Home and upcoming actions

The next WAC, or Wandsworth Anti-Austerity Campaign (formerly Wandsworth Against Cuts) meeting will be
Tuesday 1st November at 7.30pm. The venue will be at Dafforne Road, SW17 8TZ close to Tooting Bec tube station. Buses there are 219, 249, 319 and 355.
Please call 07905 352221 if you're planning to come for precise details.
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Dafforne Road streetscape

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Wandsworth Anti-Austerity Campaign (WAC)
wac.doc@btinternet.com
(07905) 352221 
https://sites.google.com/site/wandsagainstcuts/
https://www.facebook.com/WandsworthAgainstCuts

@WWAgainstCuts



Also, here's a link to the Save Falcon Park facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/savefalconpark?fref=ts 
 



See here for leaked news on the latest cuts planned for us all; and here for a stunningly horrific story of our Council in its full glory.





HEATHER SIMPSON'S EXPERIENCE OF THE BEDROOM TAX

"I am disabled. I live in a three bedroom house on the Shaftesbury Estate with my husband and son. My house is owned by the Peabody Trust. I had serious back trouble after having children. As time went on it got worse. It got to the stage that I could not get in and out of my bath or get up my stairs. In the end I had to sleep in my front room and wash in a sink because I couldn’t get in the bath. I applied to my housing trust to move but they did not have any adapted properties available. I was told to move out the borough as it was the only chance that I would probably get of finding an adapted property. I have lived in Battersea all my life. My husband works at a nursery and I have two daughters that live close by. They are always on hand to help me. I was on my housing trust list for seven years trying to get an adapted property but they didn’t have any two bed. I was given a three bed adapted house which I moved to in December 2009.  In April 2013 the bedroom tax was brought in. We get a bit of housing benefit because of my husband’s low wage. Our housing benefit was cut from £65 a week to £48 a week and we have to find the short fall which works out at £82 a month. I am on every home swapper site going to find a two bed property – including the council’s and through Facebook. I have been on to my housing trust and been put on their bidding system where you have to bid for available properties. But there are no two bed adapted places on there. Like I keep saying they never had any adapted properties back in 2009. They still haven’t got any now. All that is going to happen is we will end up getting in to rent arrears then if a place came up we wouldn’t be allowed to move. We will end up in court. I have a degenerative condition which impairs my mobility. The bedroom tax is cruel."

Mrs Simpson was talking to Will Martindale

WANDSWORTH’S CUTS ADD TO HOUSING CRISIS

Wandsworth’s Conservative councillors have decided to delete 44.74 posts in the Housing Department causing 31 of their workers to be made redundant. This 10% cut in housing staff is completely unnecessary as the Housing Revenue Account contained reserves totalling £210,329,000 on April 1st 2013. The Council predict this total will exceed quarter of a billion pounds in ten years time.  As their housing income is based on rents they cannot argue that these cuts will help them reduce council tax. This year they have raised rents by an average of £3.44 per week, 2.7% and 0.5% above the Consumer Price Index.

The cut in housing staff is not about saving money. Wandsworth are spending an average of £207.18 per week for each room in temporary housing for the homeless. They currently have 67 families in bed and breakfast, many using more than one room, and many well over the six week limit for re-housing. By cutting the staff who help families evicted due to the benefit cap, Wandsworth are contributing to the housing crisis. In future Universal Credit will further increase homelessness as poor people will have to pay their rents instead of the money going straight to their landlords as at present. In addition Wandsworth are threatening to evict victims of the Bedroom Tax who cannot afford to meet their higher payments. These victims include many disabled tenants whose flats and houses have extra space adapted to suit their needs. At the same time the council officers who are supposed to seek alternative properties for them are being made redundant. To add insult to injury there are very few smaller properties available. 


SUPPORT THE SOUTH LONDON PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY at GOLDSMITHS' COLLEGE on December 7th
The People's Assembly in the summer was attended by 4,000 people, many of them new to the struggle against austerity, and since then local assemblies have been organised all over the country. Wandsworth Against Cuts is working to build this South London version. Please put the date in your diary and look out for more details here or on www.thepeoplesassembly.org.

