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SALFORD STAR PAYS TRIBUTE TO NEIL HILL
 

YOU BASTARDS!

"By the time you receive this I will be dead, having committed suicide.  I hope you feel very proud of yourselves…I will haunt you for the rest of your miserable stinking rotten life…"

The system finally got to Neil Hill, lifelong community fighter, and Salford Star contributor and distributor. 

"No dust settles on me matey!!!"



"They can't do this to people I'm sure!!"

If anything summed up Neil Hill it was this statement, contained in one of many, many e-mails he sent us over the last few years. During chats on the phone or personal meet ups he always had a cause to fight against a system which, in his words, is "a load of corrupt bollocks".  But Neil didn't just talk about it, he set about proving it through relentless Freedom of Information requests, public watchdog hounding and Human Rights court cases. He was usually miles in front of everyone.

Over six months ago Neil e-mailed us about the NHS and PCT sharing people's personal data with third parties. Unfortunately we didn't have a magazine to put the story in. It finally appeared on the front page of the Observer a few weeks ago. He was way ahead.

In fact, Neil was so far ahead and so into taking apart the bewildering small print and finer details of documents and `consultations' that half the time it was hard to get your head around what he was talking about. But the bureaucrats, politicians and executives understood exactly. And were scared shitless of him. Working class people from Salford aren't supposed to be that clever.

Neil was the only person in the country who stuck out a long running case about people being forced to medically retire through ill health losing their right to Incapacity Benefit because they funded either a private or final salary pension schemes.  This one went all the way to the House of Lords where he was given permission to go to the European Courts of Justice.

When he took his cases through the legal system, high court judges would salute his bravery, the brilliance of his mind…but there was always a technicality, dredged up by expensive barristers, that meant the case was lost. And so it proved with City West Housing.

Two years ago, when Salford Council was balloting for the transfer of council homes to City West Housing, Neil tried to get the vote stopped on legal grounds, arguing in the Salford Star that information sent to tenants was "one sided and biased" and warned what would happen…

"I am very fearful of the changes" he wrote "I'm only a medically retired tanker driver but if I can highlight these worrying points what would a legally trained barrister find?"

Lo and behold, two years later, the rents in City West Housing increased by 8% and even John Merry, Leader of Salford City Council, said he was "extremely disappointed" with the rise. But while the Council was urging people to vote for the transfer Neil stood up for council tenants all over Salford. His fights were on behalf of everyone.

When the rent increases became apparent, Neil took City West Housing and Hazel Blears (who gave consent to the transfer) to court to try and get the rent rise stopped on human rights grounds.  He lost the case on yet another `technicality' and within 30 minutes of the case ending was handed a bill from the Treasury for almost £3000. Two days later he sent an e-mail to the Treasury, which was acting on behalf of Hazel Blears…

By the time you receive this I will be dead, having committed suicide. I hope you feel very proud of yourselves. Before you send another old person a bill for £3000 please think of the consequences.
I will haunt you for the rest of your miserable stinking rotten life.
Have a nice life! I certainly won't.
Perhaps you'd like to explain to all my family why I can no longer cope and what your position was in ending my life?
I was
Malcolm Neil Hill

That was sent on April 18th – it wasn't passed onto the police until three days later.

In a statement Hazel Blears said "Mr Hill was clearly passionate about his campaign and what he was doing, which I respect. His family must be distraught and I feel for them."

Now we've got a message for Hazel Blears, from Neil which we're sure he won't mind us printing from an old e-mail…

 "I'm up for anything that will stuff bastards like Blears and her poxy new world order…Just love her to bits, the bitch…"

Neil Hill had a brilliant mind, a loving personality, a great sense of humour and a fighting spirit. If they can get to him, God help the rest of us…

Salford Star sends total sympathy to all Neil's family and friends and we promise to try and keep his spirit alive. He taught us loads.

"The glass is half full mate NOT half empty"

 

***********************************

From e-mail 11.11.08
I had a bad experience last week. As you know I don't enjoy the best of health and have been very ill for several weeks. During one of these episodes I got a knock on my door and it was a bloke from City West Housing who showed his ID and asked if he could do a structural survey. They are entitled to access your property but should give 24 hrs notice which they did not.

However in he came and began to take photos of my property INSIDE and because I was so ill I didn't have the energy to do anything about it. I am pretty confident they are breaking convention rights under Article 8 (3.69) and (3.71) and they have no right under the ECHR Acts to enter peoples homes under that act and invade peoples privacy. It is an absolute infringement.
They can't do this to people I'm sure!!
Neil

Read Neil's article on City West Housing

http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=148

 

Leigh Edmenson-Crosby wrote
at 21:57:41 on 05 May 2014
What lovely comments about my 2nd cousin, Neil. (He was my mum's cousin.) He's sadly missed. Leigh.
 
