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They have Empty Hearts, Our Kids have Empty Plates – PROTEST

Maggie stole OUR milk, now they want to steal our kids free school dinners. Merry Christmas from The Tory Party! Empty plate protest outside
Maggie stole OUR milk, now they want to steal our kids free school dinners. Merry Christmas from The Tory Party!

If you can attend please do so outside the offices of Chris Green MP (Bolton West) and Mark Logan MP (Bolton North East) at 9:00am Friday 30th October. Their addresses are listed above.

Don’t forget to wear a mask and maintain social distancing.

If you’re unable to attend, please either:

Take a photo of yourself holding a plate with a message about FSM, or, make a video of yourself holding a plate with a message saying why you support our campaign for FSM during the half term and Xmas breaks.

The photos and videos will appear on our website:

Here’s a photo of the empty plate protest outside not so Christian Wakeford MP’s office in Bury

Photo of the empty plate protest outside not so Christian Wakeford MP’s office in Bury.

Struggling with your Energy Bills?

Here’s some advice from WHICH to help you with your energy bills

NOTE: Energy suppliers are prevented from disconnecting your energy during lockdown, regardless of your ability to pay your energy bills.  If you find yourself unable to afford your bills, contact your supplier, rather than just cancelling your direct debit. You should be able to work out a plan that could include your bill payments and/or debt payments being reassessed, reduced or paused, though exact policies vary between suppliers.

To find out more visit: https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/cutting-your-energy-bills/article/how-to-save-on-your-energy-bill/help-if-you-re-struggling-to-pay-your-energy-bill-aXsId8V8dMv4 – Which?

Jobs Support Scheme – Sunak Must Do Better!

Rishi Sunak has released his Job Support Scheme and upon scrutiny he must do Better

What is the Job Support Scheme? 

  • The Job Support Scheme will run for six months from 1 November.
  • It will top up salaries in companies which can’t take employees back full-time.
  • To be eligible, employees must work for at least one-third of their normal contracted hours.
  • For the hours not worked, the government and employer will each pay one-third of the remaining wages. This means the employee would get at least 77% of their pay. 

What other jobs help is on offer?

To minimise unemployment, the UK government will also give firms:

  • £1,000 for every furloughed employee kept on until at least the end of January
  • £1,500 for every out-of-work 16-24 year-old given a ”high quality” six-month work placement
  • £2,000 for every under-25 apprentice taken on until the end of January, or £1,500 for over-25s

But will it incentivise businesses to keep employees in work?

In an example where the employer has 3 staff, the demand has fallen by 2/3 those 3 staff would work 1/3 of their contracted hours but will be paid 55% of their wages by the employer, 22% by the treasury and take a hit for 23% of their wages.  So the employer gets 1 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) work but pays for 1.65 FTE.

If the employer dismissed two of the staff and just had one working full time then they would pay 1 FTE.

So what then will be the considerations for the employer?

It is likely that those highly skilled workers, along with those for whom it would be expensive to dismiss in terms of redundancy pay will be kept on, but low skilled workers will lose their jobs as there is no incentive to the employer for keeping them on. 

Again we see how strongly unionised workplaces will fair better than those non unionised ones 

What alternatives are there?

One simple answer is to scrap the £7.5bn JRB (Job retention bonus) which is paid to employers who retain workers the consideration being that those workers were likely to have been kept on anyway so the £1000 payment was unnecessary and should be used to meet the shortfall in wages for those workers only working 1/3 of the time. This short hours scheme will incentivise employers to keep those staff.

In Germany the Kurzarbeit, effectively a social insurance programme, and an alternative to redundancy. Under Kurzarbeit, employers reduce their employees’ working hours instead of laying them off. But the largest portion of the workers’ lost income is picked up by the state.

