Blog

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Firstly, we should applaud the Chancellor for finally agreeing with some of Labour’s policies. An increase in the minimum wage (even if he called it the ‘living’ wage), an increase in the number of free hours for childcare, and agreeing that the principle of non-domiciled tax status is unfair, are all policies that Labour first campaigned on. Now that the Tories (and the right-wing press) are in agreement with our side of the argument on these issues, we should push them to move faster and harder.

However, we should not get away from the fact that the Tories have unfairly punished the poorest in our society. The Chancellor attempts to obfuscate the issue by declaring the increase in the minimum wage, the ‘living wage,’ but the increase is well short of the actual living wage. Currently the 2015 living wage in London is £9.15/h, with the Chancellor promising to increase the minimum wage to £9/h by 2020, still less than the actual living wage. Furthermore, the Living Wage takes into account tax credits, many of which have been abolished or sharply curtailed. No matter how you look at the issue, the increase in the minimum wage cannot replace the loss of tax credits.

While, the Chancellor is right to ensure that our welfare budget is spent appropriately, withdrawing tax credits from those in need, without anything to replace them with is to vindictively punish the poorest in our society. The Chancellor has put the cart before the horse, choosing to remove tax credits without solving the underlying issues that necessitates their need.

The reality is that the Chancellor has produced a policy for short-term political gain, rather than long-term economic benefit. He has done little to address the long term economic problems with the levels of productivity less than France and Germany. True, the apprenticeship levy will help encourage businesses to invest in their personnel and help develop higher value and more productive workers. However, the Chancellor has little to say about addressing critical infrastructure issues. A mention of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ in the budget statement sounds little more than rhetoric after the cancelled plans to electrify the northern railway network. Labour’s election pledge to allow for capital spend borrowing, makes increasingly more sense as it would have allowed for proper investment in our country’s infrastructure.

Yet the biggest indictment of Osborne’s short termism, is an alarming attack on the under 25s. The move from maintenance grants to loans, the loss of housing benefit and the ‘living’ wage only applying to over 25s all serve to punish the youth and will in the long term harm our economy. Is it fair for the poorest in our society to be priced out of education, when education is the most important factor in social mobility?

While the budget may be garbed with some of Labour's progressive policies, we should not shy away from the fact that the Chancellor has punished the poorest and youngest in our society for short-term political gain. If he truly wants to deal with the number of tax credits being claimed, then he must address the underlying issues, not remove them and hope for the best. 

Alvin Shum is the Communications Officer for Chinese for Labour. If you would like to write for Chinese for Labour, or have any events that would be of interest to our community then please email at alvin.shum@chineseforlabour.org. 

Budget Response

Firstly, we should applaud the Chancellor for finally agreeing with some of Labour’s policies. An increase in the minimum wage (even if he called it the ‘living’ wage), an increase...

Britain is a rich country. But not since a century ago has so much of our wealth been docked from so many to enrich so few.

Back in the 1910s, the richest 1% took home almost 20% of the income of this country. But from the 1920s on, along with the emergence of the Labour Party as a real political force, things began to change. By the 1970s, the top 1% earners were pocketing not 20%, but about 5% of all income. More money went into the pay packets of ordinary workers and more investment was put into public services for the benefit of all.

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All this changed with the ascendancy of Thatcherism and its plutocratic legacy. After 1979 the richest 1% were once again getting an ever larger share of our national income, and in the 2010s, we’re heading back towards the 20% share they held back in the 1910s. In 2012, the chief executives of the 100 largest companies on the London Stock Exchange were getting an average pay rise of 49% compared with average increase of just 3% for their employees. If we take financial assets as well as income into account, the richest 1% today own as much as the poorest 55% in the UK.

Is this because handing a larger share of our country’s money to the richest few is the only way to generate significantly higher growth? The reality is that from the founding of the NHS and the welfare state in 1948 to 1978, UK’s average real per capita GDP growth rate was 2.17%. The corresponding average growth during the Thatcher years of 1979-1990 was just 2.05%.

And do the top executives, who pay themselves 145 times the average pay of their employees, really work 145 times harder or endure 145 times more stress than the workers who have to struggle to get by in lowly positions with inadequate pay? Or are they just much more powerful because those in government have increasingly looked after their interests at the expense of everyone else?

Money is the most potent form of power in society today. It can buy up public assets, fracking licences, propaganda, litigation expertise, market advantages, not to mention political influence to shape laws and policies to suit the wealthiest 1%.

People work together to generate the wealth of this country, and they expect the fruits of their labour to be shared out fairly. Historically it has been the Labour Party that has been at the forefront in striving to secure this outcome. And it is time for Labour to be bold and clear in declaring that it stands for the 99%.

Four Core Commitments

To do this, it needs to be unequivocal about four core commitments.

First - the commitment to true enterprise. We don’t want the enterprise of the con-men whose one talent is to manipulate others into making money for them to siphon off to off-shore tax havens. We want Labour to promote true enterprise where genuinely beneficial talents and hard work, including the vital work carried out by countless carers at home, are rewarded fairly because they are of great value to society. Labour should give everyone a greater incentive in making their enterprise a success by promoting worker participation and ownership. And it should have clear plans for clamping down on corporate fraudsters and tax dodgers.

Secondly - the commitment to real security. Terrorist attacks threaten lives, but so do malnutrition, living in squalor, inadequate healthcare, domestic violence, delayed ambulance services, and riots fuelled by social divisions. We want to see Labour enhance the security of the people of this country, in relation to every from of life-endangering threat. And to achieve this, Labour must be ready to invest in the improvement of public services, the building of affordable homes, and the rebuilding of our NHS after the trauma it has been put through in the last five years.

Thirdly - the commitment to a sustainable economy. Deregulating the finance sector so much that banks could gamble away people’s savings and wreck the economy is a Thatcherite legacy that must be corrected. Financial schemes that take reckless risks with our money while dressed up as investment opportunities are not a substitute for the production of goods and services that meet people’s needs. Instead of contrived profits concocted for the few, Labour should support the development of renewable resources and zero-marginal cost productions so that everyone’s quality of life improves along with better protection for the environmental assets on which we all depend.

Last but not least, the commitment to honest democracy. Instead of talking about being localist but keeping power in Westminster, Labour should be fully dedicated to devolving more power to Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, London, and the diverse regions of England. Labour should be the leaders on political transparency and make MPs answerable to their constituents by having to declare and explain to them their expenses, external earnings, and gifts and donations received. It should also put an end to Ministers taking on any form of paid role with companies that have benefited by their actions for at least ten years after they leave office.

Henry Tam is Director of the Question the Powerful project, lecturer at Cambridge University and visiting professor at Birkbeck College, London University.

The article was originally published in February 2015 edition of The Orient - Chinese for Labour's bi-annual publication. If you have an idea for an article, or an event to share then please email alvin@chineseforlabour.org.

The Orient Archive: Labour for the ninety nine percent

Britain is a rich country. But not since a century ago has so much of our wealth been docked from so many to enrich so few. Back in the 1910s,...

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Do you have the potential to be a future leader in the film industry?

The National Film and Television School in partnership with Creative Skillset, have launched the BAME LEADERSHIP Programme, a new six month programme to rigorously encourage diverse representation in the film industry, bringing on the next generation of diverse talent working at Executive level in production, distribution, sales and exhibition.

They are looking for 8 talented emerging film business executives from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background with a proven track record and the potential to lead in their industry to take part.

As one of the 8 successful applicants you will undertake an intense six month programme of individual training, coaching and mentoring allowing you to rapidly develop your career confidence in today's industry whilst also building your leadership skills.

Programme Outline

The six month programme will start in October 2015, ending March 2016.

