#Newsletter: March 2018

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Image by Focus E15.

NEWS FROM THE PAST MONTH

ROBIN WALES DESELECTED AS MAYOR OF NEWHAM

Newham Labour Party has chosen its candidate for the Mayoral election on May 3rd. Robin Wales has been replaced as candidate by Rokhsana Fiaz. Rokhsana was elected on a progressive platform that aims to tackle the housing crisis and the democratic deficit in Newham. She has also signed our open letter to the Local Government Association demanding action on LOBO loans. We welcome the prospect for change in Newham and will continue to call on Rokhsana to take action on LOBO loans.

To monitor Newham Council for any destruction of documents during Robin Wales’ last two months in office DRUK have submitted a Freedom of Information request asking for details on paper shredding. For those interested in Newham Council’s Finance, their Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting will take place this Thursday, 22nd of March.

OPEN LETTER TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION 

28 councillors have now signed our open letter calling on the Local Government Association to take action on LOBO loans. Please ask your local councillor to add their name. They can do so by using the form at the end of this page.


UPCOMING EVENTS

DEBT AUDITS IN THE UK AND ABROAD

Thursday 22 March 2018, 6:30-9pm
Blooms @ Runway East Featherstone, 19-21 Featherstone Street, London, EC1Y 8SL

On 22 March, we are participating in Research for Action’s roundtable on experiences of debt audits in the UK and abroad. We are joined by guests from Madrid and Barcelona that are part of a network of municipalities campaigning against illegitimate debt and cuts across the Spanish state, as well as a researcher who worked on the Parliamentary debt audit that argued Greece’s debt is illegal, illegitimate and odious. Debt Resistance UK and People’s Audit will be presenting their work on local government audits in the UK.

The event is free but please register by 21 March as places are limited and the organisers will need to present a guest list for the building reception.

DEBT AND DEMOCRACY

Sunday, 25 March 2018, 3 – 5 PM
Hoe Street Central Bank, Indycube Walthamstow, 151-155 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, London, E17 3AN

Joel Benjamin from Debt Resistance UK will be participating in the Money Talks event Debt and Democracy. Other speakers at the event include: Sarah Jayne Clifton (Director of Jubilee Debt Campaign), David Graeber (Author of “Debt: the first 5000 years”) and Jonathan Bartley (Co-leader of the Green Party).

The event is part of the art project Hoe Street Central Bank (HSCB) being held in a former Co-Op Bank between 12th-25th March 2018.

“The opening of the bank is a key part of the feature documentary film ‘Bank Job’ bringing together a local community to examine how money and debt are made in our current economic system and look for alternatives that may work more in the public’s favour.

Hoe Street Central Bank will be the centre of an act of citizen money creation. Local people of all ages and backgrounds will work with artist Hilary Powell, printmaker Spike Gascoigne and designer Phil Seddon to print £50,000 worth of Bank Job currency in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 in just fourteen days.

In place of the Queen, leaders of the local foodbank, homeless kitchen, youth project and primary school grace HSCB banknotes. As they are exchanged for pound sterling they will raise money for each banknote cause and the HSCB debt abolition fund – enabling the purchase and literal explosion of 1 million pounds worth of local predatory debt.
Engaging people in a collective act of printing money and abolishing local debt in a former high street bank is a provocative start to a timely conversation about economic justice and education. A programme of ‘Money Talks’ ranging from crypto currencies and good credit to debt and democracy brings together big name pundits with local action groups at HSCB.”

NEWS FROM OTHER ORGANISATIONS

THE TRUE EXTENT OF BRITAINS HOUSEHOLD DEBT CRISIS: WHY WE NEED A JUBILEE

Earlier this month, the Centre for Responsible Credit and Jubilee Debt Campaign released a report on Britain’s household debt crisis, calling on the Government, the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority to instigate a “Household Debt Jubilee” in order to release low income households from unjust consumer credit debt. You can download the full report here.

PEOPLE VS PFI PHOTO EXHIBITION

The campaign People vs PFI launched a photo exhibit in Parliament on the 20th of March. The exhibition illustrates the range of PFI deals across different sectors and throughout the UK and provides an overview of the extent to which PFI contracts have channeled public money into corporate coffers. The exhibition is designed to tour the country so get in touch with the campaign if you are interested in hosting it. The launch event consisted in a panel discussion between John McDonnell (Shadow Chancellor), Dexter Whitfield (European Services Strategy Unit) and Sarah-Jayne Clifton (Jubilee Debt Campaign) chaired by Joel Benjamin (PPLvsPFI).

RESEARCH FOR ACTION BIRTHDAY PARTY
Wednesday 21 March 2018, 7-10pm
Newspeak House, 133 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 7DG

Research for Action was set up a year ago to support campaigning for social, environmental and economic justice. For this event, Research for Action will bring together researchers, journalists and activists to discuss the relationship between research and action – and to celebrate their first anniversary! The event will start with a panel discussion with excellent speakers, followed by interventions from the audience. Afterwards there will be music and refreshments. The event is free but please register here.

PEOPLE’S AUDIT EVENT
Saturday 24 March 2018, 11am-4pm
Waterloo Action Centre, 14 Baylis Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 7AA

People’s Audit in Lambeth are hosting their next public event on Saturday. The agenda will include housing, major works, libraries, and shining light on other spending by the council.

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