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Posted on 18 February 2013 at 12:53 GMT

Opposing cuts in Cumbria, photo Carlisle SP

Opposing cuts in Cumbria, photo Carlisle SP   (Click to enlarge)

Demands to 'tax the rich' hit a nerve in Cumbria

"Tax avoidance isn't illegal, I do it every year". That's what Eddie Martin, the leader of Cumbria County Council said after we pointed out to him that if the government collected the 120 billion avoided, evaded and uncollected taxes of the rich lost to the exchequer each year there wouldn't have to be any cuts.

But then that's what we would expect from a Tory, but in Cumbria the Tories and the Labour Party are in a coalition!

Carlisle Socialist Party collected thousands of signatures opposing the budget cuts and presented them to the council.

The meeting started off with the chair pointing out that it being Valentines day, council members would want to hurry off to "buy champagne for their wives".

But ordinary people won't feel like drinking champagne when they see the Valentines day massacre of cuts the "partnership" is putting forward.

Moving our petition, Brent Kennedy spoke to demand that Labour should choose to fight the unfair cuts and mobilise the community rather than doing the government's dirty work.

Our comments about taxing the rich must have hit a nerve as Tory councillor Richardson interrupted with the words "I'm not going to sit and listen to this" and promptly departed.

Stewart Young, head of the Labour group, responded to the petition by saying that he agreed with it 'at a national level' and favoured a higher tax rate for the rich but that Labour was a "democratic socialist party" that had to follow the democratic process.

In reality neither the government that is forcing forward its ideologically driven attack on the working class nor the Lab-Con coalition in Cumbria have a mandate and there is nothing socialist about Labour cosying up to the Tories and passing a budget that forces 20 million worth of cuts on workers and service users with more to come for the next two years.

Daniel Thorburn, Carlisle Socialist Party

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 18 February 2013 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

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