Ed Masters wrote
at 12:58:44 on 29 April 2013
Neil worked tirelessly to expose the inherent corruption and greed of career politicians both locally and nationally , and the inherent corruption and greed of money-grubbing organisations . That work continues. R I P Neil .
 
Salford Citizen wrote
at 11:52:36 on 08 March 2012
I am thoroughly disgusted at the arrogant , ignorant way these venal wasters treat people who stand up in opposition to ill-conceived plans which are to the detriment of Salford Citizens. Democracy ? Obviously not . One thing is certain - this city needs more people like Neil Hill , and less people like Blears , Salford Clowncil and their business associates . RIP Neil .
 
Colin lyne wrote
at 10:37:18 on 14 November 2010
Interesting..........I have only just come across this article while researching City West Housing.RIP Neil! I worked as a photographer on the original Salford City Reporter for many years and came across Blears in her earky days as a councillor. An arrogant bitch in those early days before she rose to the dizzy heights of Govenment, eventually allegedly defrauding the system. Unfortunately an actress ( as many are in politics!) making her audience believe that she was a "good" person working for the people of Salford. I remember being involved in an argument with her along with her, strangeley named "mate", Cultural Services Manager, Royston Footer during a Royal visit to Salford Art Gallery at the Crescent. This was the first demonstration of her arragance at an early stage in het "career". She evidently continued with that attitude, using the people of Salford as a footstool on her rise to the top. Anybody interested in having a word with her "out of hours" may find het at Smiths Restaurant in Church Syreet Eccles.....if she can still afford it!
 
Ian Richardson wrote
at 11:18:46 on 03 September 2009
I used to work with Neil in the late 80s, early 90's. He was employed as the company driver. We had some great times driving all over the country visiting other branches, taking furniture and computers to exhibitions etc. A sad, sad day. A sound guy. You'll be missed
 
jo wrote
at 21:27:08 on 08 May 2009
neil was a good friend of my dad's, he will be sadly missed x
 
Jim Bancroft wrote
at 16:20:06 on 30 April 2009
Neil Hill was a friend of mine firstly from our school days at Alfred Turner, which is now Irlam High, and when we met again about ten years ago, and I would like to take people's minds away from the things which had such a hurtful effect on him in his later life. I am from Salford, and when families such as ours first went to live in Irlam, which at that time was not part of the city of Salford, there was some, perhaps understandable, resentment against us by local people. This made me feel uneasy until I became friends with Niel, who was as outspoken then as he was in later life, explaining to local lads at school to give us a chance. It was Neil Hill who showed me how to play my first chords on a guitar, and how girls can sometimes piss you off! I never forgot this, and on embarking on a career in music, an interest Neil and I shared with a passion, I eventually lost contact with him, until we met again in a pub in Eccles - where else! - where my family and I were performing. He came to watch us a few times, making positive comments about my daughter's talent which have proved to be true, before moving back to Irlam, and we bumbed into each other between pubs now and again. But conversations between Neil and I were always about music and going forward in life and he gave me no indication that he was not happy. As far as I was concerned the Neil Hill I knew was a tough guy who could cope with life's knocks. I have no reason to think otherwise now! I am devastated that a friend of mine from my school days and beyond has died in such tragic circumstances, but the conversations I had with him were always about good things, and I will remember him in a positive way.
 
Gordon Stevenson wrote
at 02:08:06 on 27 April 2009
Neil was a very dear friend of mine. Neil lived in East Kilbride, Scotland for a number of years where he made a large number of friends. Neil will be greatly missed by anyone who knew him. I hope Blears is happy with herself.
 
rhetta moran wrote
at 18:29:39 on 26 April 2009
Sending deep sympathies for the loss of Neil to his family and to Salford Star and to everyone else who feels the loss of Neil - he knew what they are and struggled to expose their corruption, hypocrisy, lies and cruelty. La Lutta Continua.
 
Sufiya Rehman wrote
at 11:49:42 on 26 April 2009
I didn't know Neil or anything about him given I havn't been in salford that long, but as soon as I saw the article in the newspaper I admired him very much. Like us all not only was he a subject of the system but he was evidently a victim of it. Neil is a good role model, not just for Salford but for everyone and he should never be forgotten. My heart goes out to all those who lost him, hi family, freinds, the people of Salford and beyond.
 
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