Saturday, 23 March 2013

Stella Creasy MP: Whistleblowers & The Work Programme vote

This is an item from this week's Working for Walthamstow newsletter produced by Stella Creasy MP. To subscribe to the newsletter email

The Work Programme: 
Walthamstow Whistleblowing Letter 
and Westminster Vote
This week many residents contacted me following their concerns about the Jobseekers (Back to work) schemes bill. This Bill was emergency legislation presented to parliament on Tuesday to address a failure by the Government to draft the regulations around the use of sanctions in the welfare regime. This bill itself did not enable sanctions to be applied (which have been part of our welfare system for over a century) or refer specifically to the Work Programme and the way in which sanctions are used within this scheme. It defined that an appeal against the imposition of a sanction for any form of welfare benefit cannot be bought against the DWP solely on the grounds that these specific regulations were not adequate when first published.

I did not vote for this bill, but in negotiations with the Government on the timetable for it Labour was able to secure two very important concessions- the guarantee for all those who have been sanctioned under the welfare regulations of the right to appeal and an independent inquiry into the way in which sanctions are used. I supported this move because for the past few weeks I have been investigating an allegation brought to my attention by a whistleblower regarding the setting of targets for the numbers of sanctions given to job seekers in Walthamstow, whether they are seeking work or not. You can read the sickening correspondence here including details of the deeply unjust approach to dealing with the unemployed staff in our local job centre had been told to implement. 
On Tuesday I could not raise this matter or discuss it without compromising this investigation. I apologise to residents who may have felt I was not clear at this time as to why I was supportive of the importance of this independent review and hope this clarifies why. 

I was finally able to confirm this correspondence was genuine late yesterday and you can read about this matter in the national Guardian. The Government are now trying to claim the policy comes from one 'rogue manager'. This confirms to me the importance of an impartial and independent inquiry into the use of sanctions-  as I do not believe a lone manager in Walthamstow job centre could create a leaguetable or a 5% target as described- and so feel we can trust the DWP to investigate this properly. Indeed, shockingly today the Secretary of State himself again tried to claim this policy doesn't exist and there are no sanctions - and threatened any staff who were using such targets with disciplinary action. Given this, I believe we need to know urgently who is responsible for this policy and I am working with colleagues in parliament to provide protection for any further whistleblowers.

I believe the Government's Work Programme is out of control as well as bad value for money and I made a speech about this today in the House of Commons which you can read here or watch here (starting at 12.08pm). If you have any further information about the management of this service or wish to seek my help in making an appeal against any sanction you may have endured under the Work programme in the last thirteen months please do get in touch. 

Where to find Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow this week

  • Friday 22nd March – attending parliament to take part in the debate on the Budget and then speaking at an event at the Queen Mary University in London about debt in the East End of London.
  • On Monday 25th March taking part in ‘Home Office Questions’ to the Home Secretary  as part of Labour’s team on Home Affairs.
  • On Wednesday 27th March my office in Walthamstow and in Parliament will be closed for a planning day with my team. If you have an urgent query you can email me and we will make sure we get back to you as soon as we can.
  • On Thursday 28th March I’ll be doing an interview with StreetLife Radio about the EMD Cinema and attending the Walthamstow Labour Party General Committee. 
  • On Friday 29th March my offices will be closed for Good Friday and will also be closed on Monday 1st April on Easter Monday

Friday, 22 March 2013

National Policy Forum London regional representatives’ report – March 2013

  1. The start of 2013 has been extremely positive for Labour in London. Lib Dem support across the capital has collapsed, with large swings against them and in Labour’s favour in by-elections, even in Lib Dem strongholds.
  2. The Tories in London are now clearly becoming increasingly unpopular. Boris Johnson was recently booed at People’s Question Time when he tried to defend Government policy on the NHS and the cuts to and downgrading of Lewisham Hospital.
  3. It is important that recent policy announcements by the leadership, particularly on immigration issues, should be properly considered in the light of the priorities and views of London voters. This issue has been recently discussed in depth by the Regional Board.
London Labour Party Biennial Conference
  1. The Biennial Conference on 16 February was well attended as ever, and with more time allocated for debates than previously. Iain McNicol addressed the Conference for the first time as General Secretary, emphasising the importance of London to the Party. The new Shadow Minister for London Sadiq Khan pledged that we would win back parliamentary seats lost in London in 2010, and highlighted that the next general election would be one firmly about living standards.
  2. There were also excellent workshops on topics including on becoming a Councillor, trade union and Labour Party liaison, community organising and our campaigning priorities for 2014, as well as an impressive variety of well attended fringes including meetings organised by Labour MEPs, CLPD, CWU and Fabian Women.
  3. Topics prioritised for the main debates were Housing, the NHS and London’s Economy, and emergency motions were accepted and passed on a number of topics including cuts to hospitals in London, fire stations closures and the Mayor’s policies on free schools.
  4. It was agreed that the Regional Board would consider further a remitted motion on the potential reduction of trade union representation caused by the move from Local Government Committees to Local Campaign Forums. Following a question to the CAC Chair, the issue of an updated London Rulebook was also referred to the Regional Board.
Policy Challenge Papers and ‘Your Britain’
  1. There has been much activity on the national policy front, with the current round of consultation on Challenge Papers closing on 28 February. The overall policy review process led by Jon Cruddas is also continuing on a number of key themes grouped under the headings; New Economy, New Society, New Politics. It has been confirmed that Shadow Cabinet work will feed through the National Policy Forum and Policy Commissions in the same way as other submissions received, although we will be keeping a close eye on how this works in practice and working with Alon Or-Bach on the Joint Policy Committee to raise concerns if it does not appear to be happening.
  2. Labour’s new policy website ‘Your Britain’ is proving popular, and there have been many submissions made using the website in the run-up to the Challenge Paper deadline. The next stage of the process will be for more detailed policy papers to be prepared for consideration by the National Policy Forum in the summer.
  3. On 1 March, London NPF reps organised a policy meeting at Labour Party HQ to focus on three Policy Review / Challenge Paper topics; housing, health and social care and protecting workers. Lucy helped to facilitate the session on health with Sam doing the same in the group looking at vulnerable workers. All three sessions saw a high level of debate and discussion with many concrete policy suggestions being made. Future workshops are now being planned.
Britain’s Global Role Policy Commission
  1. Recent discussions at the Global Role Policy Commission have focused on submissions on the Challenge Paper on Britain’s Role in a post 2015 development vision. The discussion has included consideration of how best to engage with party and public especially in key seats on what we saying on development and why if we believe in social justice and growth at home we have to be active in supporting it everywhere.
  2. The second policy commission paper focusing on the post 2015 international development agenda we shortly be published for further consultation and reflects the extensive discussion over the first paper. It includes commitments to increase the focus on the need for Decent Work and employment creation globally as a key tool in the fight against poverty as well as committing to further consideration of how better to integrate goals on environmental sustainability into the poverty alleviation agenda.
  3. It has also agreed that whilst the topic of international development will continue to be a major area of work for the Commission, other meetings will be scheduled to address issues raised in submissions to the Commission, including sessions on future threats to include consideration of Trident, human rights and party policy on Europe.
Health and Care Policy Commission
  1. This Commission has been considering further the submissions to the Challenge Paper on integrating health and social care, including how to undo the damage being done by the Coalition Government. Several Commission reps have emphasised the importance of a systematic reversal of privatisation. Funding of social care remains a central aspect for debate, including whether and to what extent individuals should contribute to their social care costs, other than through general taxation.
  2. From a London perspective, it was stressed that any new systems of democratic accountability should incorporate adequate strategic pan-London co-ordination of key issues, including public health concerns.
  3. The Commission also discussed our approach on campaigning against the proposed new regulations opening up the NHS further to private sector contracts. Andy Burnham acknowledged that London, together with some other metropolitan areas, had been hardest hit by planned cuts to NHS services. A London regional event organised by the Shadow Health Team is being planned for April.
Visits and meetings
  1. Since last year we have spoken at and attended a number of GC and other meetings around London, including Edmonton CLP, Islington North CLP, Labour CND and a Socialist Health Association meeting. We remain keen to visit as many CLPs and affiliated organisations as possible do discuss policy issues and how you can have your say.
London campaigning
18.  In the last few months, the efforts of many local parties and affiliates have been concentrated on fighting cuts to London’s public services. There are important by-elections coming up in Islington and in Havering, where the BNP are standing and the EDL have been trying to prevent groups like Hope Not Hate from campaigning on the doorstep.

