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From The Socialist newspaper, 5 January 2011

A real strategy to fight the cuts

The following open letter has been sent to Joe Anderson, leader of Liverpool City Council, by members of the 1983-87 group of 47 surcharged councillors.
Dear Joe,

We note in your declarations that you claim there is nothing the council can do other than implement the Con-Dem cuts more humanely than government commissioners.

Workers and their families will not notice the difference between you and Tory commissioners, the effect will be the same.

We would suggest that there are several steps you could take as part of a strategy to fight the cuts.

Liverpool lobby of council: Tony Mulhearn (holding The Socialist), waiting to speak, Daren Ireland, RMT and President of Liverpool TUC, addressing demo , photo Merseyside Socialist Party

Liverpool lobby of council: Tony Mulhearn (holding The Socialist), waiting to speak, Daren Ireland, RMT and President of Liverpool TUC, addressing demo , photo Merseyside Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

You claim that, in addition to the projected shortfall of 120 million, the government proposes to cut up to a billion pounds over the next four years.

We reject the notion that cuts of such magnitude can be managed without savaging the incomes, employment and living standards of workers.

The alternative strategy we propose is a bold campaigning one, which the city council of 1983-1987 pursued.

The first step should be to use the council's budget reserve, reported in the Echo as 80 million, to maintain current funding levels in areas which the Con-Dem alliance is cutting.

This would buy time for more decisive measures to defeat the cuts. We understand that your figures for reserves may differ, if so then please explain the situation according to council figures.

In addition you could take Liverpool Direct back in-house thus saving a reported 29 million a year.

Then, as we did in 1983-87, you should work out how much is required to fund the existing council services in 2011 and pass a budget in line with inflation.

This would no doubt produce a short-fall in the council's income. The amount of the shortfall could be identified, say 50 million.

A campaign could then be launched to oppose the cuts with the specific demand that 50 million be restored to the Liverpool City Council as a means of defending jobs and services.

You could issue a call for all local authorities to embrace the same strategy, and call for support from the local authority trade unions and the wider labour movement, in concert with community organisations which are planning to resist any cuts in their own localities.

If Liverpool makes a courageous stand, this could act as a beacon to other local authorities and campaigning organisations to join the campaign.

If a number of the main local authorities adopted this strategy of refusing to cut jobs and services to compensate for Tory cuts, backed up by a campaign of mass demonstrations and industrial action, the Tories would be compelled to retreat.

Already the magnificent action of the students has created chaos in the ranks of the Lib Dem wing of the government which, let us remember, is ruling without a popular mandate.

We call on the Labour group to totally reject the cuts and to join, not with the Lib Dems, but with the trade union and labour movement in defending the mass of Liverpool's working people.

It was such a campaigning strategy which resulted in the Thatcher government releasing funds to the city worth some 60 million which allowed us to carry out our electoral promises.

The alternative is a programme of cuts which will devastate the jobs and services which thousands of working families rely on, and signal a return to the dark days which we inherited in 1983.

Those dark days resulted from a catastrophic 65% collapse in the Liverpool economy between the mid-seventies and 1983, made worse by the 30 million which the Tory government cut from Liverpool's rate support grant.

If the Con-Dem cuts are implemented in Liverpool we will see a return of those dark days which we should all campaign to avoid.

Signed: Paul Astbury, Harry Smith, Tony Mulhearn, Alan Fogg, Felicity Dowling, Frank Mills, Tony Rimmer

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In The Socialist 5 January 2011:


National Shop Stewards Network

We'll resist Cameron's 'hard times'

NSSN anti-cuts conference: Trade unionists to debate the way forward

A real strategy to fight the cuts


Socialist Party youth and students

March together, win together: students and workers join the demonstration in Manchester on 29 January

29 January demonstration in Manchester: Students and young workers unite


Socialist Party feature

2011: a year of sharpening struggle


Socialist Party news and analysis

Rail operators profit from commuter misery

Northern Ireland water crisis: Privatisation agenda wrecks service utility

NHS cutbacks - health bosses and government to blame

Tommy Sheridan trial - guilty verdict is a sham

Private ownership, public pollution


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Fight the NHS pay freeze!

Heinz strike again

Birmingham bin workers fight back

More pay strikes at Newsquest papers

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition conference on 22 January 2011

Trade unions must fight for agency workers' rights


Obituaries

Tribute to John Macreadie, trade unionist and socialist fighter

Grunwick: leader of historic strike dies


Socialist Party review

Fela! the musical


 

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