Sunday, 15 November 2015

Comment: Where are Manchester Council’s emergency homeless shelters?


Post Ark 1
There has been much criticism of Manchester City Council and its approach to homelessness over the past few months.

This has especially been the case with its suppfor evicting the homeless from various buildings and shelters from around the city centre. The most notorious example of this was supporting Manchester Metropolitan University’s double eviction of the Ark [1].


A pivotal action in altering the council’s position came when homelessness activists briefly occupied an empty office block on Charlotte Street in city centre. They aimed to make it a community hub for the homeless from which they could get shelter food and advice [2]. Although swiftly evicted, almost immediately afterwards, Manchester United football legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs generously offered shelter in their empty ‘Stock Exchange’ building [3].

In an about face, the Council then declared it too would make buildings available [4].

That was two weeks ago.

The site of the Ark on Oxford Road is currently empty and fenced off by MMU. There is no sign of the activity MMU evicted the Ark for.

Its been a week of cold, wet, windy weather. Under the fly-over on Oxford Road on both sides, there are homeless again.

When asked why they were there, why didn’t they go to the ‘Stock Exchange’, they said that they did but it was full.

When they were asked about the Council’s empty buildings for the homeless, they knew nothing about them. At all.
Post Ark 2When it explained what was offered in the press the response was [to paraphrase and replace words] – ‘Goodness me, they should hurry up, this is no flowery joke being out here’.

Since then, as reported by the local press, the camp near Piccadilly train station has grown to about 30 people [5].

Its been a very bad week weather-wise. When are these buildings going to open?

What are the Council waiting for?

Christmas?


Notes




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Pomona Island Planning Hearing Report Back

Trafford Council Planning Committee gave planning permission for 2 blocks of flats on Pomona Island on Thursday evening (12th November). 

The site has not been in use for decades. In that time it has evolved into a rare and mostly undisturbed rich habitat for wildlife, including rare species.

Opponents of the plan want more imaginative use of the space than another spate of the same overpriced blocks of flats that have sprung up in the Manchester area. They are also deeply concerned by the ecological impact of development. 

The land is owned by Peel holdings and is probably most well-known to Mancunians who pass it on the tram route, alongside the Manchester ship canal on the border of 3 boroughs, Manchester, Trafford and Salford. 

Although there has been a campaign group against building, the likelihood of lots of locals organising to protect the site is hampered by there not being many locals around in the first place. Across the water in Salford Quays there are some abodes of a similar demographic to those planned, often fairly transitory inhabitants not too likely to get involved with local activism. Also, being on the border of boroughs (or wards for that matter) can often make the geographical politics and identity of a location somewhat opaque

Pomona Island was very attractive, even to non-ecologists. But plans to build will have been bubbling under for a long time and a few years ago a large amount of vegetation was cleared, making it look less attractive. Funny that. 

The plan for the towers had been knocked back once for being below standard, but the development firm, Rowlinsons, had returned with some improvements, though they still look completely bland and identikit.

The development has been awarded £10,000,000 or our money via the dodgy democracy Devomanc scam, sorry...scheme.

The spooning out of money is detailed here, along with other background info.

http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/news/22-of-devo-manc-housing-fund-gone

A key theme at the hearing was that of councillors clearly being not very happy or impressed with the plans (though many were flat ignorant of the ecological importance of what is officially designated as a brownfield site). Still, most of those who spoke were minded to approve the plans, not least through fear of being taken to court if they weren't. The option to kickback the plan for improvements and consideration for environment didn't seem to be an option for them.

The council had asked Peel Holdings for a masterplan of their overall vision for the whole area. Peel didn't bother, but disrespecting the council turned out to be no great problem. A further disappointment that turned out not to matter was the total lack of affordable or social housing in the plan, despite the £10m bung from public funds.

The underlying message from the committee was one of "We don't like it, but we'll bend over anyhow, what can we really do?" (they are only elected representatives after all)

Trafford Council have sent a signal that banality, disregard for environment, lack of co-operation or clear strategy are all fine really.  One might wonder if they have the imagination to sense this.

