Lewisham austerity budget passes as Town Hall stormed by protestors

We're currently 8,000 miles away from the centre of the action, but Sue Luxton reports that Lewisham Town Hall was been beseiged by "very angry locals" protesting the scale of public sector cuts last night as the first tranche of Lewisham Council's package of cuts was approved.

Police horses and dogs were deployed while police in riot gear forcibly ejected a number of protestors from the offices and a smoke grenade was deployed by an excitable demonstrator.

UPDATE:

Londonist confirms the final vote as being 36 Labour councillors for, 3 Tories and Green against, 11 Lib Dem abstain.

128 comments:

Anonymous said...

“: Lewisham cuts package approved. 36 for. 3 against. 11 abstain. Greens and tories against. Lab for. Ld abstain.”

Tories against? The council are enacting central government policy. Explain please

name said...

that's dreadful - I'm ashamed I wasn't there protesting

name said...

that's dreadful - I'm ashamed I wasn't there protesting

Anonymous said...

Tossers. Mung bean eating hippies.

max said...

Protesting to suggest the Council to do what exactly?

Anonymous said...

"Tossers. Mung bean eating hippies."

Who? The torys, the greens or the abstaining lib dems?

Anonymous said...

The protesters, presumably.

max said...

Here's a video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRgKNL6UzLk

Anonymous said...

Oh, well that's clear then.

Anonymous said...

well suggesting prehaps the council put pressure back onto the government and find someone else to pay for the economic mess up instead of the most vulnerable and deprived? Just a suggestion though...

furious gerald said...

I wasn't at the protests but one wishes one could sit down with these grubby teens and give them a good lesson in local government finance. 1) Councils must set a legal budget. 2) You cannot take money out of the capital budget to spend in your revenue budget.

The choice to all Councils, and come next March every Council in London will be faced with the same decisions, is to either set a balanced budget or set an illegal budget and face the consequences. These consequences would be 1) The Council would run out of money, meals on wheels would be left undelivered, severely disabled adults would be left uncared for and binmen would be left unpaid. 2)Eric Pickles sends his accountants down to make the cuts for us not necessarily carefully or wisely.

The government are feeding Lewisham a shit sandwich and unfortunately we're having to gobble it down.

name said...

oops, I'm on a neighbourhood watch website! Bye!

Anonymous said...

you fraud

Love Detective said...

I was there - and in the middle of a full on pitched battle with police & private security in the reception area once the police line on the door broke - and also some running battles around the building as well

the level of police brutality at this was mental - to be expected at the moment i guess

LACA will be putting out a press release shortly, which while mentioning the high levels of police violence, will also focus on what actually happened tonight which was the symbolism of labour councillors cowering away behind closed doors in a sham undemocratic meeting, abdicating their responsibilities to the community in favour of waving through the cuts package

we lobbied labour councillors in the run up to this and were told that it's better that it's labour making 'democratic socialist cuts' (whatever the f*ck that means)

what happened tonight was a collective act of mass
anti-social behaviour in and against the community carried out by police & councillors alike

Love Detective said...

I meant to add in the above post - that at the mayor & cabinet meeting two weeks ago (where the mayor recommended the cuts package to council), the meeting was held in the two large adjoining committee rooms in the civic suite - this allowed a large number of the public to attend (although bullock still tried to prevent them from doing so which required interventions from the public to allow people in) and the meeting was also broadcast on the telly in an overflow room elsewhere in the building

for tonight's meeting however, they decided not to have the meeting in a room even close to capable of accommodating all those who wished to attend, nor did they see fit to broadcast the meeting on the screen in another room like they usually do - they knew the numbers who wanted to attend and did their best to ensure that hardly anyone could - despite it being a pivotal moment for the community and so called local democracy - they reap what they sow

Anonymous said...

I bet those who voted for know there jobs are safe.

Lou Baker said...

Being totally fair to Love detective - he/she/it sounds like a bit of a twit. One of the dimwits who doesn't understand that 'services' do not pay for themselves.

Those of us who work - I'm guessing not Love Detective- pay 40% plus of everything we earn to the government.

In return we get rubbish schools, poor hospitals, congested roads, overcrowded trains and huge numbers of people living on handouts.

Along with most sensible people in the country, I want this mess sorted out. The private sector has been through two years of pain, we're leaner, meaner and ready for action.

The public sector is held back by excessively strong unions, inefficient and over compensated employees and, most of all, by a small band of lefty twerps who scream blue murder everytime anyone dare suggest that maybe Lewisham doesn't need a cycling co-ordinator.

If I were a policeman I'd beat these people round the head too - in the vain hope that it might knock some sense in to them.

name said...

you're so cool Lou

m said...

Lou Baker - what a wally.

Most people who work don't pay 40% plus to the govt. Only those on over 44000.

If Love detective is who I think it is, they work and pay tax. It's interesting that Lou thinks the trains are overcrowded and tries to link this into his/her/its general public bad/private good rant. Guess what Lou, almost all trains in this country are private. They cost so much cos there are leeches taking profit out, but you probably want ot blame the workers for not doing it for free.
Lewisham Council is certainly not held back by the unions, I've never seen a more ineffectual union man than the Unison branch secretary. Perhaps there's something more here, maybe a bit deeper, to do with the wealthy plundering the country and the council going along with it.

And I'm sure you'll be grateful that the police and Lewisham's private security were hitting people willy nilly. They seemed pretty out of control to me. Guess you won't be happy until they've killed someone.

Yes, and it's Daily mail non-jobs that you bring up, despite Lewisham closing childrens centres and libraries. Twat. Selfish bastards like you that got us into this mess

Love Detective said...

dam, I just wrote a fairly detailed post responding to Lou and the reasons for why we were there tonight

I posted it and I saw it in the comments section at the time, but I came back now and it's gone - weird

for the record Lou, I'm an accountant and pay 40% tax - and have worked full time for the last 21 years since leaving school at 16, first in manual jobs like milkman, postie etc.. and now what i do now

can't be bothered typing out again all the other responses that got lost, probably not worth the bother anyway

Brockley Nick said...

This was Love Detective's post that Google contrived to make vanish:

"Those of us who work - I'm guessing not Love Detective- pay 40% plus of everything we earn to the government."

I'm an accountant and pay 40% tax, left school at 16 and worked ever since for the last 21 years, first in manual jobs, milkman, postie etc.. then what I am in now. So not for the first time and certainly not the last, you're talking complete crap

This meeting was always going to be a complete sham - un-democratic and involving elected councilors abdicating their responsibilities to the local community in favour of waving though the first in a series of vicious cuts programs

What happened tonight was a mass act of collective anti-social behaviour in, and on, our community perpetrated by councillors guarded by thugs with riot shields, dogs and horses - this is what democracy looks like eh

Most of the councillors claim there is no choice and that they are obliged to vote for the cuts budget - this is lies and designed to prevent a full, open and democratic discussion about what is going on around us in society at the moment, not just in the last three years since the crisis took a tangible form, but in the last three decades

The proposed cuts from central & local government will hit the hardest those who are the least able to protect themselves from the consequence of them. This will substantially increase the already high levels of socio-economic inequality both in our local community and the country as as a whole

And It's a generally accepted fact, backed up by a ton of serious research, that socio-economic inequality is the root cause of most of society's ills - from high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour, poor educational attainment reates, health inequalities & life expectancy, poor housing provision, high murder rates, mental illness, high levels of drug & alcohol addiction, general social wellbeing, atomisation, trust and a general inability to look after the most vulnerable in our society. All these things are worse in countries with higher rates of inequality - and we in the UK already have one of the highest rates of inequality out of of all developed countries and with it all those attendent social problems - these cuts will push all these problems to stratospheric levels. Prevention is more effective than cure and we were there tonight to prevent.

I believe we not only had a moral right to be there and to attend the meeting in order to disrupt it, but also a legal one, in that we were there to prevent a far greater crime being committed, not only directly on our communities by central & local government but indirectly through the swathes of resultant social problems that these cuts will bring both for our generation and future ones

You however Lou wouldn't understand the notion of social or communal solidarity - even though those who do would still offer it to you - that's the difference between you and I

As for balancing the books, how comes the govt is spending millions and millions to try and stop benefit fraud which is estimated to cost us about 1bn a year (a figure which also includes administration errors, not just outright fraud), yet it is cutting back on expenditure at HMRC despite a loss of £42bn a year in tax avoidance (and that is the govt's own conservative numbers, independent tax accountants have put the figure at closer to £100bn) - if this is just all about balancing the books why is the state easing off in regards to corporate tax (the only tax that's reducing at the moment is corporate tax) which could reap tens of billions in uncollected tax receipts and instead targetting a tiny amount of benefit fraud in comparison

Monkeyboy said...

"The private sector has been through two years of pain, we're leaner, meaner and ready for action."

Yep, the lean mean unregulated financial sector did us a great favour. Your dogmatic public bad/private good rant is as laughable and simplistic as a teenagers revolutionary instinct.

Social justice has various models and ways to allocate rights and responsibilities. Yours is extreme right zero tax, sink or swim approach. Not a society I want to live in. I've workedvin both private and public sector organisations. Plenty of inefficiency in both, trust me.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see luxton there until pretty late on - she missed all the action I think!

Sue said...

@anon - like lots of the protestors I came straight from work and got there about 6.45pm.

Anonymous said...

I note the video on YouTube was unable to capture the violence of the protesters and quickly panned away when a protestor let off a smoke bomb inside the reception area.

What uneducated dimwit goes armed with a smoke grenade to a 'peaceful' demo?

It shows the protestors are thugs who believe intimidating others is the society they embrace.

So they want no cuts, which means Council Tax would have dramatically increase.

Oh I forgot these are students who believe others worse off than themselves should subsidise their education.

Love Detective said...

"I note the video on YouTube was unable to capture the violence of the protesters and quickly panned away "

where you there on the inside - and therefore able to judge for yourself whether there was 'violence of the protestors' or are you just spouting crap from the comfort of your keyboard?

I was there, and the only violence I saw, up close and personal, was that of indiscriminate violence from police & private security towards people trying to exercise their democratic right to witness a council meeting

Anonymous said...

@Love Detective

"I was there - and in the middle of a full on pitched battle with police & private security in the reception area once the police line on the door broke."

Your own words written by YOU!

You must have been using FORCE for the police lines to break.

Oh I forgot socialists don't shout aren't agressive, don't intimidate others, use force, don't carry smoke grenades to a 'peaceful' demonstration.

If you were there in the thick of it Love Dectective how come you missed the smoke grenade, did you think it was the mist rolling in?

Or are you in denial?

Anonymous said...

From the pen of Love Detective....

I believe we not only had a moral right to be there and to attend the meeting in order to disrupt it, but also a legal one....

Then you can't understand why precautions were taken?

Maybe a protest outside your property is in order. I'm sure you would not feel intimidated by a few hundred chanting at you in an aggresive manner.

If some forced their way into your home I'm sure you'd not react and if things happened to get broken and someone let off a snoke grenade you'd accept that as people's legal right to let them know they disagree with you.

Pete said...

Its a funny world where a smoke grenade counts as violence warranting severe beatings from the police.

Anonymous said...

Why would the LACA, Local Authority Caterers Association issue a statement about last night?

Anonymous said...

"If some forced their way into your home I'm sure you'd not react and if things happened to get broken and someone let off a snoke grenade you'd accept that as people's legal right to let them know they disagree with you."

No idea what that is about, the two scenarios are entierly different.

Anonymous said...

@Pete

Don't exaggerate, how many protestors are in intesify care or been retained in hospital overnight?

Why would someone take a smoke grenade to a peaceful protest, why let it off in a confined space admist that mayhem?

Why did the 'working class' on the reception desk deserve to be treated in such a way by so called socialists?

Next you'll be telling us lobbying a fire exstinguisher on to the heads of people is insignificant.

To deny those protestors were agressive and threatening is to ignore the videos made by the protestors themselves.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9:37

Maybe you need educating?

Love Detective is totally ignoring any aggression, use of force or violence by the protestors.

The protestors are presenting themselves as innocent angels who magical 'broke' the police line.

Apart from NO CUTS what do the protestors offer, are they suggesting a rise in Council Tax, maybe council staff should take a salary cut or maybe they'll do the work for nothing?

Anonymous said...

Rent a Mob moves from the City to Lewisham.

Anonymous said...

Nope I'm fine thanks. Breaking into your house and setting of a smoke grenade because the person breaking in dosn't agree with your choice of wallpaper is not the same as storming a council meeting. Not saying I agree with either scenario, but they're not comparable.

Jarrow Marcher said...

I remember the good old days when we used to have Right to Work marches and Jobs Not YOPS demonstrations. Sadly I don't see the feckless long term unemployed out there protesting-apathy?
We get hot under the collar about these cuts but perhaps we are venting our anger at the wrong people.
The welfare state was set up to povide for those who had temporaily fallen on hard times or were unable to work through sickness or ill health. The system has been abused by so many people and now it is the people who really are vulnerable in our society who are bearing the brunt.
I have no problem with peaceful domonstrations but why aren't we out demonstrating against those who put such a strain on our public funds?
There are no easy answers to the economic crisis but we shouldn't just blame the council for our current predicament.

Brockley Nick said...

It would be interesting to know which specific cut(s) were most vexing those who were protesting.

The libraries regularly get mentioned, but their fate wasn't part of this vote.

I can't see the final document that was voted on, but the bulk of the cuts could certainly be described as "efficiency savings" to my recollection.

Anonymous said...

@Love Detective

I'm an accountant and pay 40% tax....

To me you sound rich and could probably write a cheque and make an additional contribution to the Council, to help save the libraries or children's centre.

Maybe get together with other wealthy residents and set up a trust to fund the services you don't want cut.

If people can't commit money there's always volunteer work, all it needs is 10,000 residents to provide the equivalent £2,000 this year.

Tom said...

Cheers Nick for bringing some belated sense to this 'debate'. As a non-expert, I have no idea what these cuts are, and so don't really see the moral justification for force from any side.

My worry is - and I know a couple of silly armchair revolutionaries - that the Left has gone straight from apathetically supporting an increasingly incompetent government to hitting the streets, without ever having pause for thought about why or what's going on. The romance of the revolution and opposition and all that.

But, all politics should be local, so I'd be more than happy to hear what exactly all this is all about.

Brockley Economist said...

In fact you have to be on an awful lot more that just 44k (258k) to pay 40% of all of your income in income tax - the difference between marginal and average taxation.

However, Lou said "40% of everything we earn". You can be on a pretty normal wage and pay that through a raft of taxes. For example:

Basic rate:
20%

VAT (on consumption of say, 30% annual income):
6% (20%*30%)

National Insurance (a tax by any other name), 11%:

= 37%, add in council tax, excise duties, stamp duty and you can see it is pretty easy to get to 40%.

The burden of government expenditure on working people is higher even than you perceive due to the presence of all of these hidden taxes. Ultimately it is not sustainable in the long term. Problem is, the cuts are falling in the wrong places.

The biggest, easiest, single cut that the government could bring in would be to raise the pension age. It would save £13bn a year per year raised. Instead, we are burdening the young and the working with an ever-increasing pile of debt, disincentivising the growth and the work that pays those pensions. Criminal.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
@Anon 9:37

Love Detective is totally ignoring any aggression, use of force or violence by the protestors.

The protestors are presenting themselves as innocent angels who magical 'broke' the police line.

As an eye witness I can tell you there was no police 'line' for to break.
There were a couple of police officers by the one door that was open. People just surged forward and some of them dodged past the hapless officers. Then the police piled in and blocked the doorway.

At this point a group of officers who had been hanging around by the road rushed up, pushed their way through the unresisting crowd and positioned themselves in front of the door. Even then there was no 'line'. It was just group of officers standing together.

Having secured the door (belatedly) they seemed uncertain what to do. Nobody appeared to be in charge. Individual officers started to push protestors away from the doors but as this was uncoordinated it was not very successful. Many officers resorted to shouting at the crowd and arguing with individual protestors, as a result the police lost any moral authority they might have had. Some officers became very emotional and others had to tell them to calm down.

As I said nobody appeared to be in command.

Workhouse said...

BE,That's your solution is it,raise the retirement age,most of those people have worked for 40 years,why not raise the age you can claim benefit to 21,then then these youngsters would have to get a job.Do you think its fair people already in jobs should be penalised.

Wagner said...

Lou Baker you really are a moron.

Complaining about overcrowded trains with one breath but slating the ELL with the next. The ELL which has done more to relive congestion and provide new destinations than anything for years.

But then being a clinically depressed Tory you probably just want a huge motorway to take you to any destination you fancy whilst despite massive evidence to the contrary you can slag off the 'rubbish schools and poor hospitals'.

Tamsin said...

In case no-one noticed the pension age is already being raised. (And Europe-wide - what the protests in France were about.) Also the much vaunted increase in basic state pension to £140 a week (still below the official poverty level) is not, I believe, applicable to those already in receipt of pension - only coming it at some future date.

The only people I know who have been able to retire or go onto short-time working early are bankers who have been sensible with their years of bonus payments rather than blowing them on conspicuous consumption. The rest of us will be working till we drop the way things are currently going.

max said...

They first came for the quangos and I didn't speak up...

Yes, these were largely "efficiency cuts", but the next round won't be, there will be real impact on services.

I am fully aware of the inconsistencies of the arguments put forward by yesterday's protesters, but given the particularly perverse political landscape I wonder who else besides them will take up a fight when the next round comes.

Tom said...

I notice that someone from the Guardian who wasn't there has decided to try to turn this event into someothing of national significance.

And yet still I see no actual details of the cuts.

Tom said...

So people are using force to protest about hypothetical cuts?

