Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/648/10662
The Socialist 23 November 2010 |
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Fighting cuts: A militant stance is what's needed
IAN PAGE, a former Socialist Party councillor in the south London borough of Lewisham wrote a letter (see below), which was printed in the Evening Standard, criticising the reported actions of Labour councillors from the borough who are attempting to wash their hands of any responsibility for cuts in services.
THE LABOUR councillor introducing last week's cuts package in Lewisham blamed an international crisis and the actions of the coalition government.
He didn't mention that the reductions were part of £60 million cuts agreed by a Labour council and mayor back in March under a Labour government.
Aside from high-profile cuts such as library closures, there are many others that will be invisible to the general public but devastating for those concerned: such as the closure of Opening Doors, a service for the long-term unemployed providing them with access to facilities to move them towards employment; cuts to adult social care, and the cancellation of project work to raise aspirations in areas of intergenerational unemployment. The most vulnerable, isolated people are in no position to organise and highlight their plight.
Councillors could use council reserves and "prudential borrowing" to buy time and build a mass campaign in order to bolster their demand for more money from central government. Through such methods Liverpool council successfully won £60 million back from the Thatcher government. When councillors refuse to do this, unions and the community should coordinate strike action and direct action to defend our services.
Ian Page, former Socialist Party councillor, Lewisham.