Better unemployment benefit in line with the rest of Europe or better still it would seem then that both the government and the employers have accepted the fate of the retail high street to be a bad one but if, as the CEO of next argues, this is so then why are we not embarking on mass training schemes to give people skills for the future whilst these wont necessarily be building solar and wind infrastructure they could well be within the internet based retail economy.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said that his latest measures, which will replace the job retention scheme that paid 80 per cent of furloughed employees’ wages, will not save masses of jobs from being lost.  Dodds said the “million-dollar question” was whether the wage support scheme would fail to incentivise employers to keep workers in their jobs.  She told Radio 4’s Today programme that “unemployment levels are rising very substantially, they’re going back towards 1980s levels.”

The Resolution Foundation think tank also warned that the “winter economic package” would not help turn the tide on unemployment.  Chief executive Torsten Bell said: “Design flaws mean that the new [scheme] will not live up to its promise to significantly reduce the rise in unemployment.”  He added: “Those mistakes could be addressed by scrapping the poorly targeted £7.5 billion job retention bonus, and using those funds to ensure the new support scheme gives firms the right incentives to cut hours rather than jobs.”

Trade Union Congress (TUC) general secretary Frances O’Grady warned there is still “unfinished business.” She said: “Unworked hours under the scheme must not be wasted.  “Ministers must work with business and unions to offer high-quality retraining, so workers are prepared for the future economy.  “The government should target help at industries facing a tough winter, and provide more support for families most at risk of hardship and debt.” 

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka called the measures “akin to using a plaster to cover a gaping wound.”  “Our members in the commercial sector, aviation and culture are already being threatened with hundreds of redundancies, as employers seek to capitalise on the economic fallout from Covid-19,” he said.  “The Tories’ ideological opposition to increased state intervention is hurting the economy and costing people their livelihoods right now.”

Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) director Dr Faiza Shaheen called the announcement “too little to late” for those who have already lost their jobs, and for the sector’s hardest hit.   She said: “What Britain needs is a real budget that sets out how departmental spending would boost a recovery, generate jobs and provide real ‘level-up’ equality. We need more vision and a real industrial strategy.”  Dr Shaheen said the Conservatives’ approach to the economy is “increasingly looking chaotic and reactionary.”

Labour MP Richard Burgon called for a more radical approach, noting that Britain was facing the worst recession in Europe because of “systemic failings.”  He called for “a united programme of demands that we coordinate the whole left around: the left in parliament, the unions, the party membership and social movements,” calling for adoption of a zero-Covid strategy and Labour to campaign for a programme of public works and the Green New Deal to “force the government to change track on health and the economy.”

Author: 

Kevin Allsop, Treasurer, Bolton TUC

Wigan workforce solid in defence of pay & conditions!

Bolton TUC members with UNISON strikers outside The Coops Building in Wigan – Friday 1st October 2020

When Addaction members were transferred from the NHS they were promised that they would retain their rates of pay, but #WeAreWithYou (the new name for Addaction) have gone back on their word. As a result, following the appropriate process in which there was a 100% turnout and unanimous vote in favour of industrial action, the workforce took their first day of strike action on Friday 23rd August 2019. They continue to remain solid having now taken a total of sixteen days of strike action on each occasion receiving the support of the local Trades Council and other local trades unionists.

Members of Unite the Union & RMT also showed their support for Friday’s socially distanced picket line.

What’s at stake?

One member of UNISON said “We will lose an average of £7,870 each during the course of Wigan Council’s contract with We Are With You, with some of us losing out on as much as £10,974.”

“This is simply wrong and across five years, will suck £230,000 out of the local economy whilst We Are With You directs funding towards costly rebrands and its London headquarters.”

“We work hard for We Are With You in Wigan and Leigh to ensure that local people recover from addiction, regaining health, self esteem and becoming fully functioning members of our society.”

“We work in this field because we care and because it’s rewarding to support recovery, but we deserve to make a decent living.”