I'm all for fighting injustice but I'm not doing so at the urging of idiots who've got themselves excited about sticking it to some imaginary man.

Danja said...

I like the way the Lib-Dems abstained from voting on cuts being made in response to funding cuts imposed by errr....

max said...

Yep, it's a clear split in the coalition, the Tories voted agianst!

This Is England said...

There's something depressingly reactionary about most of the comments posted about the demonstration.

NB said...

Party politics does not really come into it. A Labour Council was, a year ago, making provisional plans for cuts that it anticipated it would be called upon to make by whatever ended up in government after May 6th. Put simplistically the economic mess is a result of Tory privatisation and de-regulation and Labour encouragment of bureaucratic growth.

The "them" and "us" is service users or those arguing on behalf of service users and the decision-makers who are tending to prissy around at the edges rather than doing anything radical like getting the rules changed so capital spend can be diverted to revenue or taking serious steps to cut the upper layers of bureacracy (where those who advise the decision-makers have their niches).

Anonymous said...

Jarrow Marcher ....how do you know they had or did not have jobs? Was it only the jobless who marched previously or those that feared loosing their jobs? Unemployment is going up, are you sugggesting that these people suddenly awoke and decided that they wanted to stop working and live on £62.50 a week?

As for the other fool who seems to think that a sustainable state is one where we all voulenteer to contribute what we like in terms of taxation, that's is stupid. If you are born into wealth or are lucky enough (and luck DOES play an unrecognised part in ending up where we are) why would you voulenteer a portion of your salery to help someone else avoid poverty? We live in a society, societies exist because most sane people recognise that we can acheive more and avoid suffering if we accept responsibilities and demand some basic rights. Noisy protest is an integeral part of our history, it can get out of hand. It's a shame but people are worried and don't want to sleepwalk into a situation not of their making.

Monkeyboy said...

You really think beurocracy is what caused this? really? then haow does cutting benefits and investment help? it's a lazy bit of received wisdom much loved by politicians. A bit like 'Front line services' what IS that anyway?

max said...

I really don't think that diverting capital budget towards revenue is a good idea, just as I don't think that cutting bereaucracy would solve much.

The issue here is that by cutting a percentage of government support towards Council you disadvantage those Councils that rely more on it, and that's mainly because of items like social care expenditure.
So rich boroughs won't suffer as much as we'll do because their budget is less reliant on grans and more on Council tax.

If cuts must come they must be fair, these measures on Councils' budgets are not.
As far as I'm concerned Eric Pickle is public enemy number one, way over yesterday's protesters.

Anonymous said...

Just seen yet another set of uneducated ill informed students claiming they don't know how they will be able to afford to go to ubiversity.

Who is miss-informing these students if they read the documents themselves rather rely on agititators filling their heads with lies they'd understand they pay anything upfront and only begin pay back the fees when they have sufficient income.

These are the leaders and wealth creators of the future...who seem able to read or think for themselves.

max said...

I read this take on the tuition fees tha I found quite brilliant.

mintness said...

Just seen yet another set of uneducated ill informed students claiming they don't know how they will be able to afford to go to ubiversity.

Who is miss-informing these students if they read the documents themselves rather rely on agititators filling their heads with lies they'd understand they pay anything upfront and only begin pay back the fees when they have sufficient income.

These are the leaders and wealth creators of the future...who seem able to read or think for themselves.


Sorry, you'll have to rewrite that to make some kind of sense before it'll be worthy of a passing grade.

Anonymous said...

A lot of them will never earn enough to pay it back anyway.

Anonymous said...

I may be wrong but I have the feeling the protestors have no idea what cuts or efficiences they were protesting about last night.

Chanting 'no cuts' without explaining how they would bridge the funding gap showed their stupidity.

Ed said...

Most of the student comment that I have seen has been an embarrassing indictment on the standards of education and debate in this country with most failing to recognise both sides of the debate and/or unable to use proper language and grammar to communicate their often ill conceived arguments.

What happened to peaceful protest and articulate proposal?

Allied with the blatant sense of entitlement many of the students have shown this has galvanised my support for a shakeup of HE funding (note that I am not supporting arbitrary cuts but the contract between taxpayer and beneficiary has to be redrawn).

Anonymous said...

@Mintness

Where did you learn to be so snobby, the benefit scroungers paradise known as Goldsmith's?

There is an endless stream of students claiming they will likely not be able to get a job and saddled with having to pay back their tutition fees....which is a load of bollards.

If they actually read the documents they'd know they pay NOTHING up front.

After uni if they don't have an income they won't pay anything back.

They'd have to have an income of £21,000 before any of their fees need to be paid back.

max said...

@ Ed.
"the contract between taxpayer and beneficiary has to be redrawn"

I think there's a serious slippery slope type of thinking here, we're all citizens, irrespective of how much taxes we pay.
People pay according to their capacity and this doesn't give them any special say in what the government should do or fund.

Monkeyboy said...

"What happened to peaceful protest and articulate proposal?"

In the main it's still there. As for angry, vocal slightly anarchic protest, it's been a feature of British politics for hundreads of years so I wouldn't get t0o concerned about the imminent breakdown of society. Churchill sent gunboats to Liverpool and there were armed troops on the streets, we've a way to go before we reach total mayhem. Keep calm and carry on.

Monkeyboy said...

...read John Rawls 'A Theory of Juctice' for a model or rights and responsibilities that has a lot going for it. It's part of a Philosophy course, you know one of those courses that give Lou indigestion.

Tom said...

Rawls' analysis is best known for a hypothetical and I find it rather unconvincing.

Just as unconvincing I'm currently finding those advocating direct action against hypothetical cuts. (The only serious ones we've seen so far - the FE college building budgets - have been because of a HORRENDOUS accounting failure under the last administration.)

monkeyboy said...

didn't say I bought it wholesale but it's a calm, rational, nuanced argument. If I had my time again I'd seriously think about studying it to degree level, I wonder how many philosophy courses will disapear? I'm happy for some of my taxes to go toward keeping them going. Before anyone bleats, I'm paying the full wack for my course.

