4 graphs that show the extent of the cuts in Portsmouth

28 Jul

The Financial Times has produced a handy tool which outlines the extent of spending cuts implemented by local authorities between 2010 and 2014. Over this period councils saw their central government block grants slashed massively by Local Government Minister Eric Pickles. Below are 4 graphs copied from the FT tool which highlight the devastating impact austerity is having on local services provided by Portsmouth City Council.

Total spending

Total spending

Between 2010 and 2014 total spending* fell from £169m to £140m, a decrease of 17%.

*Due to significant changes over this period in how public health and education are funded these figures are excluded.

Spending on housing and homelessness support

Spending on housing and homelessness support, Portsmouth Council

Between 2010 and 2014 spending on housing and homelessness support fell from £8.32m to £6.21m, a decrease of 25%.

Spending on children’s centres

Spending on children's centres per child, Portsmouth Council

Between 2010 and 2014 spending on children’s centres fell from £594 to £244 per child, a decrease of 59%.

Total spending on regulatory services

Total spend on regulatory services, Portsmouth Council

Between 2010 and 2014 total spending on regulatory services fell from £8.17m to £3.88m, a decrease of 52%. Regulatory services include Environmental Health, Trading Standards and Emergency Planning.

Portsmouth Against the Cuts Together is next meeting Tuesday 11th August, 7pm at Fratton Community Centre. Come along and join the fight back against these Tory cuts.

Save the Shipbuilding Jobs!

12 Nov

Two Events

Protest and rally – Thursday 14th November Guildhall Sq 5pm

The BBC’s Question Time programme shall be recorded at the Guildhall on Thursday so the GMB Union has organised a protest against the job losses in the dockyard announced last week.

March for Shipbuilding Jobs! – Saturday, 16 November

Assemble at Trafalgar Gate at 12 pm, march to Victory Gate.

The loss of 940 skilled shipbuilding jobs in Portsmouth will be a disaster. It is not just the workers and their families who will suffer. The knock on effects for the local economy will be huge and will trigger even more job losses. We should not follow the lead of local politicians who argue to cut jobs in Scotland to save jobs in Portsmouth. We should fight to save all shipbuilding jobs, wherever they are. BAE and the government can be put under pressure to keep the shipyard jobs, if there is a concerted campaign.


This Saturday!

14 May


Stop the Bedroom Tax – Portsmouth protest

27 Mar


The bedroom tax has to be one of the most brazen and outrageous attacks on the poor a government has orchestrated in a long time, as George Monbiot wrote in the Guardian on Monday

On Easter Monday, in the wake of a festival of resurrection and redemption, between 600,000 and 900,000 households will either have to move out of their homes or have their benefits cut. The reason is that they are deemed to be under-occupying their property: in other words they have one or more spare rooms. The bedroom tax will hit some of the poorest people in Britain.

The shocking truth about inequality of wealth in Britain is probably best laid bare this research into wealth from property assets –

  • On average the top 1 per cent have £15 million per household.

  • The bottom third of households have 0.

  • The 1% are worth more than the bottom 99% put together.


Financial and physical assets

Top 1% of households: £22 million each on average (not including the recent boost from the Bank of England’s Quantitative Easing programme)

Bottom 1% of households: – £10,700 each, on average (yes, minus)

Total aggregate wealth (housing + financial + physical + pensions)

Top 1% of households: £1.3 trillion

Bottom half of households: £1.0 trillion

Yes, you’ve got it – the top 1 per cent have more aggregate wealth than the whole bottom half of the population put together.

It’s clear that there is plenty of money around, it’s just the very richest have got far, far too much of it. Herein lay the lie that austerity is needed or justifiable. Once again working people are forced to bear the blunt of a crisis created by banks, neoliberal economics and the 1%.

First stop for the left is smash the bedroom tax,- like the poll tax before it – with protest and civil disobedience.

In Portsmouth it starts this Saturday, 30th March at 1pm in the Guildhall Square.

Portsmouth march against benefit cuts

4 Feb


called by Portsmouth Against the Cuts Together, Disabled People Against Cuts and Stand Up on the South Coast

Assemble 12 Noon, Guildhall Square, Portsmouth
March to ATOS assessment Centre, Wingfield House
Rally outside Job Centre, Arundel Street at 1pm


Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults will be replaced by Personal Independence Premium (PIP). In 2010 Osborne announced that he wanted to cuts DLA expenditure by 20%. This is despite DLA being the most effectively targeted benefits with an estimated fraud rate of just 0.5%. ATOS are already cutting DLA to meet government quotas.

