Nellist calls for halt to Bedroom Tax evictions
Former city councillor, Dave Nellist, has called for an end to Bedroom Tax evictions. The call came as the Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband, was reported, by the Sunday People (01 Sept), as planning to announce later this month that a future Labour government would scrap the Tax.
Mr Nellist said:
“If the announcement takes place, and if it is honoured, that would be welcome. But if Labour now finally agree that the Bedroom Tax should not exist they should immediately take measures to shield people from its consequences.
Firstly, where councils own housing stock, or where councillors sit on housing association boards, they should immediately halt enforcement measures against tenants in arrears.
Secondly, councils should step up discretionary housing payments to all affected tenants so no one goes into arrears because of the Tax.
And Labour nationally should announce a future Labour government would reimburse any council for spending, using reserves, or borrowing to protect tenants between now and the abolition of the Tax.
Anything less than such a robust response and some might think the Labour leak is less a genuine proposal than a cynical attempt to shore up Labour’s weak opinion poll position in the run up to their Conference.”
Mr Nellist has been speaking at a number of meetings in the Midlands setting up ‘anti Bedroom Tax’ groups following the suicide in May of 53 year old grandmother, Stephanie Bottrill, of Kingstanding, Birmingham. The groups have set up networks to support people in arrears, and to organise community opposition to evictions.
Mr Nellist added:
“Whilst this Labour announcement would be welcomed, on its own it’s not enough to reverse the savage attacks which have taken place on working people in general, and on the poorest sections of society in particular.
Ed Miliband needs not only to promise to scrap the Bedroom Tax, but announce policies to end the indignity of the need for food banks, to reverse the cuts in the real value of benefits, to lift real wages and pensions, and to end the growing scandal of zero hour contracts which for many hundreds of thousands of young people are the only alternative to long-term unemployment.
It’s to tackle those wider issues, which Labour is still ignoring, that needs a new political party, one that will challenge all the pro austerity parties at the ballot box. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition intends to stand 600 candidates at next May’s elections highlighting all the attacks on working people and their families and offering a break from the austerity coalition which still unites all the big four parties.”
Thousands march through city to ‘Keep Cov in Cov’
Up to 7,000 people marched through Coventry on Saturday 20th July in protest against the recent decision to move Coventry City F.C’s home games over 30 miles away to Northampton. Though predominantly Coventry fans, there were also supporters from AFC Wimbledon, Middlesbrough, Ipswich Town, Chelsea and Liverpool who attended to show support.
The march started on Gosford Green, close to the Sky Blue’s former home at Highfield Road and following 2 modern day Lady Godivas on horseback, proceeded to make its way to the City Centre along Sky Blue Way. The size of the protest could be seen by the fact that the front of the march reached the end point whilst the back was still near the beginning!
Fans old and young attended the protest – there was anger and dismay, evidenced in the massive turnout but also in the chants and homemade posters and banners that had been made such as ‘SISU OUT’ (SISU is the hedge fund that many blame for the current situation) ’49 years a season ticket holder – kicked out of CCFC by SISU’ and ‘Real football for real fans except in Coventry thanks to the weak Judas Football League’.
Another banner from Coventry International / Diverse supporters invited the Football League to grow some (specific body part!) in 9 different languages which summed up the feeling of many.
Dave Nellist was invited to address the final rally in Broadgate Square. Dave pointed out that back in 2003 it was the 3 Socialist Party Cllrs who had the casting vote over whether the new Ricoh Arena would be built. He went on to explain how the Socialists moved an amendment which was passed to guarantee jobs for people in the city, and any profit made from sales of land should go back in to services to care for the old and young of Coventry.
However, Dave pointed out that looking back a mistake had been made. We should have moved an amendment that ensured that the fans had a representative on the Board, as they do in many other countries. Dave went on to point out to rapturous applause that whilst in other countries there are clubs owned by the fans, we have here a situation where a hedge fund that lives offshore is only interested in raking as much profit as possible from the people of Coventry.
Messages of support came from fans groups across the country, including from Bristol City supporters, who stated they are planning to boycott their away game against Coventry (in Northampton) on the first day of the new season.
Socialist Party members were on the protest, selling a number of Reclaim the Game pamphlets, and advertising a forthcoming meeting in Coventry on the issue of football and big business. See details below.
The tragedy that has hit Coventry City FC is a perfect example of how these unaccountable profit hungry parasites such as SISU directly impact on working class communities and attack the traditions and culture of ordinary people. They must be stopped and discussions need to take place about how we can get fan and community ownership of football and sport in general.
Public Meeting – Football and Big Business
John Reid author of Reclaim the Game
Monday, 19th August, 7.30pm SQ Club,
Whitefriars Lane, Coventry, CV1 2DT
Former Labour MP Dave Nellist – a workers’ MP on a worker’s wage
Former Labour MP Dave Nellist – a workers’ MP on a worker’s wage
Dave Nellist speaking in support of working class people
There has been much publicity over the past few days regarding the prospect of MPs taking a massive pay rise at a time of massive cuts and when most workers have seen falling living standards. Council workers were offered just 1 per cent! However this episode underlines again the principled stand taken by Dave Nellist whilst he was an MP – he only took the average wage of a skilled worker, donating the rest to local campaigns, strike funds, charities etc. What a contrast to the MPs of today who have claimed enormous expenses whilst supporting never ending cuts for ordinary people. He was an embarrassment to the Labour Party because he showed most other MPs up for what they are – career seeking place men and women with barely a principle to share between them
Whilst an MP and then later a Councillor, Dave was a firm supporter of council workers and trade unionists in the city. As the article below states which is taken from the BBC website, he is still an active member of the Socialist Party and continues to support the trade unions and the fight for socialism. We urge you to consider joining the Socialist Party to help rebuild working class political representation and organisation in Coventry and beyond.
The link to the article is here
Dave Nellist: The Coventry MP who gave away half his pay
From his election in 1983 to his deselection by Labour in 1992, Dave Nellist kept less than half his salary.
Along with two other Labour politicians – Terry Fields, MP for Liverpool Broadgreen, and Pat Wall, MP for Bradford North – Mr Nellist chose to “get by” on a wage closer to that of the people he represented.
Mr Nellist, now 60 and still an active member of the Socialist Party, was unemployed for the six months before he was elected, but had worked in a factory for many years.
He would only accept the average wage of a skilled factory worker in Coventry, which amounted to 46% of his salary as an MP.
Each year the remaining 54% was donated to charitable and political causes.
‘Want for nothing’
Mr Nellist said he saw his political career as being akin to that of a union rep in a factory.
“At the time time, we were going into the [MP] job like a convenor in a factory, we had the time to do the job but not three times the wage or holidays,” he said.
“The engineering union used to work out the returns of all the factories in Coventry and averaged their wages – equivalent to £28,000 or £29,000 nowadays – so that was what I took home.
“I accepted every penny of the full salary, but as the Labour Party we gave away roughly £35,000 [per year in today’s money] to help the families of miners in the 80s, community groups, pensioners.”
He said receiving less money did not damage “the responsibility” he had to his family and he was very proud of the way his children grew up.
“They didn’t want for anything. We went camping as a family for two weeks every year – and still do – like many people.
“I came off factory wages and into that job on the same. I’ve never had anything different so you don’t miss what you’ve not had.”
Mr Nellist added that as a Coventry City Councillor for 12 years until 2012, he continued to take home the same wage by reducing the hours of his full time job at an advice agency.
He dismissed the idea that the more someone is paid, the more they will achieve.
“Why should MPs be any better? How many millions have we been paying the bankers, how many millions do we pay footballers?
“I don’t accept the idea that those prepared to live the same life as their constituents are going to be any less representative.”
Pay rise ‘bung’
On Thursday the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) said salaries should increase to £74,000 by 2015, but perks should be cut and pensions made less generous, something Mr Nellist described as “scandalous”.
“The suggestion by [Ipsa chairman] Sir Ian Kennedy that the pay rise would be a way of keeping MPs from claiming more expenses is frankly amazing – I was almost lost for words,” he said.
“It’s basically saying they’ll get a bung on their salary as a way of keeping them in line.”
“With a 9% average fall in people’s earnings, MPs should not be getting a rise – it insulates them from those day to day problems like food and fuel which have rocketed.
“Millions have to get by on much less [than MPs] so that is why we should pay them so they share the pain and the gain.”
Mr Nellist fears the impact of the proposed pay increase for MPs will add to a perceived disconnect between the public and politicians.
“I think it will contribute to a growing disillusion in politics and politicians in general – at a time when millions are having it very tough, those people who may lose their jobs could become very angry if this happens.
“The best people go into politics to do a proper job and to represent the people, not for the money.”