We're looking at Noziack theory next, much more to Lous avericious tastes.

Danja said...

Nozick is a nutcase. Private armies are a good thing, yeah.

Anonymous said...

IF the protestors had jobs, they wouldn't be able to protest!

max said...

Is that a reason against work?

Godwin said...

Arbeit macht frei!

Brockley Economist said...

Tamsin, don't be daft, no-one has overlooked the fact that the pension age is increasing. The tories put it back one year, to 2016, and are only raising it to 66. We need to raise it higher and faster to avoid the looming demographic burden.


Ultimately, the rest of society receives a large part of the benefit of someone taking higher education, through a higher tax take throughout that person's life. Therefore the taxpayer therefore foot the bill for part of that education. It is an investment in our future, which will yield returns for our children and our children's children - unlike pampering middle aged people who want others to pay for their extended holiday.

Brockley Economist said...

typos...

"...put it back four years..." from 2012

and "extended holiday" = retirement

Tamsin said...

You might do slightly better if you were a little politer about those in their late fifties and early sixties who are seeing their freedom pass and chance to catch breath after 40 years hard graft disappearing over an ever receding horizon. And who see the present economic ills as being caused by irresponsible yuppies spending their ill-gotten bonuses and being recklessly extravagent with other people's futures.

Also those in power (DC) who advocate "the Big Society" should wonder where all the volunteers are to come from if not the still able elderly.

And thought should be given to the amount of unpaid care provided by these people (grand-parents releasing their children into the workplace by taking on the child-care, daughters in their sixties looking after parents in their eighties, etc. etc.) before you legislate to trap them in work until they are in need of care themselves.

Monkeyboy said...

@danja, yep. Having done my reading he would
make even Lou blush. Think he also advocates consensual slave master relationships. The title for my essay next term will be "noziack, he's metal innit?"

Jarrow Marcher said...

These students really do have a sense of entitlement-the world is changing and we all need to adjust. People are living longer and we have less people to keep paying for them.
We have to tighten our belts whether we like it or not. The welfare state/health service cannot hope to fund the demands put upon it by the ageing, immigration, unemployment and a needy underclass.
I think it would do many of these students a lot of good if-instead of buggering off on a gap year and getting pissed-they went out into the work place for a couple of years-give them a taste of reality and enable them to pay-yes pay-towards their own education.
They may appreicate their opportunity and the education they are getting which other people don't have access to.
If we want all of the above things-we are going to have to pay for them like it or not!

Monkeyboy said...

Mr jarrow, you're sticking to a particular stereotype much loved by the media. Well done you for not given the subject any thought. Do you also think all bankers are theiving bastards, all politicians are venal thieves, all journalists make their stories up, all footy supporters are thugs, or any number of other gormless imaginary groups?

Anonymous said...

In an era when we are told time again to think global, why is it assumed a well endowed university educated individual will remain in this country?

Won't they be off to foreign lands thus avoiding UK tax?

Anonymous said...

At the meeting of the Mayor and Cabinet the previous week a minority of members of the public attempted to stop the meeting taking place.

During the following days this group made threats via social media to disrupt the council meeting with the intention of stopping the meeting continuing.

They encouraged members of the public to bring paint, flour and shoes to throw from the public gallery.


Evidence the intent was not a 'peaceful' protest and why someone turned with a smoke grenade.

Under the pretence of fighting for others those protesters claim to have the right to unilaterally take away the rights of others.

We still await to find out which cuts they oppossed, and how they would maintain services with a loss of £60m.

THNick said...

Tamsin, the trouble is that when you reach 65, you will likely still have another 20+ years to live. That's not just "catching breath". The increase in SPA has been mooted for a while and already announced by the previous government - if you are worried about having to work that one year longer, then you have plenty of time to make you own savings to cover that year.

Anonymous said...

A little more information on last night's meeting:

* At least one member of the public was in the public gallery for the meeting - John Hamilton, I think it was - and there may have been more
* Labour councillors' comments on the budget motion ranged from 'necessary but doesn't have to be done this quickly and the gov't are forcing this to happen now with serious consequences' to 'I'm reluctantly toeing the party line but urge all non-politicians to resist however they can'
* Lib Dem comments were 'we recognise the need for the cuts, but don't have all the information yet to know how little or much funding there will be and how bad the cuts will need to be as all the Council Tax subsidy, government grants etc haven't been announced yet', so they abstained, 'deferring their opinion until the full budget in March'
* Tories voted against, seemingly mostly as they didn't want to vote for a Labour budget
* The Green councillor also voted against saying 'these are the wrong cuts to be making and will hurt the most vulnerable'

Anonymous said...

Lifted from the ill-informed Lewisham Against Cuts website....

Already the council has announced the closure of five libraries, the Amersham Children’s Centre, the Opening Doors employment centres as well as making 466 council workers redundant.

Their only suggestions to save money is cut the salaries of senior officers, which is likely to save less than a million pounds.

Get rid of consultants....

Simply cutting the amount spent on consultants would save c. £36m in the next three years.

But it wouldn't, as officers would be required to provide the information.

Even if there was a £36m saving it still leaves a £24m funding gap.

Why do I get the impression many those connected with LACA are in public service or subsidised by tax payers....they seem experts in living off others money.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 20:44

The public gallery in the council chammbers only has about 30 seats.

Above the shouting about not being allowed into the public gallery, you will find tucked away on their website that 28 of them were given access to the public gallery.

John Hamilton seems to pop up protesting about everything under the sun.

Anonymous said...

Everyone lives of other peoples money, thats how an economy works. You exchange money (generally) for goods or services. Lewisham is no different to NatWest.

Anonymous said...

With all this bluster you'd think someone would offer some details of the cuts and policies...

http://www.lewisham.gov.uk/CouncilAndDemocracy/HavingYourSay/OurLewishamOurSay/Proposals.htm

Miss L said...

The idea of "no cuts" seems ridiculous in this political climate anyway, as if the government was suddenly going to turn around and say "you no what, let's not make any cuts if people don't want them"...

