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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 February 2011

Leicester Unison members rally against all cuts

Around 150 people attended a Unison-organised rally in Leicester on 2 February against council cuts.

Becci Heagney, Leicester Socialist Party

The protest included council workers and a large number of service users from the Douglas Bader Centre. This day centre cares for adults with disabilities and, along with nearly all other centres in Leicester, faces closure as part of the council's cuts.

The local authority plans to make massive attacks on adult social care. The home care and meals-on-wheels services will be reduced with a look to ending them completely.

Two elderly people's homes will be closed while services are to be cut back in others. There will be no new admissions to day care.

The council propose these attacks as an example of 'promoting choice and control'. They want to give service users 'personal budgets' so that they can choose which service to use from private companies or voluntary/charity organisations.

This is the same as the Tories' idea of the 'big society' where public services are cut back and the private and voluntary sector are relied on to take up the slack.

Rather than feeling empowered, service users feel that they are being doomed with the prospect of no care or support at all. It is clear that it is about saving money.

Tony Church, convenor of Leicestershire Against the Cuts (LAC) and Socialist Party member, spoke at the rally highlighting this point. LAC argues that there is an alternative and is opposed to all cuts - whoever makes them.

I spoke for Youth Fight for Jobs about the two demonstrations in Manchester and London on 29 January which showed that students and young people are not prepared to stop fighting back.

In Leicester it is a Labour council making these cuts but, as Pete Flack from the NUT pointed out, they were voted in to oppose cuts. The rally called on the council to stand up to the government and refuse to carry through the cuts.

Councillor Ross Wilmott, who was previously the leader of the council and who wants to be the city's Labour mayor, opportunistically spoke from the platform to say that he was opposed to the cuts.

However, when asked directly if he would vote against cuts his reply was: "hopefully". Workers in Leicester will remember that Wilmott was the city's chair of education in the late 1990s when six schools were closed.

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In The Socialist 9 February 2011:

International socialist news and analysis

Egypt in revolt

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Defend the NHS!: Fight the Con-Dem cuts

The madness of King George cuts

Anti-cuts campaigning

Scottish Anti-Cuts Alliance established

Stop attacks on disabled claimants

Liverpool: Jobs axe must be fought

No to the racist EDL! Unite to fight the cuts

Hands off our forests!

Protesting against all of the cuts

Socialist Party news and analysis

Tommy Sheridan jailing: Political vendetta ends in draconian sentence

John Macreadie memorial

TV Review: Posh and Posher Why Public School Boys Run Britain

Socialist Party feature

'Struggle or starve!' 1932 - when Birkenhead workers beat the means test

Socialist Party youth and students

Young people march for a future

Tories have no solutions to youth crime

Police attack 'save EMA' protest in Leeds

Socialist Party workplace news

Justice for Unison Four

Unison self-destructs at TSA but unionism stronger than ever

Building action against cuts

Defending jobs at Leeds council

Ford challenged in legal bid: Pay the Visteon pensioners now!

Arriva Trains Wales - strike called off

Defend democracy in the CWU

Keep the post public demo

Discussing an electoral challenge to service cutters

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

'In reality, Britain is facing a savage economic ice age'


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