I cannot believe our government have passed this legislation, but here are the changes in full it seems from the Citizens Advice Bureau
Changes to legal aid
Date: 27 March 2013
Civil legal aid helps to pay for the costs of getting legal advice if you’re on a low income. However, the government has made large cuts to the civil legal aid budget. This means from 1 April you’ll no longer be able to get civil legal aid for many types of problems that might affect your everyday life. These include:
Welfare benefit appeals
You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you make an appeal against a decision on welfare benefits unless you’re making an appeal to the Upper Tribunal or higher courts.
You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you with your debts unless a creditor is making you bankrupt or taking court action to evict you from your home
You’ll no longer be able to get legal aid to help you with housing problems unless:
there’s serious disrepair in your home
you’re being evicted from your home
the council is taking action against you because of anti-social behaviour.
You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with an employment dispute or go to an employment tribunal unless it’s a discrimination case.
Private family law
You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with private family law problems unless you’re a victim or are at risk of domestic violence or there has been or is a risk of child abuse These include:
dissolution of civil partnership
disputes over children.
If you’re an asylum seeker, you won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with asylum support unless you have applied for both housing and financial support.
You won’t be able to get legal aid to help you with an immigration application unless you:
have been detained
make an application under the domestic violence rules
make an application because you’re a victim of human trafficking.
You won’t get legal aid to help with education problems unless the child or young adult has Special Educational Needs.
Consumer and general contract law
You won’t get legal aid for any action you want to take for consumer problems or problems you have with general contracts.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority cases
You won’t get legal aid to help with the costs of trying to get compensation because you’ve suffered a criminal injury.
Clinical negligence cases
You won’t get legal aid for most clinical negligence problems.
What will you still be able to get legal aid for
You’ll still be able to get legal aid for the following problems:
mental health proceedings
community care cases
Civil Legal Advice helpline
The Civil Legal Advice national helpline on 0845 345 4345 provides specialist legal advice for people who are eligible for civil legal aid.
The service offers advice in six areas of law:
welfare benefits appeals.
The helpline only offers advice on problems for which you can still get legal aid.
Legal aid for debt, discrimination and Special Educational Needs problems
If you need to apply for legal aid for a debt, discrimination or Special Educational Needs problem, you must apply through the telephone gateway service run by Civil Legal Advice on 0845 345 4345.
Financial eligibility for civil legal aid
There are also changes to who will qualify for civil legal aid, based on the amount of income and capital you have.
If you receive a passporting benefit, your capital will now be assessed to see if you’re eligible to get civil legal aid. Passporting benefits include:
income-related Employment and Support Allowance
income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
There are also increases in the amount of contributions you’ll have to pay towards the cost of civil legal aid.
I cannot believe that us as a nation, collectively, we allowed this to happen. The amount of damage this is going to cause will be astronomical.
Also under the Financial eligibility section, does that mean that the disabled wont get Legal Aid anymore, as they are not mentioned as a passport benefit.
As around 60% of families in Tower Hamlets are living in abject poverty, then why have we not seen any of our representatives, councillors or MP’s make statements on this? try to create campaigns, march to parliaments etc. You know why because I dont think they give a damn about us.
It’s official: Tower Hamlets has no case to answer on electoral fraud
March 28, 2013 by Lutfur
Press Release from Office of the Mayor of Tower Hamlets
It’s official: Tower Hamlets has NO CASE TO ANSWER on electoral fraud.
Mayor Lutfur Rahman and Tower Hamlets Council vindicated after Electoral Commission finds “insufficient evidence” to back opposition claims of widespread deception
Mayor Lutfur Rahman today praised Tower Hamlets’ electoral safeguards as “robust and highly effective” after an Electoral Commission report into allegations of widespread electoral fraud in by-elections in April and May 2012 were found to be groundless.
Opposition councillors made an astonishing 154 separate allegations of which 151 were dismissed entirely and only 3 offered grounds for concern. An investigation by the Metropolitan Police found that there was “insufficient evidence to prove an offence” had been committed on any of these.
Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “These allegations were nothing less than a systematic attempt to discredit our robust and highly effective electoral safeguards. The Electoral Commission report is a vindication for this administration and the excellent council officers who impartially administer the electoral process in Tower Hamlets.”
The report indicated that a “breakdown in trust” between certain opposition councillors and the administration, based on “local political disagreements” was at the root of the allegations.
Out-of-date electoral registers used by campaigners and an inability to differentiate between Bangladeshi names were also to blame, the report found.
Cllr. Ohid Ahmed, Deputy Mayor said. “I’m pleased, but not surprised, that these allegations were found to be baseless. I can’t imagine a clearer case of sour grapes than this – attacking the system when it doesn’t give you the result you want. I hope all those responsible will publicly apologise for crying wolf.”
This is not the first time that Mayor Lutfur Rahman has been accused and then vindicated of voter fraud. In 2010 his beaten rival Helal Abbas claimed widespread fraud after Mr Rahman’s landslide victory in the selection to be Labour’s Mayoral candidate.
Cllr. Ahmed further added: “It seems that Labour and Tory opposition councillors can’t process the fact that the people of Tower Hamlets have rejected their divisive and self-interested politics. Instead of looking to their own failings they repeatedly try to discredit the system and are repeatedly proven wrong.”
“At a time of huge government cuts, what I’d like to see is how much these frivolous claims have cost the ratepayer – that’s the real crime.”
Notes to Editors:
Full details of the Electoral Commission’s report can be viewed here:
For information about this press release contact Numan Hussain, Political Advisor to the Mayor, on 07508 352 023 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
My hustings speech
Posted on March 30, 2013 by Rachael Saunders
I know a number of local members had hoped to make the hustings but didn’t make it. I thought it might be worth blogging my speech notes from the last hustings session. Do get in touch if there are any questions at all you’d like to ask.
I’m Rachael Saunders
Won a by election in Mile End East in 2008, re elected in 2010.
Been chief whip, led for the Labour Group on health, social care and equalities, in cabinet and in opposition.
So why am I standing for this selection?
I am not standing in opposition to any other candidate, but because I feel so strongly about what we need to do to win the election, run the council, lead the borough, and move Tower Hamlets forward.
We need rebuild trust.
I believe that the way we create the change we need in Tower Hamlets is to start from the bottom up. When we’ve lost elections in Tower Hamlets, it has been because we think that just rolling out the dusty old Labour Party machine is enough to win.
We ran a conventional campaign in the 2012 GLA elections, and although we got a good result locally, turnout was only 34%. We won’t win back the council if we can only inspire 34% of people to come out of their houses to vote.
We have a national disaffection with politics, made worse in Tower Hamlets by the mess we made of tackling the destructive factions within our own ranks.
Last time, in the mayoral election in 2010, people stayed at home, annoyed with a mayoral system they didn’t like and alienated by a party that had turned in on itself.
I’m the candidate that can change that.
I have a clear vision for how we create a shared future for Tower Hamlets.
We will make change in Tower Hamlets if we back the people who know best how to build our communities – the people that live here.
The Tories Big Society is meaningless and empty because they want philanthropy, not a shift in power. They want people to run services, but only because they want to cut budgets.
My politics is different, because it is based on a belief in the value of every individual and the different contributions they can make.
Our strength in Tower Hamlets is the diversity of the skills, knowledge, experiences, ideas that our people bring, through the many different routes that brought us here to the east end.
The greatest human tragedy is when those talents are wasted, through the wreckage of human potential of poverty, ill health, poor education, overcrowding, unemployment.
Our future is built together, and politics is the place where we combine our collective power to advance our shared interests.
For that to work, we have to hold those with money and power to account.
money flows through Tower Hamlets – Crossrail, Canary Wharf, the Olympics on our doorstep – but local people see little benefit.
That must change.
Jobs for local people, the strong public services I’ve fought for in my campaigning on the NHS, creation of social and affordable housing – these are my building blocks of a shared future.
The power of the mayoral model must be shared too.
Opposed mayoral model, want to work with you on a new constitutional settlement, a new way of doing politics. Agree as soon as selected so you can hold me to account once elected.
I would be transparent, open and inclusive in decision making, because it is right, and because the way you do politics determines the nature of the change you are able to make.
I am the Mayor that would bring the borough together, women and men, across ethnic communities, across streets and estates. I know how to bring the public, private and voluntary sector together to get things done.
The people who are backing me know that I am the change we need to win.
Trade unions – not blokes on regional committees, but workers in the town hall who voted to support me because they know I have their interests at heart.
My councillor colleagues, including the deputy leader of the Labour Group. An ice skating baroness! Three people who have led this council who have run this council before, and know I could do it too.
Friends, support me, join with me, to move Tower Hamlets forward.
I’m looking across our councillors blogs and noticed their all restricting any comments on them, so I’ve decided to mirror their latest posts so that you can now comment on them here.
With Tower Hamlets being a smaller area, and also a higher density population than Wesminter, why are they seeking to house their homeless in this borough?
Read the story in Inside Housing Magazine:Westminster’s plan for Poplar
Mayor lutfur rahmans comments on his blog regarding the public outcry and media interest with regards to the ‘Muslim Patrols’, connecting them to islamaphobia beggers belief:
“hysterical over-reaction fuelled by Islamophobia” – http://mayorlutfurrahman.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/new-torygraph-slanders-against-tower-hamlets/
claiming that sort of thing from the man at the top in this borough when people are being assaulted does nothing but spits in the face of the entire population of Tower Hamlets. Now I understand that this is only a quote from the linked article from Islamaphobia Watch but come on, from a man who kept quiet for two weeks on the initial attacks and now this
I have been given a report recently as evidence that supports the allegations that show the corrupt practices of Poplar Harca and its treatment of the Lansbury West TMO. The Lansbury West TMO which ran the management of the Lansbury West Estate in poplar when stock transfer occurred under a controversial ballot, started to suspect for a number of years that they had been underfunded by Harca.
When the TMO initially started the ball rolling, Poplar Harca immediately accused them of mismanaging funds to the tune of £150,000. Arguments ensued and with the agreements of both parties a full independent investigation was agreed and called for. Poplar Harca paid for half the funds for a forensic auditor to be brought in, the other half being paid for by central government, a Mr John McCormack was vetted and accepted by Poplar Harca as the forensic auditor. The report immediately revealed that Poplar Harca had been underfunding the Lansbury West TMO by around 1.4 million pounds. Upon reading the report Poplar Harca immediately withdrew all permission for the report to be published and tried their best to tarnish the report. The TMO went to their local MP at the time Jim Fitzpatrick, and also complained to the Government. Neither the MP or the government responded or even tried to help stating that this was a matter for Poplar Harca. Because Harca effectively held the copyright on the report, they put an immediate ban on any publications from publicising the report, and members of the TMO were threatened with legal action if they mentioned the reports contents publicly.
Poplar Harca did accept that funding had been not appropriate and agreed with the TMO to a portion of the reports stated underfunding back to the TMO, a couple of weeks later it was revealed to the TMO that these repayments in the form of added debt would be added to the the following years rent and service charges on the residents, and not taken from existing rent/service charge collection, thereby putting the debt owed to residents back in the hands of residents. The TMO and residents who by this time had had enough of their landlord Poplar Harca, decided which is their right as a tenant management organistion to advertise for a new landlord. Within days, Poplar Harca illegally closed down the TMO offices and refused entry to all employees. That day the executive officers of the TMO ran to the high court and explained their case to a judge who agreed that Poplar Harca had acted illegally, and ordered them to return control of their offices back to the TMO.
