Large Kings Heath LTN protest ‘first of many’

Saturday saw a large demonstration in York Road, Kings Heath, against the imposition of the LTN (low traffic neighbourhood). At the conclusion of the meeting it was announced that the organisers would hold a further meeting on the first weekend in July. Speaking after the event the organisers said the demonstration would be the ‘first of many’ public rallies, which would need to be followed up by a legal challenge and public meetings.

A divided community?

Despite claims that a counter-protest by cyclists and others was planned, no such pro-LTN counter-protest took place. Over the course of the rally two to three hundred people participated in a good natured and spirited community protest. Speakers from various shops and residents groups were given the platform which was chaired by the Regional Secretary of the West Midlands branch of the Workers Party, Reuben Lawrence.

WP activist Lauren gave an overview of the effects of the LTN on local businesses. Lauren had co-ordinated the Saturday protest in consultation with businesses and residents who have responded to the 8,000 local leaflets distributed by the Workers Party on the subject. Many businesses were unwilling to put their name to the demonstration as they feared the response from the local councillors and their animated supporters, but the following were willing to publicly state their involvement in the campaign:

Balloon Away – Shirley Anne Florist – KH Pet Centre – Johnstans Butchers – Maurice Robinson Sports – Comfort and Recline – Contrasts of Poplar Road & One Step Ahead Key Cutting

This group of businesses in tandem with individual residents and the Workers Party pointed out that the streets in Kings Heath belong to all residents, and that it was not fair to make some streets suffer an intolerable increase in traffic so that others could benefit. Lauren, to loud cheers said that Birmingham (and Britain) needs real green policies, starting with public transport solutions to reduce car usage; selective road closures were not a solution.

The full video of the rally can be seen on You Tube:

Cllr Trickett not willing to listen

Reporting from the rally Birmingham Live said that hundreds of residents had descended on York Road, and provided photographs to prove the point. In a display of arrogance Cllr Trickett rather than listening to what the protestors had to say, questioned whether the reporter was even there. Calling into question the journalists integrity because the story was not “on message” Cllr Trickett displayed yet again the kind of arrogance that suggests the fight against the LTN will need to be both united and protracted.

Photographs

Below is a small selection of photographs from the demonstration, more will be added later in the week.

JOIN THE CAMPAIGN TO END THE LTN IN BIRMINGHAM

Workers Party will stand candidates in local elections may 6

The West Midlands branch of the Workers Party is standing two candidates in the upcoming local elections 2021. In Wolverhampton Heath Town Alan Russell will represent the party whilst over in Wednesbury South Reuben Lawrence is the candidate.

All Workers Party candidates stand for the principals enshrined in our ten-point programme.

If elected to office, our members will struggle in their communities for:

  1. Local opportunities to rebuild British industry and infrastructure and protect local businesses, jobs, services and our natural environment.
  2. No increase in council tax until local authorities have lobbied and won from national government a policy of a Corona Tax of 5% on the wealth of those individuals with fortunes in excess of £10 million.
    Such a tax on the richest members of our society has the potential to generate more than £17bn in tax revenue from just 4,500 multimillionaires – more than enough revenue to protect jobs and services.
  3. Decent, affordable, secure housing for all, the protection of social housing stock and the rights of tenants and small landlords in the face of aggressive monopolistic groupings.
  4. Free school meals for all children at local authority schools and academies, paid for from the cash reserves built up since 2010 by local authorities, which now sit on billions of pounds’ worth of ringfenced reserves.
  5. Protection of local healthcare services, including the provision of all necessary support services for the disabled and the elderly, with full support to enable families to look after their elderly, including nursing homes and sheltered accommodation for those in need of them, so that all workers are able to live full, dignified and meaningful lives.
  6. Free travel for children on buses throughout Britain. Whilst children in London have benefitted from such a scheme for many years, the bus companies in most cities and towns, as well as in rural areas, hold a virtual monopoly on public transport. Free travel on buses will provide children with access to education, work, cultural and social opportunities, as well as alleviating some of the excessive burden upon parents’ incomes. Additionally, such a measure will help to reduce the emissions from cars on the roads. Many concessionary schemes are already part funded through taxpayers’ money, and full funding of such schemes will benefit local economies rather than hindering them. Rather than allowing the scheme in London to be abolished, we want to see it in place across Britain.

If you would be interested in getting involved with any of our campaigns, leave your details below and we’ll get back to you.

Work doesn’t pay & Birmingham families know it

 

humorous cartoon depicts Birmingham’s Labour council promise to keep burials free for the destitute in 2019

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.