Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/793/17922
Birmingham Labour council 'consults' over £87 million cuts
Clive, Birmingham Socialist Party
Birmingham's Labour city council plans another £87 million of cuts in the 2014-15 financial year. As expected its 'consultation' was just an opportunity for the council leader to present a slick presentation with the usual mantra of 'there is nothing else we can do'.
Not one of the contributions from the floor supported the cuts. Damagingly for the council and its notion of handing over whole services to the voluntary sector, a number of volunteers who work in the city's parks categorically stated that they can't do their voluntary work without the help of professional council workers!
The council has abandoned the concept of public service and use as its blueprint the recently opened Harborne Leisure Centre which is council funded but run by the private sector!
No entire service will be closed in the next financial year but no such guarantees could be made for the year after that.
The council leader once again told the assembled audience that they could not pass a 'needs budget' because it would be unlawful and commissioners would be sent in.
But two anti-cuts councillors in Southampton last year proposed a 'legal' needs budget based on initially using reserves and borrowing, and campaigning for the needed funds from central government. So why couldn't Birmingham do the same?
The council leader is misleading the public to hide his political cowardice.
A delegation from the Maypole Youth Centre applauded when I told the council leader he should resign.
There will be a strong anti-cuts challenge in this year's elections including candidates from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition that will raise the profile of the fight against cuts and provide a political alternative to the Labour Party in Birmingham.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is an electoral alliance that stands candidates against all cuts and privatisation. It involves the RMT transport workers' union, leading members of other trade unions including the PCS, NUT and POA, and socialist groups including the Socialist Party.
In The Socialist 8 January 2014:
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