“Supporting people to overcome drug and alcohol addiction is an incredibly tough job and makes a difference for every single one of us in Wigan.  We deserve a decent wage for doing what is an important job for our communities.”

How can you help?

Sign and share our petition: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/we-are-with-you-don-t-break-your-pay-promises

Post messages of support on social media: please hashtag #KeepYourPayPromise and #WeAreNOTWithYou and tag @WeAreWithYou and @NorthWestUNISON.

Stop the Covid Evictions

Bolton Against COVID Evictions (BACE) was set up specifically to reduce the impact of COVID 19 on the most vulnerable members of our community.

MISSION STATEMENT

No one should lose their home because of COVID 19 arrears yet Bolton faces a bow wave of COVID related evictions. 

We aim to help people stay in their homes through providing advice and support to tenants and by demanding that the Local Authority and Landlords fulfil their obligations and remain within the law.

We seek a permanent solution that will see council houses built and managed by the local authority.

PRESS RELEASE 21-09-2020

Monday the 21st September will see us in Bolton Town centre calling for the government to do more for those who will be threatened with eviction and calling upon Bolton Council to prepare for additional renters seeking emergency housing assistance from them.

In a very short time we have seen our support grow amongst Trade Union, Community and faith groups across Bolton who share our concerns and are proud to work alongside Greater Manchester Law Centre and Greater Manchester Tenants union.

The threat of eviction for those with COVID 19 arrears

Homelessness often has lifelong consequences for people.  The social and financial costs of homelessness and resettlement are huge and will fall to our already over stretched council.

Precarious employment, zero hour contracts, a shrinking jobs market and the worst sick pay in Europe all contribute to the increasing vulnerability of renters with many people struggling with in work poverty and just one pay packet away from destitution.  Giving people longer to pay only delays the inevitable, you cant pay 24 months rent with only 22 months pay

Israel has gone into the 2nd lockdown and we in Bolton are worried about the lack of testing and how that may allow a second wave to develop under our noses making many of our community even more vulnerable.

Families who are evicted often have their work, school and access to medical care disrupted too.

In her review of the ONS analysis by local area and socio-economic deprivation Bolton Councils Consultant in Public Health Lynn Donkin concluded that “Therefore we might expect to see disproportionate impact of COVID 19″

Government approach 

In March Robert Jenrick said that “no renter who has lost income due to coronavirus will be forced out of their home”. But the government have done little more that to kick the can down the road which gives renters little comfort and we need to see a long term solution to the housing crisis.  Firstly by the halting evictions until the end of august then giving a 11th hour reprieve pushing that date back to 21st September and more recently banning evictions for six months the government have shown a lack of understanding and an unwillingness to come to the aid of renters as they did their friends in business.

The financial cost of evictions will fall upon the public purse and we demand an fully resourced intervention.

Bolton Council 

Have not assessed the potential number of evictions

Is unprepared for the additional evictions

Will end up overstretched unless they prepare

Will foot the bill for emergency accommodation

In a response to a member of our group the lead member for the council replied that 

We don’t know about possession orders because we don’t have a Mag’s court.

This is something that GM are looking at

1. We don’t know about possession orders because we don’t have a Mag’s court.

Possession orders are heard in County Court, not the Magistrates, Bolton has one within the combined courts.

The authorities duties under HRA extends the period an applicant is “threatened with homelessness” from 28 to 56 days, and in addition ensures that anyone that has been served with a valid section 21of the Housing Act 1988eviction notice that expires in 56 days or less is classed as “threatened with homelessness”

Prevention is the key here and hence our question about assessment of the problem and allocation of resources 

It is possible that a tenant does who does not have the correct advice who leaves when a landlord serves a notice could be deemed intentionally homeless and the council would claim that they therefore have not got a duty towards them

The advise is always stay put (unless a risk of harm)

2. This is something that GM are looking at

The duty falls to the council, and whilst there may be collaboration, you’d hope that there was, the duty remains with BMBC for its residents.

On its own website BMBC says

Preventing homelessness

There may be ways in which we can help to prevent you from being homeless.

If you’re having problems with any of the following, please get in touch with us:

Your landlord has asked you to leave……..

We can help you stay in your accommodation by offering:

A mediation service

Help with your money

Talking to your landlord on your behalf

Advising you of your rights and responsibilities

Support with your tenancy

Find alternative accommodation

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (HRA) will be enacted from April 2018. … The Act places a number of new or strengthened duties on local authorities that are designed to ensure all households at risk of homelessness receive earlier and more effective interventions

The part of the HRA that we are most concerned with at this point is outlined in Policy Fact Sheet: Threatened with Homelessness clause 1, which we are most focused on extends the period an applicant is “threatened with homelessness” from 28 to 56 days, and in addition ensures that anyone that has been served with a valid section 21of the Housing Act 1988eviction notice that expires in 56 days or less is classed as “threatened with homelessness”

Landlords

We are calling upon Greater Manchester social housing landlords to pledge never to seek possession for rent arrears on “mandatory” grounds and hence reduce the risk of unjust evictions resulting from CV19 by making one significant commitment – 

A pledge not to issue rent arrears possession proceedings on mandatory grounds.

Author:

Kevin Allsop, Treasurer, Bolton TUC

Photos and videos from the Bolton Against Covid Evictions event in Victoria Square, Monday 21st September 2020.

Unite Scientists remain resolute after support from their General Secretary

Today (28th Sept) Kev Allsop, Secretary of Bolton Trades Council, took a message of support to the striking UNITE members who are entering their 17th week of industrial action.

Dispute

21 Unite members working at the E Lancs NHS trust are still owed back pay after the trust management failed to fully honour made in 2019 to move workers from pay band 5 to band 6. The uplift was agreed but the members agreed that it could be put on hold whilst they focused their attention on the Pandemic and the workforce believe that the employers failure to act is an example of Bad Faith and they must therefore continue with Industrial Action.

General Secretary Visit

The Picket line was today visited by the UNITE General Secretary, Sharon Graham who promised continued support from the union.

Show your support

After 17 weeks of strike pay and winter fast approaching we ask that Trade Union branches, CLP’s and concerned individuals send any and all support possible to the strikers.

@FairPayForScientists

@FairPay4BioSc

UC Claimants, work 2 more hours per week

In her own version of the appalling call of Tebbit in 1981 to get on your bike to look for work, Thérèse Coffey has claimed that the six million Universal Credit claimants set for a £1,000 annual income loss from this October merely need to work two more hours.

You would be forgiven for believing that Thérèse Coffey just hasn’t grasped the basics of Universal Credit (UC) when she claimed that UC claimants would only have to work 2 hours a week to make up the £20 cut, but not for long, as there is evidence to the contrary and a quick internet search reveal that she is in fact a Phd graduate.  Further still many would find it difficult to believe that she was unaware of the UC taper given the number of civil servants and advisers she has to hand.

The resolution foundation however are very clear

“The Foundation notes that a UC claimant earning the National Living Wage (NLW) – currently £8.91 an hour – and with an income of at least £6,100 a year, would not take home an extra £20 a week for two hours work, as Ministers have implied.

In fact, they would take home just £6.60, falling to £4.48 if they pay tax and NI. Take home pay would be even lower than £2.24 an hour once any pension contributions or additional childcare or travel costs are taken into account.

A Universal Credit claimant on the NLW would need to work an extra six hours a week to make up the £20 cut in support, rising to nine hours if they pay tax and NI.”

The other group of UC recipients are those that have been assessed unable to work, what chance do they have to work 2 more hours, or 6 as the Resolution Foundation calculate it?

The two hour claim is a deliberate attempt to minimise the impact of the cut and in doing so give ammunition for those seeking to vilify UC claimants.