It's an object lesson in how corporations trump people and planet time again via stultified and cowardly politics, and why so many have lost faith in that political system.

It is to be hoped that if/when future plans are submitted, the council won’t allow themselves to be a case study in "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me".

Notable exceptions in opposition to the plans were Labour members Delores O'Sullivan and David Acton (who is not on the committee).


It's not too late for future development to be more eco-friendly and for Trafford Council to find some spine. It would be great for the area to be utilised as much needed urban park space, possibly in concert with an 
"Eden of The North" vision in contrast to Osborne's dubious Northern Poorhouse, er... Powerhouse.

For those who deem such ideas unrealistic, a realistic compromise would be housing that is in harmony with habitat and wildlife as well as social goals of affordable housing and employment. But so far it's just another instance of death by a thousand cuts for the ecology, including evictions of rare schedule 1 bird species, the Little Ringed Plover and Kingfisher not to mention, Sand Martin, Jacksnipe, Pipistrelle Bat, Daubenton’s Bat, Water Vole, Cormorant and many other species, all found to have been happily inhabiting the site. Rowlinsons could easily have earned brownie points and added green roofs to their designs but alas no and so another eco opportunity lost.

Urban green space is vital, yet almost every individual development can be legally / politically excused on it's own merits, especially in the light of housing and employment difficulties. However, the collective effect is calamitous. There is more to ecology than rainforests, Polar Bears and the contents of a David Attenborough documentary. It is the very life that surrounds us wherever we are, and it is being systemically destroyed for profit with scant regard for consequence.

Such awareness, and the necessary vision for 21st Century sustainability, elude too many politicians, stuck in the last generation, and too many of the current generation of capitalists. 

Steve Durrant

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Thursday, 29 October 2015

Hulme Green Party calls on Homeless Film Festival to boycott Manchester Metropolitan University

HFF boycott of MMU
Hulme Green Party are calling on the upcoming Homeless Film Festival (HFF) [1] to boycott film screenings and other events hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

The aggressive legal action that MMU have pursued in conjunction with Manchester City Council and the repeated evictions of The Ark homeless shelter have received much public attention in the last few weeks. [2]

The harassing actions of these large institutions against this vulnerable group were called out by homelessness campaigns, students and Manchester Green Party. [3]

Deyika Nzeribe, Hulme resident and Green Party campaigner said: "While we recognize the good work that the HFF are doing and have done, it is just wrong for them to ally themselves with MMU, who have aggressively pursued and evicted the Ark homeless camp twice in the last few months. It was a well organised shelter, which was doing a lot to raise awareness of homelessness and to provide support for vulnerable people.

"On the back of this ‘partnership’, MMU will be able to use HFF as an example of the good work it's doing for the homeless, to cover up what it's actually doing on the ground. HFF should do the right thing and boycott the MMU venues."

Notes.


Read Full Article >>

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Council Leader should learn some Mancunian generosity

Mancunian Generosity
The comments on the Leader’s Blog [1] by Richard Leese on begging and homelessness are reprehensible. It is classic demonization of some of Manchesters’ most vulnerable.

The piece looks to draw distinctions between beggars and the homeless while describing them in almost the same terms. For beggars "the most likely beneficiaries are the nearest off-licence, drug dealer" but the homeless "are people with chaotic, dysfunctional lifestyles often with drink, drug, and mental health problems".

The Leader talks about 80% of beggars not being homeless. What does that mean? There is a noticeable increase in begging AND the homeless on the streets over the few years. We know that the "Lack of affordable housing, welfare cuts, and cuts to support services" has led to an increase in homelessness, why wouldn't it lead to an increase in begging? Foodbanks [2] and soup kitchens can't catch everyone.

The claim that beggars are commuting from London for the notable Mancunian generosity is ridiculous. When is the evidence for this? And are beggars also commuting from Liverpool, Birmingham and other large cities?

