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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 August 2017

How much reserves have councils got?

Labour councils have enough in reserves and borrowing powers to stop austerity tomorrow, photo TaxRebate.org.uk (Creative Commons)

Labour councils have enough in reserves and borrowing powers to stop austerity tomorrow, photo TaxRebate.org.uk (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

New TUSC report shows potential for councils to end cuts

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) has launched a new report on the level of reserves held by Labour-led councils. It argues that "the substantial resources of the local state under the control of the Labour Party" could be used to fight austerity now, "without waiting for a change of government."

The statistical profile of all 124 Labour-led councils in Britain is entitled 'How much reserves have they got?' It shows what a counter-power to Theresa May's 'weak and wobbly' government they could be - if they were prepared to turn Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity message into action.

The report's introduction points out that Labour councils' combined spending power is greater than the total state budgets of 16 EU member states!

If they declared they will use their borrowing powers and reserves to immediately stop all cuts - in the expectation they would be reimbursed by a future Corbyn-led government - what could the Tories do?

The TUSC report will be important source material for anti-cuts campaigners.

Labour-led Birmingham council is attempting to impose job losses and wage cuts on its refuse workers to 'save' 5 million, provoking a bitter strike. But 5 million is around 1% of its usable general reserves of over 400 million!

Jeremy Corbyn should instruct the councillors to withdraw their attacks on the workers now or face not being able to stand as Labour candidates in next year's elections.

Meanwhile Bristol's Labour mayor, Marvin Rees, has written an open letter to council leaders calling on them to "harness the energy" of anti-austerity campaigns. He wants to use them against "the weakened position of the government," proposing a September lobby of parliament.

This hasn't stopped Rees planning new cuts for next year's council budget. But his call is significant because of his warning to the other Labour council leaders that "if we don't lead this energy, someone else will."

Who could he mean? Is it just a coincidence that in the last local elections in Bristol, May 2016, TUSC candidates polled over 4,700 votes across the city, including in the mayoral contest, on a 'no-cuts budget' programme?

In launching the report, TUSC national chairperson and Socialist Party member Dave Nellist said: "There is a chance to show in the months ahead what Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity policies could mean in practice if Labour councillors refused to vote for cuts in the council chambers.

"This TUSC report will be a powerful tool in the fight to make that happen."

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In The Socialist 9 August 2017:


What we think

Venezuela shows battle Corbyn would face


Socialist Party news and analysis

Striking back against poverty pay

Rashan Charles death: End police racism and austerity

Coventry: march following racist police killing

Government's tribunal fees defeat

40% of England's psychiatric wards are 'unsafe'


Marx's Capital at 150

Marx's Capital at 150: an unequalled analysis


Socialist Party workplace news

Angry Birmingham bin workers enter fifth week of strike action

Barts strike: Keep up the pressure on Serco and the trust!

Steel workers at Rom Ltd strike for a pay rise

Coordinated action needed to break pay restraint

End poverty pay for sleep-in care workers

RMT condemns Welsh government rail privatisation


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Young, angry and fighting back

Young Socialists off to a flying start in Cardiff

Campaign fights closure of Chatsworth rehab ward

Support for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

Northern Pride's a success

Housing safety campaign kicks off in Coventry

Far-right thrown out of Newcastle

Postie paper sale


International socialist news and analysis

Venezuela: Capitalist offensive sharpens after assembly elections

Workers' struggles in Peru: eyewitness report


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

How much reserves have councils got?


Global finance

Global finance: Are those storm clouds ahead?


Music review

Crunchy guitar and poignant dialogue in alt-rock homage to south Wales miners


 

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