In this email:
- Public Meeting: FIghting Back Against Austerity, Monday March 23rd 7pm
- New SATC email system
- Cuts to legal aid for domestic violence survivors
- NHS updates and actions following our public meeting
- ...and finally
1. Public Meeting: FIghting Back Against Austerity, Monday March 23rd 7pm
Our next public meeting is again at The Old Town Hall in the Shambles, Stroud (GL5 1AP).
We will be looking at the effects of Austerity in the UK and discussing "How we can fight cuts and privatisation", all in the context of the forthcoming General Election. All are welcome, and entrance is free, with a collection to cover costs.
Please join us at the entrance to Merrywalks on Kings St. on Saturday 21st March at 10.30am to leaflet to publicise the meting if you are able. If you'd like a copy of the poster to print out and display where you live, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
2. New SATC email system
Due to a change in the way the company that provides our website and email services stores its data, we lost our email list. Luckily, we did not lose our emails. We have taken this opportunity to set up a better email system. If this is the first Stroud Against the Cuts email you've ever received - this system is better at ensuring our emails are not mistaken for spam. If you've been receiving our emails happily, you should notice very little difference - but it will make it easier for us to include pictures, share these updates on social media, and provide various other improvements. As ever, you are able to unsubscribe at any time.
3. Cuts to legal aid for domestic violence survivors
Survivors of domestic violence are being denied access to legal aid due to restrictive conditions brought in to save money, the Guardian reports. This is the result of the the 2012 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (Laspo) which, among other things, "withdrew legal aid for family law cases except for those who provide evidence of domestic violence in the previous two years". As a result, "More than a third of victims of domestic violence cannot provide the evidence required to obtain legal aid" according to the justice select committee warned. This news came the same week that the TUC and Women’s Aid released a report on Women’s experience of financial abuse and potential implications for Universal Credit.
4. NHS updates and actions following our public meeting
Many thanks to those of you who attended our meeting on "Rebuilding the NHS" last month. See below for follow-up links. For those of you unable to attend, we will publish ASAP film footage of the talks and Q & A (sadly editing takes time). We hope that those of you able to attend found the meeting useful. Many of you have asked for more suggestions of action to take so some dates for your diaries and more are below. First:
If you have not yet seen Michael Sheen's speech to the People's March for the NHS a few weeks ago, you really should watch it (the link is to the full 10 minute speech - you may have seen only the second half if you have followed links shared previously. The full text is available on the OurNHS website).
Sadly, the local community hospitals' pharmacy contract was won by Lloyds (Stroud News and Journal article). This was discussed on Radio Gloucestershire (listen again link - main segment is at about 1 hour and 37 minutes) - including an interview with CEO of Gloucestershire Care Services Paul Jennings, and comments from James Beecher, Chair of Stroud Against the Cuts.
Please support the NHS Reinstatement Bill which was put into Parliament last week. You can Email your MP about the bill, download the leaflet publicising the bill, or if you have not heard about it before, read this article in the New Statesman, which explains the Reinstatement Bill.
We also mentioned the 4:1 mandatory NHS staffing ratio campaign - there is a petition you can add your signature to.
March 29th - Manchester Devolution Protest - Assemble 10:30am Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester
April 6th - Immigration Act Implementation Day protest - Everywhere, leaflet local NHS hospitals and services to highlight the impact of the Immigration Bill on the NHS.
April 18th - No TTIP National Day of Action. Contact Linda Kaucher’s organisation for info on 18th April: http://stopttip.net/contact/, or see the details about a National meeting to organise to stop TTIP.
The NHS Support Federation have produced some easily digested infographics on the state of the NHS.
Meanwhile, privatisation continues apace. The "sudden" announcement that Greater Manchester is soon to be a devolved NHS state is a frightening & painful step that paves the way for more lethal fragmentation & dissection of our NHS. Visit the 999 page about this for detailed information about the proposals, and why they must be opposed: Devo Manc cannot be allowed to go forward. David Wrigley, Lancashire GP and Keep Our NHS Public member has written this blog about Manchester Devolution - Manchester: The Birth& Death of the NHS
... and today a leak revealed the worrying truth behind the biggest NHS privatisation yet. Stroud Against the Cuts member Caroline Molloy writes on the OurNHS website: "The leaked proposals include handing all responsibility for commissioning cancer services for 800,000 patients to a ‘prime provider’ - which can be a private company - who will then sub-contract services to companies of their choice, after an initial 2-year handover period... During the first two years the main responsibility on the company will be to develop a more detailed set of ‘service outcomes’ - the criteria that they will be measured against for the remaining eight years.
[This] is a unique arrangement - deciding ‘most of elements of contract design’ such as performance standards and targets, after the contract has been awarded. The company writes its own rules, effectively, and decides what it will - and won't - do."
The privatisation of Staffordshire cancer care story is grim, but essential reading - as is the "NHS For Sale" book mentioned at our previous meeting - we have 5 copies available and you will be able to buy them (for £10) at our upcoming public meeting.
5. ...and finally:
You'll need some light relief after all that, so...
Grant Shapps, the Tory party chairman, had a second job as a “multimillion-dollar web marketer” under the pseudonym Michael Green for at least year after he first became an MP. This fact contrasts a little with a statement made by Mr Shapps on LBC radio (video): "So, to be absolutely clear, I don't have a 2nd job and have never had a second job whilst being an MP. End of story". Now the BBC report Shapps says he "screwed up" in the recent interview - having "over firmly" denied continuing his work as a web marketing expert under the name Michael Green, after being elected in 2005.
Also, did you miss this? Sheffield students occupied Nick Clegg's constituency office
I hope this new email system works for you - if you no longer want to be on our email list you should now find it easier to unsubscribe.