As for the generosity of Mancunians, this does not extend to the Council. This spring it cut funding to homelessness support.  [3]

Since then, however, the Council has spent over £100,000 prosecuting the homeless in the city centre while at the same time promoting the huge amount of luxury flats planned for the city centre partly funded by £300 million of government funds. [4]

What use are the Council Leader's comments except to turn the public against the visible homeless on the streets. It casts doubt on any initiative announced by the Richard Leese will be anything more than a token  enterprise, that it won’t approach the scale of action needed to properly address the  homelessness crisis. Next thing you know, he’ll be asking people not to give to the homeless.

Manchester’s generosity is better than the comments of the Council Leader. He should do a better job of representing it. He should learn from it.

In the meantime its to be expected that the homeless themselves will do the best they can to look after themselves on the streets of Manchester.



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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Keeping it BREEAM

 Manchester Metropolitan University's (MMU) Birley Fields campus is nearly complete with the shops on Stretford Road being the last visible works to be completed.

The development of the campus has been promoted highlighting that its planned specification would make it the greenest campus in Europe. [1]

In MMU's case, inevitably, some of those features did not make it off the plans. If some environmental features do not make it to implementation, its disappointing.

What is interesting with MMU is that it has applied to Manchester City Council to be make exempt from the BREEAM standards when it comes to the shops on Stretford Road. [2] The BREEAM standard against which the sustainability of new, non-residential buildings in the UK is assessed. [3][4]

To deliberately look for exemption from this standard makes MMU's environmental statements more marketing than principle.

They should think again and withdraw their planning request.
 

Notes

  1. http://www.mmu.ac.uk/news/news-items/2054/
  2. http://pa.manchester.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=NS72MUBC6K000
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BREEAM
  4. http://www.breeam.org/about.jsp?id=66

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Comment - Manchester City Council position on migrants a double standard

Manchester City Council and its Labour leadership showed some double standards in its recent statements on the refugees coming to Britain.

Nationally, the government has been shamed into accepting more refugees. On the back of this, in Greater Manchester, Labour politicians have been falling over themselves to welcome the refugees (however conditionally). According to a recent newspaper report, Council Leader Sir Richard Leese "says the city will gladly play its part in housing destitute people".[1]

On Manchester's destitute people, the City Council along with Manchester Metropolitan University is taking legal action to evict the homeless camp that has come together under the motorway flyover on Oxford Road.[2]

The organised camp is one of several to have formed over the past year as the homelessness crisis in the city has grown worse and with the City Council recently cutting support services.[3] It is estimated that over 200 people are sleeping rough.[4]

If Manchester City Council wants to show its caring side, it can start by stopping the legal action its pursuing against The Ark and the other homeless camps. [5]

While we welcome the Council's plans to aide and support refugees, it should extend this compassion to those already destitute on the streets of this City.


Notes
  1. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/deal-us-not-serco-say-9993699
  2. http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/050974232-manchester-homelessness-crisis-ark-shelter-plea-public-support-after-council
  3. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/special-report-shock-rise-manchester-9363644
  4. http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/260673764-charity-accuse-manchester-city-council-lying-about-homeless-figures
  5. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/homeless-protesters-could-jailed-breaching-9942874

Read Full Article >>

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Support The Ark

Homeless Shelter on Oxford Road, Manchester
You may have noticed the ‘homeless camp’ that has set up on the edge of Hulme, specifically under the flyover on Oxford Road.

Since Manchester City Council evicted the camps in St Peters Square, St Anne's Square and King Street [1], the few individuals living under the flyer has grown into a small shelter. They call it 'The Ark'. 

That shelter is now currently under threat of eviction by Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester City Council [2].
Its inhabitants, about 12 people, were served legal papers last week and are due in court from 7th September.

Deyika Nzeribe from Hulme Green Party said "That Manchester City Council is continuing its campaign to harass the homeless of Manchester is as scandalous as it is immoral. The fact that Manchester Metropolitan University is a partner in this action is deeply disappointing.
"It is common for the homeless of Manchester have to live together for protection from the attacks that they frequently endure in the city centre. The shelter, a mile from Piccadilly, can hardly be considered 'political' or 'campaigning'."

Over the six months Manchester City Council has embarked on dual high profile campaigns. The first is to highlight the proposed 1 billion pounds worth of housing investment planned for central Manchester [3]. The Council is planning to use the £300 million pound housing investment fund granted as part of the Devolution deal to do this [4]. So far, 22% of that funding has been committed to support luxury housing within similar developments earmarked [5].

The second is the pursuit of Manchester's homeless. The Council has spent over £100,000 on legal fees [6] to gain injunctions to move the homeless camps from the city centre. This was soon after cutting council funding to organisations supporting the homeless [7].

Manchester City Council and Manchester Metropolitan University are some of the largest institutions who, between them have recently spent hundreds of millions on buildings [8] or promoting buildings [9]. The pursuit and harassment of the homeless and particularly the Ark is shameful. Both institutions should stop this action immediately and put those resources to helping people get off the streets.  


Notes
  1. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/homeless-camp-sets-up-king-9875548
  2. http://www.mancunianmatters.co.uk/content/050974232-manchester-homelessness-crisis-ark-shelter-plea-public-support-after-council
  3. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/future-manchester-revealed-vertical-village-9604147
  4. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/300m-housing-fund-designed-unlock-9570783
  5. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/greater-manchester-councils-hand-out-9984274
  6. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/bill-manchester-homelessness-protest-exceeds-9534300
  7. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/manchester-homeless-campaigners-could-end-9535878
  8. http://www.mmu.ac.uk/news/news-items/3417/
  9. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/special-report-shock-rise-manchester-9363644

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A thought on the Labour Party ahead of the announcement of their new leader.

The 18th of August marked the anniversary of the Battle of Peterloo, when 60,000 people protested in Manchester in support for the vote and political reform. The struggle for a democracy which is truly representative of the people continues today. In Manchester, the latest threat to democracy is the Government’s devolution deal. Devolution in general something we support. We believe important decisions about local areas should be taken by those closest to those areas. However, the devolution deal does not offer more accountability to the people but less. For example Greater Manchester is currently represented by an unelected Mayor, former Labour MP Tony Lloyd, and this will be the case until 2017.

There seems to be an ongoing argument within the Labour Party over whether the leadership contest will cause or is causing a split. It is hard to see what the debate is about. It seems apparent that there is a split. Greens in Manchester were aware of a split long before the leadership campaign began. The gaps were apparent in the differences in views between Manchester City Council and local MPs over the devolution deal for Greater Manchester. While the Council was and is very happy to sign a deal with George Osborne, local MPs were and are much more skeptical about the long-term consequences of the deal.

If Jeremy Corbyn is elected it does appear that the gap between him and Sir Richard Leese (the leader of Manchester Council) will be a large one. For a start Mr Leese has given his backing to Yvette Cooper. The differences are the greatest when it comes to housing and tackling poverty. While Mr Corbyn agrees with the Green Party and argues for the building of new social housing, the Council prioritizes the building of private homes. It has recently unveiled plans for new projects across the City Centre. Of the thousands of new flats and houses, none of them are set to be social housing; and none of them are even to be set as ‘affordable’. This is despite the fact that there are currently 20,000 people on the social housing waiting list in Manchester. The Council sees rising rents as a positive economic indicator and recently spent over £100,000 on evicting and taking legal action against homeless protesters in the City Centre. We believe that this approach from the Council has encouraged social housing conglomerate One Manchester to come up with plans for Hulme which don’t include any social housing.

We look forward to working with the supporters of Mr Corbyn in developing and implementing plans to create more social housing and combating inequality across Manchester.

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Friday, 21 August 2015

What's the future for Cornbrook and Pomona Island?


