Thursday, July 30, 2020

Test and Trace (& report) to defeat Covid-19

I have been asked to take another test by this NHS/King's College London self reporting app (despite having no classic symptoms). 

Previous one was sent to my home and was negative. Just booked online at local walk through centre for tomorrow. Only took a couple of minutes to book and a 16 minute cycle ride to get there.

"slow the spread of #COVID19 & identify at risk cases sooner by self-reporting your symptoms daily, even if you feel well. Download the app"

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Newham Pension Committee: We have a 111 year old pensioner! No tobacco pledge (and why parents should join the LGPS - and anyone else lucky enough to be eligible)

This evening I took part in the Newham Council Pension Committee, which runs the staff pension fund (under government regulations and guidance). It was our first "public" committee meeting (via zoom) since lock down. It was broadcast live on Facebook (you can still see it if you are so inclined)

The committee is composed of Newham Councillors, trade union representatives, council officers and professional advisors. The Committee (supported by officers and advisors) manages the £1.5 billion pension fund which is invested in a wide range of different equity, bond, cash, property and "alternative" investments in the UK and across the world.

The most important thing that came out of this evening's meeting is that the fund has survived (so far, touch wood etc etc) pretty well during the financial turmoil and is now nearly back to pre covid fully funded basis. Obviously there are still massive investment risks, especially if there are future covid-19 related lockdowns.

The most interesting thing that I learnt tonight is that the oldest Newham Council pensioner is 111 years of age! So I suspect that they may have received a pension for at least 59 years (if not longer) and only paid in for a possible maximum of 40 years.

The next most important thing I learnt is that the fund has 46 children (under age 20) who are dependents of pension fund members who have died. I am sure that many employees who are eligible to join the pension scheme but don't - do not realise that not only do they get a decent pension but free life assurance and financial support for their kids if they die while they are dependant.

The other important public issue is that Newham is the first Council pension fund in the country to sign up to a call for a tobacco free Portfolio pledge and also congratulations to our Chair, Cllr Nareser Osei shortlisted for the Women in Pensions Awards 2020 in the category of Trustee of the Year.

The Chair is the only shortlisted finalist from the Local Government Pension sector. The awards will take place on 25th November 2020).

There were some other serious issues which were due to confidentiality are exempt and had to be discussed in a private session.

Monday, July 27, 2020


"I am seeking branch nominations to stand in the UNISON General Secretary election.

I have the experience, proven track record and vision to lead UNISON in partnership with you.
As UNISON’s Assistant General Secretary for Bargaining, Negotiations and Equalities, I am one of the most senior women trade union negotiators in the country. I have stood up to Governments and led national disputes to fight for our members’ pay, pensions and conditions.

We need a modern, organising union fit for the future.


-I will take bold decisions to direct resources and funding to branches and regions and put local organisers where they are needed.

-I will ensure no member is left alone. UNISON will be there for you and I will establish a National UNISON College to secure all our members’ futures.

-I will demand a new deal for public sector workers and public services.

-I will lead the call for a National Social Care Service. Organising care workers will be a top priority.

-Together with our self organised groups, we will lead the fight to dismantle the injustice of all racism and discrimination.

-I will use the collective strength of our 1 million women members to be the voice for women’s rights across the country and around the world.

Like you, I have been an activist fighting for workers’ rights all my life. You can trust in my experience and ability, to lead in partnership with you, to deliver for our members and to fight for our future in UNISON.

Yours in solidarity,
Christina McAnea"

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Newham Reflections – Workers United

Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz, me and Newham Council trade union reps reflect on Covid with TUC regional secretary, Sam Gurney.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Chad Green ASB Walkabout

Today I went on my first post lock down "walkabout" around Chad Green in Plaistow North Ward with local ward Councillor Daniel Lee-Phakoe, Council officers, local Police and Deputy Housing Cabinet member, Cllr Shaban Mohammed.

There has been a number of problems in this area including the senseless murder last year of a local teenager.

Due to action by local residents, Police and ward Councillors, crime and disorder is still a top issue but has been reduced but lack of effective CCTV, environmental crime (especially fly tipping) and noise nuisance are still key issues.

A report of agreed actions will be drawn up (and sent to all of us on the walkabout and anyone with an appropriate local interest).

It was good to be "out and about" after so long on lockdown (my colleague Cllr Mohammed has already undertaken 2 other visits).

All Council estates should now be regularly inspected - High rise tower blocks every 3 months and low rise ever 6 months. Local Councillors and residents should also be invited to join these walkabouts.

As a Council we all want to put "people at the heart of everything we do".

Contact your Housing Liaison Officer here if you want to join the next walkabout

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Got abused by an anti-masker

Man drives past cyclist who is wearing a mask & shouts abuse at him.
Cyclist shouts abuse back.
Man gets out of his car.
Watch what happens next....
(watch until end)

Monday, July 20, 2020


I fully support the campaigning Charity Z2K and the launch of #LifeAfterLockdown. In particular their policy demands listed below:-

"In the wake of #Covid19, urgent changes are needed to our social security and private rented housing systems so that everyone has a safe place to live and enough money to live on. #LifeAfterLockdown cannot just be a return to normal.

Combining what the people involved in our #LifeAfterLockdown project have told us with evidence from our casework, these are the key changes that we would like to see made to the #PrivateRentedSector and #UniversalCredit:

✔️Licensing schemes that ensure properties have to be of a certain standard
✔️#HousingBenefit to be increased to cover median rents, and the #BenefitCap removed
✔️The introduction of deposit 'passporting' so people are able to move when they wish
✔️The £20 uplift to #UniversalCredit maintained beyond March 2021 and applied to all benefits
✔️All benefits increased to be in line with the cost of rent and living
✔️The complete removal of benefit sanctions
✔️An end to benefits stigma"

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Essex Way: Fairstead to Cressing circular walk

Another lovely 8 mile walk along the Essex Way (and back). We started today at Fairstead Church and went to Cressing along this national path then self guided back to Fairstead along alternative routes.

Fantastic ancient green lanes and big Essex skies. At end of walk we went into the Church (partly built using bricks from a former Roman Villa) and viewed the medieval wall paintings.

This was a lovely and peaceful walk which is highly recommended. We hardly saw a soul all day. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Support Unison #10billionbailout campaign

From Leader of the LGA Labour Group, Cllr Nick Forbes  - 

"We’d urge all Labour councillors to get behind Unison’s #10billionbailout campaign, which is calling on the government to fix the current funding shortfall, which is estimated to be £10bn. 

Unison have warned that unless the funding shortfall is fixed, there could be tens of thousands of job losses and catastrophic cuts to local services. 

 If cuts were to be applied equally across all services, it would mean £1.9bn slashed from children’s social care spending, £1.1bn from environmental services and £3.5bn from adult social care –an area already in crisis before the coronavirus outbreak. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Vote Early 2021 elections: Sadiq for London

Last night was my first pint in a pub, tonight my first online political campaigning post in quite a while!

"Did you know that the Tories were already winning the general election two weeks before polling day because of Early Votes? Registering for an Early Vote makes it easier for Labour to win future elections. Sign up for an Early Vote today:" London Labour Party