Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/525/3913
Sack the mayor - not the wardens!
Doncaster's New Labour mayor, Martin Winter, thinks he can turn silver into gold! He plans to sell off council assets to fund his 'prestige' project, a £300 million 'Civic and Cultural' quarter in the town centre. He accused councillors of being "stupid" for questioning his grandiose plans which will cost council tax payers £3.4 million a year.
He has even more contempt for his council staff, whose jobs and the services they provide are being cut due to a £6.3 million overspend.
These job cuts will be mainly low-paid workers providing essential social services for vulnerable people, education, children's services, libraries and neighbourhood teams. One library worker told us they were all informed that their jobs were "at risk" by email!
Most shockingly, the council plans to axe the warden service at sheltered accommodation, mainly affecting the elderly and disabled. Instead, residents will have to ring a central control to call out a warden.
So if clients are going to collapse, they need to organise to do it near the alarm buzzer! This cost-cutting exercise could cost lives.
At the same time, Mr Winter's salary has increased to £73,000 and his 'stupid' councillors voted to double their own allowances.
No wonder Doncaster Socialist Party's campaign slogan of "Sack the Mayor, not the wardens" strikes a chord with local people. Winter is very unpopular and that's putting it mildly. And now he's hired a new chief executive, Paul Hart, on £170,000 pa (the previous one got a £120,000 pay-off!) to carry out his New Labour cuts.
Hart has stated that initially 250 posts will go but a figure of 600 appeared in the local press. He said: "We believe these posts are not essential". Tell that to the old folk who won't see a warden from one day to the next.
Hart is now paying consultants to explore 'sharing options' to get "better value for money by joining forces" with the private sector. In other words: privatisation. This goes along with six new Academy schools and the closing of a popular local school, Hall Cross.
The Socialist Party will be encouraging the council trade unions, teachers and school students to join forces in fighting these cuts and privatisation.
In The Socialist 19 March 2008:
National Union of Teachers Conference
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party news and analysis
Post Office closures
Socialist Party congress 2008
International socialist news and analysis