Health Workers lead the way to Save the NHS

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Last night, the Peoples’ Assembly held an emergency rally in Central London in support of the Junior Doctors as their struggle against the Tories brutal assault on them and the National Health Service they work for, which has reached a new heightened level as Jeremy Hunt has announced he will impose new contracts that will force doctors to work far harder hours, as part of classic strategy of over working and underfunding a public service as a prelude to privatisation.

The evening began unconventionally with a bit of music from the activist choir, the National Health Singers, and then proceeded with a range of speakers from the movement. Yannis Gourtsoyannis of the BMA’s Junior Doctors section explained that the two actions so far have not just represented the Association finally acting in the true and best tradition of the trade union movement. They have also been an “act of mass whistle-blowing” against the plot against the NHS, which has exposed the Tories true agenda. He praised the fantastic public support that the doctors have received at picked lines and Meet-the-doctors events (despite terrible media coverage), before giving special praise to the Student Nurses, who are in their own dispute but also took an unprecedented hour of strike action in solidarity with the doctors.

The student nurses themselves were represented by Danielle Tiplady, who had been leading a campaign against the slashing of bursaries for nursing students. Just like the doctors, nurses are being paid less and squeezed by greater cuts, to the extent that many have reported going to food-banks to survive – a fact she had pointed out to Tory MP Ben Gummer when he claimed that they shared “the same interest”. Danielle quoted the constitution of the NHS, which clearly states that it belongs to the people, and urged the crowd to call for all the Tories out, not just the puppet Jeremy Hunt.

Both speakers strongly emphasised that a mass demonstration of support for the NHS needed, and the Peoples’ Assembly demo on the 16th of April, at which both the doctors and the nurses will be forming a mass health workers’ block. The other speakers, including the Kevin Courtney of the NUT and Dave Ward of the CWU, strongly emphasised the potential and need for this movement to finally unite the movements against austerity to defeat the Tory government – since support and reliance on the NHS transcends pretty much all other boundaries.

The next stop is the April 16th demonstration!

#‎Unisongate‬: “Clear as mud or perhaps not?”

‪#‎Unisongate‬: “Clear as mud or perhaps not?”

Some of you may have seen an earlier posting today, if not here is the link to it https://www.facebook.com/john.burgess.77920/posts/10153801047571206:1

Today NEC reps had a big meeting at Unison HQ and I know some of the NEC reps really wanted to talk about the Private Eye article.

Interestingly there have been three other articles about #UnisonGate see photo below.

I am digressing, I was hoping that common sense would prevail and our NEC reps be allowed to ask questions and seek clarification about the article.

So what happened?

I have seen a short report online here http://jonrogers1963.blogspot.co.uk/…/returning-to-subject.… from one of our NEC London region reps.

I was very surprised to read that NEC reps were told that Unison were still waiting for a report from ERS Returning Officer?

According to the Private Eye I read this morning and I quote:

“Meanwhile, the Eye asked the Electoral Reform Services (which ran the election) what had become of its investigation into the alleged “organised election abuse” arising out of the taped meeting. Complaints that union rules were breached were made to the election returning officer and scrutineer, Alex Lonie. A spokesman at ERS said complaints had been passed to Unison, which was also carrying out a disciplinary investigation.
As the emails disclose, Roger McKenzie, who is carrying out the investigation for Unison is a member of “Team Dave”. Unison is preparing a report for Mr Lonie, which would enable him to decide if the election was properly conducted. Unison would then in turn report his decision.”

I think Private Eye are clear they have been told by ERS that Unison have been handed the complaints.

If that is the case why were NEC reps being told that ERS are carrying out an investigation?

As someone who has made an internal complaint to Unison in December and have still to be interviewed and also made a complaint to ERS and chased up my complaint to ERS, I am very confused.

Is there two investigations or one?

If there are two who is conducting the investigation?

I have now written to the ERS Returning Officer named above seeking clarification as to who is doing what?

More later…………………………

John Burgess's photo.
John Burgess's photo.

