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Lewes Bus services to be decimated

30 Jun

 

 

 

 

 

Latest information 09/07/2014

RE ESCC ‘Consultation Exerceise’ on the decimation of our bus services.

Email received from Madeline Harmer business transport officer for ESCC
“Paper copies of the survey are available in all libraries and will shortly be available on supported buses throughout East Sussex. Residents can request a paper copy of the survey by calling us on 0345 60 80 194, and in this month’s “Your County” there will be information regarding the consultation which will include this telephone number.

In addition all key stakeholders, including parish and district councils, charities, children centres, religious communities, and social groups have received a link to the online version of the survey, and a note informing them that they can request paper versions of the survey by calling us on 0345 60 80 194.”

 Make sure your voice is heard today!!!!

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30% price hike and service frequency slashed.

People can shop on line instead of using local shops, says council

On July 1st East Sussex Council’s cabinet is likely to rubber stamp a proposal which would start the decimation of  the subsidised bus services in Lewes and East Sussex.  The 28 and 29 run by Brighton buses will not be affected. But almost every other bus service running into Lewes will be cut.

Fares Hike

Local sustainable travel expert Chris Smith says:

“Fares on remaining services will face a huge hike, making them unaffordable for many.  Increases will approach 30% across the board!  This will lead to even less use of what buses remain.

For example, the current fare from Lewes to Newhaven and return is currently £4.80.  A 30% increase takes that to £6.24.   This is almost double the current train fare and makes the car, if you have one, a cheaper option.

You can see that the council are trying to reduce bus passengers so that they can make even further cuts”.

Subsidy cut

In 2012/3 the councils supported bus services to the tune of just over £2.9 million a year.  It wants to reduce this support to under £700 thousand by April 2015.  (The council has recently spent about £56 million of its (our) money on the Bexhill Hastings link road on top of the money paid by the government)

Service cuts

The council will keep many bus services which are used for people to get to and from work and also most journeys that enable students to get to school. (But there may be fewer services than there are now even in the peaks)

All evening and Sunday services subsidised by the council will be withdrawn.

The council is not clear what will happen on Saturdays on routes which will still have a daily service Monday to Friday.  You should not assume that there will still be Saturday services. Where there are Saturday services the frequency will be the same as the off peak services shown below.  There will be no Saturday services to Barcombe, Plumpton or Haywards Heath.  There is already no Saturday service to Hailsham.

Off peak services in the day will be drastically cut.  Here’s how Lewes town’s bus services would fare outside of normal school and work rush hours:

121 Lewes-Newick service is reduced to every two hours

123 Lewes-Kingston- Newhaven is reduced to every two hours

125 Lewes- Barcombe- Alfriston will operate on Mondays and Thursdays only (daily peak service)

127 Landport Service is reduced to hourly

128 Nevill Service is reduced to hourly (this frequency probably includes the 129 service)

129 Nevill and Winterbourne service is reduced to every two hours

143 Lewes- Ringmer and Hailsha will operate onTuesday and Friday only (no service at all on other days)

166 Plumpton and Haywards Hth will operate on Mondays and Thursdays only (daily peak service)

824 Ditchling and Burgess  Hill will operate on Tuesday and Friday only (daily peak service)

A number of public services serving Ringmer college from the east will become school only services, which will mean an increase in travel costs of £5.50 per week per student.

There are similar cuts right across the county.

WHO IS AFFECTED?

As the county admits, shoppers and those with medical appointments will be worst affected.  That’s bad news for shopkeepers. The council hopes more people will shop on line instead of using local shops.

But it is bad news for shift or part time workers too, and the council admits that some people may lose their jobs  (on top of the bus drivers who will also lose theirs)

Also affected will be pensioners, who face further isolation, and young people who want to visit their friends.  The county admits that people with learning disabilities may have trouble getting to day and training centres.

Because the council is cutting only socially necessary services the poorest and most vulnerable will be disproportionately affected.

The council believes that some services, such as libraries, will be affected.  As you probably know, rural libraries are being cut, so more people need to travel.

