents.

Photo credit: Zara Winstone

Colindale councillors slam “garbage mountain” after bins not collected on Grahame Park

Colindale’s Labour Councillors have expressed outrage after images on Facebook showed heaps of uncollected rubbish on the Grahame Park estate. Bin collections in Barnet have been severely disrupted since new rounds were established by Barnet Council on 4 November. The rubbish has finally been collected this week, but other estates and households across the borough are still not being collected on the correct days.

Cllr Gill Sargeant said:
“These pictures remind me of the winter of discontent! Barnet’s Conservative administration are so hopelessly incompetent that a garbage mountain has grown over the Christmas period – they are incapable of collecting rubbish properly. This is a costly error from an  incompetent administration.”

Cllr Nagus Narenthira added:
“Residents are treated with contempt by the Conservatives who promised to maintain weekly bin collections. They should not have to put up with this.”

Cllr Zakia Zubairi also added:
“We cannot allow this to continue. We will end up with the rat infestations that the Conservatives promised us would not happen. They said before the election last year that they would keep the same weekly bin collections, but they’ve broken their promise and halved the collections for flats, and we now have a terrible mess.”

 

Photo credit: Zara Winstone

Prosperity and justice: A plan for the new economy

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice is a landmark initiative to
rethink economic policy for post-Brexit Britain

The IPPR Commission on Economic Justice was established in autumn 2016 in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union. The purpose of the Commission was broadly conceived: to examine the challenges facing the UK economy and to make recommendations for its reform.

The members of the Commission come from all walks of life and different political viewpoints. They voted on different sides of the EU referendum, and the Commission is independent of all political parties.

The Commission’s Interim Report was published in September 2017, setting out our analysis of the condition of the economy and the causes of its weak performance. The Commission has also published 17 discussion and policy papers to inform its work and to stimulate public debate. These papers provide more detail on the analysis and proposals made in this report. The Interim Report and full set of papers are available at here.

Given the breadth of Commissioners, we have reached a remarkable degree of agreement, which we hope can be reflected in a wider national consensus about a new direction for the UK economy. Our proposals are deliberately ambitious. Taken together, we believe they offer the potential for the most significant change in economic policy in a generation. We hope that this report can spark a national conversation on why we need a change of direction, and what that direction should be.

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