Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/788/17743
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: We need councillors who refuse to implement cuts
Councils have experienced one of the biggest government 'departmental cuts' with 27% slashed by 2014-15 compared to 2009-10.
It is not true however that councils have 'no option' but to pass on the Con-Dems' cuts.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition has agreed a policy platform, outlined below, to contest local council elections in 2014.
Even one councillor in each local authority taking a stand, if they used their position in the council chamber to appeal to those outside, could give confidence to trade unionists and community campaigners to fight.
All TUSC councillors will:
- Oppose all cuts to council jobs, services, pay and conditions - we reject the claim that 'some cuts' are necessary to our services
- Support all workers' struggles against the cuts, privatisation and the government's policy of making ordinary people pay for the crisis caused by the bankers and the bosses
- Reject increases in council tax, rent and service charges to compensate for government cuts
- Defend national collective bargaining arrangements for council workers
- Vote against the privatisation of council jobs and services
- Oppose racism and fascism and stand up for equality for all
- Use all the legal powers available to councils, including powers to refer local NHS decisions, initiate referenda and organise public commissions and consultations, to oppose both cuts and privatisation
- Campaign for the introduction of a Living Wage above the minimum wage, including for all council and contractor employees
- Refuse to implement cuts. Reserves and prudential borrowing powers can be used initially. Set a budget that meets the needs of the local community. Build a mass movement which demands that the government makes up the shortfall
- Support action against climate change. Sustainability before profit.
We won't pay for their crisis!
If you agree - stand for TUSC!
To see TUSC's full policy platform and find out more about becoming a candidate, go to www.tusc.org.uk
Southampton rebel councillors table anti-austerity motion
On 11 November, Labour controlled Southampton city council announced more savage cuts to jobs and services.
This is on top of £16 million last year, with millions more to come over the next two years at least.
Councillors Keith Morrell and Don Thomas refused to vote for cuts last year, and were rewarded with expulsion from the Labour Party.
Yet, because of the campaign they led to save Oaklands Swimming Pool, the council U-turned and announced it will fund repairs needed to re-open the pool.
The campaign, involving council trade unions, community groups, pool users, supporters in Coxford and throughout the city, shows that if you stand up and fight, then you can win!
In the face of the latest cuts, Keith and Don have tabled a motion for full council on Wednesday 20 November.
Their resolution calls on the council to reject "the government's argument for cutting local authority spending.
"It is the bankers and the super-rich, who created the world financial crisis, who should be made to pay, not ordinary people and council workers in Southampton.
"This council demands from the government the funding needed to maintain services. As a first step to mobilising support for the council's stand, public and private-sector trades unions, community, tenants, youth and pensioners groups from across the city will be invited to a pre-budget conference to discuss the real budget needs of the city."
Keith and Don invite all those who agree to join them outside the 20 November council meeting at 1pm.
Sue Atkins, Southampton Itchen Socialist Party
Labour council cuts show the need to build TUSC
Newham's Labour-run council has routinely showed contempt for the poorest and most vulnerable in the east London borough.
It has imposed the hated bedroom tax, withdrawn council tax benefit support, axed thousands of jobs including teaching assistants and teachers, cutting most of its language translation services, scrapped much of its free English language teaching, demolished the Atherton leisure centre, and cut much more besides.
Newham council's latest attack is to effectively evict 29 young single mothers from the UK's largest hostel for homeless young people.
The Focus E15 project, which helps homeless young people into work and education by providing one-bedroom accommodation, is evicting these 29 vulnerable people because the council has cut a £41,000 supporting people fund at the hostel.
£41,000 is a miniscule amount compared to the Labour mayor's £81,000 annual salary (plus expenses), or the financial losses the council made on its reckless decision to relocate administrative services into a single docklands site known as Building 1000 - leaving former administrative buildings empty and unsold.
Despite Newham being Britain's most deprived borough, the council's much criticised move to Building 1000 in 2010 cost over £110 million (including £18.7 million on refurbishing) and is now relocating services back to its old offices!
At September's full Leicester city council meeting, the Labour dominated council voted unanimously to shut down four of Leicester's eight elderly person's homes. 2,400 petition signatures opposed the council's latest attack on Leicester's most vulnerable residents.
According to the council the cuts were justified as:
- Fewer people were choosing to be housed in council-run homes
- The homes are not fully occupied
- It is cheaper to house people in private sector homes
However, as a Leicester resident told councillors: "It is not the number of people choosing council-run homes that is falling.
"The council is effectively managing referrals to prevent further permanent admissions, as outlined in the council's Adult Social Care Transformation report."
It is also patently transparent to all but the most limited free-market inclined number-crunchers that providing care through the private sector is not cheaper or more effective than the public sector.
On 16 October, Labour-controlled Wolverhampton city council announced £64.4 million of cuts with another £33 million to come, including:
- Ending a £316,000 subsidy for the city's Central Baths, meaning it will close unless it is taken over
- Reduced library opening hours with the introduction of internet access fees
- School meal costs to rise
- All youth club activities to move to a planned £6 million city centre Youth Zone with volunteers having to run the rest
- Food waste collections under review
- Voluntary group grants cut by £1.6 million
- 2% council tax increase in April
These cuts come on top of 1,000 job losses recently announced.
Yet again a Labour councillor - finance chief Andrew Johnson - has declared: "we have no choice". But TUSC candidates say you do - stand up against the government or stand aside!
Labour-led Rhondda Cynon Taf council is cutting £56 million in over four years which would take away nursery places for three year olds, youth centres, meals on wheels at weekends, half of libraries and more. 100 parents protested outside the council against the nursery cuts on 30 October.
In The Socialist 13 November 2013:
Socialist Party news and analysis
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Socialist Party reviews