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Doncaster TUSC: TUSC's programme for local jobs and services
Steve Williams, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate to become Doncaster's mayor had to send his apologies to the Chamber of Commerce invitation to the mayoral hustings at the chamber's business conference on 21 April.
Steve is not a professional politician. He works as a mental health nurse in the NHS. He was rostered to work on the night and, like most workers, could not take time off.
However, Steve has issued a statement of his policies which TUSC believes would benefit the Doncaster economy, create jobs and raise wages. These include refusing to carry out the Tory government-imposed cuts in council spending, implementing a £10 an hour minimum wage, a mass council house building programme and inviting small businesses to contribute to his 'peoples budget'.
Steve said: "TUSC opposes the Conservative government cuts in local authority funding which has taken £106 million a year out of the council's budget and the local economy. But the Labour council and mayor have passed on the Tory cuts without standing up for local people and plan another £67 million cuts by 2021.
"Instead, I propose a people's budget that in the first instance would draw on council reserves and prudential borrowing powers to set a legal no-cuts budget and introduce economically stimulative policies. I would build support locally for such policies and link with other councils to force a change in central government economic policy.
"Average wages actually fell in absolute terms in Doncaster between 2011 and 2015! That's why I would introduce a £10 an hour minimum wage for all council and contracted staff and encourage workers in the private sector to join a trade union.
"I would initiate a mass council house building programme that would both tackle the housing crisis and homelessness, and provide contracts, jobs and training in the local economy.
"I would invite local small businesses to contribute to my people's budget. Local council procurement policies could include, post-Brexit, giving first preference to local businesses and local employment, and require companies bidding for public sector contracts to pay suppliers within 30 days."