MIL-OSI UK: News from Andrew Dismore: £38 million funding pot up for grabs for community-led housing schemes

Source: London Assembly

Andrew Dismore, London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden, is calling upon community groups to bid for a share of a new £38 million community-led housing fund, launched by City Hall on Wednesday (16th January). Mr Dismore has praised the scheme and said that it “will put local people at the centre of tackling our housing crisis”.

 

Over the next four years, the London Community Housing Fund is set to deliver 500 community-led, genuinely affordable and social-rented homes across the capital.

 

The funding pot will be shared amongst successful projects to enable local residents to have direct involvement and oversight in the building and delivery of new homes, through co-operatives and community land trusts.

 

The new fund is one of the measures being taken by City Hall to kickstart the building of 116,000 genuinely affordable homes by 2022.

 

However, City Hall modelling shows that the Greater London Authority (GLA) still requires an injection of an additional £1.8bn more funding per year from the Government to meet the full-scale of the demand for affordable homes in the capital.

 

Mr Dismore, said:

 

“Though a small part of London’s overall housing mix, with the right support, community-led housing schemes can play an important role in delivering the genuinely affordable homes we need.

 

“I am delighted that this new funding will put local people at the centre of tackling our housing crisis, and I would urge as many community groups as possible to get their bids in.

 

“Despite the wide range of measures being taken by City Hall, there is a substantial funding deficit that the Government needs to urgently fill if we are to meet the full scale of the demand for homes in London”.

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MIL-OSI UK: 71 Labour MPs back a People’s Vote – but issues remain unresolved

Source: Labour List UK

84 Labour MPs and MEPs, including shadow housing minister Roberta Blackman-Woods, joined together today to declare their public support for a fresh referendum on the UK’s EU membership. Describing no-deal as a “catastrophe”, the elected figures signed a letter urging the government to seek Article 50 extension and Labour to give people a “final say”.

Although the list of signatories was assumed by many to be the definitive directory of (71) Labour MPs supportive of another public vote, LabourList has found that a total of 88 MPs so far have declared their endorsements. This amounts to around a third of the parliamentary party. The reasons for which 17 MPs who have publicly backed the idea did not sign the letter today are unclear.

It could be that some of the dozen MPs support a ‘people’s vote’, though not the letter. It explicitly contends, for instance, that “renegotiation is not a realistic prospect”, despite it being understood that this is Jeremy Corbyn’s preferred way forward. This statement – as well as increased coverage of their viewpoint, and the possibility of being associated with Corbynsceptics – could explain why just one of the eight frontbenchers who have openly campaigned for another public vote signed the letter.

The letter also states that the public would offer “the option to stay and keep the deal that we have”. But the signatories aren’t all agreed on this issue. Seema Malholtra, who recently announced her support for the People’s Vote campaign in a joint Sunday Times article with Sir Nicholas Soames, confirmed to LabourList that she would like to see an “EEA/CU-based deal” approved by parliament before putting it to the country, along with ‘Remain’.

Her route would require breaking the parliamentary deadlock on Brexit, which goes against the arguments of some who suppose that a ‘people’s vote’ is a solution to the standstill in itself. And if MPs could come together behind a Brexit deal based on European Economic Area or customs union membership, many could be tempted to leave it at that – for now, at least.

Malholtra’s proposal gives rise to one of the questions to which the People’s Campaign hasn’t given a single answer: what would the ballot paper would look like? It has been widely assumed by campaigners that May’s deal would be included as an option for voters to choose in addition to ‘Remain’, as outlined in the letter. However, the crushing defeat of that deal in the Commons this week casts doubt over such a path.

Ultimately, the campaign launch this morning shows that Labour can only make a difference in the People’s Campaign if Corbyn lends his support. This is not only due to the leader’s own reservations, and the private polling done by his office that shows it would be electorally damaging. It is also because there is a significant level of opposition amongst shadow cabinet members and would lead to the resignations of key allies.


Below is the full statement and list of signatories published today.

