Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/180/7966
Councillors drag Hackney into backruptcy while government owes £50 million
Defend Jobs and Services
NEW LABOUR has gone further than the hated Tories in their pursuit of 'free-market' policies, forcing councils across Britain to privatise services and slash the pay and conditions of council workers. On top of this we've had years of mismanagement and incompetence.
Hackney council in East London faces bankrupcy. Services are already inadequate and there is a shortfall of up to £40 million. They are considering making £4.5 million of cuts on 6 November, with a further £18 million at the end of the financial year. Unelected council officers have already frozen all but the bare minimum of expenditure. Yet over the last three years over £50 million has been stolen by central government from funds due to Hackney.
The council won't fight for the people of Hackney. They are willing to push through drastic cuts to avoid bankruptcy but don't care about the devastating effects on council workers' jobs or those affected by the withdrawal of services.
Only action by the council workforce, linking up with community campaigns, such as the nursery occupations, (see page 10) can stop the cuts and force the government to provide the funds. Hackney UNISON has already voted to ballot for industrial action and to support additional action, including selective walkouts.
The Socialist Party supports the proposal for UNISON to convene a conference of council unions, tenants associations, voluntary groups and others dependent on council funding. This would form the basis of a broad, democratic campaign against the cuts which could draw up a budget of what is needed to provide decent services in Hackney, and investigate the mismanagement of the council's finances. This conference should also decide council candidates who will fight for services and campaign for the return of the £50 million stolen from Hackney .
Already a meeting of representatives of Hackney tenant's organisations has enthusiastically supported this demand and want to participate in organising such a conference.
The Socialist Says
- All the Hackney councillors should resign now.
- Support the walkout on 6 November, when the council meets to decide how much to cut. 12.30pm, Hackney town hall. Bring Hackney to a standstill!
- All the political parties on the council are responsible for this crisis. More and more workers are discussing the need for a new party to represent their interests. The Socialist Party has councillors in Coventry and Lewisham involved in and leading campaigns to save jobs and services.
- Join the Socialist Party today in the fight for decent public services.
In The Socialist 3 November 2000: