Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/653/10934
Councils ramp up service charges
COUNCILS ARE massively increasing charges to residents - aside from hefty council tax increases - for providing local services. These increases are an attempt to make up part of the huge funding shortfall that many councils are experiencing as a result of the coalition cuts in central government grants.
Increased charges include; paying more for home help and meals on wheels, ending the provision of free nurseries, massive hikes in hire charges in sport centres, extending parking charges to cover weekends, and even increasing the cost of burial plots.
Disingenuously, the government response has been to argue that such increases shouldn't be made to offset higher executive salaries or to avoid making 'efficiency savings'.
The government's tut-tutting about these increased charges conveniently dodges the fact that council workers' pay is being frozen for yet another year along with huge job cuts and a worsening of workers' employment conditions. It also sidesteps the inconvenient truth that billions of pounds of central government cuts in council funding is devastating local services.
Of course these charges and cuts can and must be resisted. Trade unions in councils such as in Birmingham have been fighting savage cuts with industrial action.
However, Labour-run authorities, while wringing their hands over the cuts, are meekly capitulating to government demands instead of putting up a fight alongside the workers and local communities they are supposed to represent.
In The Socialist 12 January 2011:
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
National Shop Stewards Network
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news