Staff demand right to work for NHS at Harrogate Hospital


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Protestors gathered outside Harrogate District Hospital against the transfer of 340 staff to a ‘Wholly Owned Subsidiary’ – photo Iain Dalton

Over the course of around an hour and a half over 50 people joined the protest in snowy weather outside Harrogate Hospital against the forced transfer of 340 staff to a ‘Wholly Owned Subsidiary’ on Thursday 1st March.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party North Yorkshire Organiser

Alongside Socialist Party and Labour Party members and Unison officials, different sections of staff, including nurses and clerks unaffected by the proposals came out to join the protest on their lunch breaks.

Harrogate, is one of a number of hospital trusts in Yorkshire that is pushing ahead with transferring estates and facilities staff (such as catering, domestics, porters etc) into private companies they have set up (referred to variably as Wholly Owned Subsidiaries or Special Purpose Vehicles).

Barnsley has already gone down this path, and made attacks on the terms and conditions of staff in this company, whilst Airedale trust was due to transfer it’s staff on the 1st March as well, with proposals not far behind in Huddersfield and Calderdale, as well as York NHS Trusts.

3,000 people have signed an online petition against the proposals set up by Corbyn supporters in Harrogate Labour Party, whilst staff voted by 97% to reject the proposals in a consultative ballot and are now balloting for strike action.



Fire Crew Reductions in North Yorkshire Reversed


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Harrogate Socialist Party members campaigning against the cuts during the 2015 consultation.

At the North Yorkshire Fire Authority meeting on 13th December, the decision was taken unanimously to reverse the decision taken three years ago to reduce crewing of Tactical Response Vehicles (TRVs) to just three firefighters. This vehicles will now return to a minimum crew of four.

Iain Dalton, North Yorkshrie Socialist Party Organiser

This is a victory for all those who have been campaigning over this issue for the last two and a half years. Socialist Party members across North Yorkshire, played a crucial part in building public opposition to these proposals when they were first announced, particularly in Harrogate where we held stalls alongside local FBU activists.


Campaigning with North Yorks FBU branch chair Simon Wall against the cuts in 2015.

This decision, however, doesn’t fully reverse the cuts, as the TRVs themselves were newly introduced in 2015, replacing large, more fully equipped fire engines, as well as following from a reduction of 50 firefighter posts lost between 2010 and 2015.

Nevertheless, FBU members and other involved in the campaign will be celebrating a setback for the austerity agenda in this largely Tory-dominated county.

Rail strike against Driver-Only Operation solid in Harrogate


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Harrogate Socialist Party’s Paul Viney joins RMT pickets on strike against the introduction of driver-only operated trains – photo Harrogate RMT

Of the 11 RMT members that are guards at Harrogate station, all went on strike against Northern Rail, for the 3 days. Simon Black the RMT Branch secretary was up beat with the response of the members and the response to the picket line of the public. Speaking to the people who took the RMT leaflet at the picket line, nearly all were sympathic for the need for guards on the Trains.

Paul Viney, Harrogate Socialist Party


RMT pickets outside Harrogate railway station – photo Harrogate RMT

Harrogate Marches Against Trump Visit


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Protesting Trump's planned state visit in Harrogate - photo Iain Dalton

Protesting Trump’s planned state visit in Harrogate – photo Iain Dalton

Harrogate protest against Trump may have been organised by a veteran peace activist, but it was young people who dominated the event on Thursday night.

Harrogate Socialist Party

Not only were they the loudest voices on the short march along Parliament Street, but several school students spoke before the march expressing their opposition to Trump’s racist, sexist and LGBTphobic agenda.

Socialist Party & Socialist Students placards at protest against Trump's planned state visit in Harrogate - photo Iain Dalton

Socialist Party & Socialist Students placards at protest against Trump’s planned state visit in Harrogate – photo Iain Dalton

Iain Dalton, spoke at the demo on behalf of the Socialist Party, highlighting that Teresa May thought that linking up with Trump would strengthen her, but it could turn out to be her achilles heel.

