Friday 13 December 2013

Lewisham Borough Worst paid people in London.

Borough exposed as one of the worst paid in London

Artists impression northwards looking towards civic square Pic: Tower Hamlets Council
Artists impression northwards looking towards civic square Pic: Tower Hamlets Council
Lewisham has been exposed as one of the worst boroughs in London for low pay.
Lewisham and Bexley are two of the worst paid boroughs in the capital, according to a recent report from independent think tank, Centre for London.
In the capital, an average of 2.9 per cent of workers are paid the minimum wage or below, whereas in Lewisham, 5.2 per cent of workers earn the minimum wage and under.
Surprisingly, Lewisham was the first London borough to decide to pay their council employees and sub-contracted employees the London Living Wage from March 2012 onwards. However the Living Wage is a voluntary initiative for councils and employers and companies in Lewisham have no legal obligation to implement it.
Darren Johnson, Green councillor for Brockley, said: “These figures illustrate that far more needs to be done to ensure Lewisham employers pay the living wage. We need a real push for all companies and organisations to adopt the living wage because the minimum wage simply isn’t enough money for Londoners to survive on.”
Johnson added: “There are concrete things the council can do, such as naming and shaming those companies who aren’t paying up.”
The minimum wage for workers over the age of 21 is £6.31, whereas the London Living Wage is £8.80 per hour.
Tony Reay, head of the London Public Commercial Services Union and Lewisham Trades Council, said: “This is not a new phenomenon. Chronic underinvestment has made Lewisham high on the indices of social deprivation for a long time and successive governments have contributed to the current issue of low wages.”
Reay added: “We need greater regulation for the London living wage, it should not be voluntary and there should be no difference between the minimum wage and the living wage.”
“If the government is trying to get people into work, it must be prepared to invest money in wages. We need fair contracts, not zero hour contracts.”
Reay said that the Lewisham Trades Council was taking concrete steps to ensure local employers and high street stores pay the living wage in Lewisham. He added that an increasing number of high street chains had signed up to the scheme but more work needed to be done.
The policies of the Trades Council are in line with the recommendations from the report, which argue that wage regulation should be devolved to local authority level.
Johnson also argued that adopting the living wage actually reduced costs for employers: “Rather than pushing costs up, it does the opposite – you have a better motivated workforce, less sickness and absenteeism and reduced recruitment costs due to a lower turnover of staff. Therefore, a properly paid workforce makes sense for employers as well as being the moral thing to do for employees.”
The report was unable to provide statistics for the amount of people in Lewisham receiving less than the minimum wage. Nationally, there are 300,000 people receiving less than the minimum.
Lewisham council were not able to provide a comment on the issue.

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Thursday 12 December 2013

Lewisham Council, Lewisham People before Profits John Hamilton hands back keys to last home we saved

Lewisham People Before Profit today handed back the last set of keys to the last home occupied by Lewisham People before Profit to stop the sale of our homes at auction being sold to  buy to let investors.

 John Hamilton handed back the key today as Lewisham  Council made public that the first 94 council homes of 250 promised after Lewisham People Before Profits housing campaign became such a huge success that it launched an entire political movement will start in january.
More on our campaigns please see our website.
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Tuesday 10 December 2013

Christmas thoughts about what it means to care.