‪#‎UnisonGate‬, ‪#‎EmailGate‬..it is getting worse

‪#‎UnisonGate‬, ‪#‎EmailGate‬..it is getting worse

Today I bought a copy of Private Eye and turned to page 38.
I refer to an article entitled “Flexible friends”

Online here https://www.scribd.com/…/Private-Eye-Flexible-friends-artic…

It starts with:
“Leaked emails reach the Eye providing more evidence that full time staff of Unison mobilised to get general-secretary Dave Prentis re-elected in December, making the union’s claim to be member led look increasingly questionable.”

It goes on to say:
“The emails were sent by assistant general secretary Cliff Williams in October and November. The bulk of the recipients were other Unison officials – a rough count shows 45 of 50 addresses are regional secretaries, head office staff and other union staff.”

I was also sent the emails from an anonymous source and can confirm that the most senior Unison paid officials were on the campaign mailing list.
The article then goes on to reveal:

“It may be in some cases circumstances you may be able to “circumvent” hostile branches by working with sympathetic employer contacts. I acknowledge that some colleagues may feel this is ethically inappropriate but it doesn’t breach campaign rules; it will, however, need to be done with caution.”

I find this appalling and wonder what other Unison reps and members feel when they read this? I can’t believe our union would do this, so I would hope NEC reps are given an explanation as to which employers were contacted and by whom? Are they the same employers who are attacking members and reps through cuts and privatisation?

Lastly I along with many others have been trying to elicit a response to my complaint from the Returning Officer from Electoral Reform Services, the article reveals just why I am many others have not had a response:

“Meanwhile, the Eye asked the Electoral Reform Services (which ran the election) what had become of its investigation into the alleged “organised election abuse” arising out of the taped meeting. Complaints that union rules were breached were made to the election returning officer and scrutineer, Alex Lonie. A spokesman at ERS said complaints had been passed to Unison, which was also carrying out a disciplinary investigation.”
As the emails disclose, Roger McKenzie, who is carrying out the investigation for Unison is a member of “Team Dave”. Unison is preparing a report for Mr Lonie, which would enable him to decide if the election was properly conducted.Unison would then in turn report his decision back to its members. Thus it appears “Team Dave” is effectively left to investigate itself.”

If I have understood the above correctly, ERS are not conducting any investigation into our complaints, I hope this is also discussed at the NEC meeting today.

Comment:
If the emails are not genuine then I expect to hear that NEC reps who are at a meeting at Unison HQ today are briefed on Unison’s response.

However if the emails are genuine it is essential for the future of our union that all of the issues contained within the article are discussed at the meeting today.

A number of Unison reps have been calling for an independent investigation and over 800 have signed a petitionhttps://www.change.org/p/wendy-nichols-unison-president-uni…

It is important that this matter is fully investigated by someone from outside our union in order we can move on and mobilise our members for the fight against Austerity which is already decimating our lives our communities and our services.

More later

Background;
More on the background to #Unisongate click on this link here
http://johnburgess4gensec.blogspot.co.uk/…/damning-evidence…

The audio tape can be heard herehttp://www.4shared.com/mp3/HTYMDTN-ce/unison.html

Private Eye have written three other articles about #Unisongate herehttps://www.scribd.com/…/2995…/Private-Eye-3-articles-in-one

Lastly before forming a view, buy a copy of Private Eye read it and then decide what you think should happen next.

Petition for barnet homes resident caretakers

i-love-council-houses-south-london-1-120x120 Please show solidarity with Barnet Homes Resident Caretakers, some of whom have been employed by their company for 30 years.

Sign the petition

images (28)     PETITION      images (28)

Stop the decision to remove service tenancies from Barnet Homes resident caretakers, forcing them to accept a flexible tenancy, and possible eviction from their homes and a vast increase in rent for their accommodation.

    PETITION    

http://petitions.barnet.gov.uk/Caretakers/

John McDonnell’s speech to the Co-operative conference

theshadowchancellor

Thank you very much for the opportunity to say a few words at the conference today.

I wanted to cover three things.

First, where the economy is today, and the problems we face.

Second, the huge challenge facing all those on the left in attempting to address these problems.

Third, how our movement can start to develop a convincing strategy to deal with this.

Co-operatives, shared ownership, and workplace democracy all have a central role to play here. We can’t turn the clock back.

We need a wide-ranging debate on the way forward.

Jeremy laid out some key ideas last weekend, in his speech to the Fabian conference.

At the heart of his argument is the case for fairness.