The programme will kick off with a 2 day immersive bootcamp for the group as a whole - sessions will focus on building and honing leadership skills. You will gain a wide ranging insight into the financing, sale business affairs, marketing, domestic and international marketing/distribution of film, including up-to-date analysis of current market and financing conditions, and the practical and negotiation skills required to facilitate a project's success.

Participants will be matched with a mentor (a senior executive) for the duration of the initiative, and will be allocated sessions with a career coach.

In addition to the above, each participant will be able to access a dedicated bespoke training pot to meet their specific training needs and to attend additional courses and events between September and the close of the initiative.

Participants

This course is aimed at changing the representation of people from diverse backgrounds at influential levels in the film business. We are looking for applications from talented emerging executives from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background with a proven track record (at least 2–3 years’ experience) of working at Executive level in film production, distribution, sales or exhibition and the potential to lead in their industry.

Please note this is a Film and Business programme and is therefore not targeted at creative talent (producers, writers, directors).

Location

The bootcamp will be held at Ingenious Media, London, W1F

Locations for bespoke training will take place at the NFTS, London and other locations.

Number of places: 8

Fees: £1000

HOW TO APPLY

Please contact shortcourses@nfts.co.uk for an application pack.

Deadline for applications July 24 2015

For more information go to: https://nfts.co.uk/bame-leadership-programme

 

NTFS BAME Leadership Programme

Do you have the potential to be a future leader in the film industry? The National Film and Television School in partnership with Creative Skillset, have launched the BAME LEADERSHIP...

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The Chinese community is a hugely valuable and valued part of UK society. More than half a million people of Chinese origin have made their homes here. Our community is a perfect example of Britain’s strength being built, in part, on its diversity. It is a perception of Britain that we must continue to remind ourselves of.

We now live in a society where the majority of people living in poverty actually have a job. Rather than living lives of opportunity and hope, many of us have to worry and stress about how we’re going to pay the bills and put food on the table.

What has been less discussed is the knock-on impact this financial pressure has had on our national psyche, how we view the world and our perception of the future. Economic crises always have that impact as well, though it takes many different forms.

The Great Recession has had a psychological impact that has the potential to be very damaging to our future: a significant section of our society his questioning how we engage with the world, wanting us to distance ourselves and pull back.

You can see it in the debate on immigration. We must be clear here – the question of how we manage immigration is an important one to ensure that it is a force for good, as it has always been.

However, the current immigration debate is not a positive dialogue about how we make the most of the enormous potential that people of different backgrounds, talents and perspectives represent for our society.

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The debate has been hijacked by a party – UKIP – that wants you to blame others. Who are trying to set our communities against each other. Who are trying to do what all the ideologues of history have done: get you to blame the ‘other. We can see it starting to take root in communities across the country, in the cracks caused by financial hardship.

They not only blame immigrants, but they also blame Europe for every problem. They say very clearly – we’ll be better off all on our own.

They’ve made it simple – to the people who are struggling for hope and control in their lives, they’ve pointed the finger at immigration and Europe and said ‘blame them’. If we just get rid of them, our future is going to be better and you’ll have control over your life again.

The thing is – it may be simple, but that doesn’t make it right.

The challenges in our society are much more fundamental than immigration or Europe. They are - how do we succeed, as individuals, as communities and as a country – in a world that is changing faster than ever? A world in which every big dynamic of change – technology, globalisation, climate change and so many others – naturally increase inequality. It is a world that represents a big challenge, but actually represents a much bigger opportunity.

But there is another way. It starts with recognising the true nature of the challenge we face and being frank about it. How can we create an economy in this fast and constantly changing world that creates jobs that pay enough for people to lead decent lives; jobs that speak to their ambition so life goes beyond a struggle to survive to a quest to thrive. How can we do that for everyone, equally – no matter their background or the stage of life they’re at?

That is the true nature of our challenge. If we are going to tackle it and create a positive future for all of our people – we have to start seeing migrants, immigration and building partnerships around the world as part of the solution, not the problem.

The UK Chinese community and our relationship with China is the perfect example.

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Our contribution to society is immense in every dimension – culturally, economically, academically and technologically. From Sir Charles Kao, the father of fibre optics, to Alan Yau, the founder of the ubiquitous Wagamama, and Jimmy Choo’s global brand, the spectrum of our talents has helped shaped Britain as we know it. In recognition of that, we must ensure we have a visa system that continues to invite talent and contribution, as well as enhance our society.

The Chinese community, like so many others, also represents multiple routes to enormous opportunity for our future. 

The first is by bringing so much talent and investment into the United Kingdom, which is China’s top European destination for foreign direct investment. Chinese companies own stakes in Heathrow and Manchester airports, Weetabix and in North Sea oil. It’s a relationship we must continue to develop in a way that helps build the British market and deliver value to China.

The second way the Chinese community presents a path to opportunity is that it connects us to a market of staggering growth and potential. The world’s 10 fastest growing cities are all in China. Or consider this mind-boggling fact: just the increase in the number of Chinese graduates between 2010 and 2020 will be bigger than the total number of students in the US and the EU combined. That’s an incredible amount of skill entering the global job market.

So to have opportunity in the future, we have to engage with China and the world. But we can’t do that by ourselves. Chinese business people have made it clear that to even think of leaving the EU would be madness. Sitting with our EU partners and half a billion people on one side of the table gives us a huge influence in negotiations with China. Sitting on our own will not. And that point stands with any other country. If we are truly thinking about our future, that is a warning we cannot ignore.

The Great Recession has made our lives tougher, but we can’t allow it to make our future bleaker as well. Building walls of blame and anger between our communities and around our country won’t get us anywhere.

We have to see our communities and the world around us as what they truly are: opportunities. To realise them, we need to make the most of every person and community’s potential. That is what Labour is committed to creating in government – a society where we find strength not in anger and blame, but in each other and in the possibility of a better tomorrow.

Sonny Leong CBE is the Chair of Chinese for Labour.

The article was originally published in February 2015 edition of 'The Orient' - Chinese for Labour's bi-annual publication. If you have an idea for an article, or an event to share then please email alvin@chineseforlabour.org

The Orient Archive: The Chinese Community is an important and valued part of our society and of our future

The Chinese community is a hugely valuable and valued part of UK society. More than half a million people of Chinese origin have made their homes here. Our community is...

As I rode on the tube to participate in a discussion on Chinese life in Britain at UCL I reflected on my own journey. My parents arrived in London from Hong Kong in 1970 with a suitcase and dreams of a better life. I’ve met few people who work as hard as they did, for them work wasn’t a pleasantry it was a matter of survival. Putting bread on the table day in day out. They barely slept working seven days a week any spare time was spent caring for the elders and the children.

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When I speak with some of our people in Brent it reminds me of my parents story, making ends meet, worrying, endless worrying about feeding the family, our basic living conditions and being judged. This is what people really fear, being judged by others, being looked down upon. That’s why even though we had nothing my mum always made sure that I looked semi-presentable before going out, ‘you’re representing us’ she would say.

As I arrived at Euston Square I thought to myself who’s representing us in Britain? Why are there so few British Chinese in public life? I asked that very question to the audience and everyone pointed to David Yip the infamous ‘Chinese Detective’ I responded with, ‘apart from you David!’ In a modern Britain where I truly believe in a progressive society where all are judged on merit and decency it is a question that we struggle still to answer.

Chinese culture is rooted in deep tradition based on an ancient civilization spanning 3,000 plus years with a unique language, formalities and customs. The Chinese philosophy of Ying and Yang is one of harmony, order and balance in life. Who would want the conflict, stress and scrutiny that come with public attention? London is a place where cultures collide with amazing success, in a modern society we adopt the things we like and ignore the things we don’t, we are free to choose. I’m very proud to be British, Chinese and a Londoner my social DNA is a blend of all the above and more, some people call it character, I call it being yourself.

