Council leader blags two computers in less than two years

iPadIn January last year, just as Herefordshire Council was in the middle of deciding which services would be cut, leader Cllr Tony Johnson went out to Hereford’s iStore on the 31st to buy himself an iPad and iPad case, both with council money (£368).

Yet taxpayers had already put their hands in their pockets just 18 months previously on 18 July 2011 so Johnson could buy a laptop, case, printer, service contract and high-speed cable totalling £680.58.

Nice work if you can get it.

Councillors buy themselves iPads, iMacs with your money

Who ate all the egg mayos? You f… Phil ate all the egg mayos

Who ate all the egg mayos? You f… Phil ate all the egg mayos

Egg mayoNot content with a swag bag full of computers, Cllr Phil Cutter also thinks we should pay for his lunch.

On 14 September 2012, he helped himself to an egg mayo sandwich, a packet of Tyrrells crisps and a Twix (£3.52) from the BP garage at Wilton, just a two-minute walk from his house. Four days later taxpayers paid for a £2.79 coronation chicken meal.

And on 6 November 2012 he returned to BP for another egg mayo sandwich (£1.99).

How many other bosses pay for their employees’ lunches?

Councillors buy themselves iPads, iMacs with your money

Council leader blags two computers in less than two years

Graffiti Knitters bring splash of colour to threatened trees

Late last night, Sunday 3rd, a group of local activists brightened up yet another dark chapter in the policies of Herefordshire Council. These graffiti knitters showed their support for the campaign to save 14 lime trees on Edgar Street by decorating them in a multitude of coloured woollen creations. If you haven’t experienced the joys of graffiti knitting, or yarn bombing as it’s also known, we recommend you take a stroll along Edgar Street and see their work.

Vandals?

It is hoped that by drawing attention to these trees more pressure will be put on the council to reverse their decision to fell them. It seems incredible that while cities the world over are striving to increase urban tree cover, Herefordshire Council continues to support the opposite. Of course, Jarvis and his cronies will view last nights antics as the work of vandals trying to stop progress, but the reaction of passers by suggests that there is public support for the campaign.

For more information on the campaign read here

Tenants & Homeless seize abandoned council house

In the early hours of Monday morning, activists appalled at the crackdown on homeless beggars and the council’s lack of action to create badly needed new homes seized one of Birmingham’s 11,000[4] empty properties. The group calling themselves Birmingham Tenants and Homeless Action Group issued a statement on their website[1] condemning the City Council for failing to take action to help the growing homeless population of Birmingham, which has risen by 25%[2] since 2009.

 Claire Lister, 23, an activist involved with Birmingham Tenants and Homeless Action Group, said, “Homelessness is on the rise and the council is effectively doing nothing, worse – homeless charities have been cut by 29%[2]. Birmingham already has the highest rate of homelessness in the UK[3] and with the incoming housing benefit cuts even more people are going to be at risk of becoming homeless.”

The group are doing up the property to hand over to a homeless person. They say the council, who owns the property, should put it back into use immediately as social housing. Andy Hamilton, 23, said, “This property has been left empty for years now; there is nothing wrong with it. People are living rough on the streets they are getting very ill and even dying. We want this house and others like it to be put back into use right-away to help tackle the housing crisis.”.John Holland ,25, said “A roof over your head should be a right. 11,000 houses are lying empty[4]; – this place mustn’t be left empty when it could house a family.”

The group are demanding the council put back into use as social housing as many of the 11,000 empty homes as possible to deal with the growing homeless problem.

As of the 1st September a new law (Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 [5]) will come into effect making it illegal to squat residential properties. The group condemn the new law saying that squatting is used by many homeless people as a means of keeping a roof over their heads, the new law is in effect targeting and marginalising society’s most vulnerable.

[1] www.network23.org/bthag 

Birmingham Tenants & Homeless Action Group
- e-mail: bthag@riseup.net
- Homepage: www.network23.org/bthag

From Indymedia UK

An open letter to Herefordshire Council leader, Cllr John Jarvis

We the undersigned wish to point out that Britain is now in the midst of the worst double-dip recession for 50 years.

Economic forecasts – whether predicting changes in the UK, Europe or the whole world – are universally bleak.
British householders (especially pensioners) have never had to endure such straightened conditions in peacetime.

There are now more than 200 charity food banks in the UK, with new ones opening at the rate of one a week.
The construction industry and its cousin the commercial property development sector are in the doldrums, with a virtual nationwide freeze on major city centre retail developments.

Yet Herefordshire Council, alone, plans to initiate its much-vaunted £80 million Edgar Street Grid shopping development on the empty site of the old livestock market, designed by Stanhope plc and funded by British Land.

Press reports and cabinet and council meetings over the last six months have recorded innumerable contractual changes which these developers have wrung from your council, from alterations to site boundaries to long-term purchasing options. It has been a one-way traffic in concessions.

Now we learn that Stanhope and British Land want you to lift the restriction against them encouraging established city centre traders to move to the Edgar Street Grid.

Here, they clearly have the big-name multinationals in their sights. This would, we believe, sign the death knell of High Town and the knock on effect on traders in Broad Street and St Owen Street would be catastrophic.

Your cabinet is now under pressure to approve this major amendment.

The thinly-veiled threat by one of the developers, reported last week, makes chilling reading.

This would be an utterly foolhardy move, which the people of Herefordshire would never forgive you for and from which this city might takes decades to recover.

The alternative – to refuse the developers’ latest demands (which, privately, many Conservative members of your administration probably know is the ‘honourable option’) – might result in the Edgar Street Grid being ‘mothballed’ for the foreseeable future. But Herefordians would applaud your candour and respect your integrity.

Now is surely the time for a reasonable administration to be preparing realistic alternative uses for this highly-prized city asset.

This is Breadline Britain, Cllr Jarvis, not Never Never Land.

Nick Jones,
Brian and Mary Caldicutt,
Peter and Marjorie Cocks,
Gerald Dawe,
John Faulkner,
Jane Gutteridge,
Adrian Harvey,
Rob Hattersley,
Keith James,
Rae Jones,
Stephen Knight,
Brian Mee,
Mike Morley,
Liz Morawiecki,
David Phelps,
Hubert Porte,
Edward Pritchard,
Rebecca Roseff,
Jaqui Tonge.