We currently live in an economy that is visibly failing on this score.

Co-operatives should, I believe, play an essential part in the economy of the future.

But we live in an economy held back by the past.

Wealth is more concentrated now than it has been for a century or more.

Social mobility has dwindled.

Financial legislation is being unwound and serious attempts at scrutiny scrapped, just a few years after the catastrophic crash that was the bankers’ responsibility.

Yet we have lived with a succession of governments who have promised the opposite.

They believed that by unleashing markets, governments would unleash opportunity and creativity.

This approach promised new freedom for individuals, free from the dead hand of the state.

The Tories promised a “shareholding democracy” would arrive through privatisation. A “trickle-down effect” would mean that, even if the rich got very rich indeed, everyone else would be a little better off.

But the promises of freedom and “popular capitalism” turned out to be illusory.

Today, share ownership by individuals is at the close to the lowest level ever recorded. Just 12% of shares are owned by individuals in the UK, down from 28% in 1982, and pension funds own only 3%.

So a “shareholding democracy” never happened.

What we saw instead was an immense concentration of wealth in the hands of the very few.

Today, 62 people own the same wealth as half the world’s population.

But the same process was arguably more sweeping in Britain than many other places.

We moved, on economist Thomas Piketty’s figures, from one of the most equal economies in the Western world, to one of the most unequal.

As a share of GDP, the state wasn’t shrunk. But it was transformed.

On one hand, government became more centralised. Local authorities, for example, were stripped of their powers.

On the other side, the state became more passive, just moving money from one place to another. So the share of public spending on social security has risen as that for investment has fallen.

And when our banks crashed, the state was there, in effect, to arrange an immense transfer of wealth for them, backed up with promises of more.

We bailed out the banking system, and stabilised the economy, at vast expense.

And caught up in the crisis was the Co-op Bank: an institution behaving too little like a co-op and too much like a commercial bank.

We are left with a world in which the fundamental promises of the free market approach have not been delivered.

Instead of a trickle-down effect, we have had a monstrous “trickle-up”. Instead of a more dynamic economy, productivity has slumped.

George Osborne, since becoming Chancellor, has squandered his chance to resolve any of these structural problems.

Our economy remains unbalanced. Whilst services have recovered, manufacturing has actually shrunk since 2008.

Employment in London has risen by 12%. Employment in the rest of the whole country is up just 0.3%.

Our imbalance with the rest of the world, the current account deficit, has reached record levels in the last twelve months.

After years of collectively repaying their debts, households have begun to borrow again.

Unsecured lending, the riskiest kind, on things like credit cards and payday loans, is rising rapidly. TUC research reports that the number of people with “problem debt” has risen by 700,000 in the last two years, to 3.2 million.

The gender pay gap remains stubbornly large, at 9.4%.

This is what austerity economics has left us with and, if it continues, the next Labour government will have to repair the damage.

We can’t turn the clock back

However, we need to be quite clear about this. Whatever the achievements of the past, we cannot simply turn the clock back – whether to 1997, 1964, or 1945.

We must defend, and we are defending, those achievements. The victory on tax credits was one part of that. We now have the fight of a generation in defence of our NHS and so much else.

A priority for the next Labour government will be in sustaining the good that has been achieved in the past.

But that isn’t enough. The changes that have been wrought in our society over that period of time are now so great that they impose the need for a profound shift in how we think about changing the world.

The reasons are well-known. First, what some still think of as the traditional working class has been shrunk. Manufacturing today accounts for just ten percent of all employment.

Only 14% of private sector workers are in a union.

The working class today is still the clear majority of the population. But it is far more fragmented. The ability to win a political majority by appealing to major sectional interests has waned as a result.

The forward march of labour hasn’t “halted”. But it has changed its uniform.

Second, there is the immense cynicism about our major institutions. Big business, banks, the media: none are trusted. But nor are politicians.

So whilst opinion polls report clear majority support for basic, longstanding demands like nationalising the railways, there is a deep cynicism about the capacity of government to deliver.

Put these two factors together, and they mean we’ve depended for too long on a strategy that looked only to the state as a vehicle for change.

The argument that came to dominate the left, from at least the 1930s, was a simple one.

First take the state. Then use the state to change society.

This simple proposition achieved an extraordinary amount. We live today with the legacy of what the labour movement and its party have achieved.

Some of our most enduring and popular institutions – the NHS outstanding amongst them – were the product of this way of thinking.

Capitalism, it was argued during the long boom after the Second World War, had been successfully tamed. It was no longer the brutal struggle depicted by its early critics.

Government intervention and the welfare state had smoothed its rough edges. Private property in production was no longer sacrosanct and giant corporations effectively planned and managed large chunks of the economy.

Government’s main task was to redistribute from a growing economy. Rising equality would follow.

Deeper questions of ownership, control, and democracy were left to one side.

Labour governments, Old and New, thought and worked like this.

So the post-war boom saw rapid economic growth and falling inequality under Old Labour governments.

New Labour, meanwhile, oversaw a decade of rapid growth, and restrained the growth of inequality.

Both approaches involved a compromise with the reality of capitalism in their day.

Their success, however, meant deeper questions about the economy were left unasked by the mainstream of Labour.

And that, in turn, left Labour governments unprepared for system-wide crises.

The first, in the 1970s, brought about the collapse of the global economic order that had sustained rapid growth for the previous thirty years.

The second, at the end of the 2000s, brought about the collapse of the financial system that had sustained rapid growth for a decade.

We are still very much living through the consequences of that second collapse. We may yet find ourselves confronted by what Bank of England Chief Economist Andrew Haldane has called the “third wave” of global crisis.

If New Labour made a mistake that Old Labour did not, it was to cede too much to the existing powers.

This compromise meant a Labour government had to rely on a fundamentally unsustainable model of debt-driven growth.

We need to change the rules of the game.

Left unchanged, we can see the direction of travel.

Rising inequality, as Thomas Piketty and others have suggested.

Increased environmental destruction.

The erosion of our basic civil rights, in our workplaces and outside them.

Our problem, today, is that we must learn to think systemically about the kind of economy we want.

And where our opponents now warn and threaten about the terrors ahead, we must present a positive case for the future we all want.

The charity Nesta published a fascinating piece of research recently, showing how “future-focused” the different party manifestos were in last year’s election.

The Tories talked relentlessly, overwhelmingly about the future. Labour, strikingly, did not.

We cannot allow that to happen again. We cannot be small ‘c’ conservatives.

But the future we want will be built on the best of what we do now. We learn from the past.

As anti-fascist writer Carlo Levi put it, the future has an ancient heart.

The co-operative tradition

If the old economic strategies have run their course, we must look elsewhere.

There is a long labour movement tradition of decentralisation and grass-roots organisation. But it has been somewhat hidden by the success of the alternative.

This radical tradition has deep roots in our collective history. From RH Tawney, GDH Cole and the guild socialists, back to the Rochdale Pioneers, the Society of Weavers in Fenwick, Ayrshire, and even further back to the radicals of the English Civil War.

With the stress on self-organisation and on-the-ground solutions to problems, this tradition stressed the need to organise not just to win the state.

Even in the successes of the state, however, we can see this tradition at work. Take the NHS, the crowning achievement of Labour’s greatest government.

But it was modelled on and inspired by the medical benefit fund in Tredegar – Aneurin Bevan’s home town. This was a fund set up by a local initiative to provide medical treatment to the local community. It was a hugely successful scheme.

Bevan said, when asked about his plans as Health Minister, that what he was doing was “extending to the entire population of Britain the benefits we had in Tredegar for a generation or more. We are going to ‘Tredegarise’ you.”

There is a thread within the labour and radical movement of self-organisation, running right back even before the Chartists to those early organisers for democracy against “Old Corruption”.

We have much to draw on here. A tradition and an argument within the labour movement that stressed not just the need to make demands of the state, and to implement top-down measures, but work from the bottom-up, can provide a natural fit with both the changed society we inhabit, and the changes we can see coming.

Technology is proving disruptive. It can have terrible downsides – deskilling and an accelerated concentration of wealth.

But it also opens up new possibilities – the explosion of sharing that the Internet can provide.

There is an entrepreneurial spirit at work here: not the theatrical meanness and one-upmanship of Gordon Gekko, but a desire to create something better for us all.

The expansion of co-operatives in Britain since the crisis, matching developments across the rest of the world, shows the potential. There are now more than 7,000 independent co-operatives throughout the UK, contributing £35bn to the economy.

Co-operative businesses are more stable. Whilst only one in three new businesses makes it through the difficult first five years, four out of five co-ops do.

An effective economic strategy for the left would look now to build on this.

It means thinking beyond using the state to redistributeincomes. It means thinking about how we can ensureassets are distributed more fairly.

Next steps

We can already see where this is happening. Local councils, pushed to their limits by spending cuts, have been forced to respond to deteriorating economic conditions.

Oldham Council has looked to develop its own responses to the crisis, working with Oldham Credit Union to reduce the burden of problem debt locally. Its Fair Employment Charter rewards local employers and looks to use local authority procurement to improve working conditions.

Enfield council in London has developed innovative contracting models with major local employers to support good jobs.

And Preston, inspired by the example of Cleveland, Ohio, has developed an extensive programme of work. Preston was one of the councils facing the very sharpest cuts to its funding out of any in the country. But they are responding creatively.

They have got major local employers and buyers – so-called anchor institutions, like the University of Central Lancashire – to drive through a local programme of economic transformation. By changing their procurement policies, these anchor institutions were able to drive up spending locally.

They’re looking to shift a proportion of the joint council’s £5.5bn pension fund to focus on local businesses, keeping the money circulating in Preston.

And the council is actively seeking opportunities to create local co-operatives as a part of local business succession, working with the local Chamber of Commerce. The aim is to sustain high quality local employment, by giving the chance for workers to keep a business in local hands.

It’s inspiring to see Labour councils responding to profound challenges like this.

It is not enough to oppose austerity. We must also provide a vision of the future. In embryo, and in dire circumstances, some of what Labour local authorities are doing is precisely that.

But it is action at scale that can make the biggest difference.

What the central government does still matters – even if it cannot, and should not, do everything.

A future Labour government will end the current programme of spending cuts. We will protect what has already been won.

But we must look beyond this point. We should be seizing the opportunity to create a fairer, more democratic society.

Osborne wants to make the government smaller, blindly hacking away at essentials like flood defences.

We think government should be smarter. That means recognizing the limits of central government – but recognizing also when it can help.

It’s not about flipping Osborne on his head, and simply increasing government spending. But we know there are some things government can do better.

Vital infrastructure spending has fallen under this government. Labour will invest, and invest across the whole country.

A fairer economy requires a fairer tax system. The great majority of people pay their taxes because they know taxes sustain the services we all need. It’s part of what makes a good, functioning, fair society.

Yet we have large corporations and the super-rich apparently viewing tax payments as an optional extra. That can’t go on. Ultimately, it undermines the public services we all need – and forces the burden of taxation onto people less able to carry it.

We can’t pretend state spending is the answer to everything. There are clear limits on what can be achieved here. But we can make the system work far better, and distribute the burden more fairly.

My colleague Seema Malhotra is currently looking at the current system of so-called “tax expenditures” – the different get-outs and reliefs provided by the tax system.

A thicket of different schemes has grown up, costing the taxpayer £110bn a year. Some of this will be justified. But some of it will not be. We’ll look at whether we need to simplify the system so it is fairer to everyone and encourages the growth a fair and prosperous economy.

We’d create a fairer tax system, taxing assets in an economically efficient way. And we’d help create the conditions for a flourishing of co-operative entrepreneurship.

We’d work with our partners in the Co-operative Party to help bring this about.

The biggest hurdle faced in establishing co-ops is in initial funding.

Small businesses in general, and not just co-operatives, face dreadful difficulties in getting the funding they need from our high-street banks.

No other major developed economy has just five banks providing 80% of loans. We’d look to break up these monopolies, introducing real competition and choice.

Regional and local banks, prudently run and with a public service mandate, have to be part of the solution here.

With consortium co-operatives providing an effective means for new businesses to share and reduce costs, we’d look to support these at a local level, working with local authorities, businesses and trade unions.

Italy’s Marcora Law, providing matched funding for those seeking to establish co-ops, is a model worth considering.

We will look into the recommendation in Graeme Nuttall’s report on employee ownership, creating a statutory right to request employee ownership and have proposals considered by their employers.

We should look to extend this approach, offering employees first rights on buying out a company or plant that is being dissolved, sold, or floated on the stock exchange.

