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Today is May Day! Originally a pagan holiday, the roots of the modern May Day bank holiday are in the fight for the eight-hour working day in Chicago in 1886, and the subsequent execution of innocent anarchist workers. May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the Second International Working Men's Association's second congress in 1891. Read a short history of May Day.

The annual march through Stroud celebrating International Workers Day assembles on the forecourt of Stroud Subscription Rooms at 11.30am tomorrow, Saturday - the march moves off at 12 noon.

Sisters Uncut have also organised "a direct action to prevent cuts to vital domestic violence services" on Monday in London (Facebook event link).

In this email:

1. True scale of NHS privatisation revealed
2. The government denies it has cut funding to the NHS - but new research reveals how hidden cuts have pushed hospitals to crisis point
3. PFI, the Banks, and the People Uncovering the Biggest Threat to the NHS
4. Boycott Workfare week of action! Ideas for online actions
5. 17 Demands on the New Government elected on 7th May from Disabled People’s Organisations
6. Free Schools
7. ... and finally!

"We are often told the NHS only spends 6% on the private sector. But this figure actually relates to 2013/4 – and so it tells us very little about the impact of the Health & Social Care Act... Over the last year private firms have won £3.5bn worth of new clinical contracts – an increase of 500% on the previous year". This is an excerpt of a useful article on the Our NHS website, exploring recent research by the NHS Support Federation.

More NHS articles below. Don't forget to sign up to support the NHS Reinstatement Bill and ask parliamentary candidates to do so.

"The government has cut the cash it pays hospitals by over 40% for a quarter of treatments – and by over 70% for one in 10 hospital treatments... [read the full story of NHS tarriff cuts on Our NHS]
On average, payments to hospitals for each treatment they undertake have been cut by 10 per cent since 2010... The cuts are contributing to the growing financial crisis across the NHS, with alarming deficits piling up among acute providers, as hospitals struggle to provide the same service for less money."
"For a general election debate being fought on two headline issues, the NHS and public debt, there is one intrinsically linked issue strangely absent from the public debate. That issue is the Private Finance Initiative – PFI... The Independent recently reported that the outstanding PFI debt at £222bn is more than 4 times the budget deficit being used to justify austerity cuts." Read about how PFI is bleeding the NHS dry, the banks and the people uncovering the biggest threat to the NHS in an article by Joel Bengamin for Novara Wire.
Boycott Workfare write: "This week’s the Week of Action vs Sanctions and Workfare with daily online actions. Please take a minute to:
Four leading Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs) have joined forced to produce a list of 17 demands for the new Government to implement in the first 100 days after being elected. These are based on making the British Government compliant with its obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Dawn Foster has examined the growth of Free Schools, in the London Review of Books: "Since the passing of the Academies Act in 2010, 255 free schools have opened in England; approval has been given to 156 more. The Education Act 2011 stipulated that new schools could open only if they were free schools or academies; a local authority is no longer allowed to open and run a new school unless there is a deficit of school places and no one has bid to open an academy or a free school. For the foreseeable future, free schools and academies will swell in number, and local-authority-controlled state schools will dwindle...

Proponents of the free school system, and of the charter model, point to places where it has worked, such as Washington DC, and tend to avoid mentioning those where it hasn’t, such as Arkansas.Unlike local authority schools and academies, free schools can employ teachers without teaching qualifications and, like academies, they can ignore national agreements on pay and conditions. Stem Academy Tech City near the Angel in London came to attention last year when some of its staff went on strike after the school announced its intention to introduce zero-hours contracts for teachers. The enormous amount of time teachers spend marking and planning lessons would go unpaid, and they would only receive a salary at all during term-time. Eventually Stem Academy reached an agreement with the teachers, but that wasn’t the end of trouble at the school. An Ofsted inspection in January rated its performance, including the quality of its leadership, as Inadequate – the lowest grade." The full article on the growth of Free Schools, in the London Review of Books is recommended.
...and finally:

"The combined fortune of Britain's richest 1,000 people has hit a new high of £519bn – equivalent to a third of the nation's economic output, and double the figure of five years ago.

The worth of Britain's rich elite is up 15.4% from last year's total of £450bn, according to the Sunday Times Rich List."

What a joke...

Happy International Workers' Day
James Beecher
for Stroud Against the Cuts

Copyright © 2015 Stroud Against the Cuts, All rights reserved.

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