Areas like Chailey, Newick, Laughton and Kingston will become no go areas where it is impossible to live without a car, or more than one car.  And, of course, the number of cars trying to drive and park in Lewes will rise.

The policies take no account of environmental concerns and take no account of the extra costs of more traffic, pollution or social isolation.

20% of households in Lewes district do not have access to a car.  Even in those households that have a car, household members may be stranded at home if one member must take the car, for example to get to work.

The council has the power to use revenues from car parking schemes to subsidise bus services, but has not promised to do so.

What COULD the council do?

Chris says that there are other courses that the council could follow:

  • It could commit itself to not wasting money on road schemes
  • It could actually publicise the bus services to ensure more people use them instead of keeping them secret.
  • It could generate more money from parking schemes and use this to pay for buses.
  • It could adopt the system used in London and being tried out in Newcastle, where companies have to tender to run the profitable and the unprofitable services as a package.  At the moment the commercial companies trouser the profit on the profitable routes and the taxpayer subsidises the others. Under the alternative system the profitable routes help subsidise the loss making ones.

When would the cuts happen? 

These cuts would happen in April 2015- just 8 months away

What can you do?

  • Tell everyone who you know who might be affected anywhere in East Sussex. – You could forward this newsletter to them
  •  Raise the issue at any organisation or community group you are part of.
  • Look at the detailed information here  to see exactly how you may be affected.
  • Tell your county council member that you want them to oppose the cuts at every opportunity.
  • Contact local papers and radio stations to tell them how you will be affected.

July 1 is not the end of the decision making. This is what the county council says it will do:

“In July, August and September 2014 we will use a wide range of methods to ask members of the community for their views about the draft Strategy and our proposals for the Supported Bus Network.

During October and November 2014 the Project Board and a cross Party Councillors Advisory Group will review what people have told us. Using these views and other relevant information, we will decide if any changes need to be made to the draft Strategy and/or the Supported Bus Network proposals.

In December 2014 ESCC’s Cabinet will be asked to approve the final version of the Strategy and recommendations for the final supported bus network.

Chris says “There is still time to make a difference!  But we need to act now.”

 

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Public Meeting. What’s the best for the Phoenix/North St? Thursday 29 th May 7.30 @ Lewes Town Hall

22 May

publicmeetingweb

Alternatives to Austerity: 15th May, 7.30 @ The Elephant & Castle

13 May

Lewes & District Trades Union Council Presents

“The Alternatives to Austerity”

With Michael Meacher MP

plus local speakers

Upstairs at the Elephant & Castle public house, White Hill, Lewes

Thursday 15th of May at 7.30 pm

Free entry. Collection for Lewes Stop The Cuts.

Following on from the last Trades council festival in the Autumn of 2013 , this meeting will address the continued impact of austerity and how alternative strategies may be presented to challenge the governments contention that ‘there is no alternative’. The meeting will be chaired by Ann Ruyzlo, Trades council secretary and POA member. The main speaker will be Michael Meacher MP one of the Labour party’s leading proponents of alternative strategies. Local speakers will include Lynda Walker, secretary of East Sussex Unison and others. The meeting will conclude with a discussion of questions from the audience.

ATOS National Demo in Brighton on Wednesday 19th of February 1000 – 1400

14 Feb
Brighton Assessment Centre, Lower Ground Floor West, Lees House, 21-35 Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3GD 10:00 until 14:00
As part of the UK wide national protest, this is to be a demonstration against the inhuman methods employed by Atos during their assessments of sick and disabled people. The protest is open to everyone from Brighton and the greater area. As with other demonstrations around the country, there may be some Direct Action taken. Involvement with this is a personal choice.
We are planning to hold a short period of silence at 1pm in memory of some 30,000 people that are believed to have died following Atos assessment (10,600 between Jan to Nov 2011 alone!)

 

ATOS

 

Pensions – A Lib Dem Con?

11 Feb
On Tuesday 11 Feb, Steve Webb, Pensions Minister came to Lewes to give a talk entitled ‘What do pension changes mean for me’. Pensions are a hot topic because the government is changing the way pension provision is made and clearly this will affect everyone who has yet to reach pension age.
 
