Tuesday, October 30, 2007

City Academy letter

21.10.07

Dear Editor,

Having just read Cllr Speakman’s letter (Croydon Advertiser, October 19th), I feel compelled to remind your readers of a couple of points regarding the plans to hurry the handover of Coulsdon High to the unaccountable private body: Oasis Trust.
Just this week a report by the House of Commons Public Accounts select committee revealed the majority of City Academies have gone millions of pounds over budget. This automatically raises concerns that the Government will pinch funds from other schools in order to meet shortfalls.
Additionally, the select committee found that a small number of Academies were unbelievably paying their own sponsors to provide key services.

Steve Chalke, the founder of Oasis Trust, may well be an impressive individual who is enthusiastic about his plans for Coulsdon High; but it is important to remember that every business or church that has previously been handed millions of pounds of public money to turn a school in to City Academy also made a great impression on local parents. This includes the City Academies that are now failing, overspending and even paying their sponsors.

The jury is still out on the Oasis Trust. Their first City Academies, Enfield and Immingham (Lincoln) only went live this September. In other words, there is no track record for parents to view in order to make an informed decision. Instead, they appear to be pressured into taking the Oasis Trust option - an option which will allow the Oasis Trust control of all aspects of the Academy including, staff appointments, pupil admissions, curriculum and governance arrangements.

I congratulate the staff, parents and pupils in taking Coulsdon High out of ‘special measures’ status. The council and Government must now match this determination by directly investing in the school and not through an unaccountable private body.

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Greens highlight Croydon's disappearing back gardens



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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Green Party Party 2007



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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Greens slam council investment record

Press Release: Greens slam council investment record

Croydon Green Party member Bernice Golberg has slammed Croydon Council’s pension fund for its investment record.

She called on the fund to adopt ethical guidelines set out by the United Nations.

Mrs. Golberg said: “In most years, Britain ranks second only to the US in arms exports. Given the relative size of our economies, that makes us as a nation singularly dependent on this trade.”

I was shocked to see Croydon Council ranked quite so high in a recent report, including £2.5 million shareholdings in BAE Systems alone.(1)”

”BAE has not lately been a good investment whereas many green and ethical businesses have. Croydon Council’s pension fund holding of shares in BAE Systems brought them a poorer return in 2005 than if the money had been put into ethical investments. Growth in the FTSE 4 Good Global 100 index, a leading tracker of ethical investments, was more than 50 per cent greater in the past 12 months than the rise in BAE shares.”

“People who choose to invest in a principled way have been justly rewarded. If the council insists on investing unethically it should, at the very least, offer employees an ethical alternative, some will surely find BAE unacceptable – as will many voters.”

“The UK has trailed behind other European countries in developing ethically acceptable and environmentally friendly industries, undermined by attitudes such as that of the Croydon Council pension fund. This means that Britain is still lagging behind in obtaining the economic benefits that such industries are now bringing to more forward-looking countries, both in terms of job creation and return on investment.

“For instance, Denmark is home to Vestas Wind Systems, the world's biggest manufacturer of wind turbines. Vestas employs 11,900 people and has seen its share price more than double this year, from 104.5 euros to 229.

The Green Party calls on the council's pension fund to scrap its current immoral investment policy and to adopt the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.

“If Croydon Council's pension fund adopted a more ethical policy, such as the UN guidelines, it could achieve a double benefit. It would improve the fund's investment returns and, if it invested in appropriate UK companies, it could help encourage faster growth in ethical business sectors in this country.”

Notes:

(1) http://www.caat.org.uk/campaigns/clean-investment/2007/la-london.php

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Solar Panel Idea

Letter received from from Bernie Rickman, Secretary of Croydon Retired Peoples Campaign.

Dear Shasha,
Thanks for speaking to us on Monday. I thought it went very well and everyone appreciated your visit. My letter to the Guardian has not appeared, which is slightly disappointing but not unexpected. You have to be Prince Charles to be sure of gaining their attention and I am only a very common commoner! However, if you feel the following has any merit, do please use it as an issue:

"Hilary Benn's point that replacing traditional light bulbs with low energy ones by 2012 will save five million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year underlines the domestic sector's enormous potential for fighting global warming.
One way to realise this could be a wide use of solar panels. I suggest they should become as common on our rooftops as television aerials.
The problem is cost. Panels, plus their fitting, are out of reach for most, even with subsidies included. They might become cheaper in time, but can we afford to wait for prices to come down?
I say not, and I suggest the solution lies with creating not-for-profit co-operatives to fill the gap. They offer real advantages. Lowering prices to the consumer by eliminating profits and based firmly in the local community, they present a popular way forward.
Their start-ups could be financed by central government, but with a bottom line covering running costs they should aim to become self supporting,and with local councils helping by donating empty premises, viability can easily be possible.
The propaganda value in seeing a visible effort being made down every street will create a sense of urgency and change attitudes, propelling everyone, especially government, into ever more positive action.
Global warming is making its presence felt today. We know we most act now."

Hope you see some potential here, Shasha. Anyway, nice to meet you, and very best wishes,
Bernie Rickman.


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Green cycling and recycling coverage in the Croydon Guardian

Link to article

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Letter on recycling sent to the local paper

28.09.07

Dear Sir,

It’s happened again! Hundreds of thousands of council tax payers in Croydon are not getting value for their money. This is because the council is persisting with a policy of expanding kerbside recycling predominately in marginal wards (Kerb your (eco) enthusiasm – Green Guardian). Safe Tory and Labour wards like Croham, Purley, Heathfield, Bensham Manor, Thornton Heath and Selhurst are still waiting for their plastics cardboard and garden waste collections to commence. A full 19 months after marginal wards.
If you live in Waddon, Norbury, South Norwood, Upper Norwood, Addiscombe and Coulsdon East you can count yourself lucky because the Tory council want to impress you with new services in order to clinch crucial votes to secure victory for their councillors. This is not a new phenomenon; Labour played the same game when they were in power.
This Conservative council is continuously bemoaning about a fair deal for Croydon with regard to government money but conveniently chooses to ignore a fair deal for its tax paying residents?

Yours sincerely

Shasha Khan
Croydon Green Party

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FAIR IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR