Birmingham city council knows how to waste public money. The Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme installed in Kings Heath is supposed to reduce the number of cars on the road, although in reality all it has done is funnel them onto fewer roads, increasing congestion and raising the emissions levels on those roads. The Council says the project will make roads safer, quieter and better for neighbours ‘to stop and have a chat in’.
Somehow Kings Heath and York Road are going to be transformed into Venice Beach for Councillor Trickett & Co. to hang about and share stories from their cycling holidays over a Venti Soy Quadruple Shot Latte with No Foam.
This scheme is an unmitigated disaster for working class people:
- Congestion will increase on main roads
- Emissions will increase on main roads
- Working class people who rely on the bus will be sat in more traffic for longer
- Emergency services will take longer to get to you
Lisa Trickett likes spending your money
Asked by the Birmingham Mail about the LTN Councillor Trickett said: “It’s not a cheap way of making policy.”[i]
Lisa Trickett knows how to waste public money. In 2017 she was responsible for a war waged on binmen. For a saving of £300,000 a year Lisa Trickett and the Labour Party spent more than £6million in an attack on bin men causing a strike that lasted months.
Now Trickett and our Labour council are chasing cash being offered by the government to those who introduce these ludicrous measures. To get their hands on the cash they had to act fast, which is why they dumped these giant wooden boxes in Kings Heath:
“Birmingham City Council said it would have to implement them before the end of August to secure government funds having been allocated £1 million from the first tranche of the Department of Transport’s (DfT) Emergency Active Travel Fund, with match-funding bringing the total to £1.6 million.[ii]
That’s Labour party consultation for you. Not a cheap way of working for the taxpayer, but pretty lucrative for the Council.
What is the solution?
If the problem is congestion then the solution is better public transport. Instead of making bus travel for all children FREE in the city, as it is for children in London, Labour pushed for changes to the law to make it a criminal offence if children jump the bus and skip the fare. Despite the fact our city is gripped by poverty, we have high levels of child poverty and we bury more paupers than any other British city, this Labour council won’t make it affordable for working class people to move about by public transport![iii]
For an additional £7m (out of a budget exceeding £300m) we could have had FREE bus travel for all children in the West Midlands. Instead, millions are to be pocketed by the council for its overpaid executives and councillors once a trifle is spent dumping wooden boxes in our streets.
What can you do?
Three simple steps:
- Join the campaign and fight back against the Venti Soy Quadruple Shot Latte with No Foam brigade masquerading as a Labour party
- Sack Lisa Trickett at the next election by voting Birmingham Worker
- Join the local Kings Heath section of the Birmingham Workers Party
The proportion of people with a job who live in poverty went up for the third consecutive year to a record high.
Government data shows 1.4 million people across the West Midlands region were living in relative poverty between 2015/16 and 2017/18.
An article in the Birmingham Mail has reported that,
“Poverty has increased for children and pensioners over the last five years with some of the worst hardship in the West Midlands.
The study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said that, despite rising levels of employment, in-work poverty has also gone up because often people’s pay, hours, or both, are not enough.”
The report says that about 56% of those living in poverty were in working households, that seven in ten children who were in poverty had parents in work.
The Josef Roundtree Foundation (JRF) has said the poverty indicator it used is when a family has an income of less than 60 per cent of median UK income for their family type, after housing costs. Just over half of people in poverty are in a working family, compared to 39 per cent 20 years ago, according to the research.
JRF said 14 million people were living in poverty, including four million children and two million pensioners, up by 400,000 and 300,000 respectively over the past five years.
The report said people were more likely to be in poverty if they lived in certain parts of the UK, in a family where there is a disabled person or a carer, if they work in the hospitality or retail sector, or if they live in rented housing.
Distribution of private wealth
The richest 10 percent of households own 44.6 percent of private wealth in Britain, while the poorest 30 percent have less than 2 percent. The poorest ten percent have £18bn of non-property debt (credit cards, overdrafts, HP, etc) while the richest ten percent only have £11bn.
Socialists must never tire of telling people that the political system that we live under (capitalist imperialism) is the cause not only of the fabulous wealth of a tiny handful of leeches who live by exploiting the masses, but is the cause also of the misery, exploitation, ill health, etc that the mass of the workers experience to a greater degree year upon year.
Only a workers’ movement that replaces this parasitic set-up with a socialist planned economy can provide the solution – an economy that is geared towards providing a decent standard of living for all workers, and which will lay the foundations for a future world of peace and plenty.
