Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/806/18442
Save Leicester Race Equality Centre
In the last 50 years Leicester Race Equality Centre (TREC) has given advice and support to an estimated 150,000 people.
Leicester is one of the few cities left in the UK with a Race Equality Centre. The city has been touted by the council, with its slogan "One Leicester", as a model of multiculturalism. Yet this has been shown to be a hollow boast by the decision to cut funding for TREC.
Asylum seekers and immigrants in the city still face prejudice. Campaigners for the centre feel that its political stance in standing up for the rights of minorities against the council has contributed to the council's decision to cut its funding.
If TREC is cut, people seeking support will have to go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, which is itself under-funded and over-stretched.
Leicester's Labour-dominated council and Sir Peter Soulsby, the city's Labour mayor, are also cutting many other services - for example nine adventure playgrounds and 133 workers in children's services.
Members of TREC and other local campaigns approached the Socialist Party and Leicestershire Against The Cuts to fight the plans by petitioning to remove the office of executive mayor altogether.
We highlighted that just getting rid of a mayor wasn't going to solve all of the problems in the city - wherever Labour councillors vote for cuts, we vow to stand against them in elections.
130 people came to a public meeting called to oppose the cuts. We decided to organise a lobby of the council's next meeting (9 April).
A petition to support the Race Equality Centre is available at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/help-save-the-race-equality-centre and the Save Our Services Sack Soulsby petition can be found at: www.goo.gl/XGzhUd
The Socialist Party supports these petitions, but believes that petitioning alone is not enough. The council has already ignored the findings of 'consultations'. We need a mass movement to force them to back down.
We point out that there is no need to cut services. The council has reserves, which instead of paying employees' redundancy payments, could be used to keep services open while the council, linking up with the Leicester working class, fought the Tory cuts.
In The Socialist 9 April 2014:
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