Cornbrook
The Canal at Cornbrook
The last entry talked about the Council’s proposed development of Great Jackson Street. This article is about the Council’s plans for Cornbrook and Pomona. The Council plans to build a large hotel, a ‘commercial business hub’ and a number of flats. In addition, it is working with Trafford Council to build a large number of flats on Pomona Island in the future.

As with the Great Jackson Street plan, the Council has no desire to build any affordable homes or social housing on the site. The promise of some new commercial space at least shows that the Council does know that people need to have somewhere to work as well as just live. However, the Council does not look set to overturn its existing policies of attempting to attract in new employers rather than supporting local businesses to grow. We want to see some of the commercial space be set aside for either small businesses, or for an office to support small businesses and local charities. We also want to the plans to have more imagination when it comes to retaining the current environment of Pomona Island.

We also want to see a plan which takes into consideration the environment. Pomona is currently an Oasis of green at the edge of the City Centre. The site was home to a pleasure garden in the 19th century and it would be good to see Pomona continue to have green space rather than seeing it become overdeveloped like the rest of the former docks.

The most troublesome thing about this proposal is that it has been designed without consulting the public. It has been dreamt up by the Tory heads of Trafford Council and the Labour heads of Manchester Council behind closed doors. Even Hulme Councillors were not consulted about the plans. Cllr Lee-Ann Igbon was concerned that she had not been consulted about the plans before they were released.

The Council leader Mr Richard Leese said that as only a small amount of the plan was actually in Hulme he didn’t think it was much of an issue. That statement appears to be disingenuous as Mr Leese must have surely read the report which has plans to build hundreds of flats and directly states that existing services such as schools, dentists and doctors’ surgeries would be used by the new residents.

The impact of all these new homes and other developments on transport is also a major concern. There is no plan to deal with the increase in traffic created by these plans. Chester Road, Bridgewater Way A57 are already extremely busy at peak times and a heavily built development on this site will greatly add to this problem. While there is an existing tram stop it is not plausible that this will cater for all the transport needs of the new homes and other planned buildings.

Change is always going to occur and the Hulme Greens are not against that. But we believe that changes to the city should be made with the people, not made behind closed doors with the leaders of other Councils. In addition we will be arguing for new developments to provide affordable homes, social housing with controlled rents, space for small businesses, green spaces, and amenities for the community and be designed to tackle climate change. 
Read Full Article >>

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Housing Association ‘No DSS’ housing proposal despite waiting list crisis.

Hulme Living - Leaf Street image
 Social landlord OneManchester’s [1] controversial plans to build new housing in Hulme reveal that none of the 170 properties will be available as social homes.
The scheme called ‘Hulme Living’[2], which OneManchester hopes to begin in early 2016, will be across 2 sites in Hulme, one approximately 100 property build on Leaf Street the other Chorlton Road.

Dave Power, chief executive of OneManchester
 justifies the proposal, saying “…Greater Manchester desperately needs to be building at least 10,000 new homes per year in order to play its part in tackling the national housing crisis” [3].

Deyika Nzeribe, Manchester Green Party and resident of Hulme said “OneManchester is supposed to be a social landlord. Where are the social homes in this plan? Dave Power is right in saying that there is a housing crisis in Manchester but that crisis is that there are 20,000 people on the council waiting list[4], the worse in the North West of England. If not organisations like OneManchester, who is going to build the social housing we desperately need?

“If all the accommodation in these plans are for rent, why not have a mix, have 40% of the tenants in there from the housing list? THAT would be a small step but it will be in the right direction.”

Manchester Green Party Chair Steffeny McGiffen commented “With 20,000 people on the housing waiting list evidence of the lack of accommodation for people in need can be seen every day on the streets of Manchester. Those charged with the welfare of the city are failing to tackle the issue and arguably, wilfully ignoring it."

Ends

Notes
1.    One Manchester - http://www.onemanchester.co.uk/
2.    Hulme Living - http://hulmeliving.co.uk/
3.    170 new homes expected to be built in Hulme - http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/170-new-homes-expected-built-9780001

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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Claremont Resource Centre to Close


Claremont Resource Centre
Over the last few months it has become apparent that the Claremont Resource Centre on Rolls Crescent is to close.