It is a crying shame that the only hope left is to rely on the architect of UC, Iian Duncan Smith and a group of backbenchers who are demanding a U-Turn

£37Bn for Serco or £6nb for families?

£37 bi££ion to Serco means that shareholders get greater dividends, they invest that dividend and demand growth.  That growth can really only be achieved by more exploitation of the environment and the workforce.

£20 UC to the 34,000 families of Bolton means that there will be less likelihood of those families being driven into poverty and dependency on charity. They will spend that money in the local community creating employment which in turn generates more spending.

If we apply the principle of local multiplier then for every £1 introduced into the local economy a re-spend of between £1.80 and £2.20 is generated, and hence if we remove £1 of income then the effect is to shrink the economy by between £1.80 and £2.20.

If 34,000 Bolton families have their income reduced by £20 per week that equates to £680,000 each and every week or a staggering £35,360,000 each and every year henceforth.

If we then apply the Local Multiplier principle that the £35m would be expected to generate between £63m and £77m the consequences are staggering for our local economy

There is also the double impact for Bolton generated by the £35m of council cuts.

The plight of those Bolton families in receipt of £20 pw uplift.

For those unable to work

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 3.2% in the 12 months to August 2021, up from 2.0% in July: the increase of 1.2 percentage points is the largest ever recorded increase in the CPI National Statistic 12-month inflation rate series, which began in January 1997

Gas prices set to raise consumer costs up by over £100 a year

For those in work (in addition to the above)

An increase of NI from 12% to 13.25%

An end to furlough is likely to increase unemployment.

Universal Discredit Cut the Cut

Write to your MP Today

Bolton TUC, the trade union body that represent the whole of the Bolton workforce, are calling upon the 2 Bolton Conservative MPs, Christopher Green and Mark Logan to join almost 60 other Conservative MPs and vote against the removal of the £20 uplift to Universal Credit.

With nearly 60 Conservative MPs now opposing the planned cut to universal credit (UC), and Boris Johnson facing a considerable revolt for pursuing policies in direct contradiction to his flagship “levelling up” agenda MPs of all parties must oppose this cut.

The consequences of removing the uplift will not only impact upon the families of 21,000 disabled people and those 13,000 on the lowest wages immediately but will also have dire consequences for the town as a whole as the economy will shrink by £680,000 each week which is a staggering £35 million each and every year which when combined with the council cuts of over £30 million will decimate our local economy.

With Consumer Price Inflation at 2.1% the purchasing power of Universal Credit will fall behind as prices rise without the reduction of £20 and if this was not enough the end of the Job retention (Furlough) scheme may well force more people onto Universal Credit and into unemployment as many forecasters, including those at the Bank of England and the government’s spending watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility, are expecting a rise in unemployment after furlough ends.

From October this situation will be further exacerbated for energy customers on default tariffs paying by direct debit who will see an increase of £139 from £1,138 to £1,277 per annum. With Pre-payment customers seeing costs rise by £153, from £1,156 to £,1309 per annum.

Further still to impact upon families is the announcement of National Insurance increases

The picture in Bolton is set to look a lot bleaker as over 34,000 families have their benefit cut by £20 per week

                                  UC Claimants           Workers on UC               % in work

Bolton NE                  12,400                        4,183                                      33.7%

Bolton SE                  14,077                        4,934                                      35.1%

Bolton W                    8,105                          3,119                                      38.5%

But this is not just an impact that will be felt by those 13,000 families with the total loss to the borough of Bolton of over £13 million per year which in itself will cause the local economy to shrink and create further job losses but the loss to those 21,000 sick and disabled as well

We have already been assured by Yasmin Qureshi MP that she will oppose the cuts and now call upon the MP’s for Bolton NE and Bolton W to do the same and  abandon this reckless cut that will hit the poorest and consign many of our neighbours to the poverty trap If the Conservative government is serious about levelling then we must have investment that offers skills and training that will equip the people of Bolton to face the challenges of climate change in a post Brexit economy.

Find my MP

Broken, 2 Johnson manifesto promises to pay less tax

Boris Johnson and his clown car government have let slip any suggestion that they are the party of working people as he prepares to announce an increase in national insurance contributions to fund health and social care, and, rip up the triple lock, thereby break 2 manifesto promises

Today 07/09/2021, Johnson will reveal plans to break two manifesto commitments increasing national insurance by 1.25% and to breaking the pensions triple-lock, possibly the single decent thing that they have ever done, a pledge to increase the state pension each year in line with the rising cost of living, increasing average wages, or 2.5%, whichever is greatest.

The increase in NI will costs the lowest paid £255 per year on top of the removal of £20pw Universal Credit and further shrink local economies and generate unemployment.

If Johnson is serious about levelling up then there is a simple equitable answer open to him.

During 2020 the combined wealth of UK billionaires increased by 21.7% (£106.582 bn) and policy makers are talking about increasing National Insurance to pay for social care rather than a wealth tax is testament to the ability of the rich to convert £s into political power.

The burden of tax should fall on the shoulders of those more able to stand the loss so the £106.582bn should be used to pay for Social Care and to retain the triple lock along with a progressive taxation regime that will see those who wouldn’t notice the loss paying more

COP 26, Last roll of the dice?

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COP26 is the 2021 United Nations climate change conference.

In November, the UK, together with our partners Italy, will host an event many believe to be the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control

For nearly three decades the UN has been bringing together almost every country on earth for global climate summits, known as COPs or Conference of the Parties. In that time climate change has gone from being a fringe issue to a global priority.

This year will be the 26th annual summit – giving it the name COP26. With the UK as President, COP26 takes place in Glasgow.

In the run up to COP26 the UK claims to be working with every nation to reach agreement on how to tackle climate change.

Most experts believe COP26 has a unique urgency.  The last real chance to make the necessary changes

I thought it would be useful to look at the 4 stated objectives of the United Nations climate change conference and compare and contrast them with the actions of the UK government and offer a view of an environmentalist and trade unionist who has been calling for action since before the COP began 26 years ago

Objective One

Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century.

To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to:

1. Accelerate the phase-out of coal

2. Curtail deforestation

3. Speed up the switch to electric vehicles

4. Encourage investment in renewables.

Right from the off we find ourselves at odds with the objective.  The fundamental flaw seems to be that the participants seem to want to continue with current activity of use and consumption and expect science to come up with answers to enable this and industry to voluntarily risk their high profit margins.

As trade unionists we should argue for zero carbon, not net zero. The difference being net zero aims to recover the environmental degradation done by business as usual, whereas zero carbon reduces the environmental degradation to zero.  Recovering the environmental degradation will demand the use of scant resources and risks passing the tipping point.  As one activist put it, net zero is to carry on smoking and rely on science or a lung donor, whereas, zero carbon would achieve smoking cessation.

Accelerate the phase-out of coal

Whilst we agree that the phasing out of coal is a good thing, we do have to wonder if Boris Johnson would feel the same level of embarrassment and hint at calling for a public enquiry into the Cumbria coal mine if he was not to be the host of COP26

Curtail deforestation

This is an admirable step but must go further to allow the worlds forests to recover back to their diverse state by removing the intense monoculture plantations of grain for beef.  It is not enough to create swaths of pine trees.

Speed up the switch to electric vehicles

Assumes that we will carry on as usual making the same trips when the real answer is mass transport and a coordinated system for moving people and goods across the nation and world.  The technology to operate from our own homes has been around since the internet yet it took a pandemic to give up business lunches and use it.  It also comes up against those in the fuel industry that seek to confuse the issue by calling for the roll out of hydrogen and thereby delaying the decline of demand for oil.  We know from the behaviour of the big tech companies that they will not introduce version 2 until they have distracted all possible profit from version 1

There is also an unanswered question of battery reuse or disposal as unlike the well recognised domestic batteries that now have rechargeable options there is not yet a standard for car batteries that would govern reuse and disposal.

Encourage investment in renewables

The government and many financial institutions hide behind a claim that they engage, or encourage investment in renewables from polluters to get them to change their ways, this is nothing more than a distraction as only this month –

A candidate for the position of Unite secretary said recently “Britain is surrounded by off shore wind generation yet none of it is built or installed by British workers”

And a FOI revealed that Taylor Wimpey, one of the UK’s biggest house builders, opposed government plans to slash carbon dioxide emissions from new homes by at least three-quarters and argued against heat pumps, which are proposed as a replacement for gas boilers, one of the UK’s biggest causes of greenhouse gases. 

Acknowledging how far the UK is behind the rest of the developed world we are only just addressing the issue of Built in obsolescence where manufacturers refuse to allow parts to be made available to the general public thus creating a market for new products instead of repairing the existing.  This don’t repair but replace approach means we throw away machines and devices damned as out of date, the result is a growing mountain of e-waste. Last year alone, it was reckoned that more than 50m tonnes of it were generated globally, with only around 20% of it officially recycled. Half of the 50m tonnes represented large household appliances, and heating and cooling equipment. The remainder was TVs, computers, smart phones and tablets.

The UK must legislate to achieve zero carbon and as trade unionists we must demand that this new industry must have safe, secure well paid employment at its core as well paid employment drives the local economy as workers with expendable incomes create demand and hence further employment, reduce the burden upon the benefit system and increase tax revenues.

Objective 2

Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

At COP26 we need to work together to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to:

1. Protect and restore ecosystems

2. Build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and even lives.

An admirable objective which we would all support but when will it start?  We had global coverage of a reservoir bursting its banks and the armed forces holding back the water yet no mention of the cause of the swelling reservoir nor lack of investment and foresight to protect the Victorian damn.

These works can only be achieved by a state controlled response, not a state tendering exercise.  We have the workforce, skills and ability to achieve these objectives yet monetisation will get in the way as creating profit for the city, or even my local pub landlord, will come first. 

We are willing to deploy the armed forces to stack shelves and transport food, then why not to protect and restore eco systems and build flood and erosion defences.

So again global governments will fail to act in a timely manner, waiting for the lung donation instead of stopping smoking……

Objective 3. Mobilise finance

To deliver on our first two goals, developed countries must make good on their promise to mobilise at least $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020. 

International financial institutions must play their part and we need to work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

Unfortunately, a lot of states around the world have invested their funds into National Oil Companies (NOC), and are continuing to do so, even though the oil majors are lowering their price estimates. With the energy transition speeding up, these state oil firms risk losing 400 billion dollars that could have been spent on healthcare, education or other things that enrich the lives of their citizens.

Rather than transitioning away from deadly fossil fuels, we’re seeing a renewed push for dangerous false solutions. The latest nonsense is from the Swedish State-owned Space Company that is involved in the development of solar geoengineering technology that would reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the earth. Our governments would rather fight the sun rather than change our economic system!

Another idea doomed to fail is the use of Carbon Markets

Carbon markets are being pushed by big corporations at the UN climate talks, but decades of experience tells us they won’t cut emissions.

Carbon markets are, as the name suggests, market-based mechanisms for reducing climate change emissions. They allow polluters to continue emitting greenhouse gases, for a price. There are two main kinds: cap and trade, and offsetting.

Cap and trade is where a limit is set at the country, state or regional level on how much pollution can be emitted, within a certain timeframe. If a party (e.g. a polluting company) emits less than their limit, they can sell what’s left of their quota to another party who doesn’t want to reduce their emissions. 

Offsetting is where a country, state or region pays another to make carbon savings, theoretically beyond what they otherwise would have done, so as to avoid making emissions reductions themselves.

The most obvious problem for carbon markets under the Paris Agreement is that theoretically, even if we were in a perfect world, with perfect rules which everybody abided by, we have simply run out of time to play around with trading and offsetting. 

What’s more, carbon offsetting projects have a track record of serious human rights abuses, particularly to Indigenous Peoples. One of the most infamous offsetting schemes known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) – in addition to failing to do what it is supposed to do and reduce emissions – has seen violent evictions of Indigenous people and small holder farmers in the name of conservation projects, land-grabbing that sees forests destroyed to make way for monoculture plantations, and even ‘carbon slavery’ where families are tied into decades long contracts to tend forests for next to no pay.

Geo engineering includes a range of technologies from the dangerously distracting Carbon Capture and Storage, which the Scottish Government and the UK oil and gas industry are keenly pursuing, to the terrifyingly uncontrollable: ‘fertilisation’ of oceans with iron to cool them down, and solar radiation ‘management’ in which aerosols are sprayed into the stratosphere to block sunlight. The fundamental problem with all of these technologies is that they are impossible to test without actually putting into practice at a large scale. By the time we learned whether they worked or what their knock on adverse impacts were, it would simply be too late. 

Ultimately, carbon markets are a dangerous distraction from the just and people-centred solutions to the climate crisis that we know will cut emissions. Like putting a date on the end of oil, gas and coal extraction –  in Scotland and in all fossil fuel producing nations around the world – and planning for a rapid phase out of fossil fuels alongside a just transition for the workforce and wider communities. Like transforming the way we travel and how we produce and consume food, relying on public transport and agro ecology instead of private cars and industrial farming.

It’s not surprising that fossil fuel companies, including Shell and BP, are amongst the most ardent advocates of carbon markets. These companies have free reign to lobby openly and behind closed doors in the side events and corridors of the annual UN talks on climate change. In fact Shell boasts that it wrote the Paris Agreement. The same Shell that is paying the Scottish Government £5 million towards existing tree planting and calling it carbon offsetting.

That’s why we need to kick polluters out of the UN climate talks, like the World Health Organisation eventually kicked Big Tobacco out of its processes.

Objective 4. Work together to deliver

We can only rise to the challenges of the climate crisis by working together.

At COP26 we must:

Finalise the Paris Rulebook (the detailed rules that make the Paris Agreement operational) and, accelerate action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.

We must finalise the Paris rulebook and the clock is ticking.  Working together means different things to different people.  It is the authors view that the world states must be driven by science not markets.  As trade unionists we have argued for decades that outsourcing does nothing more than privatise profit and nationalise risk.  If there are skills that only exist in the private sector then those skills should be brought in to the public sector.  An international threat requires an international response

Smoke and mirrors

We have a government who make bold claims, indeed Britain claims it is at the very fore of tackling climate change with targets to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035, however, actions speak louder than words

Prospective oil projects in the North Sea with the capacity to produce more than a billion barrels will avoid a new test designed to assess their impact on the climate crisis.

It has emerged that proposed new developments representing some 1.7bn barrels of oil will not have to undergo the forthcoming “climate compatibility checkpoint”, designed to determine whether they are consistent with the government’s climate commitments.

The test will be applied before projects are given an initial licence. But the government has confirmed that previously licensed projects will not have to meet it.

It comes as ministers face mounting pressure over the Cambo heavy crude field off the coast of the Shetland, which could be given approval before Cop26 begins. The oilfield is expected to operate until 2050. Campaigners say the project contradicts recommendations made by the International Energy Agency, which has called for “no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects”.

This is further compounded by the proposed Cumbria coal mine the ultimate approval for which lies with Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick.  Under planning law he’s supposed to make that decision without referring to his colleagues.

But it’s barely conceivable that Boris Johnson, with his reputation on the line, won’t find a way of pointing him in the right direction – whichever way he thinks that is, but probably after COP26……..