Iain called for further protests on 20th February when the now around 2 million string petition calling for a cancellation of Trump’s state visit is debated in parliament.

But he also called for students to organise and walkout out on ‘Day X’ (the day of Trump’s visit) if it went ahead. Many students came up to both Iain and our stall at the event expressing their agreement and pledging to join the walkout.

Succesful Rally for Corbyn in Harrogate


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“I’m not sure there’s been anything like this in Harrogate before,” were the introductory words used by Paul Whitmore, a Labour Party member involved in organising the  Harrogate4Corbyn rally on 20th August.

A Harrogate Socialist Party member

Around 35 people turned out to join the rally in support of the anti-austerity policies of Jeremy Corbyn in Harrogate, predominantly Labour Party members who had been enthused by his policies.

Speakers included local anti-war activist Lindis Percy, CND chair Dave Webb. They concentrated many of their remarks on the opportunities Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership offered, and Dave in particular commented on his role in CND, particularly in opposing the renewal of Trident.

Labour Party member Rev David Wheeler, talked about the hope that many people felt Jeremy Corbyn offered. He called for a progressive alliance, with Labour needing to unite with those working class forces who agreed with its anti-austerity policies such as the Socialist Party and the Communist Party.

Socialist Party member Iain Dalton was also one of the speakers, explaining why the right-wing MPs and media had decided to try to vilify ‘revolutionaries’ and ‘Trotskyists’ – he explained how Trotsky spoke of revolutions being mass movements of people, as we are seeing in support of Jeremy Corbyn and elsewhere across Europe and even the USA.

In reality, it is Corbyn’s ability to draw this mass support, and the possibility of anti-austerity ideas being put into effect they are afraid of. The biggest mistake now, would be to capitulate to that pressure.

Instead of the bans on voting and meetings that are in effect at present, democracy should be deepened in the Labour Party including reselection of MPs and councillors and open up Labour’s structures to involve all anti-austerity forces. If right-wing MPs will not accept such democracy and choose to split away, then let them go.

He encouraged everyone there to get involved in campaigning on issues that Jeremy was raising including renationalisation of the railways, rent control, scrapping zero-hour contracts and more, as well as also joining a trade union to do that in the workplace.

Unfortunately, the organisers of the rally were put under extreme pressure to not allow Iain to speak, which we commend them for resisting. Two Owen Smith supporters did attend the rally, and loudly criticised Iain after he had finished speaking (while the final speaker was talking) saying this was an issue only for Labour Party members.

Apparently they must have missed how the whole of the capitalist establishment, including the media barons are weighing in on the side of Owen Smith. Every working class person in Britain has a stake in backing Corbyn’s anti-austerity message, rather than the return to a Labour Party not to disimmilar to the Tories which a Smith victory would open the return to.

Socialist Party members provided practical help to the rally, including use of our PA system. We were welcomed by Labour Party members there, who instictively saw the need to unite together in order to bring social change. Hopefully, this can be the beginning of working together to make a real positive difference to the lives of working people in Harrogate.

Fantastic Support in Harrogate for Junior Doctors


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“I love the Socialist Party” exclaimed one young woman who saw our stall in Harrogate on March 23rd campaigning in support of the junior doctors. In the normally quiet, spa town, with a Tory MP and not even one labour councillor, our campaigning in defence of the NHS was a breath of fresh air.

Many NHS staff, including some junior doctors themselves stopped by the stall, glad to see that someone was building support for them. One or two even recognised us from the picket line at the local hospital, which we have visited in support of them and encouraged other local trade unionists to join them, including the from the FBU who we helped campaign against fire cuts last year.

With bold posters on each side of the stall, and plenty of literature about our strategy to build support for the junior doctors, many people were happy to give donations to help with our campaigning efforts, and a record breaking 29 copies of the Socialist were sold to those who wanted to find out more about the dispute and other workers struggles, with two of those leaving their details to be contacted about our next meeting.

All of this is vital for the Socialist Party to be able to build our membership and support for our ideas to defend the NHS, including crucially co-ordinating action in support of the junior doctors with other NHS workers. Every new member and penny we collect helps us move further towards that goal. If we can build support in sleepy Harrogate, we can build it anywhere!

Iain Dalton, West/North Yorkshire Socialist Party Organiser

Harrogate Socialists Support the Junior Doctors Strike


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Harrogate Socialist Party members join the picket line - as featured in the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire show

Harrogate Socialist Party members join the picket line – as featured in the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show

Harrogate Socialist Party members joined junior doctors on the picket line at Harrogate District Hospital today in support of BMA members striking against the government’s imposition of a new contract which will extend the normal working week and is likely to stretch the NHS beyond breaking point.

We had a warm welcome from the strikers who were pleased to see that the public were behind them. We got added confirmation of this when people contacted us saying they’d seen us join the picket line when a doctor from Harrogate was interviewed on the Victoria Derbyshire show!

We were pleased to see that other trade unionists, including the FBU who have been fighting their own battles against dangerous cutbacks, came along to support the strike.

The government’s attack on junior doctors is just one part of their onslaught on the NHS, with student nurse bursaries being cut and the ongoing drive for so-called ‘efficiency savings’ in each trust. Only by uniting these struggles together and as part of a fightback against the disastrous policies of austerity will we be able to defend our NHS and defeat the drive to privatise it.

Fire engines axed in North Yorkshire – public safety at risk from cuts


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Harrogate Socialists joined the Fire Brigades Union in Easingwold today to lobby the North Yorkshire Fire Authority against proposed cuts to the fire service across the region.


Public concerns ignored

However, in spite of the demonstration, the Fire Authority voted by 10 to 6 to implement the cuts. One fire engine at each station in Harrogate, Ripon, Malton, Northallerton and Tadcaster is being axed. These fire engines will be replaced with smaller Tactical Response Vehicles carrying less fire-fighters and equipment.

The Fire Authority has ignored the huge opposition to the cuts from the public, local councils, local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce. There were 1,125 responses to the Fire Authority internet consultation survey, with between 77 per cent and 85 per cent against or strongly against the plans.

A defining decision

Steve Howley, North Yorkshire FBU brigade secretary, said the decision to cut the fire engines and replace them with Tactical Response Vehicles was “the most defining in the services’ history.” Steve said: “It does not matter what size the appliance is, if it is crewed with only two fire-fighters it is almost useless as an effective rescue capability. It is clear to members these proposals place an even larger burden on a service already at breaking point, with no evidence of how recruitment and retention will be achieved. The risk is still there and this is a step too far, a view shared by the public and business of North Yorkshire.”

The cuts will have a major detrimental impact on both fire-fighter and public safety. North Yorkshire is already a difficult area to cover for our fire service with a population of 1.2 million and a large network of country roads. Road traffic collisions and property fires have not reduced and there has been an increase in fire deaths this year.

For further details of the cuts and today’s demonstration, see the following articles:


Show your solidarity with the Fire Brigades Union! Contact them at: and


Capitalism versus the Climate film showing

The film THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING: CAPITALISM VERSUS THE CLIMATE will be shown in Harrogate on Friday 11th December, starting 7.00pm.

The venue is: Brostoff Hall, St. Peter’s Church, Cambridge Street. There is a contribution of £5.00 for attendance. All welcome!





NHS in crisis: support our doctors and nurses!


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The British Medical Association (BMA) are currently balloting for strike action over Tory plans to increase the hours of junior doctors and cut their pay.

NHS (9)

Millionaire health minister Jeremy Hunt’s “reforms” would see junior doctors’ normal hours extended from Monday to Friday (7am to 7pm) to Monday to Saturday (7am to 10pm). With no extra money for unsocial hours, some doctors will see a pay cut of up to 40%.

However, for junior doctors this is not just about pay. The government’s new contracts redefine unsocial hours and remove vital monitoring which ensures that the number of hours worked are safe for patients and doctors. The contracts could lead to unsafe conditions for NHS patients as a result of being treated by exhausted staff.

The government’s attempt to impose a new contract on junior doctors is part of a much wider attack on the NHS and public services. Last year’s deficit in the NHS was £820 million. In the first three months of this financial year the deficit rose to £930 million. For patients and healthcare workers the consequences will be lengthening waiting lists and further privatisation. In the longer term, charges will be put on GP visits and hospital treatment, making private health insurance a necessity (for those who can afford it).

However, the crisis in the NHS is good news for private companies and management consultants! NHS Trust spending on management consultants doubled between 2010 and 2014 to £640 million – enough to pay for three medium-sized hospitals or 20,000 nurses. In 2014-15 private companies won £3.5 billion of new clinical contracts in the NHS – up 500% on the previous year. Profit making firms have taken more than 60% of all NHS contracts since 2010.

Junior doctor contract protest, Leeds – 28th October, 7pm

NHS (10)

There will be a protest by junior doctors outside Leeds Art Gallery on Wednesday 28th October, starting 7pm. All welcome!

Prior to the protest there will be a candleit vigil outside the Brotherton Wing of Leeds General Infirmary (directly opposite Millennium Square) from 6pm to 7pm. This will be followed by a candlelit procession from Leeds General Infirmary to the Art Gallery for the start of the protest.

For further details, see the following links:

Support the fire-fighters – stop the cuts!


Harrogate Socialists campaigned in the town centre yesterday against the planned cuts to the fire service in North Yorkshire. Hundreds of signatures were gained for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) petition.

The petition can still be signed online at the following link:


Refugee crisis fundraising gig – Harrogate, Friday 30th October

There will be a fundraising gig for the refugee crisis in Harrogate on Friday 30th October. The money is going to the local Red Cross. The venue is the Retro Bar on Commercial Street and the gig is due to start around 8pm. Bands playing are Milk Crimes, Lugubrious Children, FWF and Clean Shirts.

For further details see the following link:

Harrogate Socialist Party Meeting, 10th November

Our next branch meeting is Tuesday 10th November, starting 7.45 pm. All welcome!

The venue is: St. Robert’s Club, Robert Street (opposite Waitrose), HG1 1HP

Public safety under threat from fire service cuts


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North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are proposing severe cuts to fire stations across the region as part of the Fire Cover Review.

Public and fire-fighter safety is under threat with proposed reductions to the number of full-time fire-fighters and the replacing of fire engines by smaller tactical response vehicles.

  • Full-time fire-fighters are to be reduced by over 25%
  • Immediate high-rise rescue capabilities for hotels & businesses will be lost
  • The number of fire engines in Harrogate are to be halved
  • 46 immediate response fire engines will be reduced to 27 in an already over-stretched service
  • Emergency response times will be increased, putting both the public and fire-fighters at risk

Harrogate Socialists campaigned in the town centre today against the proposed cuts and hundreds of signatures were obtained for the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) petition.


The FBU petition can still be signed online at the following link:

The FBU have also launched a website to highlight the detrimental impact of the cuts and the threat posed to public safety:

To participate in the consultation and oppose the changes to all fire stations, please fill in the following North Yorkshire Fire services consultation questionnaire:

Harrogate Socialist Party street stall – Saturday 24th October


Harrogate Socialists are holding a further street stall in support of the FBU on Saturday 24th October. The stall will take place on Cambridge Street (near Primark) in the town centre, beginning at 11.00 and finishing around 1.00. All welcome!

Dave Nellist to speak in Leeds – Tuesday 27th October

Dave Nellist is the National Chair of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC). He was the Labour MP for the constituency of Coventry South East from 1983 to 1992 but was expelled from the Labour Party in 1991 due to his support for the Militant Tendency, now the Socialist Party.

Dave will be speaking in Leeds on Tuesday 27th October. The meeting will take place at Leeds Beckett University and starts at 6.00pm. Harrogate Socialists are attending the meeting and transport to and from Leeds is available. If you would like to attend the meeting then please contact harrogatesocialists[at]