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Bolton council gives £300k to solicitors while making swingeing cuts
Bolton Unison shop steward
Bolton Socialist Party is backing mounting calls for the leader of the Labour council, Cliff Morris, to resign over the use of emergency powers to hand over £300,000 to an ambulance chasing solicitor, Asons.
The decision was taken in secret, using emergency powers, with only the Tory opposition leader present, who then leaked the decision to the local press.
Morris and his Labour cronies have argued that the company needed the £300,000 to keep 400-500 jobs in the town centre.
But Asons workforce is currently at no more than 150 and they have already spent £1.1 million on purchasing and refurbishing new office space in the town centre. The more likely reason for the money, it seems, is to cover Asons' unpaid tax bill!
Meanwhile, the council recently announced further swingeing cuts to jobs and services - £42.5 million over the next two years. They have agreed to use reserves to the tune of £30 million, but why not use an extra £12.5 million and avoid making any cuts this year? Over the past six years, more than £100 million of cuts have been made and hundreds of jobs have been axed.
These latest cuts include attacks on school crossing patrols, public health programmes for the most vulnerable in the town, youth and play services and school meals subsidies.
On 30 November, around 150 people protested outside a full council meeting to demand the resignation of Cliff Morris.
At the meeting, the opposition Tory, Lib Dem and Ukip councillors had attempted to force a split in the Labour group by proposing a motion condemning the money for Asons.
However, in the same way that they dutifully vote for cuts every year, the Labour group unanimously backed Morris and the secret deal!
The Socialist Party in Bolton supported the call made by Bolton Unison trade union branch to attend the demo and demand "money for jobs and services, not ambulance chasers". It is vital that the trade union movement in the town link the campaign to get rid of Morris and his dirty dealing to the fight against the cuts to jobs and services.