This is an unprecedented and perilous moment in our history. With this Tory government in chaos and with the jobs and security of our constituents on the line – we strongly support the Labour decision to reject Theresa May’s “deal”.

We were appalled at her anti-democratic moves to prevent parliament having a vote, and to run down the clock by delaying it until mid-January. This was an utterly irresponsible decision, and gambling with the jobs and livelihoods of our constituents.

The Tory government approach has been disastrous since day one. Their plans would lead to more austerity, fewer jobs and less money for our public services. This is not what anyone voted for in 2016.

We represent hugely diverse constituencies from the North to the South, from Wales to Scotland. Many of our constituencies voted to Leave in 2016. We must listen to and respond to the reasons why people did so. But we now face a moment of national crisis, where the facts and the views of many people have changed – and are continuing to change.

It is now clear renegotiation is not a realistic prospect. No deal would be a catastrophe which we must resolutely oppose. The government should seek an extension to Article 50 to provide time for Parliament to find a way forward. Theresa May has failed to bring this country back together. Labour’s conference adopted a clear policy for this situation.

We must try and remove this government from office as soon as possible. But the removal of the government and pushing for a general election may prove impossible, so we must join trade unions, our members and a majority of our constituents by then unequivocally backing the only logical option to help our country move forward: putting the decision back to the people for a final say, in a public vote, with the option to stay and keep the deal that we have.

Defeat of the Tory deal in a public vote would give us all a chance to campaign for the anti-austerity policies and a Labour government that deals with the true causes of the Brexit vote, and a reformed Europe that works for all people.

Signed:

Debbie Abrahams MP
Rushanara Ali MP
Tonia Antoniazzi MP
Luciana Berger MP
Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP
Ben Bradshaw MP
Karen Buck MP
Chris Bryant MP
Ruth Cadbury MP
Ann Clwyd MP
Ann Coffey MP
Neil Coyle MP
Mary Creagh MP
Alex Cunningham MP
Janet Daby MP
Geraint Davies MP
Stephen Doughty MP
Rosie Duffield MP
Louise Ellman MP
Mike Gapes MP
Kate Green MP
Lillian Greenwood MP
John Grogan MP
Rupa Huq MP
Margaret Hodge MP
Darren Jones MP
Maria Eagle MP
Susan Elan Jones MP
Julie Elliott MP
Graham Jones MP
Liz Kendall MP
Ged Killen MP
Peter Kyle MP
David Lammy MP
Chris Leslie MP
Seema Malhotra MP
Kerry McCarthy MP
Siobhan McDonagh MP
Pat McFadden MP
Conor McGinn MP
Alison McGovern MP
Anna McMorrin MP
Catherine McKinnell MP
Madeleine Moon MP
Stephen Morgan MP
Ian Murray MP
Albert Owen MP
Bridget Phillipson MP
Jess Phillips MP
Ellie Reeves MP
Rachel Reeves MP
Joan Ryan MP
Virendra Sharma MP
Barry Sheerman MP
Gavin Shuker MP
Tulip Siddiq MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Angela C. Smith MP
Owen Smith MP
Jo Stevens MP
Wes Streeting MP
Gareth Thomas MP
Stephen Timms MP
Anna Turley MP
Chuka Umunna MP
Matt Western MP
Martin Whitfield MP
Paul Williams MP
Phil Wilson MP
Daniel Zeichner MP

MEPs

Richard Corbett MEP (Leader of EPLP / Shadow Cabinet)
Derek Vaughan MEP
Seb Dance MEP
Paul Brannen MEP
Catherine Stihler MEP
Wajid Khan MEP
Julie Ward MEP
Clare Moody MEP
John Howarth MEP
Theresa Griffin MEP
Jude Kirton Darling MEP
David Martin MEP
Mary Honeyball MEP

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MIL-OSI UK: Minister Donohoe must engage with nursing unions and strike a deal – Louise O’Reilly TD