The Tories have offered a “Right to Buy”.

Labour would seek to better this. We’d be creating a new “Right to Own”.

We will discuss these co-operative ideas as Labour’s “New Economics” lecture series, which we announced this week, is expanded across the country.

And as our policy development process rolls out over the next few years we will ask ourselves time and time again how the practical, everyday-socialist principles of the co-operative movement can be applied.

In an uncertain world where a laissez faire market approach continues to fail, co-operation is an idea whose time has come again.

This is the start of developing a new, positive economic alternative for Labour.

It’s the new economics.

Momentum – Public Meeting with John McDonnell

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Public Meeting with  Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell 

Mon 22 Feb, 7pm, Middlesex University

shadowchancellor

John McDonnell pays tribute to Barnet UNISON members and Save Barnet Libraries campaign

“ I want to pay tribute and send solidarity greetings to Barnet UNISON and Save Barnet Libraries campaign for their sterling efforts to expose and prevent the proposed widespread decimation of their Library service. The combination of strike action and the recent legal challenge is an inspiration to all of us fighting austerity policies up and down the country.”

John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor

Save Barnet Libraries – Binge reading warning

Cutting Barnet Libraries could impact on health outcomes and crime

“Binge reading & Under-age reading!”

Word is out amongst our members working in Libraries that the current fantasy library proposals could rapidly lead to potentially serious medical conditions for Barnet Library users which could add further pressure on our local NHS services and an increase in crime.

“Binge reading” – health risks

Staffless Libraries will mean limited access to Barnet Libraries for children under 16 and people with disabilities. Our library workers believe this will inevitably lead to an outbreak of “binge reading”.

“It’s just an awful condition which leaves the customer badly in need of a regular fix of more and more books. They get really desperate and just any book will do. It’s sad to see, they don’t care, it could be fiction, non-fiction, or even magazines. I knew one customer who only read hardbacks, but once he began binge reading he was taking anything he could get his hands on. I just don’t think our Council realises the risks it’s taking with their Library proposals” (Anonymous Barnet Library worker)

Under-age reading & crime

Barnet Library staff have reported their concern that as a result of restricted access for children under 16 to their local Library, there could be an increase of underage reading. One worker who wanted to remain anonymous said:

“It’s sad really, that the council has promoted a policy which could lead to underage reading. It leaves children at risk of exploitation. The idea that book pushers could populate the streets of Barnet is frightening. We know book pushers will not supply quality books, quite often it is cheap, poor quality books. But the books they push are addictive. I worry for young people, they should have access to high quality books available in a safe environment.”

John Burgess UNISON Branch secretary said:

“We have repeatedly warned the Council of the serious health and anti-social behaviour risks that could quickly sweep across our local communities. I believe there are well researched reports detailing the impact of binge reading on health outcomes which inevitably bring unwelcome pressure on an already overloaded NHS. The Council also refuses to accept the risk of increased crime as a result of under-age reading. The prospect of book pushers on the streets of Barnet fills me with dread. That is why I would encourage library lovers wherever you are to view this excellent Save Barnet Libraries Animation here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3XfibjbJuA and Sign our Save Barnet Libraries Petition here

https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-to-volunteer-and-unstaffed-libraries-in-barnet?bucket&source=facebook-share-button&time=1448832079

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/?q=node/1674

#SaveBarnetLibraries

Barnet Labour – Housing Commission Report Launch Event

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Housing Commission Report

Launch Event

25th of January Clayton Crown Hotel, Cricklewood Broadway please  RSVP here.

Lack of affordable housing in Barnet is now one of the top 2 concerns for local people according to the council’s latest Residents’ Perception Survey.

People are finding it hard to get onto the housing ladder with average house prices in the borough at nearly half a million pounds. Private sector rents are the highest in outer-London with many rented properties poorly managed and maintained.

Homelessness is increasing, and with recent news that Barnet Council is set to increase council rents for new build to 65% of average open market rents from 30%, more and more people will find themselves trapped in a cycle of debt, eviction and homelessness.

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Barnet’s Labour councillors have set-up a Housing Commission to look into how Barnet can increase the supply of affordable homes, and help improve standards in the private rented sector.