The substantial expansion of Rolls Crescent Primary School next door will mean that the Claremont will be demolished to make way.

Though in the past the building was home to the much-loved Hulme Resource Centre and a Citizens Advice Bureau, its main current occupant is the African Caribbean Care Group (ACCG).

Though initially there were fears the Care Group was also closing down, this appears not to be the case.

The Care Group is however, looking for a new home and as of this moment is still uncertain as to where that would be.

We hope that the Group is aiming to and able to remain in Hulme.
Read Full Article >>

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

What's on the horizon for Hulme?

Hulme has changed in the past and will change again. Hulme in the 1870s was home to 75,000 people and was predominately made up of terraced housing. Then the 1960s and 1970s saw the building of big blocks of flats like the Crescents. Now the large blocks have gone and where they once stood we have Hulme Park and private houses. Recently Hulme has seen Manchester Metropolitan University building on Birley Fields.

Hulme and the surrounding area is about to change again. The Council has drawn up plans to drastically change many areas in and around Hulme. This blog entry is the first in a series which will be seeking to inform people about the changes planned for the area and to spark debate over whether these plans are what the people of Hulme want.

This article focuses on the Council’s strategy to develop the area around Great Jackson Street, which is just across from Hulme Park. The plans include proposals for a 58 storey tower and five other towers over 20 storeys high. While there are also some houses, the Council have ruled out providing any social housing or affordable housing. We believe that if the demand to build is so great for developers then surely the Council can push them to build some social housing or affordable housing. The Council claims that the site will have a mix of different types of properties but if the plans exclude affordable and social housing this mix seems to be pretty shallow.

There is also little provision for new shops or any other amenities. Without new plans these new properties will put a strain on doctors’ surgeries, dentists and schools in the area. In fact the Council has specifically mentioned that residents would be using existing services in Hulme. The people of Hulme need more jobs but this plan does not offer them. The building work would be covered by the same work schemes that the MMU Birley Fields campus was and the building work there created only a handful of jobs for local residents.

The plans have also not considered how these buildings will look to the people of Hulme. The plan makes an effort to show how the buildings will look from different positions around the city centre, but when it comes to Hulme there has been no consideration. The proposals also have little provision for public space.

Manchester does need new homes and Hulme Greens are not opposed to building in general. However, we believe that all changes to Hulme should have the clear backing of residents. The Council thinks that putting a consultation form on its website is sufficient and that this is reaching out to the public. We disagree and believe that the Council should consult more with the public before endorsing plans to radically change an area. It’s not just the public who aren’t properly consulted about new plans in the area. At a meeting on the 29th of July, Labour Hulme Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon complained that she had not been consulted about plans proposed for Cornbrook. This is despite the fact that another Labour Councillor for Hulme, Nigel Murphy is part of the Council executive which runs the Council.

The plans are just that at the moment and can be changed. At this stage it is important to make your views heard whether they be positive or negative. The Council may not be interested in hearing your views but we are, so get in touch and tell us what you think.

Read Full Article >>

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Manchester Green Party praises Labour MPs willing to oppose damaging Welfare bill

The majority of Manchester’s Labour MPs have failed to oppose a bill this week that is expected to make life more difficult for the city’s most vulnerable people. The Manchester Green Party welcomes the decision by two MPs to rebel and is calling on other local MPs to do more to combat the city’s growing poverty.

Manchester has some of the highest levels of child poverty in the country. The Welfare Reform and Work Bill, which passed its second reading by 308 to 124 votes, has been heavily criticised by academics, charities and campaign groups who say that if the bill becomes law, it will have a detrimental affect to children and families in poverty, young people out of work, and ill and disabled people.

Rather than voting against the bill, the Labour leadership instructed its MPs to abstain on the vote. The bill passed with a majority of 184, precisely the number of Labour MPs who abstained.

