All those struggling with ever more vicious cuts to social security will be delighted to learn that millions of pounds of public money is soon to spent building a new bridge in Central London with a garden on it. And if that isn’t enough of an insult at a time of soaring hunger and homelessness then – if Lanbeth Council get their way – some of those building this bridge won’t even get paid.
Over £60 million has been pledged already by the publicly owned Transport for London to build a Garden Bridge across the River Thames just yards away from two other bridges. This vital project, which developers say has the support of business leaders and a famous architect, is the latest attempt to turn the capital into an elaborate Disneyland and playground for the global super rich. With gentrification fast turning London into cultural desert then ever more gimmicks like this will be necessary to ensure middle class dickheads from across the globe keep flocking to city in the hope of bumping into Harry fucking Potter.
With planning permission granted it looks likely the bridge will now be built, although Westminster and Lambeth Council are still squabbling over the details. As part of the negotiations, late last year Lambeth Council drew up proposals calling for the construction of the bridge to include ‘training and job opportunities’ for those that face significant barriers to work and ‘need support to get their foot in the door’.
Elsewhere in the document Lambeth say the developers should deliver Traineeships and Apprenticeships to local unemployed people. Traineeships are a workfare scheme which include up to two months unpaid ‘work experience’ and are used to prepare young people for becoming an Apprentice where they will be paid just £2.73 an hour for the first year. Let the good times roll.
Lambeth Council have also called for paid work experience placements in horticulture once the bridge is open, although they acknowledge that this would require some funding. With the Tories promising permanent workfare for those under 21, then it is likely their flagship Westminster Council, who also get a say, will have their own plans to push young people into unpaid or poverty paid work on the bridge.
Nowhere in the document do Lambeth call for those working on the bridge to receive the London Living Wage, so we should, especially at the moment when the developers are pretending to be everybody’s friends. You can contact them on twitter @TheGardenBridge and via their facebook page to demand that everyone who works on this bridge, whether they are training or not, gets a proper fucking wage.
UPDATE 29/6/15: The Garden Bridge have said on twitter that they are “in early stages of developing educational & volunteering plans.” So far they have not ruled out using workfare or committed to pay the London Living Wage.
— Garden Bridge Trust (@TheGardenBridge) June 29, 2015
Join the fightback against rampant gentrification in the capital at Camden’s first ever Fuck Parade on Saturday July 11th.
This blog has no sources of funding so here’s a quick reminder that you can help ensure it continues by making a donation.