Our Commission is Chaired by Nicky Gavron AM, and is made up of independent housing experts, local community representatives and Labour councillors. You can find out more about our Commissioners here.

The Commission will meet at least six times over the next 8 months, and will be taking evidence from housing professionals, other London boroughs and the local community. The meetings will all be open to the public to attend.

Our launch event and first evidence session took place on Thursday 20 November at the Crown Moran Hotel on Cricklewood Broadway, with Guest Speaker Cllr Sarah Hayward, Leader of Camden Council – thanks to all who participated! You can see footage here from the meeting courtesy of the Barnet Bugle.

We held our second evidence session on Monday 1 December at the Rainbow Centre on Dollis Valley Drive, and heard evidence from private tenants’ rights campaigner, Jacky Peacock OBE, Roz Spencer, Rogue Landlord Taskforce Co-ordinator, LB Lewisham, Duncan Bowie, Senior Lecturer in Spatial Planning at the University of Westminster, Professor Marjorie Mayo & Ines Newman, authors of ‘Tackling the housing crisis‘ and Maria Brenton, co-founder of Older Women’s CoHousing (Owch). You can see footage from that meeting here – courtesy of the Barnet Bugle once more.

Our third evidence session took place on Monday 8 December at the Friern Barnet Community Library. We heard from Sarah Sackman – Public Law Barrister and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Finchley & Golders Green,  Alison Inman – Board Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing and the Tenant Participation Advisory Service, and steering group member of SHOUT (Social Housing Under Threat), Kate Murray – former Editor of Inside Housing and steering group member of SHOUT, Cllr Phil Glanville – Cabinet Member for Housing, LB Hackney and Cllr James Murray – Cabinet Member for Housing, LB Islington. Footage of this session can be viewed here – courtesy of the Barnet Bugle as ever.

Our fourth evidence session took place on Thursday 8 January at the Park Road Youth & Community Centre, West Hendon. We heard evidence from Christine Hynes – CEO of Climate Energy Homes, Andrew Dismore – Assembly Member for Barnet & Camden and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Hendon, Dan Knowles – Director of Sawyer Fielding, Cllr Stephen Cowan – Leader of LB Hammersmith & Fulham,Jasmin ParsonsOur West Hendon and Janette EvansBarnet Housing Action Group. Footage of this session can be found here courtesy of the Barnet Bugle.

Our fifth evidence session took place on Monday 23 February at the Grahame Park Community Centre in Colindale. We heard evidence from Cllr Barry Rawlings – the Barnet Labour Group’s Deputy Leader and Health Spokesperson, Cllr Mick O’SullivanChair of the London Federation of Housing Co-ops, and Chair of Islington’s Housing Scrutiny Committee, Cllr David Rodgers – former CEO of CDS Co-operatives, the largest co-operative housing service agency in the UK, former President of the International Co-operative Alliance (Housing) and the Deputy Cabinet for Housing at LB Ealing, John Dix – aka Mr Reasonable,Theresa Musgrove – aka Mrs Angry of the Broken Barnet blog, Patrick Hunter – Unison convenor, Barnet Homes, Cllr Nagus Narenthira – NASUWT and Labour councillor in Colindale. Footage of this session can be found here courtesy of the Barnet Bugle.

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Our sixth evidence session took place on Wednesday 8 July at the Park Road Youth & Community Centre, West Hendon. We heard evidence from Nicholas Boys Smith – Founder of Create Streets, Maggie Rafalowicz – Campbell Tickell, Tom Copley AM, and Keith Nason – Secretary of Barnet NUT.

Our final public evidence session took place on Thursday 10 September at 7.30pm – once again at the Park Road Youth & Community Centre, West Hendon. We heard evidence from Daren Nathan, Development Director at Durkan and Cllr Alan Strickland, Cabinet Member for Housing & Regeneration, LB Haringey.

Over September and October we have continued to take evidence from other London boroughs, and other organisations including housing associations in Wales, and so our report has been delayed and will be launched on Monday 25 January. To attend the launch event please RSVP here.

We look forward to seeing you at our report launch event!

Cllr Alison Moore, Joint Vice Chair, Housing Commission and London Assembly list candidate

Cllr Ross Houston, Joint Vic Chair, Housing Commission and Labour’s Housing Spokesperson

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