Manchester Green Party welcomes the decision taken by Gorton MP Gerald Kaufman and Blackley and Broughton MP Graham Stringer to rebel against the Labour line and oppose the bill.

Unfortunately, Manchester’s other MPs, Lucy Powell, whose constituency has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the UK, and the newly elected Jeff Smith, were among those who followed their party leadership and abstained on the vote.

Deyika Nzeribe of the Hulme Green Party said:

“If more Labour MPs had rebelled against their party and joined other opposition members in the SNP, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, the bill would have been defeated and Manchester’s families in poverty protected from yet more government’s cuts to tax credits, welfare benefits and public services.
“It’s astounding and depressing that the majority of Manchester’s Labour MPs refused to stand up for their most vulnerable constituents. Manchester Central has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the UK and we have an opposition MP apparently afraid to oppose this toxic Tory bill.
“The Manchester Green Party calls on Manchester’s Labour MPs to listen to their constituents, to look at the evidence that these cuts are hurting our most vulnerable citizens and to join the growing opposition in parliament, which is currently being led by the smaller parties. The poor and in need should not be paying for the mistakes of past governments or the financial sector.”

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who voted against the bill, said:

“It's now down to MPs from all parties to look beyond the politics of today’s debate and focus instead on the devastating impact that this piece of legislation will have on people up and down the country.
"Our crumbling social security system is on the brink – now is the time to take a stand.

“George Osborne is playing politics with poverty. Failing to stand up to this regressive Welfare reform would be an utter betrayal of the principle which says that those in need deserve support.”

More than half a million people in Greater Manchester are believed to be living in poverty, with a further 1.6 million at risk. Many are working for low wages and rely on working tax credits to lift them out of fuel poverty and food poverty. The bill will make it harder still for these families to thrive and survive.

The benefit cap is to be lowered to £20,000 and the bill contains a clause that gives the government the right to lower this yet further without consulting parliament. This will plunge large families with high rent costs further into poverty.

The bill also abandons the UK’s commitment to eradicating child poverty by 2020 and goes so far as to redefine poverty so that it no longer relates to people’s ability to afford essentials such as shelter and food.


Read Full Article >>

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Site updates


Over the next few days you may notice a few rounds of ongoing changes to these pages as we splash some virtual (environmentally friendly) paint around, dust off the hamsters and generally try to make the site easier to navigate. If you would like to share any opinions with us as we apply these updates or have any suggestions about what you would like to see here we would love to hear from you. Please feel free to do so by adding a commenting to this post. Or alternatively email us directly at: hulmegreen@gmail.com
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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Manchester Green Party Calls for Targets to Combat Child Poverty - Levels in City highest outside London

The Green Party is challenging Manchester City Council to set Child Poverty Reduction targets and dedicate resources to reducing the number of families living in poverty to the national average within 5 years.  The city has the highest levels of childpoverty outside London.

Deyika Nzeribe, Co-Chair of Manchester Green Party said "This should be the minimum aim if Manchester City Council wants to show its commitment to tackling child poverty seriously.  Following the elections, we now know we have a purely Conservative government in place for the next 5 years. We can expect deeper cuts causing far more hardship. Labour council leaders must act now! We can't leave this issue to be dealt with by foodbanks."

He added:  "While council leaders are in the news being photographed with topTories like George Osborne, in the much spoken about race for a Greater Manchester Mayor and devolution from central government, these incredible levels of child poverty must not be forgotten."

EndChildPoverty [has reported that 39% of families with children in Manchester live in poverty, which is nearly 10% more than every major city in the North of England. This is despite Manchester being the third wealthiest city in the country. Moreover, the figure of 39% of families with children in poverty is just the average across Manchester. In Hulme it is 47% and Moss Side its 49%, with Rusholme, Longsight and Ardwick suffering similar deprivation.