Ok its Christmas Slade is still the most popular song on the radio after 40 years.. really was it that long ago?,
The weather thank God has not dropped below freezing and i can sleep a bit better at night not having to worry about some poor sod through no fault of there own on the streets of  the 6 richest country in the world , but what a year as we come to the end, Food banks are opening at an alarming rate, whilst home owners are told property prices will rise by 40% over the coming years, so do not put this boom at risk, and stick with the posh boys on election today, cannot trust the Labour lot with the economy they got us us in this mess, are we all so shallow that we allow the value of our homes to be the deciding factor as to how we vote in 2014/15? are we all so pissed of with the system that we will totally opt out come the next round of elections and allow the establishment to steal the last of whats on the shelfs? Gordan gave away our Gold and raved aboutr PFI that has bleed the NHS dry, the torys just say they are carrying on were the Labour party left off, but doing things better, Labour are presently promising to out do the Conservatives once in power only to aware that increasing numbers of the poor no longer vote, along with the young, Labour has moved so far to the right over the years that an army of new political movements have be3en launched, SNP did the impossible they beat the voting system that was designed to insure no party could get outright control, but Alex did it for the SNP causing a huge loss to traditional Labour in Scotland whilst the Scotish Socialist party is bitting at its ankles taking a way the hard core traditional Labour voters and activists opposed to the privatisation agenda, in South East Greens have hit the headlines for problems runnuing Brighton Council but its Green MP is set to hold her seat due to the huge profile and campaigns , Respect is dead or growing depending on who you speak to, the Left Unity party has been Launched this year and Lewisham People Before Profit came from 7th at the last local elections to almost win the rock solid Labour Seat of evelyn ward in Deptford with 24 of the vote and are on track to win it outright in 2014, UKIP continue to be the media darlings and will do very real damage to the Conservatives, although increasingly are gaining more Labour voters, had the Greens had the publicity that UKIP has had you do wonder what polling figure they would have in the present crises.On November 5th 1 million people blogged the west end, only twitter and blogs reported on this as the state introduced a media blackout fearful this opeaceful protest would go national, the worst part of 2013 has been the way the media has stopped reporting protest, 60.000 protesting in Manchester in support of theNHS was almost ignored and yet far to many of us trust our TV news. In 2014 i would urge you to do more on line, join twitter, read blogs be open but not surprised.
Why do i say all this? Well politics does matter, we are seeing changes on a scale never seen before, the Goverment admits it is ideology that drives this agenda and privatisation and cuts are the future from either Labour or a Tory Goverment, as we end 2013, i would just ask that you take time out to think.. Think about your neighbours, family members how are they coping? poverty shames like no other and you would be hard pressed to get your own parents to admit the cupboad is bare this Christmas, if you have sonme spare case the We Care food bank always needs, helpers, cash to keep the shelfs full andcloths and furniture etc to help pay the bills. Think about how and why you vote , could you do more? could you stand yourself for the Council instead of leaving your ward to be won by a Carreer politician? does your local community group needs some help, deliverinmg news letters, stuffing envelopes or just making the tea. for many 2013 was a great year, but for the 6 million in poverty 2013 was the future. Under the last Labour Goverment we had the slogan... Make Poverty History..What became of that? Poverty copsts us dear in NHS charges due to poor health, Low pay leads to huge sums in welfare and housing rent payments, all could be addressed and i constantly ask why only People Before Profit solution to ending poverty is not more main stream, but i hope and believe 20-14 will be the year people truly start a fight back and refuse to accept the greed and abuse of power by thevestablishment and vote alternative, get angry and active.
Iceland in the crash went bust. The new Goverment has put on trial all the bankers, Every one with a Mortgage has had it writtern of by the Goverment, The Iceland Goverment had a vote and its people voted NO to paying back the money scamed by the bankers.. It could be so different .
Have a great Christmas, i am still staggered at the thousands of you who read my blog every month, follow me on twitter@RayWoolford or support the endless campaigning that we all do for our community as part of . I hope that one day we meet as people in arms, as human beings helping others less fortunate or on the streets exposing greed and abuse of power.. Have a good one!

