by Eli Lambe
Released shortly before the disaster at Grenfell, Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle is a timely and balanced exploration of the factors that led to the tragedy, and to the wider social cleansing of working class and low income communities throughout the UK. Introducing the film to a packed room in Norwich’s Cinema City, director Paul Sng emphasised the need to counter the “media culture of denigrating people who live in social housing”. The goal of the film, for Sng, was to show that people living in these estates and situations are valuable in themselves, and that the communities that exist there are important and should be preserved, as well as highlighting how this is overshadowed constantly by the prioritisation of profit and private sector gains.
by Jack Brindelli
On Monday the 20th of July the Norfolk County Council will meet for their Policy and Resources committee to begin working towards the forecast cuts of £169million to local services. It is a shameful capitulation to the national austerity policies that are destroying People’s lives across the United Kingdom.
Hardly inspired by Norfolk’s proud history of doing different, and fighting against tyranny and inequality for a better life, the grand scheme of the County Council’s much heralded ‘rainbow coalition’ to outfox the Tories, who council leader and Labour stalwart George Hobbs & Co went to such great lengths to keep out of local power, is to out-cut them. The ‘downsizing’ of public services is actually shaping up to be £50million more than even the criminal demands of the Conservative government, in order to buy the Council ‘breathing room’. I assume this cheery phrase used in this gloomy context is meant in the same way that Russian scientists famously kept a dog’s head ‘alive’ for a period of time with machinery — we may well live, but not well.Continue Reading
by Andrew Boswell and Richard Bearman, The Norwich Green Party
During the General Election campaign, the Green Party warned of another 5 years of continuing and unprecedented cuts to Local Authority budgets. We pointed out that the coalition and Labour backed the ongoing austerity programme, and that only the Green Party, SNP, and Plaid Cymru opposed this assault on public services. Unfortunately the election was strongly influenced by the TV party leaders debate, together with misleading sound bites and on-the-hoof policy changes designed to win over undecided voters. The election outcome does not reflect the lack of public support for more cuts to local services.
But plans announced this week by Norfolk County Council are seeing more devastating cuts to public services in Norfolk. Under its ‘Re-imagining Norfolk’ strategy, the Council has asked councillors and officers to plan for 25% of cuts to services in its Budget for the next 3 years. Current government funding reductions, pushed through by the Tories nationally, will require the council to cut its services by at least 15%. However the Labour, UKIP, and LibDem alliance has voted for plans to cut 25% instead of the required 15% to allow ‘headroom’. Continue Reading