Photo: TUSC North Tyneside
Photo: TUSC North Tyneside

Tom Allen, TUSC Independent Socialist

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) members including myself attended a demonstration against the proposed closure of Dunston and Gateshead Leisure centres outside Gateshead Council offices on 20 December last year.

As a frequent user of Dunston leisure centre’s swimming pool, I see on a regular basis how valuable this is to the local community. It is packed with young and old, both free swimming and having swimming lessons.

The closure of these would have a severe impact as the next nearest pool is Blaydon, over 5 miles away! This would impact those who cannot drive due to lack of suitable public transport. Service users at Blaydon would inevitably see a much busier pool with long waiting times.

Candidates standing under the TUSC banner commit to fighting all cuts to jobs and services. I was extremely frustrated with the council’s poor public consultation. Attending this meeting was the catalyst for my intention to stand in the next council elections.

Over the next few months myself and others will be out and about campaigning, putting forward a real working-class alternative to the current Labour-run council. We are also urging all those interested in coming to stand with us, to put as many TUSC candidates on the ballot paper as possible.