Chinese people still do not feel a part of British society, if we want inclusion, respect and representation we have to participate and let the people decide. Our parents have given us the opportunity to live in the greatest country and cities on earth, let’s make them heard, we have nothing to fear except fear itself.

Audio starts at 19:25 mins & 53:05 mins

Vincent Lo is Vice Chair of Chinese for Labour and Chair of Brent North CLP. If you have an idea for an article and wish to contribute to Chinese for Labour then please send an email to alvin.shum@chineseforlabour.org

Why so few British Chinese in Public Life?

As I rode on the tube to participate in a discussion on Chinese life in Britain at UCL I reflected on my own journey. My parents arrived in London from...

There was much uproar at the above Labour Press press team tweet, much (if not most) from what the party may well consider it's "core vote" protesting a statement which unfortunately does appear to pander to specious right wing logic that public services have to be cut and cut drastically. We all know the banking sector is still rolling in giant bonuses and that there's massive avoidance of corporation tax. 

As a minority ethnic person who works in the arts I would say there's also a crucial element here. A quick google search will reveal that all the outraged voices being quoted on arts cuts are overwhelmingly white and middle class. It surely stands to reason that as arts funding gets cut more and more that, like all things, when you extrapolate outward it's those of us on the fringes and margins who feel the cut more than anyone. It's often slightly surreal reading about the likes of the National Theatre having to make up another £200,000 shortfall in corporate sponsorship but arts funding cuts profoundly affects anyone who is not from the dominant white middle-class demographic. 

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The Arts Council recently expressed concern about the lack of applications from minority ethnic arts organisations for National Portfolio (NPO) funding - funding which essentially enables arts organisations to operate with some form of permanence. It's hardly surprising the number is so low though. 

All the statistics, reports and first-hand experience point to the fact that entry level to ,and (crucially) progress, in arts careers is more difficult than ever. An often closed cloistered and protective environment requiring availability for unpaid “internships” (which take a variety of forms), access to “networks” and ability to speak a coded language, even when we can get there, our work, as people of minority ethnic (and particularly East Asian) background, is relegated to marginalised corners of niche minority interest.

Our experience, training and expertise often counts for nothing, so devalued is it when the decision-makers and gatekeepers insist that the way round this obviously prejudicial state of affairs is to sponsor more box-ticking “training schemes”.

The black American comedian Chris Rock wrote recently that Barack Obama’s position as first black president was not, as most posit, a victory of “progress” for black people. It was, rather, progress for white people. There have been numerous black people who had presidential qualities. White people had to progress to a level where they could potentially allow it to happen.

And this is true of the arts. Chinese and East Asian people, as well as people from all ethnic backgrounds and disabilities, have artistic talent. Of course they do. The “establishment” needs to progress and allow them to flourish. The whole arts sector requires funding for that to happen.

Of course it’s often argued with impossible to verify statistics that “Chinese people only make up 1% of the population” but I’m pretty certain we’re not even getting that in terms of arts funding and presence. It’s also worth bearing in mind that apparently only 7% of children are privately educated. Do we really believe that only 7% of our leading actors, writers, directors and arts decision makers are privately educated?

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And it makes all sorts of fiscal sense as well. There’s an oft repeated statistic that for every £1 spent the arts brings in a further £3. Imagine the potential if we had a more vibrant, diverse, creative and truly competitive “industry” as opposed to what we all too often appear to have: a cosy protectorate “club” for the privileged few and those “in the know”?

The arts is vital for social cohesion, expression and hope. All the major parties miss a massive trick here. The number of potential voters of Chinese descent who do not at present exercise their democratic right is astonishingly high as a percentage.