Monday 9 December 2013

Greenwich Labour Party gripped by more scandle over party leadership

Greenwich Council bullying: The cleaner’s story revealed

by Darryl

Greenwich Council leader Chris Roberts threw a set of keys at a cleaner after she woke him up in his office, according to a report aired on BBC1's Sunday Politics London this morning.
The incident, believed to have taken place early one morning in 2009, has long been talked about in council circles, but journalists have struggled to stand up the allegations.
But Sunday Politics London's Andrew Cryan has revealed that chief executive Mary Ney held three meetings over the incident with the cleaner, one which also featured Roberts, but no minutes were taken, and the leader did not apologise.
Greenwich Council leader and bully Chris RobertsBarbara Clarke, the cleaner who was injured by Roberts, died last year. But her son, Jerome Clarke, told Sunday Politics London: "Mum accidentally opened the door on him, not realising someone was there. He woke up in a tantrum, and started shouting at her.
"Mum was all apologetic... [and asked] 'if you don't mind I can collect the keys and come back when you're ready'.
"Again, he just went beserk, went into a tantrum and just threw the keys at my mum. The keys were almost going for her face, she put her hands up to protect herself and the keys smashed onto her wrist. It was sprained and bruised."
Ms Clarke complained to Greenwich Council, which told Sunday Politics London her account did not tally with her son's account, but it would not explain how.
But it claimed that Ms Clarke had changed her version of events, saying that she had left her keys in Roberts' office, and he had tossed the keys to her over the balcony, but she lost her balance after catching them - a version of events her son disagrees with.
"She was upset and stressed and felt nobody was listening to her," Jerome Clarke told the programme.
Roberts would not appear on camera, but said in a statement he "categorically rejected" Jerome Clarke's version of events.
The incident has been known about for years, but this is the first time the story has been told in public. Earlier this year, this website was passed an anonymous statement reiterating the allegations, but when I tried to stand it up, I hit a wall of silence. Sunday Politics London has been working on the story for some weeks.
The incident has been hinted at in public. Former Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Webbewood once asked Roberts in a full council meeting if he was still in the habit of sleeping in his office.
Chris Roberts and David Grant
One-time critic David Grant became one of Roberts' defenders after a year as ceremonial mayor
Most Labour councillors have been reluctant to face the issue.
One who challenged Roberts on the issue changed his tune after he was made mayor. Greenwich West councillor David Grant challenged Roberts for the leadership, telling his colleages he "wouldn't be the kind of leader who throws keys at cleaners".
But since spending a year as mayor in 2012/13, Grant has become one of Roberts' most loyal public defenders, yelling "cheap!" when a reference was made to his behaviour at last October's council meeting. Sunday Politics London wanted to film that meeting, but were refused permission by current mayor Angela Cornforth, who also threw out a motion designed to highlight intimidation in the council, asking that it investigate the possibility of choosing a leader by secret ballot.
Labour's shadow minister for London, Sadiq Khan, told the programme that if any allegations were made of bullying, then they should be investigated.
He told presenter Jo Cobourn: "Allegations of bullying are very serious, and if they are made they will be investigated.
"There is no place in politics, or any other way of life for bullying. And if there are allegations, then please - if somebody's watching this, please make them to the Labour Party."
The programme also featured Roberts' abusive voicemail to cabinet member John Fahy, the existence of which was first revealed on this website.
But it is unclear what has happened to a standards committee investigation into this, and Greenwich Council is refusing to investigate a possible conflict of interest revealed by the voicemail.
Indeed, there are rumours that Greenwich Council's Labour group, headed by chief whip Ray Walker, has decided to pursue the leak of the voicemail, rather than the bullying behaviour it reveals.
Following Sadiq Khan's pledge on television today - and Jerome Clarke's damning testimony - hopefully now councillors will see sense, see beyond their own self-interest, and do something to finally clean up the issue.
The report can also be seen on BBC iPlayer until 15 December.

This is the Trussell Trust Official response to wide spread concern about how the food banks are operating.

A response to inaccurate and misleading reports about The Trussell Trust

There are some factually inaccurate, misleading and damaging online blogs currently circulating about The Trussell Trust which, if believed, could have an adverse effect on our ability to provide emergency food to UK people in crisis. Thank you for coming to us to find out more about these issues, we hope the answers provided below help to dispel some of the rumours. If you have further questions we’re happy to answer them:

Is the Trussell Trust funded by government? Is it linked to a political party?

