Climate Change: we do loads in Nottingham, and in The Meadows; we need to do loads more; we need a government that does more, much more. = = = = = Nottingham City Council has won a Guardian award for its green policies this week. Cllr. Sally Longford, our portfolio holder, recently won an LGIU award for innovation on green policies. Environenergy has won an award for its decentralised energy work. (And remember too how it extracts metal from the waste stream.) – I attended the Meadows O-zone Energy Services AGM tonight at which they announced a surplus and the payment of loans taken, the positive results from Project SENSIBLE were reported, Enterprise presented on their car club (how its car fleet is electric and they want to start operating from The Meadows) and Extinction Rebellion spoke of the change in public mood this year (acknowledging David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg). – Meanwhile the Government did not make good on the payments due for MOzES’ solar panels and Boris Johnson and the Brexit Party leader did not attend the Channel 4 leaders’ debate on climate change. – We are delivering on climate change, and technological developments are helping, but we’d do so much more with national leadership that is radical and ambitious (Labour pushed its Green Industrial Revolution again this morning), and with a framework that means it isn’t just local authorities run by Labour that make the changes. – And then some. Travel less, especially by air and change our diet.
The most startling contrast is with the 2016 Referendum in Britain when the British public were swayed by slogans on the side of buses and a fear of the Turks who might join Europe (and that Turkey was next to Syria). That, and the lack of an ideology in Britain to convey the tests of what living in a free society is, what a free society entitles you to, and the responsibilities to carry to sustain it.
The Contemporary adjoins the Narrow Marsh, the neighbourhood where much of the then radical campaigns and values of first the Luddites, and then the Chartists came, from some 150-200 years ago.
As Trump is being brought closer to being impeached, and more commentators are talking about his sociopathic behaviour, worth reflecting on the conduct of Johnson (that aura that smiles and never frowns) and Cummings, and how they. have had to withdraw on the proroguing of Parliament, which was found to be illegal.
“The ‘normal’ work of delivering advice in The Meadows and elsewhere is still being driven by the joint forces of poverty and the ongoing changes to people’s benefits and by repeat demands on clients by the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs. “Universal Credit began to affect people in Nottingham in a major way in October We are not yet seeing the longer term problems as most people are just starting on it. The immediate problem is being without income for several weeks or taking out an advance payment which then reduces the amount of Universal Credit received for up to 12 months. As we expected many people are struggling with dealing with everything online. The Department for Work and Pensions are already struggling to cope with replies to online queries taking weeks to be dealt with and the advice given to us is to use the phone! “We identified a problem in The Meadows with the amount of help given to people with their rent, who have a private landlord. The amount has been frozen for several years and rents have risen considerably. This means even the poorest families having to pay towards their rent. This was identified first as a Citywide problem and was taken up by Advice Nottingham and then as a nationwide issue which was raised by Lilian Greenwood MP in the House of Commons “Our fuel debt project continues to provide extra support for people struggling to pay for gas and electricity and, increasingly, water charges as well. ‘This year we helped 624 people, raised a total of £922978 in additional benefits for them and managed £177182 in debts for them.’
Special AGM at Meadows Advice Group celebrates 40 years. Although the names of those involved at the outset are known, none could be found to be invited, although Paddy Tipping sent a message and former local City Councillor Di Clausen attended.
In Britain, we subsidise businesses who pay poor wages via the benefits system. We don’t support people in genuine need enough. We too often disqualify people from support when they are genuine need. We count people as employed, even if they only work 1 hour in a fortnight. Too often, people are working low hour contracts and difficult hours at the expense of stability in the home. – We have not expanded the NHS at the rate needed to support our ageing population. We see too many people living rough and dependent on drugs, in a way that sustained and expanded drug dealing, and the numbers of Police officers has been cut. The public health and support services for people have been cut. – The general public services for the things we love like parks and libraries and events have ben cut. We have often lost the youth services and community development services that develop the potential of our neighbours and neighbourhoods. Having created a surer start for our children, the level offered has been reduced and many children’s centre have been limited, subsumed or closed. Our schools are receiving less funding and the pressure on teachers has seen too many give up on the vocation and career. – We no longer count the jobs available in work properly and the threat of Brexit has reduced the growth of our economy. Despite 9 years of austerity – in fact because of it – our national debt is massive. Wages have not kept pace with prices and levels of personal debt is massive. We no longer talk about the expected norm of growth at 3%. Major firms have closed operations in Britain and others have moved future investment elsewhere, especially if they want the assurance introduced by a trade deal with Japan that the EU have just brought in. Even if we leave, Brexit isn’t over, cos it would be followed by years and years of trade deal negotiations. Rather than support economic development in a focussed and planned way, we’ve given a £5 billion tax break to the banking sector and an £8 billion tax break to corporations. Small businesses and. town centre shops are struggling to compete against businesses such as Amazon, who pay no tax. – And even if we were getting things right, there would still be the challenge of greenhouse gas emissions to meet. Yet we’ve backed smart motorways – expensive and now regarded as not smart enough – at the expense of projects like electrifying the Midland Main Line. Popular tram systems that could be expanded require money from councils when new roads don’t. Bus networks are being reduced, not least cos the fuel subsidy they had was taken away. The new nuclear power station is – as might have been predicted – already running late and will charge much more for electricity than people currently pay. Home improvement through better insulation meanwhile, is pitiful – And our understanding of all these problems is diminished by a media culture that praises itself, thinks their puns are required and funny, yet cares little for whether a fully informed society exists. We have a Prime Minister who cares too little about racism, sexism and facts, and who is under suspicion for awarding contracts to personal friends and wasting money like £11 million for a 50p Brexit themed coin and an abandoned garden bridge for which nothing was seen for the £35million spent. Our political culture too often depends on questioning personal motivation rather than being outlooking and accountable. – We need radical change.
Channel 4 news worked too hard on doubting Labour’s commitment to abolish Universal Credit, because their definition of Universal Credit is that it means 6 previous payments are rolled into 1, and that Labour won’t get rid of that.(Of course, there are other payments not included, so “Universal” was never right.) Margaret Greenwood countered that Labour will deal with the most damaging parts of the new system first – the five week gap to the first payment and the 2 child limit. I’d also point out the appeals system, with places for appointments reduced and moved away from where claimants live. https://www.channel4.com/news/corbyn-announces-plans-to-scrap-cruel-and-inhumane-universal-credit
Pleased to explain how Nottingham has met environmental challenges in the past and has set itself a challenging one for the future – carbon neutrality by 2028. – Positive coverage everywhere, including BBC East Midlands Today. Kinda unusual. – Nice to be part of something that what protested about across the planet. – But a bit too much to expect many kids to attend. We’ve spent years drilling into schools that they must ensure children attend and that they are responsible for child safety. And notable that there were a few parents around.