Kingston for a Future that Works


PUBLIC MEETING called by Kingston Trades Council, Kingston GMB, Kingston University Education Activist Network, Kingston Anti-Cuts Group, Kingston Right to Work and London Unite Community.

Matt Wrack (General Secretary, Fire Brigades Union)
Julie Reay (Kingston Hospital UNISON)
Mark Campbell (UCU NEC and lecturer at London Met)

CHAIRING: Andy Higginbottom (Branch Secretary, Kingston UCU)

– Defend our National Health Service
– For free, fair and funded education
– No to cuts, closures and privatisation
– No to a lost generation – invest for jobs and homes



Save our children’s ward

A sick attack on sick children

Fresh from making the decision to close down the A&E and maternity departments at St Helier’s Hospital, South West London NHS now has children’s
services in their sights. Their ironically-named, sham consultative body,
Better Services Better Value, has recommended the closure of three out of four
children’s in-patients wards in SW London – apparently to enhance patient care.

BSBV’s “Children’s Clinical Working Group” report claims that Kingston, Sutton
and Croydon should all lose their children’s in-patients wards so that services
can be centralised at Tooting Hospital. But what really underlies their plans
is the fact that SW London NHS needs to make a budget cut of 24% – yes, 24% –
by 2016/17.

Cameron promised to ringfence the NHS – but the local health budget is to be cut by 24% by 2016/17

The closures mean the loss of 56 beds across our local hospitals. It means
longer waiting lists for children who need overnight stays. It means children
with chronic illnesses becoming in-patients far away from home. It means
massive pressure on the remaining services. Ultimately, it means that the
government and the local NHS bosses will have blood on their hands.

Lies, damn lies and NHS pledges

Before the election, Tories and Liberals lined up to pledge that the NHS, and
particularly Kingston Hospital, was safe with them. Both Cameron and Clegg made visits to the Hospital. Now local Liberal MP, Ed Davey, is claiming that he has helped to save maternity and A&E at Kingston Hospital – when really all he
has done is mobilise political pressure to have the departments closed at St.
Helier, which will, in turn, put massive pressure on those services at

Eric Pickles and local Tories at the 2010 election

The Tories and the Liberals have consistently lied over the NHS. At no point
did Cameron or Clegg say that they were committed to the privatisation of the
NHS before the election. But as it stands, from the time that Kingston Hospital
becomes a foundation hospital, it will not only be required to put out all its services to tender for private health companies, but it’ll also be able to cover any of its budgetary problem by taking on up to 49% of its patients as private ones.

The proposed closure of Kingston Hospital’s children’s ward is the most
shocking example of the hypocrisy of the two parties. Eric Pickles and local
Tories stood behind a banner reading “Kingston Hospital – safe with us” at the
last election. Now they’re closing a children’s ward. Meanwhile, Ed Davey is
trying desperately to look as though he is defending the ward – even though he’s
a minister in the government which is cutting it.

The Tories claims that the people of Kingston will have the last say on the
plans when Better Services Better Value launch their public consultation on
Monday 17th September. This is another lie. BSBV has already made its decision – its consultation is a sham. BSBV is not an independent body, nor a “people’s panel” of health workers. It’s a body responsible to the Ministry of Health, and the panel-members are largely NHS bosses. One is even a Liberal Democrat councillor.

Stop all cuts and closures

NHS workers are key to the fight against closures

We can’t rely on politicians with a track-record of lying to the public to protect us from the closure of NHS services. The only way to save our children’s services is to mobilise the community and local health workers against the cuts.

The government’s assault on healthcare is turning the NHS into a political
powder keg. This September, there will be huge local demonstrations against NHS cuts in West and South London, and events at St Helier Hospital against the closure of wards there.

We need to start linking together activists, trade unionists, health workers and local people to challenge the cuts and closures at Kingston Hospital. A local campaign can politically mobilise people, and expose the hypocrisy of the Tories and the Lib-Dems.

Sign the petition! Save our children’s ward!