As stated on our website, The Trussell Trust does not receive any government funding. The Trussell Trust is entirely a-political and always has been. The foodbank social franchise was developed and launched in 2004 under a Labour government but it is neither a labour initiative nor an initiative related to the Coalition government or its recent policy initiatives.
The Trussell Trust has sought from the start to provide emergency food to people in crisis who are facing hunger and to raise awareness of the reality of UK food poverty so that policy makers across all parties are aware of the depth of the problem and can create policies to tackle it. The Trussell Trust has made an undeniable and significant contribution to raising public and political awareness of food poverty in the UK.

Welfare reform

Trussell Trust foodbanks will not benefit from current welfare reforms or become part of the welfare state. Indeed, we are concerned that welfare reforms could lead to an increase in the number of people who will need to be referred to foodbanks and that this could place strain on foodbanks and their donors.
The Trussell Trust has advised our foodbanks against entering into contractual agreements with local authorities and do not think foodbanks should become part of state welfare provision. Trussell Trust foodbanks are there for those who slip through the welfare net in order to prevent a crisis turning into disaster, not a replacement for the welfare state. The Trussell Trust, and Chris Mould in particular, have repeatedly and publically highlighted our concerns that government welfare reforms are likely to negatively impact people in poverty and have urged politicians to speak to us to find out more about the reality of food poverty so that they can create policies to help the poorest.

Are rumours that The Trussell Trust was founded by Conservative councillor Noel Atkins true? Is The Trussell Trust affiliated to the Conservative party?

There are some misleading blogs circulating online that suggest that The Trussell Trust is in some way affiliated to the Conservative Party, which is completely untrue: The Trussell Trust is an a-political charity that receives no government funding.
A former trustee was a Conservative councillor but he was not a founding member (he was in post from 2007 – 2012) and his role as councillor was entirely separate to his role as trustee at The Trussell Trust. The Trussell Trust’s Executive Chairman, Chris Mould, is a member of the Labour Party but this does not mean that The Trussell Trust is affiliated to the Labour Party either. Trustees are appointed to govern charities and have an individual as well as collective responsibility to exercise proper independence in their discharge of those duties – i.e they cannot allow personal political or professional connections to guide them when carrying out duties as trustees.

Is The Trussell Trust controlled by the Shaftesbury Partnership?

Trussell Trust Executive Chairman Chris Mould splits his time between The Trussell Trust and the Shaftesbury Partnership (an a-political social enterprise). His role at the Shaftesbury Partnership is entirely separate to his role as Executive Chairman of The Trussell Trust. The Trussell Trust is not part of or affiliated to the Shaftesbury Partnership. Chris Mould became a partner in the Shaftesbury Partnership in 2010 many years after his involvement began in the Trussell Trust.

Does The Trussell Trust make a profit?

The Trussell Trust is a not-for-profit charity that does not profit from churches joining our network or from welfare reforms or the increased use people are making of foodbanks – quite the opposite! It is a charity supported by individual donors, independent grant making bodies and businesses as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. We receive no government funding and The Trussell Trust’s finances have been stretched immensely by the pressure of responding to increasing need. We are incredibly grateful to the public who support us with food donations, volunteer time and funds.
The Trussell Trust does not make a profit from churches starting foodbanks with us. Organisations that decide to sign up to develop a Trussell Trust foodbank make a commitment to give a £1,500 contribution towards the cost of what they receive from the Trussell Trust.  Every church that sets up a foodbank receives over £5,000 in value from the Trussell Trust in the first year alone: this includes an operating manual, onsite training, a template website, an online data collection system which supports their operations, a helpline, PR support, marketing materials and a share in the benefits of nationally negotiated fundraising initiatives and corporate relationships. The value for money is exceptional.

Does The Trussell Trust pay large salaries?