All too often it appears that people of Chinese and East Asian descent simply do not feel part of modern Britain. They don’t see themselves there. They’re not represented, they’re not included. How can they feel any differently when such a massive part of British life, one we’re all so rightly proud of, our arts and culture simply do not recognise them beyond poorly conceived, badly clichéd and outdated portrayals of “exoticism” and foreignness?

Still, in 2015, no permanent East Asian characters in Eastenders. We seem to say this literally every year. And I would venture the same goes for people of all minority ethnic backgrounds. Instead of allowing them to feel disaffected and alienated let’s try and engage them and make them a true part of Britain. Let’s actively combat that awful UKIP “us and them” agenda.

In case this appears one track let me say I also want to see the next Labour government save the NHS, defend trade unions, fight for better wages and conditions, do away with zero hours contracts, re-nationalise the rail service and speak up on the positive benefits of immigration. But the arts is the world I know and I would like to see a coherent vision and commitment for minority ethnic participation in that world and where people of East Asian descent are not abandoned in the diversity initiative.

Daniel York is an actor, writer, filmmaker and founder member of British East Asian Artists.

The article was originally published in February 2015 edition of The Orient - Chinese for Labour's bi-annual publication. If you have an idea for an article, or an event to share then please email alvin@chineseforlabour.org.

The Orient Archive: British East Asian Artists Community Needs

There was much uproar at the above Labour Press press team tweet, much (if not most) from what the party may well consider it's "core vote" protesting a statement which...

On 30th June 2015, the British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage project will have their formal launch party at Regent's University.

 

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The project, four years in the making, aims to create a historical archive documenting the role of Chinese in the British armed forces throughout history. the archive will be composed of personal reflections, family records and memorabilia of those who served in the British Chinese Armed Forces during the 19th and 20th centuries as well as some 40 extended oral history interviews. The project will develop a research publciation, two international conferences and two exhibitions.

The event will be on Tuesday 30th June 2016, 14:30 - 17:00 at Regent's University London, Inner Circle, Regent's Park, NW1 4NS.

The timetable for the event is as follows:

14:30   Registration and Afternoon Tea

15:30   Welcome Speeches

-          Prof Aldwyn Cooper, Regent’s University London

-          Mr Holland Kwok, Ming-Ai (London Institute)

15:50   British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage Project Introduction

-          Mrs Rachel Hasted, Heritage Lottery Fund

-          Ms Chungwen Li, Ming-Ai (London Institute)

-          Prof Jonathan Liu, Regent’s University London

16:20   Chinese Contribution to British Military History

-          Mr Robert Fleming, National Army Museum

16:40   Q & A

If you wish to attend the launch then please contact tghe Ming-Ai (London) Institute at rsvp@ming-ai.org.uk

 

Project Launch for British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage Project

On 30th June 2015, the British Chinese Armed Forces Heritage project will have their formal launch party at Regent's University.     The project, four years in the making, aims...

Chinese for Labour attended the BAME Leadership Hustings in Harrow yesterday evening. In a jam-packed leisure centre we listened to what the four leadership and five deputy leadership candidates had to say. The Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP and NEC/BAME Member opened the proceedings.

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Andy focused on rebuilding an emotional connection with voters and listening to the people, only with business expansion and growth can we cut the deficit, this will take skills including a new UCAS points system for apprenticeships and making university possible ensures more talent in our economy. Yvette felt that we were too narrowly focussed and we need to broaden our appeal by helping working families and building a stronger economy in a fairer society so that people can vote for Labour with their hearts and minds. Jeremy talked about austerity as a ploy to make poor people poorer and the rich richer and his thirty plus years campaigning for social justice. Liz talked about educating our young and starting early, being pro-business and diversity.

Yvette pledged to double the number of BAME MPs from Labour’s current tally of 23 and Andy pledged to ensure representation on shortlists where the BAME population is >50%. Both candidates acknowledged that the BAME vote could not be taken for granted and must be earned by representation of a modern Britain. The Tories secured 1 million BAME votes in the last General Election.