The Under Occupancy or ‘Bedroom Tax’ will cost Council and Housing Association tenants £40-£80 a week for bedrooms deemed as spare. Children have to share a bedroom and no account is taken of disability. Lord Freud who is spearheading the Bedroom Tax has 4-bedroom London home and an 8-bedroom mansion!

From April 2013, Universal Credit will replace Income Support, income related Job Seekers Allowance, income related Employment Support Allowance, Housing Benefit, Child and Working Tax Credit. Universal credit relies on computer technology to simplify benefit. There is widespread concern that universal credit will be a disaster.

From April 2013 Council Tax Benefit will be scrapped with local councils bringing in their own schemes. Cash strapped councils will also take over responsibility for most Social Fund payments.

Benefit fraud is tiny in comparison with corporate tax avoidance and evasion. But politicians and the media are trying to demonise people on benefits. They want people to forget that responsibility for the financial crisis lies with the politicians and bankers!
People in benefits are accused of being lazy but most people claiming benefits are working in low paid jobs. Those that are unemployed are blamed for not getting jobs that don’t exist.

It is not just about benefits cuts –
if you want to protest about cuts to pensions, jobs, wages and services,
or you are angry about rich tax dodgers and bankers bonuses,
or you want to stop privatisation of schools and the NHS,
or you have just had enough of Cameron and Clegg’s government of Eton educated toffs wrecking our lives and communities


Starbucks – pay your tax! Commercial Rd, Sat 8th December.

2 Dec


At the Stand Up on the South Coast activist meeting it was agreed upon to heed the UK Uncut call to target serial tax dodgers Starbucks, who have been  widely estimated to have dodged over £30 million of tax in the last three years. It has been calculated that if the legally required taxes of the Super-rich, multinational corporations and other big business were paid in full, instead of being evaded and avoided with government acquiescence, it would raise all the money to make spending cuts utterly unnecessary.

UK Uncut has called for actions on Saturday 8th December to particularly highlight the cuts effect on women and will take place shortly after George Osbornes latest budget statement:-

It’s time for the government to wake up and smell the coffee. Women have had enough of being attacked by a cabinet of millionaires. But there is a refuge from the cuts. Join us on Saturday 8th December to transform the tax dodger Starbucks into services women depend on, such as refuges and crèches. Check the actions page to find an action near you. If there isn’t one, we’ve got a step-by-step guide on how you can organise one yourself.

On 5th December the Chancellor, George Osborne, will deliver his autumn statement, with even further spending cuts expected to be announced. Women are bearing the brunt of the cuts– particularly low paid women and their families. The government’s savage austerity plans are pushing the cause of women’s equality back decades as benefits, healthcare, Sure Start centres, childcare, rape and domestic abuse services are cut and female unemployment soars.

If the government took strong action to stop tax dodging by companies like Starbucks- who haven’t paid any income tax for the last three years- we could easily afford to prevent the £5.6m being cut from violence against women services, the 25% cut to funding for Sure Start centres and the further £10 billion benefit cuts.

Domestic violence increases at Christmas and during times of economic hardship. 230 women are turned away from refuges every day as a result of the government’s cuts to women’s services. Enough is enough.

Is your local rape crisis centre being closed? Then why not turn your local Starbucks into a refuge? Bring your kids, because 50% of people living in refuges are children. Housing benefit cut? Bring your sleeping bags. Are you working less hours because subsidised childcare is a thing of the past? You could set up a Starbucks crèche.

Please join us Saturday 8th December, 11am – 1pm, Starbucks, Cascades, Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

Two upcoming events – Solidarity with Europe N14 and ‘Stand up on the South Coast’ meeting

7 Nov


Wednesday 14th November – Millions of workers across Europe are set to strike together on Wednesday of next week in an unprecedented day of action against austerity. There are set to be general strikes in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy on the day. There will be a solidarity rally in Guildhall Sq from 5.00-5.30pm, please come to show your support for the struggles of working people across Europe.

and comrades from the RMT have organised  ‘Stand up on the South Coast’

A meeting to detail how trade union activists and anti cuts organisations in Hampshire can come together to discuss “civil disobedience” in our region in an effort to make people sit up and understand what is happening around us and that there is an alternative to sitting there and taking the cuts. This is not an effort to create another group or organisation but an effort to bring everybody together in the same room to discuss and debate what we can do together rather than fighting our own little battles albeit the same battles in different places at different times. Please invite those people involved in Portsmouth, Southampton and surrounding areas who are currently active in a first step to co-ordinating our efforts in the region.

