Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18456
Pre-election anti-austerity demonstration called in Salford
Kevin Corran, Salford Against Cuts secretary
On 3rd April, Salford Against the Cuts (SAC) called a public meeting to discuss the devastating cuts to vulnerable people proposed by Salford council. This brought together trade unionists, workers, service users, carers, and community activists. Over 150 people attended the meeting to vent their anger and plan to challenge these attacks on our community.
There were representatives from all the services under attack, including the mental health services, Care on Call, youth services, homelessness services, welfare rights, and transport for vulnerable adults. They joined forces to oppose the devastating cuts to the public service budget proposed by the Labour council.
The four main speakers detailed how these attacks on services will affect the communities they serve. Steve Cullen (USUC) described how mental health services continue to be under attack, and how resisting these attacks, in an organised campaign, has won victories over the last couple of years.
George Tapp (Salford Pensioners Association) talked about the impact on the elderly, including those who rely on the Care on Call service. This was supported on numerous occasions by carers who talked about their own personal circumstances and how the Care on Call service makes their lives tolerable.
Noreen Bailey, a carer for her son, described how the cuts to the transport service for vulnerable adults will undermine the safety of her daughter. She also called for a rally at Salford Civic Centre on Saturday 17th May to challenge the council. This was supported by the meeting when a vote was called.
The meeting also voted to support anti-cuts candidates in the local elections in May, agreeing with a motion put forward by Steve Cullen, who will be standing as a TUSC candidate (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition). Three other people at the meeting also signed up to stand for TUSC.
The meeting voted to call for a delegation of Labour councillors, trade unionists, service user groups and carers to lobby the three main political party leaders in London, with the makeup of the delegation to be agreed by a steering group of people from the meeting.
There were many powerful testimonies of how these devastating cuts will wreak havoc on the people of Salford. The anger and disgust aimed at a council that is imposing the Tory cuts, was the catalyst that produced a great feeling of solidarity and confidence among all the campaigns, leading to an organised campaign and rally against cuts in Salford.
The rally - on the lawn of the Civic Centre - before the local elections will act as a springboard for the Salford TUSC candidates to challenge those who attack the vulnerable to pay for the mistakes of the bankers.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 14 April 2014 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.