FIRE FIGHTERS DEFEND THEIR PENSIONS  AND THEIR SERVICE
At 12 midday on Thursday 25th  September local fire fighters at Battersea, Wandsworth and Tooting Fire Stations came out on strike for four hours as part of the action across England and Wales to maintain their pension rights. The government want to put them, and the public, at risk by making them do their very physical job at the age of 60. The picture below shows the strong picket at Battersea's Este Road station where a solidarity delegation from Wandsworth Against Cuts were made to feel very welcome by union reps Dave Waterman, Radcliffe White and the other strikers.

At a recent WAC meeting Dave gave a very clear outline of Boris Johnson’s attack on the fire service  – cutting 10 stations, 40 engines and 552 jobs, thus increasing response times.  Battersea is threatened with losing one of the five crew on its major events Fire Rescue Unit. Eight London councils are seeking a judicial review in opposition to these cuts. The campaign to save Clapham Fire Station has succeeded in keeping it open but but one fire engine is to be cut.

file:///C:/Users/Norman/Pictures/FBUpicketBatt250913.jpg


WANDSWORTH COUNCIL TO CUT & PRIVATISE MORE JOBS & SERVICES: £43 million cut to add to £20 million already announced.

An emergency meeting of the Finance & Corporate Resources Committee on Thursday 3rd October is all set to cut jobs across the Council's reorganised departments, including a 10% cut in Housing which will cause 31 redundancies. Youth Work and much of facilities management services will be privatised from April 1st 2015. Public health services will be united under one contract, probably going out to a non-NHS provider. Other services will be market tested for privatisation or staff mutuals, which in due course will also be subjected to market competition.



Report on Benefit Justice Summit  Read report

Benefit claimants are facing a tsunami of cuts. We must fight and we can win. Londoners on benefits are particularly hard hit because of high rents, and Wandsworth has among the highest council rents in the country. Over 50% of benefit claimants are in employment.

Council tax reforms will penalise poorest households, finds studyread more

Cllr Govindia claims that Wandsworth Council needs to save £80 million (without seeking to justify that figure - and now increased to £90 million).  That amounts to £600 per annum per household and (coincidentally) that is what the study shows is how much the poorest families will be paying - but the rest of us in Wandsworth won't.  Are we really all in it together or are the poorest families subsidising the rest of us?

Battersea Park Adventure Playground

Almost 9 out of 10 parents and carers in Wandsworth Council's own survey said NO to plans to bulldoze this much-used historic and cherished playground, replacing it with a sanitised staff-less facility

The Council have sought to discredit a group of protesters who moved in to Battersea Park Adventure Playground to prevent the destruction of the structures, built up over the years by playleaders and young people, and to allow the Council a chance to reconsider its plan to replace the adventurous staffed playground with tame, standard, catalogue pieces. Read more  

Evening Standard report here.  The Independent here  BBC News London TonightLondon TonightYou can sign the petition here 


 Signup to our mailing list, either just for Adventure Playground news or general Wandsworth cuts news.  Sign up here

To see what others have to say:   Adventure testimonials

School Crossing Patrols

The council is trying to force schools to bear the burden of crossing patrols.
It may be remembered that this service used to be run by the Metropolitan Police and was passed to the local authority.  Is this a case of pass the parcel?  Southwark Council learned the hard way - the mother of a dead 5 year old had an even harder lesson.

Parents at Honeywell School have set up a petition.  It can be signed at the following:
Wandsworth Council have now given crossing patrols a list of the crossing which will either be sponsored by Talk Talk or funded by schools themselves. It can be seen here  
The Evening Standard reported on the poor faith on the part of the Council when parents raised the money to protect their crossing patrols. It can be read here

MEALS ON WHEELS

Yet another example of Wandsworth Council cutting a service to those most vulnerable in our community (remembering that they put more money into the bank last year than they took out, so their reserves have actually increased - what for?)

Typically, the Council have spent more time in how to spin the cut than they have in understanding the effect of their cut.  They are trying to present the cancellation of delivery of a hot meal to the elderly and disabled as "giving the choice" of a pack of frozen meals or a supermarket voucher.  How long before we have someone die of starvation or severe burns?
The question the Council has not addressed is why they entered a contract based on a set number of hot meals when they should have known that number was set to reduce, thus increasing the unit cost?  Are the vulnerable being heartlessly used to cover up a failure in the Council's tendering system?