Conservatives, particularly those in the South-East have been condemning the United Nations Special Rapporteur’s report on extreme poverty and human rights since it was released last week. But with all the bluster from the likes of Eastbourne’s Amber Rudd and Spelthorne’s Kwarsi Kwarteng (who not only dismissed the UN report, but also dismissed the plight of a girl with brain damage who faces losing her home as she moves onto Universal Credit), there seems to be little understanding that most people still actually venture into their town centres. With the rise in street homelessness and the shuttering of shops clearly visible, the sharp end of the political ideology that is so-called ‘austerity’ is becoming more and more palpable to even the most affluent members of our society.
The author of the report, Dr. Philip Alston, is a well-respected Australian international law scholar and human rights practitioner. He has criticised the mentality of austerity and its damage of the social fabric of this country. It pits those who have against those who have not, and large parts of the country continue on largely unaware that 37% of working families in England could not cover housing costs for more than a month in the event of losing their jobs.
It is ironic that Brexit has taken the bulk of the media spotlight away from the UN report. As we move further and further towards the precipice, it is those who are most disadvantaged by the Tories’ life-taking policies who will be most adversely affected by Brexit.
With cuts to services from national government, Conservative-run East Sussex Council have stated that they can no longer support services beyond the bare minimum. But because of government cuts to nationally funded services, the demands for council run social care is soaring - they have cynically increased demand whilst also increasing supply.
We need a Labour majority in Brighton and Hove to be able to ensure we can maintain services and that we don’t go down the route of our neighbouring council, East Sussex. Our new manifesto is grassroots organised and driven by our members – I’m so excited that this will be released shortly.
There has never been a better time to reduce outsourcing and boost our local economy through community wealth building – through a model proven to work in Preston and we look to this shining light in the bleakness of the extreme poverty of Britain, to help us understand what we may do to support the most at risk in our own communities and continue to hold the worst ravages of the Conservative’s fiscal irresponsibility at bay. Community-wealth building isn’t a panacea, but it is a start. It uses the co-operative model, in which an enterprise is jointly owned and operated by members for their mutual benefit. These co-operatives can serve local institutions – such as councils – keeping the profit at a local level, which in turn supports our other local businesses.
We are not going to be fooled by this smoke and mirror routine that our blue colleagues in surrounding areas would have us believe, we know what is happening, because it is happening in some way to all of us. It is only through a socialist Labour council that we can ensure that we protect the most vulnerable in our community from further devastation and work towards rebuilding Brighton and Hove, for the many not the few.
Thank you to the Labour members of Hanover and Elm Grove in selecting me to run for councillor. I'm really humbled to have been selected. Below is a copy of the three minute speech I gave on selection night, so you can hold me accountable to my words.
Hello. My name is Danielle Spencer, I have worked as a campaigner, activist and now a policy advisor on women’s rights for over ten years. I have worked all over the world fighting for the rights of the most marginalised and responding to conflict, war and displacement.
I rejoined the Labour Party in January 2016, when I realised that the party was changing and that Jeremy was staying around. Since rejoining, I have been an active member, served on Hove EC and I’m a member of the LCF EC as well.
I could choose to live anywhere in the world with my job, but I actively choose to make Brighton my home. I am also very pleased to say that I intend to move to Hanover and my wife and I are planning to start a family here.
Family is important to me and young people’s rights are important too. When I was a child my mother was in a domestically abusive relationship. A youth worker and the youth service saved me. I started volunteering as a youth worker myself, and that led me to where I am today. I was incredibly lucky. Lucky enough that there were services around that helped me tap into my potential. But I believe that we shouldn’t have to be lucky to achieve our potential.
And its deeper than the youth service, Brighton and Hove schools stand to lose £14 million, leading to fewer teachers, fewer support staff, larger classes and reduced subject choice. In Hanover, we even had our choice of secondary schools cut.
I will be the kind of councillor who will listen to young people and their parents’ concerns. I will resist further cuts to schools and other services.
I will also fight to ensure that housing and jobs are fair, that the rip off mentality of some unscrupulous employers and landlords does not continue simply because people have been painted into a corner - desperate for affordable housing; and a job that can pay for it when both are in limited supply.
Shockingly, nearly half of homeless families in England are in work. And last year Brighton and Hove had the second highest level of rough sleeping in the country. We are in the midst of a Tory manufactured, austerity induced housing crisis the likes of which have not been seen since the second world war.
The rises in HMO in this area are as a direct result of the lack of affordable housing. Landlords know that they can get away with anything, because people don’t have a choice.
We need to:
My name is Danielle Spencer, vote for me and I promise you, I will win and hope to be part of a truly transformative socialist council who will deliver this and more.