Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/188/8060
Hackney: stand up to these attacks
MAX CALLER, Hackney council's managing director, and Hackney's councillors are giving council workers and residents no New Year's cheer.
They already aim to force through cuts of £4 million this year. Now, they want to add a further £9 million to the £18 million that they already plan to cut in financial year 2001/2002. They want to follow this up with £10 million cuts for 2002/2003 and £11 million in the following year!
This will lead to a wholesale butchering of jobs and services in Hackney whatever "Mad Max" might say. The joint Tory and Labour leadership of the council admit that "this will be a painful process for some".
Yet Max Caller isn't even prepared to defend his ideas in public. In December, Hackney Socialist Party challenged him to a debate. But since his drubbing at the hands of a mass meeting of Hackney council workers in November, he seems strangely reluctant to defend himself.
Ina reply to a Socialist Party open letter Caller accuses us of using gestures and empty words. But who's using empty words? Caller's trying to convince workers that they should face job cuts and pay cuts whilst he enjoys a very comfortable lifestyle on £150,000 a year!
Caller sees just one way out of the current situation - privatisation through leeches like Serviceteam who now run the refuse and street cleaning services. He argues that it's pointless to argue for more funding from central government. He claims: "Asset sales are the only way for us to move forward now."
At Christmas, Hackney council tried to get public justification for their cuts in a very crude questionnaire that starts off "Hackney tenants- you could win £100".
However, the only options that they give had nothing to do with winning! They included cuts or rent increases or both ranging from £8-a-week rent rises to £6.1 million cuts in the housing budget. Hackney Socialist Party plans a suitable response to this latest council propaganda.
Max Caller and Hackney council's leaders were shaken by council workers' and residents' response to their attacks, particularly the magnificent strike on 20 December.
We must keep up the pressure through ensuring further strike action takes place this month. We must also develop the community campaign, build a mass united movement to defeat these attacks and win the extra resources that Hackney people so desperately need.
In The Socialist 12 January 2001: