• Save the British Council
    Since its foundation in 1934, the British Council has worked effectively to develop cultural relations with other countries and to support international mobility. The British Council now works with more than 100 countries worldwide, creating benefits that have fundamentally changed the lives of millions of people. This work is of enormous significance in the way we are able to understand and appreciate other cultures in often turbulent times and of course, in the ways that we are able to promote understanding of our own. The British Council has been a major disseminator of knowledge about the United Kingdom and the English language through its work in Education, Society, Arts and development projects, which benefit the partner countries and the UK. Although it is a public body under the auspices of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the government response to the British Council’s financial situation has been slow, and the British Council’s future is now significantly under threat. Unlike most public bodies, the majority of the British Council’s income, 85% of it, comes from commercial activity in teaching English and delivering UK examinations abroad, along with other projects. There are over 11,000 British Council employees worldwide who promote a wider knowledge of the United Kingdom and the English language; encouraging cultural, scientific, technological and educational co-operation with the United Kingdom. Approximately 203 of 221 British Council teaching centres and schools abroad were closed and 26 out of 41 test centres were also closed due to Coronavirus pandemic measures. This cut off the major source of income. Some teaching and exams services have moved online, where possible, and there is limited activity in some countries where the pandemic restrictions are easing. However, this is not enough to generate the income required. These closures are having a devastating impact on the cash flow and financial reserves of the organisation with money likely to run out in the coming weeks unless vital and urgent additional government funds are secured So far, there has been a small amount of additional money allocated to the British Council. The FCO are reviewing the operations of the British Council, and if emergency funding is offered it is likely to come with conditions which could be detrimental to the future of the organisation. British Council employees could face wage reductions and redundancies. The organisation could be cut back or brought back under a tighter control by government ministers, losing its arm’s length and independent status which is an important factor in its global success. Any government review of this valuable national asset should not be behind closed doors, any recommendations should be public and open to scrutiny. We need to act now, to ensure the UK government provides the financial support to save and preserve the British Council, before it is too late.
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    Created by Helen Flanagan
  • Bring Superfast Broadband to ALL communities in Lancashire
    Do you live in a community in Lancashire that does not have Fibre (FTTC, or FTTP) Broadband services? Did you know some communities in Lancashire currently with Superfast Broadband are being offered upgrades to Ultrafast while other communities are still only on guaranteed speeds of 1-3mpbs? Sign this petition to lobby Lancashire County Council (and their delivery partners) to STOP upgrading residents on FTTC, and prioritize areas currently on broadband speeds of <10mpbs. Background Lancashire Country Council had £40m to bring Superfast Broadband to residents across Lancashire. In 2015 the following was stated during a Internal Scrutiny Committee at Lancashire County Council. "Superfast Broadband was deemed to be download speeds above 24 megabits per second (mbps). Members noted that it was planned that 97% of Lancashire's homes and businesses would have access to broadband speeds above 24mbps by March 2016, which would conclude "Phase One". Regarding "Phase Two", it was planned that 99%* of Lancashire homes and businesses would have access to broadband speeds above 24mbps by the end of 2017." Ref.1 It is 2020 and some communities in Lancashire are still on outdated copper services that only guarantee speeds of 1-3mpbs while communities who initially received FTTC are now being upgraded again to Ultrafast FTTP to increase speeds exceeding 24mbps.* While some communities have seen heavy investment in broadband infrastructure, others have been left behind and failed by Lancashire County Council, British Telecom (BT), Broadband Delivery United Kingdom (BDUK), Blackpool Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council. From the information below it is fair to assume profit has been prioritized ahead of people. "The methods of installation of Superfast Broadband were communicated to the Committee. It was explained that premises would receive services via Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) which was the cheapest method of mass delivery, and when this wasn't possible, via Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). With regard to FTTC, it was explained that issues with broadband speeds could arise when a premises was over 1.2km from the cabinet, and in these instances, often FTTP, although expensive, was the best solution to resolve such issues. Regarding "Phase Two", it was conveyed that other methods of providing Superfast Broadband would also be utilised and that more information would be disseminated to the Committee at a future meeting." Ref. 1 *For information on which areas this impacts please see the Ofcom Broadband Checker Map - https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/broadband-coverage Ref 1 - http://council.lancashire.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?Id=15207
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    Created by Rebecca Brocken
  • New plaque for the removal of Edward Colston's statue
    This historic moment must be remembered as a part of the Black Lives Matter campaign. It wasn't a violent act of vandalism, or a removal of history, but a peaceful protest against a racist icon. Colston's plaque previously read "one of the most virtuous MPs to have ever lived". This statement is an affront to history. The purpose of a plaque at the spot where Colston was thrown into the water would be to remember Bristol's history of slavery and those responsible for it, as well as the historic moment that the people of Bristol rejected this racist icon
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    Created by Rory Cockburn Picture
  • Remove slave trader Robert Milligan’s statue from West India Quay, Tower Hamlets
    Robert Milligan (1746-1809) was a leading figure in building the east London docks, in part, to trade in slave-harvested goods from the Caribbean. Milligan owned 526 slaves who worked at his sugar plantation and much of his wealth was acquired through the trade and exploitation of slaves. While we as East Enders and Londoners express our solidarity chanting Black Lives Matter, it is painful to walk past a proud statue of Robert Milligan which was erected to commemorate and celebrate his life. Milligan has no place in London, and he does not deserve the honour of a statue. This should be reserved for those who have fought for equality and social justice this world is desperately crying for. Following the events in Bristol and to express our solidarity to our black brothers and sisters throughout the world it is only right that we remove the proud statue of Robert Milligan from West India Quay in Canary Wharf, Tower Hamlets. As much as we appreciate the value of history, we should not glorify the enslavement of individuals by displaying a statue of a slave trader. The East End has a proud history of fighting against injustice and inequality. Today it is our duty to remove this symbol which only resonates pain, suffering and inhuman treatments of fellow human beings for profit. https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/public38/images/councillor.gif
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    Created by Cllr Ehtasham Haque Picture
  • Change Slavers Street names in Scotland starting with Dundas Street.
    Some street names glorify the people who profited from slavery. These same people were paid to give up their slaves and made a vast profit from this vile industry. Henry Dundas who was a powerful politician in the 1790s who delayed the abolition of the slave trade by fifteen years. His family were slave owners. In the fifteen year delay, some 63000 slaves were not given their freedom. Also, there should be a review of all streets in Scotland bearing the names of known slavers. Change the name so that we do not to glorify the name of any known slaver. Any statue plaques should have a modern interpretation and a full history detailed to educate the public.
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    Created by graham clark
  • Change the name of 'Colston Hall' to 'Big Jeff Hall'
    Edward Colston does not deserve to be associated with Bristols Music and Arts scene. Thankfully the venue acknowledges that and has decided to change the name. "We want to look to the future and ensure the whole city is proud of its transformed Hall. The name Colston, and its associations with the slave trade, does not reflect our values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation. We want everyone to feel like they can come to the Hall and enjoy amazing music.” I believe we should honour local legend 'Big Jeff' and name the venue after him, he's the heart of the local music scene and a true Bristol icon.
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  • Stop the closure of our Zoos
    The Government wants all our zoos to close down indefinitely. Zoos in this country provide great care and protection to animals in their care, many of them at the brink of extinction. Alton Towers is allowed to open on the 4th of July. Most public parks and beaches are open, with many of them getting packed on warm days. Yet, our zoos which are generally vast outdoor areas, have been told to close down indefinitely. Zoos like Chester Zoo are doing hugely important conservation work, and are a major tourist attraction. Our children learn about wildlife animals by visiting zoos. Following 10 years of austerity with most children centres closed down, hundreds of children's services reduced or disappeared altogether, and now our children locked down and most of them out of school for more than 5 months in order to protect their grandparents, the closure of the zoos is a shockingly ill-informed decision that will further undermine the quality of life of our children and communities. Please help save our zoos by petitioning the government.
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    Created by Irina Hauler
  • Create more all weather paths in Elmfield Park
    This is important to encourage cycling and walking in our local area, particularly as the park is used a lot for travel to and from local schools. In the winter, the park gets very muddy. If there was a path all the way around, this could also make the park more accessible for wheelchairs, mobility scooters and pushchairs.
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    Created by Alison Samways
  • Disband all Mounted Units from Police Scotland
    Horses are strong and powerful animals that take years of training or “breaking in” to tame. Like any animal they are never 100% under control and nor should they be. The use of horses within the police force as a means of “crowd control” has and never will be acceptable. The unpredictability of an animal so large amidst crowds is reckless at best. For the safety of the animal and the general public we advocate for the liberation of all animals from public service and demand the Scottish Government start by reviewing the use of horses within the police force.
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  • Stop the Coal Mine in Cumbria
    Cumbria County Council had unanimously granted planning permission to West Cumbria Mining for exploitation of the reserves of "premium" coking coal up to 550 metres under the Irish Sea bed. But the developers, West Cumbria Mining, have now submitted an amended plan . In this new plan lower quality middlings coal would not now be a "by-product" but would be 'processed' on site into coking coal. Nowhere in the UK has there been deep mining in over 30 years. The good news is that there is now a renewed opportunity for the County Council to overturn their previous terrible decision. Granting permission for a new coking coal mine under the Irish Sea would fly in the face of the Council's own climate, environment and health commitments. What are people saying? Wainwright's Coast to Coast Walk This coal mine would be situated at the beginning of the world famous Coast to Coast walk at St Bees Head "I have the pleasure of enjoying the first small section of Wainwright’s coast to coast on my doorstep. A tourist asset that you should protect. I am appalled that Cumbria County Council (CCC) has allowed this green space in Pow Beck to come under threat with a large coal yard." Martin Kendall- Local Resident High Costs of Production "I was astonished to see a proposal to open a deep coal mine in a coalfield which had high costs of production and at a time when the climate emergency demands the phasing out of coal". Robert Wharton. Operational Research Scientist with National Coal Board 1967 to 73. Former consultant with KPMG often advising clients on the viability of investment projects. Sellafield is just 5 miles away. "Jem Bendell, the author of the widely read paper Deep Adaptation points to the very real danger of human extinction from nuclear catastrophes, due to societal collapse as a result of climate chaos. However, to date, nuclear catastrophes have all taken place in highly organised societies which have made bad decisions. This proposed new coal mine so near Sellafield must rate as the worst decision yet". Marianne Birkby - Radiation Free Lakeland Impacts of Climate Change "Extinction Rebellion West Cumbria is appalled at the recent decision by Cumbria County Council to ratify their decision to open a new deep coal mine. The impacts of climate change are being felt by communities across the planet. Decisions such as this can no longer be seen in isolation and must be challenged." XR West Cumbria Ecological and Economic Damage, Human Suffering and Loss of Life “If it proceeds, the mine is likely to result over its lifetime in greenhouse gas emissions amounting to something of the order of one year of UK national emissions. The impacts of these emissions could include considerable ecological and economic damage, as well as human suffering and loss of life.” Laurence Michaelis Expert Reviewer for the IPCC Adverse Effect on Nesting Seabirds "Disturbance of nesting seabirds during construction and operation... The development has the potential to have an adverse effect upon the St Bees Head SSSI through disturbance to both breeding and wintering birds during construction and operation." RSPB “Offshore Subsidence – resuspension and dispersal of radioactive contaminants. The documentation has confirmed to NWIFCA that a risk of subsidence exists and therefore there remains an overwhelming concern over the potential for disturbance and resuspension of radioactive contaminants and sediments.” North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority
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    Created by Marianne Birkby Picture
  • Online redemption of Free school meals vouchers
    As an older single dad (59) I am at significant risk if I contract Covid 19. I am my son's only living relative and as such if I contract the virus and either become very ill due to my age or even worse die, my son will be placed into care. I currently have 10 weeks worth of FSM vouchers I have been unable to redeem as the only way to do so is to visit the store, risking contamination and the threat of my son being placed in care as a consequence. I have a really low income and I feel it is grossly unfair that my son should go without the £15 p/w towards buying food because Morrison's won't offer this service online.
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    Created by david Hall
  • Homes fit for Heroes - And for everyone else too!
    Every Thursday, people have been clapping for our keyworkers, whilst many of those very keyworkers (and so many others) are living in insecure, expensive, overcrowded accommodation and/or commuting unreasonable distances. We don't need any more luxury apartments, over-priced rabbit hutches or safety deposit boxes suitable only for rich investors; many existing properties remain empty and unused. We need homes fit for the community. Homes that are not out of reach to those who need them. Our creaking infrastructure is falling behind; even basic utilities like water and sewage services are already struggling to cope as it is. Barnet needs developments that put the environment and the supporting infrastructure at the heart of planning. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Going forwards, we need these developments to be: • Built in a manner that is worthy of those who need them, worthy of our community and befitting of the collective knowledge that we have in this day and age • Modern, sustainable and environmentally-sound safe, warm, insulated homes • Eco-villages with sufficient outside space. • Accompanied by supporting infrastructure (roads, schools, nurseries, healthcare, sewage etc) • Desirable for downsizers • Accessible for disabled and mobility impaired • Affordable. Really, truly affordable, so that our friends, families, neighbours & keyworkers are no longer displaced to towns along the A1 and beyond, or forced into overcrowded or or temporary accommodation • Communities we want to live in. Our community! The solution to the housing crisis is not to just build more and more “units”, no matter how many times developers & politicians tell us that is the case. We want to see developments which solve problems, not create them. Our local community seem to be constantly firefighting against ill thought out, profit motivated developments. These developments will scar or enhance the community for many, many years going forward. We want to make the right choices. However, the choices we would make as a community are blocked by existing legislation and housing targets; major reform is required. Politicians & developers may say it's impossible or 'unviable'. But as we can see from the emergency legislation passed during the current COVID crisis, anything is possible, so long as the political will is there. We have a vision for the community we live in, a vision that enhances Barnet rather than damaging it. A vision that is worthy & deserving of the people of this community. Our community. It is time to build homes for need, not for greed; and to put people before profit. Thank you. Please also sign up to the following statement, which is more specific to the New Barnet Gas Works Development plans, but sits alongside this petition: https://forms.gle/wBX7HnM4cFgU2FS3A
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    Created by philippa whitecross