Instead, it would be much more useful if these protesters and socialist groups would come together and offer some alternatives - I'm sure there are things we could save on, and others we definitely don't want to cut.

Anyone who knows a bit about Goldsmiths students union will know there are plenty of people there who will use any excuse to protest and don't hesitate to turn to violence. Having seen one video of yesterdays protest, it was clear a lot of the people there were from Goldsmiths SU.

Narrow Marcher said...

@momkeyboy-I have given the subject much thought and I speak to many young people who think they are owed an education without having to pay for it. The fact of the matter is we cannot afford to carryon the way we have been. Many young people would be served better by doing apprenticeships rather than running up debt at university. If they are so worried about fees and debt-get a job.
Labour have spent an awful lot of money-they achieved some great things but wasted an awful lot also.
Cuts need to be made and someone has to it.
For the record I don't read the daily mail nor do I think all football fans are hooligans or all bankers thieves-I think it is you rather than I Sir who is guilty of stereotyping !

Anonymous said...

What don't people understand about the situation we're currently in? Cuts have to be made and will never be popular, but that's the way it is. UK plc has been living beyond its means for the past thirteen years. (And no, it wasn't the bankers - the financial crisis contributed £130bn to a deficit of £950bn (not including public sector pension shortfalls) and the £130bn should be paid back.) Let's get real and stop living in fantasy land.

darryl said...

UK plc has been living beyond its means for the past thirteen years

Does that include the first two years of Tony Blair's government, when Labour stuck to the Conservatives' old spending limits?

Tamsin said...

It was the life on the never never buy now pay later mentality fostered by governments of various hues since the early 1980s - the Tories in the name of individual freedom and Labour because it did not have the guts to call a halt and properly regulate the banking and mortgage industry - thereby making itself unpopular with everyone - and also because the credit fuelled consumer boom created the apparent growth without inflation figures that Gordon Brown had staked his reputation on.

And the government did the same - apparently even with the cuts public spending levels will only be down to what they were about five years ago.

I acknowledge that it is good economic sense for businesses to borrow - but there the money is spent on investment in growth rather than consumption.

ugg said...

"apparently even with the cuts public spending levels will only be down to what they were about five years ago"

That is kind of a meaningless statistic. Economic growth, population growth, changes in unemployment rate - you need to take those things in to account before you can make historic comparisons

Mb said...

"I think it would do many of these students a lot of good if-instead of buggering off on a gap year and getting pissed" your words, not mine

By the way are people really suggesting that the world wide economic crisis was caused by our deficit? Even in the US? Where the neo-cons ruled? The UK has run a deficit for generations, it's too big at the moment. Partly to pay for the banks, partly to pay for investment to keep the economy ticking over. Many of our jobs would be In the bin if there hadn't been that investment. Every government in trouble did that, including the states. The torys grudgingly accepted it even.

Jarrow Marcher said...

@Mb-I am not for one minute suggesting the worldwide economic crisis was caused by the our deficit. My point is that we are in a financial mess for various reasons-it's academic now anyway-and we need to take action.
In the early to mid 80's it was the people in the nationalised industries who took the brunt of the hit as the world changed-now it is the turn of the public sector/students etc who have to adjust. It will affect almost everyone the cuts but they are for the collective good in the long run I'm sure.
Every now and then there needs to be a rebalancing and now is the time.

Monkeyboy said...

Some pain is required, not sure I agree that it's anyones 'turn' but that's got nothing to do with the right to noisey, disruptive protest. Democracy does not mean that if a majority back a course of action (which is far from obvious in any case)that that those left shouldn't make a noise. If people think that the actions taken fundamentally limit their choices unfairly (the protestors would argue that they're education is limited not by merit but by the ability to pay)then protests should not be seen as a breakdown of law and order. Violence is a bad thing, occupations and blocking roads are inconvinient, that's all. Democracy is messy and dynamic, protests like this are a sign that our system is robust!

I'm just rambling now....

Brockley Economist said...

Tamsin states: "I acknowledge that it is good economic sense for businesses to borrow - but there the money is spent on investment in growth rather than consumption."

The same principle goes for economies. Spending money on a 20year holiday for people, perfectly able to work but who don't want to is consumption. Spending money on students' education is investment. Ergo, the first things to go in these cuts should be extraneous indulgent consumerism such as the vastly extended retirement (paid for by other people) that people are currently allowed.

Btw, I've nothing against people retiring young, so long as they don't expect me to pay for it. You say your generation has spent 40 years of hard graft and "deserve" it but you only had to the pay the pensions for small % of the working population. You are asking younger people to pay a much larger pensions burden than you ever had to.

Tamsin said...

The generation retired and coming up to retirement now (and I am still 10 or 11 or 12 and upwards years off it) were sold a pup in that the NI contributions were allegedly to guarantee their pension and dignity in old age etc., etc. but were treated by one administration after another as current taxation and spent as soon as if not before it was collected.

And you haven't answered the point about the costs of plugging the child care, adult social care and voluntary sector services gap if those able to work have to.

Tressilliana said...

'a 20year holiday for people, perfectly able to work but who don't want to'

What do you mean by this? I'm 49 and I won't get my state pension till I'm 66 (under current rules - God knows what it will have risen to by the time I'm actually in my 60s). If I was fit and able to work till I was 86 I'd be delighted.

My dad retired at 65 and is now 76. He is very active and does a lot of voluntary work, but he is getting increasingly arthritic, has various other chronic ailments, gets tired more easily than he did etc etc. No way could he go back to a full-time job.

When you say 20 years, what age are you starting from? And are you taking into account that a lot of people from the lowest income groups are likely to die in their 60s or very early 70s? Bit rough on them to make them work till they (literally) drop.

Tamsin said...

Quite apart from the endemic ageism in the workplace that makes it quite a daunting prospect to find a new job if you are over 50.

Lou Baker said...

It's staggering that some people think OUR money is well spent.

Remember 40% of everything you earn goes on this stuff that you think is free.

But our money will not be well spent until every school is good, until every unemployed person is helped back in to work, until there are no hospital waiting lists, until prisons become a place of reform and hope, until pensioners are properly cared for, until traffic congestion is no more.

Public services have been bad for too long. And we spend lots of money on them. There needs to be change, there needs to be reform and - yes - some things need to go.

The 'anti-cuts' loons are best described as being pro-status quo. They have a vested interest in schools being bad (perhaps they themselves are bad teachers?). They want hospital waiting lists to be long (perhaps they're receptionists who might have to find a new job if proper systems were in place?) They want the unemployed to stay out of work (perhaps because that gives them something to campaign for?). Etc etc etc. These people oppose change and they want you to carry on paying for ineffective, inefficient and wasteful services.

Most of us now realise this is not sustainable. We are happy to pay for services only if they are good. We have reached a critical mass - and we say to the unwashed pinkos, you've lost. You can invade buildings. But we can fumigate them to remove your communist stench when you've gone. You can vandalise our property but we can stand up against you and make you pay for your crimes.

You can denounce democracy but we will continue to vote and respect democratic institutions. And you can come on forums like this and continue to speak bile - and we will expose your ignorance.

Yes, pinkos. You are history. You have lost. We are in a new era of social responsibility where everyone is expected to contribute something to society. And I salute it.

max said...

Why are you saying that people that support social expenditure think that it is free?
We know the cost of things, just like you.

Who doesn't know it is Eric Pickles who decided that his job was to grap a pound of flesh regardeless of consequences without taking the time to look at what he's doing.
He's either immesurably incompetent or immesurably arrogant, or maybe both.
And socially irresponsible and the consequences of society will be payed by all, false economies,easy and cheap talk of social responsibility when it's just the opposite.

Cuts must be done with the scalpel, not the axe.
Pretty much anyone can do Eric Pickles job better than him.
Incompetent and arrogant, that's what he is.

Anonymous said...

Lou Baker - don't get your knickers in a twist you big jessie.

Monkeyboy said...

"We are in a new era of social responsibility where everyone is expected to contribute something to society. And I salute it."

What are you, some kind of socialist?

Lou Baker said...

@max

You clearly come from the school of thinking that believes money solves all problems.

You are totally wrong. It absolutely doesn't.

Just chucking money at something is rarely, if ever, the solution.

If what Pickles has done is make council look long and hard at what they spend, where they spend it and why that is absolutely a good thing.

If we end up paying less for services the people that benefit most are the poor. The rich don't care if the overall tax burden is 40%, 45%, 50% or more. They can afford it anyway. But an extra 5% off the tax bill and into the pocket of someone on minimum wage is a big deal.

I'd like them to have that 5%. But you'd rather take it away from hard working families and give it to a community cohesion co-ordinator, an area recycling champion, a walk to school officer, a press officer or some other completely meaningless, unnecessary non-job which exists entirely to satisfy people like you.

Every single council, every single government department, every single QUANGO has many of these posts. They need to go.

@moneyboy

I believe society has a duty to help its least fortune - but I also believe the less fortunate have a duty to help themselves.

But as I said above, just chucking money at a problem doesn't solve it.

Oh, and no I don't read the Daily Mail and have never voted Tory in my life. Never voted anything right of Lib Dem and probably never will.

Monkeyboy said...

So a balance of rights, and resposibilities? No one should be disadvantaged because of the bad luck of being born poor. If you loose your job because your employer folds should you be left to flounder? I rather like living in a society that has social insurance woven through it. Lou, you continually seem to suggest that the those who are poor or out of work probably deserve it. You need some image work, Edleman provide PR services. They could do wonders for you.

max said...

No Lou, I don't think that chucking money at things solve problems, but I do think that there is an awful lot of services that are delivered through Council and they must be appropriately funded.
And it won't be the officers with fancy names to go (and by the way there's nothing wrong with paying someone to increase recycling rates, ultimately it saves money from the Council budget you know) but librarians, wardens, bin men...

The fact that rich boroughs will be forced to do small cuts because they mostly rely on Council tax instead of government grants is the real stinker here.

I want Eric Pickles's uncle in Turnbridge Wells to be frightened to go into his local park to walk the dog because they sacked the park warden just as we'll be.
I want his library to close too, but that's not the case, we're not all in it together.

Unfortunately it's one for them and one for us. And this because Eric Pickles is too clever to do his homeworks.

Lou Baker said...

@max

I get it. You don't like the idea of having to walk a couple of miles to get to the library rather than half a mile.

You think a small borough like Lewisham needs 11 libraries. I think one will do.

Personally, I'd rather spend the money making sure pensioners are fed and kids are educated.

But that's a choice.

As for recycling - it's easy to increase rates. You fine those who don't do it, and pay the money collected to those who do do it. Your problem would be solved very quickly.

@monkey

If you lose your job you should get help finding another one. The Job Centre doesn't do this properly. And I say this as someone who once lost their job. People in this position need help, they may need to re-train and, yes, they may need to take a lower level job at a lower salary - as I did.

It need not being a permanent step backwards - it's just a simple fact that it's easier to find a job when you already have one.

As for 'being born poor'. The best leveller is education. Our schools fail far too many kids. I think schools need complete reform not just more money. You seem to support the status quo. You're the one backing the system that has failed the poor repeatedly for decades, not me.

And, no, I don't suggest the poor and out of work deserve it. I say they deserve proper help BUT that they must take steps to help themselves too.

My God, how unreasonable is that?

max said...

You pretty much dodged the issue entirely.
And yes, two miles is a long walk for a neighbourhood facility, there are studies telling you exactly what's the distance people are prepared to walk to make use of services and over a certain distance atteinment drops.

Lou Baker said...

Take a bus.

Cycle.

Roller skate.

Seriously.

max said...

Just giving you an information based on collected data, you know, one of those things that challenge assumptions.

Monkeyboy said...

So private schools produce better results with less money? My god! Someone should be told!

Brockley Economist said...

