Category Archives: press release

Why we’re having a knees up on the Carpenters

Resistance is necessary and together it is fun.

On Saturday 12 August, Focus E15 campaign and friends will be marching for safe and secure housing in Newham, east London, and demanding that Newham council repopulate the Carpenters Estate immediately. Newham has more people registered homeless than anywhere else in the country and 25% of people are living in overcrowded conditions. People are being decanted, evicted, abandoned and forced out of their homes at catastrophic rates; in England someone is threatened with eviction every 90 seconds.

Join us at 12 midday at Ferrier Point, Forty Acre Lane, Canning Town E16, marching, dancing, singing, drumming our way to Tanner Point, Pelly Road, Plaistow E13 for 1pm for a speak out, and then making our noisy militant way to the Carpenters Estate in Stratford E15 by 2.30pm for a knees up with the residents. Come to the whole event or at any place along the way. By 2.15pm we will be at Stratford Old Town Hall for the last bit of the march to the Carpenters Estate.We are marching because rough-sleeping and homelessness is on the rise and social cleansing is a daily reality. Luxury apartments continue to be built and council homes are being demolished.This is making people ill and it is a national mental health emergency. The fire that ripped through Grenfell Tower on 14 June was not an accident but the devastating consequence of housing policies marked by systematic degrading of council estates that are being demolished or ‘regenerated’ for profit.

In Newham, Ferrier Point, Canning Town, Tanner Point, Plaistow and Nicholls Point, Stratford all have cladding that has failed fire-safety tests. Newham council said it was the higher quality cladding than that used on Grenfell Tower, but at the end of June announced that contractors are assessing to see how quickly it can be removed. While extra security patrol these blocks, and smoke alarms and fire doors are in place, there has been no move to inform residents of the next steps. Ferrier Point’s cladding was fitted in a £3.5m contract with Rydon as part of an overall £8.5m refurbishment in 2015. Rydon subcontracted the work to Harley Facades Ltd. Rydon and their subcontractors were involved in refurbishing the Grenfell Tower.

IMG_20170724_134753424

Meanwhile, in Stratford, in the shadow of the Olympic stadium, three other tower blocks on the Carpenters Estate lie almost empty. The estate has over 400 empty homes, due to people decanted by the council over the last decade, a case of Olympic regeneration for the rich, eviction for the poor. This is the reality of Robin Wales’s Labour borough of Newham, now spending the staggering equivalent of 125% of council tax on debt repayment, after reckless acquisition of LOBO loans and borrowing from the banks has left the council with £563m debt. The Carpenters Estate is marked for regeneration or demolition or both. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the resistance of the residents.

Join us at any point  on Saturday 12 August to raise all these issues in the sixth richest nation in the world! We must be clear that adults and children should not be left to rot in substandard overcrowded slum-like housing, in temporary or emergency accommodation. We must demand safe and secure housing for all.

Please share our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1951128301839783/

Public housing not private profit, social housing not social cleansing!

 

IMG_20170708_140429210_HDR

Advertisements

Evicted for handing out leaflets at a public park during Mayors Show

Report on the Newham Mayor’s Show

Focus E15 campaigners and their supporters went to the Mayor’s Newham Show on Sunday 12 July.

We wanted to let  the Mayor of Newham, Robin Wales know that the campaign for affordable long term secure decent housing goes on and we will not sit by and watch people being evicted and sent out of London far from their communities and support networks.

Last year at the Newham show Robin Wales was verbally and physically aggressive to Focus E15 campaigners which led to an investigation by Newham Standards Committee that found the mayor guilty of a breach of code of conduct.

Unfortunately this year, the security staff were physically aggressive. They evicted Focus E15 campaigners from a public park in a brutal manner. Their heavy handed, rough treatment was totally disproportionate to the actions of the campaigners who were peacefully giving out leaflets to interested members of the public. One Focus E15 campaigner was wrestled to the ground by his throat and he and other activists were forcefully ejected from the park. Our banners and leaflets were confiscated and they even took our leaflets away from members of the public upon entrance. Yet we know that all people have a right to be informed about the housing crisis in Newham and many people at the Mayors show are affected by it. Why is the council trying to suppress leaflets about the housing crisis from the public?

Meanwhile, inside the Mayors show, council officials were busy distributing their own literature which boasted about how much money the council ‘saved’ due to 50 million pounds of cuts to our services. Let us remember that this council has spent £563m on LOBO (Lender Option Borrower Option) loans – the highest of any council in Britain – on which they continue to pay huge interest – amounting to almost 50 million pounds.

It is clear that Newham squanders money while people struggle for housing!

Once we were all evicted from the park we chanted, handed out leaflets and put up our banners outside. Our campaign is growing and reaching out to everyone. Stand with us. Say not to evictions! Repopulate the Carpenters Estate! Social housing not social cleansing!

Please take a look at this video which shows the outrageous way private security guards behaved during the Mayors  Newham show.  Facebook video.

Evicted by Newham Labour council after 20 years, we say Jane Come Home

Jane Come Home
Friends, family and campaigners support Jane outside her newly occupied flat

Jane is occupying her former council home as a political protest after she was evicted by Newham Labour council in March 2015. On Saturday 11th April, with full support from the Focus E15 campaign and many others, the doors of her former council flat were flung open and Jane threw a surprise house warming party. She was warmly welcomed back by her neighbours, family and friends. Jane was quick to hang up a newly made banner which states ‘Jane Come Home’ to the delight of her many well wishers and supporters who partied alongside her.

Jane has a daughter who is 14 years old. They were both evicted from their home on the 24 March 2015 after being a tenant of Newham council for 20 years. Another victim of the government’s harsh benefit sanctions, she fell into rent arrears when her Employment Support Allowance was suddenly stopped and her housing benefit cut. She was evicted because she owes the council about 5 months rent of £2,569 (this figure includes some court costs). She missed the court date due to a combination of depression, illiteracy and fear.

Help was in hand when her family offered to pay the full amount of rent owing but the council point blank refused the offer and said it was too late. On the day of the eviction Jane passed out with the stress and became another part of the tragic statistics for the amount of homeless families in Newham: almost 5,000 children are living in temporary accommodation. In the last two years alone, Newham has seen a 42 per cent increase in the amount of homeless familes, according to the  figures analysed by Labour MP Dame Tessa Jowell and released from the Department for Communities and Local Government. This injustice has to stop.People need homes. The council should start to address these shocking statistics by giving Jane and her daughter their home back.

After all, the amount or rent that is due is not much more than the monthly rent of one of the new luxury apartments that are mushrooming all over Stratford.We are asking the council to accept Jane’s family’s offer to pay the rent, clear the debt and allow Jane and her 14 year old daughter back into their home so that normal family life can resume. Jane’s daughter needs to attend her local school where she is due to sit her GCSEs.

After 50 years since Ken Loach made the film Cathy Come Home, we  are raising the issues of evictions and social cleansing in our community with the slogan Jane Come Home. Victory to Jane and all those who face the brutality of being ripped from their homes by council enforced bailiffs.

What you can do to help.

Contact Jane’s Labour MP Lyn Brown to ask her to put pressure on the council  for Jane to Come Home.

Telephone Lyn Brown: 0208 470 3463 Email: lyn@lynbrown.org.uk

Post: Lyn Brown, 306 High Street, Stratford, London, E15 1AJ

Tweet: @lynbrownmp

Share this story on  Facebook and twitter. Tweet Newham Labour Council @newhamlondon

Tweet the local councillor Terry Paul @terrympaul

Come to the next street stall on Saturday April 18th, on the Broadway outside Wilkos from 12pm-2pm in Stratford and then our open campaign meeting afterwards at the Carpenters Arms pub.