Source: Sinn Féin

16 January, 2019 – by Louise O’Reilly TD

Speaking in the Dáil this evening Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has called on the Minister for Finance to sit down with nursing unions and strike a deal in order to address the causes of the recruitment and retention crisis and avert strike action.Teachta O’Reilly said:“The recruitment and retention crisis affecting the nursing and midwifery professions and the associated issue of pay is one of the most significant problems affecting the health service, and it has been an ongoing issue for many years now.“The government cannot pretend that this issue has taken them by surprise, since I walked through the gates of Leinster House one of the issues which I have raised week in week out with the government is the recruitment and retention crisis amongst staff in our health service.“Last April Sinn Féin introduced a Private Members Motion entitled ‘Nurses’ and Midwives’ Pay and Recruitment’ which was unanimously passed by the house, however, the government refused to implement its recommendations.“Fine Gael have had nearly 8 years to address the nursing recruitment and retention crisis; but, not only have they completely failed in this regard, they have allowed the situation to become worse.“Indeed, the response by government TDs, government Ministers, and even the Taoiseach to nurses and midwives raising their concerns has been to verbally attacked them, to threatened them, to insulted them.“Members of the INMO and the PNA have not taken this decision lightly – this is their last resort.“A strike is the last thing they want to have to undertake, but the nurses and midwives in our health service have been forced to undertake this action due to the ignorance, arrogance, and ineptitude of this government.“Nurses, midwives, and their unions have continuously sought engagement with the Minister for Finance in order to address the core problems of staff shortages and pay in order to avert this escalation to industrial action and they have put forward sensible and responsible solutions to address this crisis and avert strike action.“Nurses and midwives not only make a significant contribution to the health service, they make a significant contribution to society and they deserve our support in their demand for a better health service which treats them as essential skilled workers with dignity and value and which pays them appropriately.“This strike can be averted, but to do that Minister Donohoe must engage with nursing and midwifery unions and strike a deal.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Irish government must stand firm on the backstop amidst Brexit shambles – Maurice Quinlivan TD

Source: Sinn Féin

16 January, 2019 – by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin TD Maurice Quinlivan has said that Ireland’s people, Ireland’s economy and Ireland’s peace process all need to be protected and that the Taoiseach needs to stand firm on the backstop.
The Limerick City TD said;
“With every day that passes – we lurch closer to the possibility of a ‘no-deal’ scenario and the return to the hard border that we had.
“Yesterday, prior to the vote in Westminster, the Tánaiste briefed parties on contingency plans in the event of that situation transpiring.
“Those contingency plans focus primarily on East-West matters. These are important matters to protect trade and commerce between our islands.
“The Tánaiste said that the legislation required to deal with these matters will not be published until the 22nd February.
“Sinn Féin will assist in crafting and passing all necessary legislation but the government are coming to this very late in the day.
“We believe that the government needs to revise this schedule and we need to see the legislation much earlier.
“We need urgent clarity on what preparations are being put in place for our ports and airports. This is particularly relevant to us in the mid-west, as Shannon Airport and Foynes Port would require substantial investment and infrastructure to accommodate whatever the new trading relationship with Britain will be.
“The outcome of these shambolic Brexit negotiations will not just impact those living on the border, but everyone across Ireland, including those living here in Limerick; however the Tory government in London has shown they have zero regard for anyone but themselves.
“The Taoiseach has had nothing to say on a contingency plan to protect our all island economy, to protect our citizen’s rights to protect the Good Friday Agreement in the event of a crash Brexit.
“Ireland’s people, Ireland’s economy and Ireland’s peace process all need to be protected as we go forward now.
“The Taoiseach and the Tánaiste and our partners at a European level need to stand firm and not move away from or attempt to dilute the backstop.
“We need to say clearly to the British that if they wish to Brexit then that’s a matter for themselves but any Brexit agreement needs to recognise, understand and protect the people, the economy and the peace process on this island.” 

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MIL-OSI UK: Letter to the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

Dear Jeremy

Following yesterday’s rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I am writing to reiterate our strong view that the Backstop mechanism must be upheld to protect the interests of the people of Northern Ireland.

On the 23 June 2016, the people of Northern Ireland expressed their clear wish to remain in the European Union; since that time their voice has either been misrepresented on the benches of Westminster, misunderstood or ignored altogether.