A second meeting was held in West Bromwich Working Men’s Social Club on Friday evening as George Galloway’s election campaign went from strength to strength. George was joined by fellow campaigners and members of the West Bromwich East constituency for more than an hour, and answered questions and took comments from members of the audience. The full recording of the meeting can be viewed above.
Heat is on for Bogus Dogus
In a disastrous start for Ibrahim Dogus, Labour’s candidate to replace Tom Watson, a report in the Times picked up in the local press has exposed his attempts to smuggle £11,500 out of Britain.
According to the Express and Star,
“Ibrahim Dogus, a kebab tycoon and the mayor of Lambeth, was embroiled in a tax evasion probe in 2011 after giving his aunt £11,500 in cash from his restaurant and asking her to take it to Istanbul on a flight from Heathrow.
The money was seized by UK border officials, who found it in satin purses, envelopes, and a sock with a zipped compartment.
In a court case, Mr Dogus, who is a close friend of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, claimed the money was being sent to Turkey to repay a debt to his brother-in-law.
However, UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials described his story as “unbelievable” and said his financial activities were “highly unorthodox”.
They said: “The UKBA submits that this cash is recoverable property, namely sourced from tax evasion.”
The full articles can be read here:
QuickQuid, Britain’s biggest payday lender have gone into administration after talks with the UK Financial Conduct Authority fell through. CashEuroNet UK, the US owned lender which is comprised of the “QuickQuid, On Stride Financial and Pounds to Pocket brands”, announced that all three US owned UK lenders have gone into administration on the 25th October.
According to their website, whilst the Company has gone bust and is unlikely to cough up the millions it owes, the lawyers make it explicitly clear that all borrowers must continue to pay off their debts to the Company “all outstanding loans remain subject to the terms agreed with the Company and borrowers should continue to make payments in the usual way according to the company’s terms and conditions”(Enova International, Inc., 2019). Talk about having your cake and eating it…
Why have QuickQuid gone into administration?
QuickQuid received more than 10,000 complaints and legal challenges in recent months due to loans being mis-sold over affordability, with rates typically as high as 1575%. After entering talks with the FCA over a high volume of complaints in order to try and resolve this, the talks fell through and CashEuroNet UK pulled the plug, likely deciding it’s better to up and run with the QuickQuid they made rather than stay and have to answer and pay back those they took advantage of at a time of austerity, poverty, deprivation and record levels of unemployment in Britain.
What does this all mean for working people in Britain?
The double standards and rank hypocrisy of capitalism in Britain couldn’t be clearer. Punishment for the poor and reward for the rich is the message, as borrowers who have been mis-sold aren’t guaranteed to compensation whereas QuickQuid sell off their assets and leave with all the funds taken from hard working people, a pretty penny for the parent company CashEuroNet UK, a QuickQuid indeed.
What should workers do?
If you live and work in Britain, you are a British worker, no matter where in the world you are from, we believe that the only thing workers can do is to organise, educate and retaliate in order to protect ourselves and our families from austerity, oppression and all other problems put onto us by the wealthy class and bankers. This is one of the essential reasons workers in Britain have come together and formed our own organisation. One single fact strikes out clear as day, whenever there is trouble in the economy it is the workers that pay the price for the greed of the wealthy and the political class in Britain, when there’s a debt to be paid, the ruling class and bourgeois state expect us to foot the bill.
A few further links on this story
Enova International, Inc. (2019). Brands & Services – Enova International, Inc.. [online] Available at: https://www.enova.com/brands/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].
Grant Thornton UK LLP. (2019). Grant Thornton CashEuroNet UK LLC Administration. [online] Available at: https://casheuronetukadministration.grantthornton.co.uk/administration/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].
CPGB-ML. (2019). The true level of unemployment. [online] Available at: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/10/26/news/true-level-unemployment/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].
CPGB-ML. (2019). Shameful levels of malnutrition in Britain. [online] Available at: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/09/13/news/shameful-levels-malnutrition-britain/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].
CPGB-ML. (2019). Join the party or become a supporter. [online] Available at: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/join/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].
CPGB-ML. (2019). Workers for Brexit: why our party supported leave in the EU referendum. [online] Available at: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2019/03/29/tv/workers-for-brexit-why-our-party-supported-leave-in-the-eu-referendum/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].
CPGB-ML. (2019). About the Communists. [online] Available at: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/about/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2019].