Sam Gurney and Lucy Anderson
London Regional CLPs and affiliates representatives
Twitter: @npflucy and @GurneySam

April 20th - a day of Co-operative Training & Policy, Lambeth Town Hall

Interested in standing as a candidate in Waltham Forest in 2014?
Interested in trying for Coop Party sponsorship? (you can be a member of both the Labour Party and the Coop party)
The invitation is for Coop members, but you can still join - scroll down and find more details and the link
London Co-operative Party

Training and Policy

Saturday 20 April 2013 
Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RW
Morning: Co-operative Councillor & Candidate/ Activist Workshop for 2014 :
10 AM Start.
Afternoon: National Co-operative Party Policy Discussion – London Forum
2:30 PM Start


Dear Fellow Co-operators,

You are invited to a day of Co-operative Training and Policy at Lambeth Town Hall on Saturday 20th April.

This is a key moment for the London Party as we prepare candidates for the 2014 Council elections and policy for the Borough Council elections and the General Election in 2015.

Please register as early as possible for these free events, hosted by the London Co-operative Party

As you will have seen, the London Co-operative Party has tightened our membership system this year and consequently we have 'lapsed' members who we do not have a payment record for (who actually pay locally by cash or cheque or who have a direct debit in place). We are therefore asking everyone to sign up to pay by Direct Debit. You can download the form here

Yours in Co-operation

Timothy Godfrey
Secretary, London Co-operative Party



Saturday 20 April 2013

Venue: Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, London SW2 1RW
Morning:  Co-operative Councillor & Candidate/ Activist Workshop for 2014 :
10 AM Start.
Afternoon:  National Co-operative Party Policy Discussion – London Forum
2:30 PM Start
Co-operative Councillors & Candidate/Activist Workshop for Borough Elections 2014

Purpose of Morning:
To create greater understanding of cooperative economy and public service provision, and how application of Co-operative ideas can be made relevant to London Borough elections and subsequent Labour and Co-operative Council programmes.


Draft Programme
Time  /  Topic  /  Speaker

10.00 AM    Introduction   Clive Fraser, Chair of the London Co-operative Party

10: 15 AM The Cooperative Council  Network Cllr Lib Peck, Leader Lambeth Councillor.
10: 45 AM Cooperative Solutions for Care Dr Guy Turnbull – Care and Share Associates
11: 20 AM 4  X Workshops on Cooperative Public Service solutions
• Cooperative Trust Schools
• Cooperative Housing
• Cooperative Care
• Cooperative Energy Speakers to be confirmed
12.10  PM 4 X Workshops on Cooperative Public Service solutions
• Cooperative Trust Schools
• Cooperative Housing
• Cooperative Care
• Cooperative Energy Re – run of workshops to allow attendees to participate two workshops.
1:00 PM    Feed back from workshops/ next steps
1.30  PM  Lunch – a range of local restaurants, sandwich bars and cafes are available

Monday, 18 March 2013

Packed fundraiser with Neil Kinnock

On Thursday March 14th the Asian Centre in Orford Road was packed with members and friends at a curry dinner, to raise funds for the constituency party's campaigning programme and to hear former Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock (now Baron Kinnock of Bedwelty).

Contrary to appearances he did not dance on the tables, but he did capture people's rapt attention for fully 40 minutes with his passionate and witty analysis of what the coalition had done and what it was likely to do with the remainder of its term.
After his speech, and a response from Stella Creasy MP, he took questions and chatted to members.

April 20th - So You Want To Be A Councillor? - an invitation to Labour Party members

Monday, 18 March 2013

Dear member,

Are you interested in standing and becoming a Labour councillor in Waltham Forest in 2014? Would you consider it, but want to know more about the commitment and the role?

If you want answers to these questions then why not come along to the ‘Waltham Forest Labour- So You Want To Be A Councillor?’ event organised by the Waltham Forest Labour Group on Saturday 20th April at Walthamstow Town Hall, for an afternoon dedicated to learning about becoming, and being a Labour councillor.

The afternoon will be an opportunity for people interested in becoming a councillor to meet other prospective candidates in an informal setting and to speak with current, sitting councillors about the work they do.
After registration and a light lunch, the day will begin with a campaign session where attendees will help with canvassing a key ward. This will be followed by an introduction to the selections process by the Labour Party Regional Director, perspectives from the 2010 intake on life as a councillor, a “speed dating” session with current cabinet and leading Labour councillors and an early evening reception with a key member of the Labour Party frontbench.

A more detailed programme will be available upon registration.

To attend pre-registration is required, so please contact to guarantee your place.

To signal your commitment, attendance for the entire afternoon is considered essential if you are interested in taking your candidacy further. There will be a £10 charge per person to help cover costs.

We look forward to seeing you on the day!

Best wishes,

Cllr Chris Robbins, Leader, Waltham Forest Labour Group
Labour Group Office, Waltham Forest Town Hall, Forest Road, London E17 4JF
Tel: 020 8496 4896

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Where to find Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow this week

  • Friday 15th March – visiting Kelmscott School and Willowfield School to take part in debates with local school children and in the evening attending the Stow Film Night showing of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.Details here. 
  • Monday 18th March – helping lead the Labour Home Affairs team response to the second day of the Report Stage of the Crime and Courts Bill in Parliament.
  • Tuesday 19th March – visiting Holy Family Technology college to lead a citizenship class followed by opening the redeveloped Wood Street Post Office.
  • Wednesday 20th March – attending the Budget Statement by the Chancellor in Parliament
  • Friday 22nd March – attending parliament to take part in the debate on the Budget and then speaking at an event at the Queen Mary University in London about debt in the East End of London.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Curry with Neil Kinnock, March 14th. Support chapati - join us!

'Curry with Kinnock' full details HERE 
Watch 'Kinnock the Movie' HERE.  Book 'Kinnock the Meal' HERE

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Where to find Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow this week

  • Friday 8th March – attending Women of the World events at the Southbank Centre in aid of International Women’s Day
  • Saturday 9th March – participating in the Southbank Centre International Women’s Day Celebrations as part of the WoW festival 
  • Monday 11th March – holding an appointment only surgery for local residents- to book an appointment for a future date call 020 8521 1223 - and then welcoming the winner of my festive greeting card competition and her family to parliament. 
  • Wednesday 13th March – helping lead the Labour Home Affairs team response to the Report Stage of the Crime and Courts Bill in Parliament
  • Thursday 14th March – speaking at the Walthamstow Labour Party fundraiser with Neil Kinnock- details here.
  • Friday 15th March – visiting Kelmscott School and Willowfield School to take part in debates with local school children and in the evening attending the Stow Film Night showing of Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Where to find Stella Creasy MP for Walthamstow this week

  • On Monday 4th March taking part in a debate in Parliament on the role men can play in ending violence against women with Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper.
  • On Tuesday 5th March speaking at the All Party Parliamentary Group meeting on Sexual and Domestic Violence organised by Women's Aid about #OBRUK.
  • On Wednesday 6th March speaking on behalf of the opposition in a Westminster about the issue of trafficking.
  • On Thursday 7th March taking part in the launch the Women of the World conference at the Southbank Centre ahead of International Women’s Day.
  • on Friday 8th March participating in the International Women's Day reception for the White Ribbon Alliance. 
  • On Saturday 9th March participating in the Women of the World conference as part of International Women's Day