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Sucking the NHS Dry: it’s not the Migrants, it’s the Capitalists

The media has recently been escalating the migrant bashing with the claims that health tourists are plunging the NHS into crisis by not paying their bills.

This distracting technique pulls our gaze away from the more obvious strains the NHS is facing. With flat lining NHS funding (although the government are putting “more” money in this is not inline with increasing inflation and demand), cuts in social care, along with crippling Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) with extortionate interest rates and massive management consultancy fees, there is no wonder health services are finding that there is not enough money.

Resist the Mayor's Cuts in Bristol!

George Ferguson, the elected Mayor of Bristol, is directly responsible for cuts to services in this city - including services for children. He has halved the number of beds at the Bush, a residential centre for disabled children. [1] Even though the council voted to preserve funding - he pushed it through personally. This month the Hawkspring, a vital service that helps families affected by drug addiction, almost closed after having its funding from the council slashed. It only stayed open thanks to a charity stepping in to help at the last minute. [2] This is all while having plenty of money for other things - like massive pay-rises for council bosses [3], and £2.3 million a year on public relations and marketing. [4]

Austerity? This is Class War

Executioner for the rich, George Osborne, has challenged ‘our’ local parties to fully implement welfare reform measures that will see even greater hardship, poverty and homelessness heaped upon poor and vulnerable working class people across the north. (From the December issue of The Leveller, publication of Belfast SolFed)

Issue 14 of Belfast local Bulletin the Leveller

The latest issue of the Leveller is out not. With articles on opposition to Belfast City Council privatisation of our leisure centres, 'On The Runs', crisis in the Ukraine and more...

Hands Off Our Leisure Centres

Opposition has succeeded in stalling Belfast City Council's moves towards outsourcing and privatisation of the cities leisure centres and facilities.
On the 22nd of February the council’s strategic policy and resources committee voted to hand our leisure centres over to a trust. In a move to offload essential, but underfunded, services city hall will be ditching 10 leisure centres (11 when the council expands in May).
The council are looking to shed the £8 million a year that it spends to barely maintain our underfunded and rundown leisure centres. 300 workers and thousands of working class families who use leisure centres across the city will be affected. DUP chair of the committee Gavin Robinson has refused to rule out closures. Similar moves in Magherafelt Leisure Centre resulted in the loss of 30 jobs.

Victory for the Counihan family - Now let's beat back all housing cuts!

The North London local of the Solidarity Federation would like to offer our sincerest congratulations and solidarity to the Counihan family who recently had their housing benefit reinstated by Brent Council.  The fight you've led has been inspirational and militant.  It serves as an example for the sort of struggles that are going to be needed if we're to win the to fight against the onslaught of cuts facing the working class.

We will be advertising your upcoming march and public meeting to our members and contacts. Congratulations again and please keep us informed of upcoming actions and campaign developments on northlondonsf (at) riseup.net

Leaflet about the campaign available here:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/114270652/Counihan-6th-Dec-Leaflet

ATOS picket - 28th of august.

On Tuesday the 28th of august members of Hull Solfed were joined by disabled activists in staging a protest outside the local office of official Paralympics sponsor Atos. Like similar demonstrations happening simultaneously around the country we wanted to shine a spotlight on Atos and its practices. Employed by the DWP to carry out work capability assessments declaring sick and disabled people 'fit for work', Atos uses an inhuman computer programme to do the testing, and trains its staff to push people off benefits. They profit from destroying the rights and lives of disabled people.

Wandsworth Against Cuts! May 18

On Wednesday 18th, Solidarity federation gathered with Wandsworth Against the Cuts and others, to protest the recent cuts campaign perpetrated by the Wandsworth Council. It appears that the Council has decided to make Wandsworth somewhat of an elitist poster boy of UK’s class war. Wandsworth already charges the lowest council tax in the country and the new program of cuts is to strike the borough further in the depths of neoliberal wasteland. On the cutting board are services from health care to community, such as libraries and youth centres. The council specialises on cutting services from small, politically weak groups, like people in need of mental health services or domestic violence counselling.

National week of action against Atos: Liverpool

On Monday 9th May, Liverpool Solidarity Federation organised a picket of the offices of Atos Origin. This was as part of a national week of action against the company, being paid millions by the government to throw disabled people off benefits.

Atos's contact with the DWP to carry out "work capability assessments" is worth £300 million. Their system has previously provoked concern from the very doctors who carry them out, and over 8,000 appeals are heard every month for Employment and Support Allowance alone. Three people have even died as a result of having their support removed, and at the time of their death still awaiting the results of their appeal.

Coordinated strike action should be built from below

It is now a near certainty that we will see coordinated public sector strike action within the next couple of months. Solidarity Federation - which has members in the public sector unions which will be striking - stands in support of all workers acting to defend their jobs and the services those jobs provide to working class people.

UCU have already balloted. PCS is putting an emergency motion to its conference in May. The NUT sought permission to ballot at its recent conference. Even the moderate ATL already has a mandate to ask members for strike action. The only question now is how events unfold once the ball gets rolling.

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