Hackney Solidarity: October / November 2005

New Schools YES; Private Sponsors NO!

Published on: Tue, 01/11/2005 - 15:57

by Janine Booth

Hackney desperately needs more secondary school places.

Around 40% of youngsters go out of the borough to secondary school. This is a totally unacceptable situation which causes stress to our kids and our families.

The shortage of places left 83 Hackney 11-year-olds with no secondary school place at the start of this term.


Here in central Hackney, we have a new school - Mossbourne (pictured). But lots of local kids are finding that they can’t get places there.

The school has refused places to applicants who live just a stone’s throw away, and even to those

Hackney Housing: news and views

Published on: Tue, 01/11/2005 - 15:53

ALMO is no solution

Hackney Council is pressing ahead with its Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO), despite very little support in the community.

When Hackney Solidarity asked residents of Mountford estate, we found that most people had not heard of the ALMO, and those who had knew little of the detail.

ALMO takes housing out of Council control, making it even further out-of-touch with residents. ALMO will act like a business, and could be a first step to privatisation.

Recent elections for tenants’ and free-/lease-holders’ representatives on the ALMO Board had a low turnout - not

Olympics 2012: who will win?

Published on: Tue, 01/11/2005 - 15:21

There will be gold medals for corporate sponsors, TV networks, sportswear manufacturers and politicians.
But will Hackney’s workers and communities get the wooden spoon?

The Olympic Games are big business. But unless we put up a fight, we could end up with ‘regeneration’ that pushes up prices, reduces our green space, and creates facilities that local residents can not afford.
Property developers will use the opportunity to make a ‘land grab’.

And Ken Livingstone expects us to pay for this through the already-extortionate Council Tax!

Hackney Trades Union Council is to launch a campaign

Benefits Staff Fight Cuts

Published on: Tue, 01/11/2005 - 15:18

by Charlie McDonald, local PCS branch secretary

Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members working in dole offices and jobcentres in London have voted for a series of strikes. The first may take place on 16 November.

This is in response to savage job cuts being implemented by Chancellor Gordon Brown across the Civil Service. 100,000 jobs are to be cut. On top of this, work is being moved out of London. PCS is particularly concerned about the impact this will have on unemployment in black and minority ethnic communities.

We are worried about increasing workload. There is the same

Brook Primary

Published on: Tue, 01/11/2005 - 15:17

Brook Community Primary School is in its first full year of Fresh Start. Teachers, other staff, and the kids, are all working hard, and things seem to be getting better.

But is the school getting the support it deserves from the authorities?

Brook submitted its plan for improving attainment (a document vital to getting its funding), but the Department for Education and Skills (DfES) did not even read it for several months! The school year began without desks when suppliers failed to deliver in time for day one.

Brook has reached half term with building work still unfinished and with some

Who speaks for us?

Published on: Tue, 01/11/2005 - 15:14

by John Leach

In Spring next year, we get to vote for our Councillors. Hackney Solidarity will stand in this election, giving people the chance to vote for socialist candidates who support Hackney working-class interests.

We should be entitled to vote for the things we want:

  • good services, not cuts and privatisation;
  • improved council housing, not neglected estates;
  • better, more accountable local schools, not private sponsors;
  • democratic accountabliity, not ‘arms-length’ quangos.

Working-class people need a political voice against the vested interests of big business, the rich - and

Pembury estate: Residents Speak Out

Published on: Tue, 01/11/2005 - 10:48

by Janine Booth

Hackney Solidarity knocked on doors on the Pembury. We asked people’s views about life on the estate.
Many complained about the building work. It has been noisy, disruptive, and continually delayed.

Others complained that Peabody promised repairs but either did not do them or messed them up - including furniture being damaged and no compensation paid.

Many residents feel they don’t get enough information from Peabody - just “occasional newsletters which make promises which are then not carried out”.

There is very little for youngsters to do. It is a scandal that such a big

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