One of the main planks of the changes is the introduction of a ‘Single tier pension’ which will merge all current state pension provision into one single pension. The issue is how will this affect people?
 
The government says the changes will be cost neutral in the short term and will cost less in the long term. However, there will be winners and losers. The majority of people will gain in the short term but 19% ie 1 in 5, according to the respected think tank, The Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), will be losers. Maybe you will be one of these. The IFS also predict that ‘In the longer term, the new system will be less generous to just about everyone than the system that it is replacing’ and that ‘most people would have to live to over 100 to be better off overall’ (Quoted from IFS Report R82). Given that by 2060 the new system will save .4% of national income this makes complete sense.
 
The National Insurance Fund was in surplus by over £38 billion at 31 March 2012 and given the size of this pot it begs the question whether these changes are necessary and indeed that pension provision could be improved for the worst off.
 
In tandem with raising the state retirement age from 60 to 68 and for men from 65 to 68 which already penalises the poorest in society and given that the vast majority of people in the long term will be worse off under the changes, this is simply another cut in people’s standard of living by this coalition government.
 
Tony Rowell LSTC pensions spokesperson

East Sussex County Council is proposing to make cuts of £27.7 million in the 2014 / 2015 financial year

6 Feb

Lobby of East Sussex County Council Budget Meeting County Hall

Tuesday 11th of February 8.30 – 10.00 am

East Sussex County Council is proposing to make cuts of £27.7 million in the 2014 / 2015 financial year and it appears that Lewes will be hit particularly hard.

Proposed cuts include the following job losses:

12 at the Phoenix Centre. A day centre for the elderly and a valuable resource for other local groups – which may be closed for good

19 at County Hall

18 at the East Sussex Music Service.

ESMS is one of the county’s flagship services on, which has achieved a high level of success

Come and support us and other local groups against the cuts on Tuesday morning. It is also possible to attend the finance committee meeting. We will meet outside the front door off St. Anne’s Crescent.

Upcoming Events in Lewes and Brighton

6 Feb

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday 11th February 8am to 10am
Lobby East Sussex County Council against Cuts County Hall

Tuesday 11th February 8am
Tell Pensions minister Steve Webb what you think in Lewes Register here for free
Thursday 6th February
Defend the NHS Forum What is happening to our Sexual Health Services?  7pm GMB Offices, Church Rd, Hove
Thursday 6th February
Debate on Council Tax Referendum hosted by the Argus 7pm Hove Town Hall
Thursday 6th February
Debate on Council Tax Referendum hosted by Brighton Peoples Assembly 7:30pm St Michaels Community Centre
Saturday 8th February
Support LGBT and human rights during winter Olympics
Meet Midday at the Clock Tower
https://www.facebook.com/events/1386291254926565/
Monday 10th February
Debate on Council Tax Referendum hosted by the Brighton Independent Newspaper
Metropole Hotel 7pm register here to attend
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-big-debate-tickets-10321097681

February 13th at the White Hart in Lewes
Transport minister Baroness Kramer is to speak – again go and tell her what think.
Register here for free event

Wednesday 19th February
National Demo Day of Action Against ATOS
Stop the inhumane assessments of the sick and disabled
8:00am Brighton Assessment Centre, Lower Ground Floor West, Lees House, 21-35 Dyke Road, Brighton, BN1 3GD

Lewes Stop the Cuts invite you to join us to protest against fuel poverty deaths on Saturday 30th November at 11 am

26 Nov

Speak Out! Take Action! Stop the Great Fuel Robbery!
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On November 26th, the number of people who died last winter from cold homes will be announced. We won’t stand for any more unnecessary deaths caused by price-hiking, polluting, profiteering, tax avoiding energy companies. Fuel Poverty Action, UK Uncut, the Greater London Pensioners’ Association and Disabled People Against Cuts will be protesting on the 26th and members of LSTC will be joining them

But we also want to make sure that Lewes MP Norman Baker gets the message. So join us as at 11 in Lewes precinct or 11.45 at Norman Baker’s constituency office in East Street.

As the Big Six energy companies hike up prices we are told the only answer is to put on a jumper, leaving millions of us to choose between heating and eating. While the energy companies spread the lie that ‘green taxes’ are to blame, we know that the real problem is the privatisation of our energy for profit and the skyrocketing cost of dirty fossil fuels. Instead of a dash for gas, we need a rush for renewables – energy generated from sun, wind and tide would bring down our bills and tackle climate change. A transition to renewables goes hand in hand with decentralising our energy system, putting power back in the hands of communities and in the process doing away with outdated energy company giants like the Big Six.

On 6th November Norman Baker voted against a gas and electricity price freeze. We want our local MP to support a system that puts people before profit, and where no-one has to make the choice to heat or eat.

So bring your kids, neighbours, grandparents, your warmest jumper and your latest energy bill — and come join the fightback for the alternatives: warm, insulated homes and clean, affordable energy. It’s time to bring down the Big Six and put power back in people’s hands.

Find our event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/219705358210410/

See more about the London protest at: http://dpac.uk.net/2013/11/protest-fuel-poverty-nov-26th-at-11-30am-london/#sthash.yd2flli7.dpuf

Anti cuts events in Brighton and Lewes

9 Nov
Saturday 9th November in Lewes Precinct 10-30 am to 12-30 pm
Come and say hello at the Stall in Lewes Precinct followed by some direct action against fuel poverty.  People are dying of the cold every year in Britain because they can’t afford to heat their houses.

Norman Baker claimed £208 expenses for gas to heat his home, must be a struggle to make ends meet on his ministerial salary.

Sunday 10th November
Small Revolutions
Night of music in support of the Brighton Peoples Assembly
Lord Nelson 6pm
Wednesday 13th November
Trades Council general meeting
Open to all trade union members
King & Queen 8pm
Saturday 16th November
Anti-workfare picket
Meet Clock Tower 11am
Brighton Benefits Campaign – details to come
Saturday November 30th
Demonstration of Solidarity with Russian LGBTQ People
“To Russia with Love”
Speakers include Russian LGBTQ activists and Peter Tatchell

Education – Teachers and Higher Education workers are striking against Austerity

26 Oct

The only opposition to the government is now the unions, anti-cuts and community groups who are fighting back, we need to support these groups, you can show your support by joining marches showing up on picket lines, writing to the press and I would say the local MP but he is a waste of space and has got his promotion by selling out the people who voted for him.

Teacher Strike against austerity in Sussex>

On October 31st the Education Unions will strike assemble at Victoria Gardens (Grand Parade) in the centre of Brighton at 12.00, to march in support of the campaign at 12.30, and to attend the Rally in The Corn Exchange at 13.00-14.30.

The Education dispute

The dispute is primarily about pay but also concerns other issues, including a national agreement to improve job security for those on precarious short-term contracts (‘decasualisation’), and addressing the persistent gender pay-gap in the HE sector. Since 2009, all staff the university sector have lost (at the most conservative estimate) 13% of the real value of their incomes from below-inflation pay awards. At the lower end of the pay scale, that represents a £2,000 annual pay cut; at the upper end of the scale, a £5,000 cut.

Affordability

The HE sector can certainly afford to settle this year for a figure that not only covers inflation but goes some way to restore the lost 13%. Collectively, the sector is sitting on over £1 billion in surpluses, and most institutions now have financial reserves at record high points. The commercialisation of education, at a direct cost to current students through the fee system, has boosted the income of universities as admissions climbed by 7% overall after last year’s drop.

Inequity

Many senior managements clearly believe this to be both a healthy situation for education, and uniquely a result of their own managerial efforts. That, presumably, is why there are now over 2,500 of them earning more than £100,000 pa, and why the median income of Vice Chancellors now stands (on last published figures) at £242,000 pa. Nevertheless, not quite satisfied that they have been adequately rewarded for their efforts, this year they persuaded governing bodies to vote them an extra 6% or more on those salaries, at the same time that they collectively colluded to offer 1% to all other staff.

The Education action

The dispute commences next Thursday with a one-day strike. From the following day, next Friday, UCU members are then engaged in a ‘work-to-contract’.

Education unions united in strike action against the government”

Communication worker to strike

PCS strike in York

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