No – The Trussell Trust believes it is inappropriate to pay large salaries when working with people in poverty. Our directors earn less than £40,000pa. We are committed to paying a living wage to all our staff.

Are Trussell Trust foodbanks dignified?

The Trussell Trust deliberately designed a foodbank model for the UK which has dignity at its heart: people do not queue up for food, they are greeted by volunteers, given a cup of tea and welcomed into a warm café style environment. To reduce stigma, clients are given ordinary shopping bags to take food home in. Many people tell us that the foodbank is the first place they've come to where they have been truly listened to and not treated as a number. Many people who have been helped by foodbanks are so touched that they come and volunteer themselves.
A foodbank in Scotland recently gave emergency food to a family who had been hit by two redundancies and a problem with benefits. The mother had to stop breastfeeding her baby because she was too malnourished. She was referred to the foodbank. She said:
“It was just such a relief to finally speak to someone who cared and genuinely wanted to help. The emotional support that we’ve received [at the foodbank] is almost as good as the food. When Aiden (her son) came home from school and saw all the food in the kitchen cupboards he couldn’t believe it. They’ve helped give us hope.”

Are food parcels nutritional? Why do foodbanks work with non-perishable food?

Trussell Trust foodbanks provide three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced non-perishable emergency food. The standardized food parcels have been designed by dieticians to ensure they are nutritionally balanced.  By working with non-perishable food we are able to make sure that a standardized list of items are included, ensuring that the boxes contain the components necessary to make breakfast, lunch and dinner for three days. This avoids the problem of providing a random selection of near-date fresh food items that would not enable a balanced diet.  The food is donated by the public through schools, churches and at supermarket collections. No items are beyond sell by date (the UK has strict food hygiene regulations which prohibit this). These parcels are intended to be a short term measure not a long term solution.
Furthermore, working with ambient and dried foods provides a less expensive way to enable local communities to establish sustainable foodbank projects quickly and effectively without encountering chill chain issues, enabling more people to receive help. It also means that care professionals who do not have easy access to a foodbank can hold food boxes to give to their clients as needs arise.
The Trussell Trust is currently piloting a scheme to run courses on eating healthily on a low budget to provide more people on low incomes with essential cookery and budgeting advice to help longer term - this will include tips on working with fresh seasonal produce.

Are Trussell Trust foodbanks different to other countries?

Trussell Trust foodbanks operate a very different model to foodbank models in the USA, Canada and parts of continental Europe. In particular, Trussell Trust foodbanks discourage reliance on a foodbank, which we do not think is sustainable. Trussell Trust foodbanks offer a time-limited crisis intervention based on a referral system with food vouchers signed off by front-line care professionals. Trussell Trust foodbanks seek to engage with frontline care professionals over longer term plans for the clients they refer and are structured to avoid long term dependency: no self-referral; no drop in service; time-limited support. Trussell Trust foodbank clients may redeem three foodbank vouchers in a row at which point the foodbank manager will contact the referral agent about putting together a support plan to help the client break out of poverty. Longer term support from the foodbank is available in exceptional circumstances as agreed between the foodbank manager and referral agency.
We provide signposting to other agencies and local services able to help resolve the underlying cause of the crisis and we actively partner with referral agencies to make sure that people do not become reliant on emergency food.
Wherever they can, Trussell Trust foodbanks also deliberately create warm, welcoming café style environments to protect dignity and help reduce stigma, which is different to many international models. We use non-perishable food to create nutritionally balanced, standardised food parcels, avoiding the problem of giving people random selections of short-dated surplus food.

If you have any further questions about The Trussell Trust and how we operate please
Thank you!
Find your nearest foodbank here

Foodbank: how it works

Food is donated: supermarket collection
Food is sorted and stored
Frontline care professionals refer clients using a food voucher
Signposting client to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem
Rural foodbank delivery service available in selected foodbanks
Families in crisis receive food
Click on each image to view larger