Wednesday 28th November 7.30pm Fratton Trades Club, Fratton Rd, PO1 5AB.

DPAC Portsmouth rally against ATOS

14 Oct


There is a demonstration against the governments savage welfare policy and against ATOS, the company who are being paid millions to throw thousands off benefits. This has been organised by the recently formed Portsmouth chapter of Disabled People Against the Cuts, they say:

ATOS, the company hired by the LibCon government to reduce the amount of people on disability benefits administers the work capability assessment’s that have taken benefits off thousands of disabled people who desperately need them to survive. ATOS has made hundreds of millions from running the Work Capability Assessment for the DWP. By declaring clearly unfit people fit for work they have caused undue stress, misery, strain and death. Thousands have been spent reversing Atos decisions as people appeal and win their right to disability benefits. We call for the WCA and recent Welfare Reform Acts to be scrapped, the DWP’s contracts with ATOS to end immediately, and the introduction of a more humane and compassionate welfare system. Join us outside Wingfield House to unite our voices and show both ATOS and the LibCon government that Disabled People have had enough and we are fighting back.

The rally takes place on Tuesday 16th October 12pm outside the ATOS assessment centre, Wingfield House, 316 Commercial Road (opposite Sainsbury’s car park), PO1 4TA.

Packed public meeting vows to support TUC Protest‏

11 Oct

Last nights highly successful Portsmouth Against Austerity public meeting was attended by around 80 people. Arranged by Portsmouth Trade Union Council and supported by Portsmouth Against the Cuts Together, all the speakers gave a rallying call to mobilise for the 20th October TUC national demonstration, Alan Dennis from the PCS unions NEC spoke forcefully about the coalitions economic illiteracy in pursuing an austerity agenda in a downturn, the £120bn of tax avoidance and evasion by the super rich that totals more than the cuts in public spending and the massive wealth inequality in Britain. Roger Lewis from Disabled People Against Cuts forcefully located the cruelty of the Tory plan to destroy the welfare state that consigns disabled people to lives of poverty very much as one part of governments plan to make workers pay to bail out a system that only benefits the rich. Rob Williams from the National Shop Stewards Network made organising an urgent need to go forward to industrial action against the cuts agenda the main part of his contribution, arguing building for a 24hr general strike was a major priority. Green Party leader Natalie Bennet set out her party’s plans for a living wage, public services and standardised social income against the coalitions policies of privatisation and neoliberalism. Seafarer and RMT union Executive member Darren Proctor made an impassioned call for workers rights in the face of the neoliberal attack on safe, dignified and decent work.

Roger Lewis addresses the meeting

The mass demonstration on 20 October needs to be at the forefront of peoples minds as we strive to rebuild an atmosphere of opposition to austerity that can become a mass movement. It is now the vital work of everybody who attended to build for the largest possible demonstration that says there should be more to life than working until your elderly to make the bosses richer.

Portsmouth Trade Union Council President Mick Tosh with Natalie Bennett and Darren Proctor

Oct 20 national demonstration against austerity coach details

1 Oct

PACT strongly supports the TUC demonstration taking place in London on 20th October 2012. This needs to be a mass demonstration on the scale of the recent mobilisations in Madrid, Lisbon and Athens. We need to build a British wing of the arc of resistance sweeping across Europe against privatisation, the destruction of public services and break-up of the welfare state. The various coach details by union are below. Many unions, including UNISON listed below, have opened their coaches to all free of charge so non-union members, unemployed workers, people who cannot work, students and retired people can also come on the demonstration. Please get in touch with the contact listed to book your place.

UNISON Portsmouth: Four coaches picking up from The Hard, Guildhall Sq, Fratton Bridge, Cosham. Jon Woods 07921 775828 / 02392 841998

UNISON Fareham: Charlie 07793 078092

UNISON Gosport. Sue Wesley 02392 545385

PCS: Picking up from Keppels Head Hotel PO1 1PS (the dockyard) and Cosham. Patrick Smyth 07876 517827

Portsmouth Trades Council: Louis McDonald 07940 503634

UNITE: Allan Cox 07958 349251

NASUWT: Sion Reynolds 07908 708717

Student Union: Grant Clarke 02392 843657.