The majority of people here, including business leaders, the agri-food sector and border communities, as well as many members of your own party, are agreed that short of no Brexit at all, the Backstop is vital in protecting our interests in Northern Ireland. This voice cannot be ignored.

The SDLP have no interest in either inter or intra-party conflict in London. Regardless of the chaos and division in Westminster, the fact remains that there is no way to avoid a hard border in Ireland if Northern Ireland leaves the Customs Union and Single Market. That is why a Backstop is essential.

Therefore, I am asking that you provide the people of Northern Ireland with a commitment that the Labour Party, a long-standing ally of Northern Ireland and our peace agreements here, will support the implementation of the Backstop.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood

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MIL-OSI UK: Letter to Theresa May

Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

Dear Theresa,

Following yesterday’s rejection of the Withdrawal Agreement by the House of Commons, I am writing to reiterate our strong view that the Backstop mechanism must be upheld to protect the interests of the people of Northern Ireland.

On the 23 June 2016, the people of Northern Ireland expressed their clear wish to remain in the European Union; since that time their voice has either been misrepresented on the benches of Westminster or ignored altogether.

The majority of people here, including business leaders, the agri-food sector and border communities are agreed that short of no Brexit at all, the Backstop is vital in protecting our interests here. This voice cannot be ignored.

Despite deadlock in Westminster, the fact remains that there is no way to avoid a hard border in Ireland if Northern Ireland leaves the Customs Union and Single Market. That is why a Backstop is essential.

Therefore, I am asking that you provide the people of Northern Ireland with a commitment that the British Government will not renege on the implementation of the Backstop.

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood

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MIL-OSI UK: Gerry Adams TD backs nurses

Source: Sinn Féin

16 January, 2019 – by Gerry Adams TD

Speaking today during the debate in the Dáil on a Fianna Fáil motion on the pending nurses strike Sinn Féin TD for Louth Gerry Adams expressed his support for the Nurses.
The Louth TD also read to the Dáil an email from a woman who outlines her personal experience with midwives.
Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, Independents for Change and the Social democrats have submitted an agreed amendment to the Fianna Fáil motion.
Teachta Adams said:
“Sinn Féin supports the thrust of the Fianna Fáil motion but there are obvious gaps. So, the amendment we have tabled, along with Independents for Change, the Social Democrats and the Labour Party, is about closing these.
“In particular, our amendment tackles the issues of pay and of recruitment and retention. The series of planned strikes by the INMO and Psychiatric Nurses Association are actions of last resort. The pending strikes are a result of bad government policy.
“In the two hospitals in my constituency, Our Lady of Lourdes in Drogheda and Louth County Hospital in Dundalk, working conditions for nurses have become increasingly difficult.
“Instead of tackling the very real issue of recruitment and retention of staff the government and HSE in 2017 spent thirteen and a half million euro on agency staff between the two Louth Hospitals. This is a short sighted policy that contributes to the crisis in health.
“In December I spoke with the INMO General Secretary Phil Ní Sheaghdha and north east representative David Miskell. They outlined the scale of the crisis in the health service.
“Last November was the worst ever month for overcrowding in our emergency departments. By the end of 2018 almost one hundred and ten thousand admitted patients had been forced to wait in emergency departments. This is the worst figure since records began.
“On Tuesday Dr. Fergal Hickey of the Irish Association for Emergency Medicine, described our Emergency Departments as “warehouses for admitted in-patients”. Dr. Hickey said the problem is not enough beds.
“More beds, needs more nurses. That means tackling the problem of pay and the related issues of recruitment and retention”.
Addressing the Dáil Gerry Adams read the email sent to him and other Dáil TDs today on the Nurses strike. The woman has asked to remain anonymous.
In her email she writes:
“While part of the dispute is about pay, the working conditions of nurses and midwives need to be addressed immediately. 
I have on a number of occasions needed nursing and midwifery care. 
On one of these occasions, nearly 9 years ago, I was an hour away from giving birth to my stillborn son. 
At this time, the nurses and midwives were again looking for better working & pay conditions from the government and I commented to the midwife that I was sorry about how badly they were being treated by the government. 
The midwives that delivered my stillborn son were amazing. 
The care they gave to myself, my son and my family was full of love, empathy & compassion. 
It saddens and angers me greatly, that 9 years later, the working conditions have gotten worse for the nursing and midwifery staff. 
 I would also like to make you aware that I have a hospital appointment for the 30th January. 
This is for a simple test which will be the final test of 4 tests needed for a diagnosis. 
Not getting this test will delay my treatment. 
Even if my treatment is delayed, I will give my full support to the nurses and midwives on the day. 
I will also be joining the nurses and midwives on the picket line”.
Concluding she says: “Please give your support to the nurses and midwives & improve their lives and working conditions. They deserve every cent.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Movement on Protect Life 2 welcome – Flynn