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The five candidates for the deputy leadership then kicked off the second half of the hustings. Ben Bradshaw committed to regional targets for BAME candidates and changing the process for Parliamentary selections. Stella Creasy discussed Labour becoming a movement for change and bridging members to the leadership. Tom Watson committed to doubling the number of BAME MPs and mentioned that whilst we’ve had exceptional Sikh and Chinese candidates we still do not have one in the Commons. Tom congratulated BAME Labour for taking the initiative in making our voices heard. Angela Eagle talked about young Labour and engaging our younger voters and her passion for social justice. Caroline Flint praised the success of the BAME community and championed social mobility for all.

We're asking questions to the Labour Leader, Deputy Leader and London Mayoral candidates about issues that relate specifically to the Chinese community. If you have a question you'd like to ask then please email as soon as possible to ash@chineseforlabour.org

Labour Leader & Deputy Leadership BAME Hustings

Chinese for Labour attended the BAME Leadership Hustings in Harrow yesterday evening. In a jam-packed leisure centre we listened to what the four leadership and five deputy leadership candidates had...

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This Friday there will be a special BAME Leader and Deputy Leader Hustings event. This is the second BAME hustings ever held by the Labour Party specifically the BAME community. 

The event will take place in Harrow, West London at 6:30pm on Friday the 26th June. There will be two hustings, one for the Leadership candidates and one for the deputy Leadership candidates.

The candidates for Leader of the Labour party are: Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Jeremy Corbyn and Liz Kendall.

The candidates for Deputy Leader of the Labour party are: Ben Bradshaw, Stella Creasy, Angela Eagle, Caroline Flint and Tom Watson

If you wish to attend then please confirm your attendance by contacting Rafa on 078121 18164.

Don't forget as a member of Chinese for Labour, you'll be able to vote for Leader of the Labour Party, as well as the Deputy Leader and if you live in London, the Labour candidate for London Mayor. You can sign up as a member here.

BAME Hustings Event

  This Friday there will be a special BAME Leader and Deputy Leader Hustings event. This is the second BAME hustings ever held by the Labour Party specifically the BAME...

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The Royal College of Nursing [RCN] has warned the government that thousands of foreign nurses working in the UK could be forced to return to their home country under new immigration rules. Under the new rules, people from outside the European Economic Area [EEA] must be earning £35,000 or more before they are allowed to stay in the UK after six years. This new rule is of particularly importance to the East Asian community with over 20,000 nurses in the UK coming from the Philippines, the largest number from any one country. 

Over 3,000 nurses lost

The new rules, to be introduced in 2017, will force more nurses to return to their home countries, leaving health services with nothing to show for the millions of pounds spent on recruiting them. The RCN has calculated that up to 3,365 nurses currently working in the UK will potentially be affected and estimates that it will have cost £20.19 million to recruit them, money that will have been wasted if they are forced to leave the UK. Overseas recruitment is increasing to a shortage of home-grown nurses and crackdown on agency nurse spending and if the trends continue to 2020, over 6,600 nurses and £40 million lost under the new rules. 

Remove the Threshold and increase UK nurse training

The new rules are part of the government's effort to control net migration, however the RCN argues that spending vast amounts of money on recruiting overseas nurses who will only be in the health system for a short period of time is a wast of valuable time and resources. The organisation is calling on the Westminster Government to add nursing to the list of shortage occupations and to reconsider the £35,000 salary threshold. The Government should also take urgent steps to increase the number of UK nurse training places, which will reduce the currently over-reliance on overseas recruitment in the longer term. 

If you have any other news stories or opinion pieces that you think are of interest to the Chinese and East Asian community than please email alvin.shum@chineseforlabour.org.

New Government immigration rules 'will cause chaos' and cost the health service millions

The Royal College of Nursing [RCN] has warned the government that thousands of foreign nurses working in the UK could be forced to return to their home country under new...

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