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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 January 2016

Unite the Union local government committee votes for no-cuts budgets

Council cuts can be fought

Paul Kershaw, Chair of Unite branch LE1111

The national committee for local government (Nisc) of Unite the Union has called on Labour councils to set 'no-cuts' budgets. This is an important development, building on Unite's long standing opposition to all cuts.

Potholes

Responding to Osborne's spending plans last autumn, even the Tory chair of the Local Government Association, Lord Porter, denounced Osborne's attack: "If councils stopped filling in potholes, maintaining parks, closed all children's centres, libraries, museums, leisure centres and turned off every street light", he complained, they will still "not have saved enough money to plug the financial black hole they face by 2020".

The motion passed by the Nisc says that its position will now be:

58 Labour councils face elections in May, they hold around 4.5 billion in general fund reserves and another 1.36 billion in housing revenue account and capital receipt reserves and this does not include the vast reserves held by Labour-controlled councils in London (not facing election this year).

There is no legal impediment to them pooling reserves to ensure they can all set no-cuts budgets. Many authorities planning to implement vicious cuts this year have sufficient reserves to avoid cuts individually - cutting is a political choice.

Such is the depth of planned cuts that even a Tory/Independent coalition administration in Stoke on Trent is using 15.5 million of reserves to stop further cuts in 2016-17. Although they are, of course, not likely to build a campaign against Tory cuts!

Ironically the previous Labour administration had claimed that this was not possible and instead forced through 150 million in cuts.

The enormous support for Jeremy Corbyn's election campaign and the growth in Labour's membership since then show the potential for a campaigning, anti-austerity Labour Party. We would encourage Labour councillors to protect services and build on the new support that the party has attracted.

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In The Socialist 20 January 2016:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Unite the fightback: Coordinated strikes needed

United workers' action can save NHS

Water firms' 1.2bn in profit off human need

Political policing: Met spy targeted socialists

Trident debate: socialist programme needed

Housing crisis reaches level of 1960s

Civil service: 1bn on consultants

Outrageous attacks on Corbyn for 'sexism'

Them & Us


Socialist history

1986 Wapping strike - Defeat of the print unions


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

People's Budget meeting success

Carmarthenshire Unison campaigns against council cuts

Unite the Union local government committee votes for no-cuts budgets

Preparing a no-cuts people's budget

Momentum and democracy in Hackney and beyond

Angry Labour meeting puts councillors under fire

Gateshead carers oppose respite centre closures

Celebrating Eleanor Marx's birthday


Socialist Party workplace news

Nationalise Tata to save steel jobs!

Tube workers to strike again to defend jobs and conditions

Reinstatement victory for John Vasey

Shop workers lobby council against Sunday opening

Workplace news in brief


International socialist news and analysis

USA: Fight the billionaire class!

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets

Northern Ireland: Defy anti-abortion laws


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Letters to the Socialist


 

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