Source: Sinn Féin

Movement on Protect Life 2 welcome – Flynn | Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin – On Your Side

16 January, 2019 – by Órlaithí Flynn

Sinn Féin MLA Órlaithí Flynn has welcomed confirmation from the Health Permanent Secretary that he intends to implement the Protect Life 2 Suicide Prevention Strategy.
The party’s Mental Health spokesperson and said:
“This strategy will play a crucial role in helping to ensure there is greater cooperation and coordination of services to help save lives lost to suicide.
“As much as the new strategy will help it needs to be adequately funded to help deliver for those individuals and communities in crisis.
“Sinn Féin will be requesting a meeting with the Health Permanent Secretary to ask him to outline the plans for the implementation of the suicide prevention strategy and express our frustration it took so long.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Archibald responds to Roe Valley area principals

Source: Sinn Féin

16 January, 2019 – by Caoimhe Archibald

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has written to principals in the Roe Valley and surrounding area in response to a letter sent to parents earlier this week regarding school budget concerns.
The East Derry MLA said:
“Along with my colleague and party spokesperson on education, Karen Mullan MLA, I have met and consistently engaged with the Permanent Secretary of the Education Department, the Education Authority, teaching unions and sectoral bodies over the past two years to highlight concerns around budgets and other issues being brought to our attention by school principals.
“There is no doubt that many schools are suffering as a result of the Tory austerity agenda, now supported by the DUP, which has seen our block grant slashed over the past nine years, resulting in huge cuts to departmental budgets.
“I have written to all of the principals who signed the letter offering to meet and discuss the issues and concerns highlighted.
“My party colleagues and I will continue to oppose Tory austerity and make the case for additional resources for our public services and in particular for education.”

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MIL-OSI UK: Lords debates Brexit and the Union

Source: British House Of Lords News

16 January 2019
Members of the Lords, including a constitutional advisor to the Secretary of State for Scotland and an advisory council member of national debate forum These Islands, will debate the possible effects of Brexit on the stability of the Union of the parts of the United Kingdom, in the House of Lords on Thursday 17 January.

This is a general debate. They normally take place on a Thursday in the chamber. During debates, members are able to put their experience to good use, discussing current issues and drawing the government’s attention to concerns.
The debate was proposed by Lord Lisvane (Crossbench), former chief executive of the House of Commons.
Members expected to take part include:
Lord Empey (Ulster Unionist Party), former Lord Mayor of Belfast and member of the Northern Ireland Assembly
Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town (Labour), Lords opposition spokesperson for exiting the EU and constitutional affairs
Lord Hay of Ballyore (Democratic Unionist Party), president of the Northern Ireland Assembly branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
Lord McInnes of Kilwinning (Conservative), constitutional advisor to the Secretary of State for Scotland
Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve (Crossbench), member of the advisory council for national debate forum These Islands
Lord Thomas of Gresford (Liberal Democrat), former Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Welsh Affairs
Lord Wigley (Plaid Cymru), former leader of the opposition in the National Assembly for Wales
Lord Young of Cookham (Conservative), Lords spokesperson in the Cabinet Office, will respond on behalf of the government.
Further information
Image: iStockphoto

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