@Tamsin,

You are right, there are hidden benefits to retirement. Your suggestion is that we are subsidising care for the elderly/young indirectly with a low pension age, through paying people able to work a pension and hoping they volunteered at the local day care out of the goodness of their heart. I'd rather not pay them a pension and be forced to pay those who work in daycare for doing so. That way we have a direct link between the benefits and the costs - the economic recipe for avoiding waste.

@Tressilliana

Your dad sounds topping, and you are right, extending the retirement age will necessitate more medical retirement, and the figure I quote (£13bn/year per year raised) does not take account of this effect. Two things (1) I would suggest a graded approach. Perhaps half-pension at 68 (for example), full pension at 70. Not least because often people, like your father, feel more useful when they are doing something and this way, they'd work part time while they are still relatively young. (2) If we raised the retirement age "too high" (kept deliberately vague) a very high % would satisfy the criteria for medical retirement (i.e. cannot work in any capacity, not just their day job) and the costs of administering the system would rise, making it impractical/reducing the net benefits. You are right that in practical terms, we do need an age of entitlement.

Anonymous said...

Unreasonable people confronting extremely reasonable officers, defending themselves against thugs making zoo noises. Also where were the riot police?

Anonymous said...

Among the things the 'NO CUTS' protestors oppose is the reduction of Lewisham Life from 10 to six editions a year.

They will probably man the barricades when they learn officers are looking to reduce the number of editions to 4 editions a year.

Anonymous said...

There are now more people over 65 than there are teenagers.

According to the Pensions Minister the age of retirement was set 100 years and hasn't kept pace with changes in society.

Complusary retirement will probably be scrapped.

If the state pension was sufficient, winter fuel allowance, pension credits would not be required with all the costs they involve.

Instead of a gradual increase in retirement age governments will need to do it rapidly or face unrest from those in work burdened with more and more tax.

Anonymous said...

Reducing the number of times Lewisham Death, sorry Life comes out will have a knock on effect on borough recycling rates. Thats certainly where mine goes each month unread.

Tamsin said...

@ BE - wouldn't quite work - the unpaid care done by the active elderly is mostly within the family, for their parents, for their grandchildren, for other family members. You would have to extend the principle of free child-care and free adult social care to plug this gap. And also take on the chin the social consequences of of disrupting familial obligations. Would you rather be able to call in on your elderly mother yourself or trust her to overworked, underpaid agency staff working for some private company that has landed the contract with the council or PCT?

drakefell debaser said...

Tamsin, please can you stop generalising about private companies please?

Thanks.

Brockley Economist said...

@ Tamsin,

It is not true that I "would have to extend the principle of free child-care and free adult social care to plug this gap" or that "familial obligations" will be disrupted. After all, there is no rule saying parents have to get in a spotty unknown au pair to look after their children. Parents could choose to pay grandparents out of their own pockets.

This doesn't mean we have to withdraw support for parents/carers, just target support better. One of the oldest lessons in public economics is that the most efficient instruments are those most directly targeted at a problem. There are plenty of retired people who do retire at 60/65 and do not look after grandchildren and plenty of children without grandparents able to look after them. Therefore to subsidise retirement is a vastly wasteful, unequal and indirect way to support parents/children. The same argument goes for care for the elderly.

The appropriate mechanism for supporting parents/young families is tax relief or child benefit payments. In the case of care for the elderly, it is paying carer's allowances. Encouraging people who are young enough to do paid work, not to do paid work, is sheer economic madness.

Tamsin said...

OK - but it is what is happening in health and social services. I know that TV shockumentaries need to be taken with a cupful of salt but the horror stories are out there.

The answer should have been to break the Union stranglehold on NHS and public services so that bad practice could be dealt with effectively rather than side-stepping the issue and creating a long chain of accountability.

Tamsin said...

@BB sorry - my last was in respone to DD.

I will mull on what you've said, although I don't think it is quite that simple - but then things never are. It's not as clear cut as I make it out to be either.

And I do appreciate your change of tone.

drakefell debaser said...

Yes there are bad homes, but there are horror stories for most industries if you care to look hard enough.

The fact is there are many, if not the majority, of private care homes doing a very good job for their residents and the families involved.

Tamsin said...

Actually it is not so much the care homes - but the care visits to people in their own homes. The really excellent notion that with support people can continue living in their own homes, maintaining independence and at far less cost to the state - a win-win situation. Unfortunately the delivery depends on companies tendering to local authorities for the adult social care contracts and so making promises that are not necessarily delivered on. The workers are sometimes inadequately trained and often have schedules that are impossible to keep. Result bad care and a huge waste of public money. The council is paying for a half hour visit and general check on well-being but what is as often as not delivered is a ring on the doorbell, poking head around the door "Are you Okay, luv? Sorry must be getting on, 'bye now...".

Anonymous said...

tamsin, shouldn't you be pushing some cats about in a pram or something?

Tamsin said...

*mad cackle* curses upon you all.

What I should actually be doing is getting on with copying documents on a consultation on one of the NHS White Papers... But this is a plesant diversion and hardly less constructive.

Anonymous said...

Sue Luxton features in a local paper article about the storming of the town hall, was she unaware what was happening inside the council chamber?

A protestor admits to being on the the floor of the council chamber and wrestling with his local councillor.

Another protestor climbed onto the public gallery balcony and is seen in a photograph swinging from a pillar.

Was Sue naive and ill informed when she made her statement to the media?

From her comments she must have witnessed the force used by those outside gaining access to the building.

Is she justifying a protestor who a smoke grenade and let it off in a confined space?

16 police officers were injured, one with a broken finger and another treated for smoke inhalation.

Anonymous said...

There seems to be a Malpas-Road-sized elephant in the room...

Anonymous said...

Anon 08:54 which paper and issue was this in?

Anonymous said...

It is believed the article was in News Shopper...here's the photo of a protestor inside the council chamber...

http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/whereilive/southeast/lewisham/8709893.UPDATE___CATFORD__Police_and_protestors_clash_at_Lewisham_Council_cuts_meeting/?ref=rss

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