Kingston benefits campaigners to stage protest against cuts

Benefits campaigners from Kingston Right to Work are set to stage a “cut bankers’ bonuses, not benefits” protest against the impact of benefits cuts locally.

Protestors say that cuts to housing benefits will have a negative effect on the poorest people living in the borough. They also point to the fact that scores of disabled people have been thrown off disability benefits in the borough, only to have their decisions reversed on appeal.

Changes to disabled benefits, including moving claimants from Disability Living Allowance to Personal Independence Payments next year, could mean half a million people losing their benefits. And large amounts of disabled people in Kingston are being classified as “fit to work”, only to have the decision overturned at appeal.

Meanwhile, David Cameron recently set out plans to strip some 380,000 people under the age of 25 of their housing benefit. Campaigners are warning that these measures will cause a massive homelessness crisis, pointing to the problems around overcrowding and long housing waiting lists in Kingston recently revealed by the Kingston Guardian. Of 6,800 council and housing association tenants in Kingston, 377 are in need of larger homes for their families, while some 8,355 are currently on housing waiting lists.

“The government is cutting benefits to fund bailouts for the bankers, even though they are continuing to pay themselves massive bonuses,” commented campaigner Alistair Farrow. “The clampdown on disabled peoples benefits is going to lead to destitution and suicides, but massive fraud by the bankers is rewarded with fat bonuses. And the government’s plans for housing benefit could see hundreds of thousands of young people lose their homes – all to pay for a crisis caused by the banks.”

Cut bonuses, not benefits!
is scheduled for Saturday 11th August. Protestors are meeting at Kingston station at 1pm.

Dozens of disabled Kingstonians wrongly rejected for benefits

From the Kingston Guardian.

Dozens of disabled people have overturned wrong decisions to cut their benefits.

More than 57 people successfully appealed against the decision not to grant them disability living allowance last year.

Disability campaigner Jane Young, from New Malden, blamed the perception of disabled people costing the country too much for the number of rejected claims.

Read more

Build for a massive mobilisation on 20th October


Kingston Trades Council has called an important meeting for local trade unionists and activists, as the TUC announced its “For a Future that Works” demonstration on 20th October.

The TUC’s last mass demonstration on 26th March 2011 was over half a million people strong. It was a show of strength of the labour and anti-cuts movement against a government that wants ordinary people to pay for the bankers’ and bosses’ crisis.

As Europe descends into financial chaos, the government is demanding more and more austerity. The NHS is facing massive cuts and privatisations, hundreds of thousands of public sector workers are using their jobs and the government is attacking the labour rights of workers. We need a big demonstration of the strength and unity of the trade union and progressive movements to give confidence to workers who want to fight back.

Kingston Trades Council has called an organising meeting to bring together local activists who want to start building the demonstration to make it the massive march it needs to be. We want to use this meeting both as a way of planning how to mobilise huge amounts of people from the borough and of bringing together the elements in local society that are looking for ways to combine and organise against the government’s attacks.

7.30pm Thursday 12th July
Kingston Labour Party offices
160 London Road
Kingston KT2 6QW

The Attack on the NHS: What it means for South West London

What it means for South West London and how we can fight it

7pm Thursday 10th May
Kingston Labour Party offices
160 London Road

The government’s Health and Social Care Bill may spell the end of the NHS. Already big sections of the healthcare system are being put into private hands – Richard Branson’s Virgin Care has signed a contract to run eight community hospitals in Surrey.

Hospitals are being cut too – despite all David Cameron’s promises before the election. Wards are being closed and local A&E departments are under threat. And new rules means that more privative patients can be treated by NHS hospitals – NHS patients will be kicked to the back of the queue.

Join us to learn about the attack on our NHS locally – and how we can fight it.

Kevin O’Brien, Secretary of UNISON Epsom and St. Helier.


Defend the Right to Protest demonstration at Kingston Crown Court

Footage of today’s demonstration outside Kingston Crown Court.