Monday, February 28, 2011

Further Education AT RISK - Public Meeting Thurs March 3rd

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A sneak preview of the new Hackney Unites anti-cuts tabloid

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Labour Councillors on the cuts - Another View

Cllrs Ian Rathbone, Linda Kelly and Deniz Oguzkanli
Six Hackney Labour Councillors share their views on how we should fight the cuts..

The Con-Dem Coalition is attacking the fabric of a civilised society: NHS jobs and services are being cut and wholesale privatisation is planned. 3,500 young people in Hackney will lose Educational Maintenance Allowance and student fees are tripling. Access to legal aid is being choked off. Housing benefit restrictions threaten people's homes. Disrepair stemming from cuts in the Decent Homes programme will affect health and increase stress.
Money available for local councils is to be cut back for four successive years. Some think we should protest - and wait for the next election. Our view is that we cannot wait until the damage is done. Nobody voted to privatise the NHS or make our communities pay for the bankers' crisis. The government has no mandate. The bankers' greed caused the crisis - they and their rich friends should pay for it through targeted taxes and a crack down on the tax loopholes used by millionaires and big corporations. As Labour Councillors, along with supporters of the Labour Representation Committee, we support a campaign to defeat the policies of this government through public protest, opposition and defiance.
We would like to see local Councils across London leading the charge and refusing to adopt cuts budgets as a result of government enforced policies and producing a Needs Budgets to show what should be funded. This won't give local Councils the money to keep services running - but it would give a big boost to the campaign to defeat the government.
Labour needs to reinvent itself as a political movement - not just a party of management and government. Local residents and community organisations need to share their concerns and inform local councillors of the impact of cuts particularly where women, older people, the young, people with disabilities and Black and Minority Ethnic communities will be disproportionately affected by the cuts.
We are facing a national and international emergency and this calls for exceptional measures to mobilise our people and defeat the Con-Dem Coalition. If we do not speak out, our silence will be taken for agreement.
Cllr Barry Buitekant
Cllr Michelle Gregory
Cllr Linda Kelly
Cllr Deniz Oguzkanli
Cllr Ian Rathbone
Cllr Patrick Vernon

Hackney LRC can be contacted at: PO Box 2378, London E5 9QU We also support: 

An edited version of this statement appears in the Hackney Unites tabloid against the cuts.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cuts to ESOL funding - Ali Aksoy (HRF) speaks out

Ali Aksoy, Chair of Hackney Refugee Forum (HRF) writes about the cuts to ESOL funding – and why we need to fight them.
CUTS, CUTS, CUTS and now ESOL cuts and it will affect all of us very seriously.

We all know it is very difficult to integrate in to this society without speaking the host community’s language. Therefore ESOL education is an investment by the government to help migrant and refugees to improve their skills, find jobs, pay taxes instead of getting financial support from public funds as well as accessing the available services before their problems becoming chronic or expensive to solve.

ESOL education is not only good for increasing the chance to find employment for migrant and refugee students, it also means employment for hundreds of teachers and better communication with other communities. All this is very important for cohesion, seeing the importance of diversity and learning more. Sharing experiences with other communities helps avoid the racism created by ignorance.

Yes there will be free classes, but only for 20% of RASM communities who gets active unemployment allowances (dependants might have to pay). People without active allowance and low income can not have free classes and have to pay fees from between £550 to £1250. Teachers will lose jobs and learners to help their children.

The colleges will have bigger classes (now 17 students in a class), fewer choices of levels and less flexibility. They have to cut their ESOL provision 25% in next 4 years and less and lesser place will be available.

At the moment there is a £4.5million fund available to help ESOL students who pay fees, but next year there will be no support fund. That means fewer students from low income people, the closing of courses and more teachers will lose their jobs.

There is no harvest without invest and it is time to raise our voices for ESOL investment now before this cuts will harm all our communities.

The next Hackney Refugee Forum open meeting will be on Friday 18 March (1pm-3pm) at HCVS in Dalston. The topic will be ESOL cuts and the impact on employment and health and integration. For more info email

Monday, February 14, 2011

BEMA - Art of the Big Society Conference February 24th 2011

Do you represent a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) arts organisation working in the voluntary sector?

Are you a BAME artist working in the voluntary sector?

Does your arts organisation work with or support BAME artists?

Then you are invited to BEMA’s Art of the Big Society Conference

Date: Thursday, 24 February 2011

Time: 9.30am - 4.30pm

Venue: Graeae Theatre Company, 138 Kingsland Road, London E2 8DY

Designed to address issues of concern to those involved in art creation, provision and marketing, the conference will look at how BAME artists and arts organisations can confront the many challenges facing them in voluntary sector in the current financial climate.

So much of national strategy being developed today is within the context of the so called ‘Big Society’, or in order to persuade more people to ‘volunteer’. Yet at a time of austerity and severe financial crisis, voluntary sector arts organizations are perhaps suffering more than most other areas.

Investment in the arts, already low, is being steadily reduced, with the hardest hit being the already under-funded Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic voluntary led arts groups and organisations.

With panel discussions and workshops, the conference will discuss how best BAME arts organizations can make the most of funding opportunities, market themselves and support each other.

With speakers from the Arts Council, Hackney’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Unit and various arts groups, this will be an ideal event to get information, discuss and network. 

Food and refreshments will be available free of charge.


For more information visit
or telephone 0207 923 1962  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A statement on the cuts from Hackney Ecumenical Borough Deans

We are concerned that both direct Government cuts, and indirect cuts through the Council’s support grants, will leave many people in Hackney suffering and hurting. The Government has moved much too fast and needs to spend more time talking with and listening to people in poverty and on its borders, and base their policies on combating the real problems the poor and vulnerable face each day.  

There needs to be a clearer understanding of the injustice and humiliation of poverty in all its forms. Telling people the answer is to get on a bus to get a job is to insult and frustrate people. 
 In a caring society each person should contribute what they can, and be valued regardless of their contribution, as the person they are. That’s how God sees every one of us. 
All people regardless of their status should have access to the law, and the cutting of legal aid will mean many Hackney folk will be left unable to defend themselves when faced with a bad landlord, or discriminatory employer etc.  
Churches should not be asked to take over some of the jobs of the state in any ‘Big Society’ situation. Their role is essentially complementary to state services.
 Large corporations and wealthy individuals should understand that they should make a full contribution, and not set a bad example by finding ‘legal loopholes’ through which they can avoid paying tax.
The Government should find ways to claw back this tax to offset the financial deficit we face, rather than making poorer people pay.
We support the statement made by national church leaders on November 11, 2010, which raised concerns that the proposed welfare reforms are based on inaccurate assumptions about the poor. (see )

Hackney Ecumenical Borough Deans are a group of church leaders representing major Christian church denominations in Hackney.