In the days that Harca had control of the offices, they accused the TMO of finding evidence of more mismanagement of funds and all executive officers were threatened with legal action unless their case against Poplar Harca was dropped. Members of the TMO started accusing each other of working for Poplar Harca as some had been revealed to have been accepting funds from the company for side projects. Also some had been offered huge sums of money for positions within Poplar Harca, some accepted, most declined. Under the threat and stress of legal action the board of the TMO agreed to disband the TMO under the promise from Poplar Harca that a ballot of residents a year later would occur, asking if they wanted another TMO.
“A joint statement by the Poplar HARCA and the TMO board in September said “As a resident led organisation, Poplar HARCA has agreed to ballot the residents of the Lansbury West Estate on whether they want another TMO in one year. Poplar HARCA will stand by the results of this ballot and provide assistance and support to residents in setting up a new TMO should
they vote for this option.” - EAST LONDON TMO CLOSES AFTER STORMY RELATIONSHIP WITH RSL – The TMO Magazine October 2005 page 9
To this date a ballot of residents asking whether they wanted another TMO has never occured, and all land and offices of the TMO have either been built on or taken over by other organisations.
Here below is the report that Harca funded and tried to ban..
I’ve just been informed that the ‘Muslim Patrol’s’ are still going on in Whitechapel. A group of friends who two weeks ago were out socialising in the whitechapel area were walking home at the end of the night, when a car pulled up. They were then confronted with a group of men who accosted them for carrying alchohol in a muslim area, they were threatened with violence, and most ran, one man was caught of guard and was hospitalized because of his injuries received in an unprovoked attack by those members of the car who claimed to be members of the ‘Muslim Patrol’.
All of this occurred weeks after at least 5 members of the ‘Muslim Patrol’ were arrested and charged with criminal offences the most serious of which ‘ABH’ or Actual Bodily Harm constitutes a physical attack on a victim that leaves an injury.
Where is our mayor in all of this, it took him over 2 weeks to respond to the last attacks, and this was only published in an obscure online article on the Tower Hamlets Council Website:
Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “I strongly condemn these incidents. I’m proud to stand with the London Muslim Centre, Inter Faith Forum and Rainbow Hamlets against the peddlers of division and intolerance.
“I understand that several people from outside the borough have been arrested and have every confidence that the police will continue to make sure residents and visitors feel safe and welcome in Tower Hamlets.
“I am proud of the community cohesion in our borough and we know that the vast majority of residents believe that people from all backgrounds should be treated with dignity and respect.”
I’m wondering now that physical attacks are being carried out whether warning signs should now be placed across the whitechapel area warning people that the carrying of alcohol or dressing in a certain way could potentially lead to you being hospitalised from being attacked.
Why again have the East London Advertiser refused to report this:
Bangladeshi’s across the borough gathered in support of the War Crimes trial in Bangladesh, which has seen hundreds of thousands protesting on the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. They are calling for the death sentence for those accused and charged in the trial and not life imprisoment for crimes including the following:
1. Pallab Murder
2. Killing pro-liberation poet Meherunnesa, her mother and two brothers
3. Khandoker Abu Taleb Killing
4. Ghatar Char and Bhawal Khan Bari killing
5. Alubdi Mass Killing (344 people)
6. Killing and rape of Hazrat Ali and his family members.
sourced from the verdicts section of wikipedia article: 2013 Shahbag Protest
Nick Cohen in his article for the Observer on Sunday “The agonies of Bangladesh come to London” reports that
“The conflict between the Shahbag and Jamaat has already reached London. On 9 February, local supporters of the uprising demonstrated in Altab Ali Park, a rare patch of green space off the Whitechapel Road in London’s East End. They were met by Jamaatis. “They attacked our men with stones,” one of the protest’s organisers told me. “There were old people and women and children there, but they still attacked us.”"
Here also is a video from the opposing protestors – British Muslim Brothers Protesting at Altab Ali Park
For some background to the protests read the following wikipedia links
Here also is a channel 4 Dispatches investigation into the War Crimes committed in Bangladesh 1971:
Just across the water at Morden Wharf, basically just through the blackwall tunnel, this seal was filmed playing with a dog a couple of days ago.