The Greens say that though politicians in the city frequently point to the government as being responsible, other Labour councils in the North have notably lower levels of child poverty. Following this year’s elections, Manchester has a 100% Labour Council and the MP for Manchester Central, the constituency where child poverty is worst, is the shadow minister for Children and Families.


Deyika Nzeribe stated: “Even if some people or politicians were to feel no moral urgency to act, it should be recognised that lowering poverty and inequality also improves health and reduces crime within a population, reducing the cost to the state It should be an aspiration of a healthy, growing city to be reducing and eradicating child poverty."


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Thursday, 16 April 2015

Over 3000 voters disappear from Hulme’s Electoral Roll

Government changes to the voter registration process have resulted in 39,787 people disappearing from Manchester’s electoral roll in the last 12 months.

In Hulme, comparing figures from March 2014 and March 2015, the number of voters in Hulme has dropped by 3442, a decrease of 26%.

The change to the registration system has disproportionately affected young people, students, private renters and people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

A closer look at the figures revealed that although the average fall in voter numbers is 13% in 4 of the 5 districts of Hulme, in the 5th area which has a high student population, that fall is 73%.

Deyika Nzeribe, the Green Party Local Election candidate for Hulme said “With the deadline for registration being this Monday April 20th, its essential people pay attention and take action or they will miss their chance to vote for a change in government, local and national.
If you don’t like politicians but want to vote, go to the independent ‘Vote for Policies’ website, make your own mind up.”

There are 10% less people on Manchester’s electoral register than this time last year, which could radically alter the outcome of the election. In the Manchester local elections in 2014, The Green Party came 2nd with 12.7% of the vote, whilst the Lib Dems came 3rd with 11.7%.

The council wards that have seen the greatest drop in registered voters are areas with high populations of students, private renters and minority ethnic voters.

The City Centre has lost 37% of its registered voters. Ardwick has lost 33%, Withington 28%, Hulme 26%, Rusholme 23% and Fallowfield 21%.

Meanwhile, more affluent areas with a higher percentage of homeowners have remained largely unchanged. Chorlton has only lost 3% of voters, whilst Didsbury East lost 2%.

You register to vote online in under 5 minutes by visiting https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote and entering your national insurance number.


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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Green Party calls for Referendum on Greater Manchester Devolution

News of the devolution deal [1] between the 10 Greater Manchester Councils and the Coalition Government took most people in the region by surprise. 

Also surprising was the news that the Devolution was conditional on the region accepting an elected Mayor as part of the deal.

Though the agreement, negotiated out of view of the public, brings some services under local control [2] there are no additional resources that would not likely come to the region anyway. In fact, Manchester Council is facing an additional £60 million in cuts. [3]

Laura Bannister, Green Party general election candidate for Manchester Gorton, said, "When Scotland voted on devolution in September, it was seen as a high water mark of democracy with 84.6% of the population voting [4]. The debate and discussion leading to the referendum took place over two years. No such process has happened in Greater Manchester."

Chair of Manchester Green Party, Deyika Nzeribe agreed, "The Green Party is in favour of devolution when done correctly. It has to be discussed and accepted at a local level. The Green Party therefore calls for a consultation of the people of Greater Manchester, followed by a referendum, to decide whether we want devolution and if so, what form it should take. This is the biggest governance change in Manchester in a generation - people have a right to decide this for themselves. We will work with others to make this happen."

Since the devolution announcement, a popular campaign has formed to get a referendum for the people of Greater Manchester. The campaign, ‘DevoManc’ is encouraging people to sign its online petition [5] and have a Day of Action on Saturday 10th January 2015 with petition signings all over the Greater Manchester [6].

Notes

  1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/devolution-to-the-greater-manchester-combined-authority-and-transition-to-a-directly-elected-mayor
  2. http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/News/Elected-Mayor-For-Greater-Manchester
  3. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/prime-minister-david-cameron-warns-8064096#rlabs=14
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_independence_referendum,_2014
  5. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/people-must-have-right-to-vote-on-devo-manc
  6. https://www.facebook.com/events/392412037594684/

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