Workers and young people in 260 local election contests, and every elector in Leicester and Mansfield where Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates are standing for mayor, will have a chance to vote for a 100% anti-austerity socialist candidate on 4 May. Socialist Party members are taking part in these campaigns alongside other trade unionists, community campaigners, students and more.

All TUSC candidates pledge to refuse to implement Tory cuts in the council chambers, to use their powers to set no-cuts needs budgets, and build mass campaigns to win back the resources taken from communities by over a decade of austerity.

Every council candidate using the TUSC name on the ballot paper has committed to the coalition’s core policy platform for the local elections, a list of minimum policy pledges which provides a clear socialist, anti-austerity alternative to the establishment parties.

Find the TUSC core polices and the full list of TUSC candidates at See if you can vote for one of the 260 candidates, and find a local election challenge which you can help take part in.

An anti-austerity choice in the Leicester Mayoral election

Steve Score, Leicester Mayor Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidate and Socialist Party member

“What’s the point of Labour if it’s going to be the same as the Tories?” was just one comment we got while out campaigning in the local elections in Leicester.

One current ex-Labour councillor and two past Labour councillors are among TUSC candidates in Leicester, standing in nine wards and for the city mayoral seat. All the candidates are local campaigners, including in the recent campaign by residents against a massive hike in the district heating charges imposed by the council.

In a city that after the last local elections in 2019 had 53 Labour councillors out of 54 seats, Labour is now in turmoil. 19 Labour councillors were removed days before the election campaign began by a panel appointed by the Labour Party nationally. Others had already left the Labour Party. Although some of those removed were not socialists – three of them are now standing for the Tories – it also reflected the top-down transformation of the Labour Party under Keir Starmer to make it acceptable to big business. Any councillors who disagreed with the city mayoral system or were in any way opposed to the cuts were turfed out. One of those, Ruma Ali, is now standing for TUSC. Other ex-Labour councillors are standing as independents, one as a Green.

Anger at heating charge hike

The 108% minimum jump in district heating charges was actually a climb down by the council since their original plan was to more than quadruple it! It was only a massive campaign involving residents that won the concession. But it is an indication of the callous disregard for working-class people that the City Mayor and council have. A decision to close the residential unit of a special needs school was opportunistically delayed until after the election.

They have enthusiastically passed on the government’s cuts, spending on council services has been reduced by around £60 million over the last seven years, slashing youth and community services, welfare rights, homeless provision and more.

Our candidates have a record of fighting. Two of them, Wayne Naylor and Barbara Potter, then TUSC councillors, put an anti-cuts amendment to the city council budget in 2015 having previously called a local conference to discuss a ‘people’s budget’.

The mayoral system has become a major issue. All the mayoral candidates bar the Labour City Mayor himself say they would either end the mayoral system or organise a referendum on it. But it is only the Socialist Party and TUSC which has consistently opposed it from the start and pledged to abolish it every time we stood. We pointed out that the usurping of a committee based, more accountable council system made it harder to push the council to listen to local working-class people. Instead, power is concentrated into the hands of a remote mayor, whose patronage is required to get into the cabinet.

TUSC in Leicester is proposing to use the more than £200 million available in reserves to reverse cuts and allow time to build a mass campaign to force the money we need for the Tories. Beyond the elections we hope to build on an anti-cuts alliance that is now being forged, with some independent candidates approaching TUSC even after the election began.

Young people need an alternative to cuts-making Labour

Noah Eden, Sheffield TUSC candidate and Socialist Students

Young people have suffered from over a decade of Tory austerity. The Tories are hated by many young people. But who can we rely on to represent working-class and young people and fight for us in the council chambers?

Keir Starmer is making the Labour Party a safe space for the bosses, and Labour councils up and down the country continue the Tories’ dirty work locally by carrying out cuts to public services and raising council tax. This is exacerbating the cost-of-living crisis workers already face. And the so-called progressive Greens are not much better either. In Sheffield, where I intend to stand, they refused to vote against the £43 million of cuts to the social care budget for next year.

Young people can, however, rely on Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) candidates to fight for their interests if elected. Jeremy Corbyn inspired millions of students and young workers with the anti-austerity policies in his 2019 manifesto. Keir Starmer is doing all he can to remove any trace of Corbynism left in the party, including blocking Corbyn from standing as a Labour MP. It’s safe to say we won’t be seeing Labour fighting for these policies any time soon. But TUSC will!

Councils could immediately implement many of the policies in Corbyn’s manifesto. They could reinstate grant money to help students at school and college, previously called Education Maintenance Allowance, and extend free school meals to all. Councils could start good-quality, affordable, mass council house building programmes, capping rents for all including student housing.

If elected, TUSC candidates pledge to refuse to implement the cuts and commit to help to build mass campaigns involving unions, community campaigns and residents to win back the resources stolen from our communities. On this basis we could invest in transport, leisure and cultural spaces to provide young people with decent jobs and a decent place to live.

On 4 May, vote for a socialist alternative, vote TUSC!

Why I am standing for TUSC in Bromsgrove

Jude Byrne, Bromsgrove TUSC candidate and Socialist Party

5 April would have been my mum’s 102nd birthday. Despite all the odds, amazingly she made it to 100 years of age. Sadly she died during the Covid restrictions without her family around her. Widowed at age 36 with two young children in 1958, it was a hell of a struggle!

During my childhood years I witnessed the hardship and discrimination she endured as a widowed woman; although that discrimination has lessened, hardship still continues for low-paid workers. Childcare costs equivalent to almost all your salary. Families forced to use food banks. Utility and council tax bills going through the roof. And young people leaving university thousands of pounds in debt. 

We cannot continue this way. We cannot afford to.

Our beloved NHS has been deliberately run down by consecutive governments leaving it hardly fit for purpose. Nurses’ and doctors’ wages driven down over years. Patients lying in corridors and ambulances for hours. Ridiculous waits for surgery and cancer treatments. All while the richest few get wealthier. Lucrative sections of the NHS ‘cherry picked’ and taken over by private companies to generate profit at the expense of our health!

There is plenty of cash in this country but it’s in the wrong hands. Billionaires made obscene profits during the Covid pandemic. Councils, Labour, Tory, Lib Dem and Green, have spent over a decade cutting local services, refusing to use their financial powers to resist cuts and fight for the resources local people need.

Our society is suffering, made worse by the loss of children and young people’s services. Permanent, high-quality council housing is almost non-existent while the Tories try to blame the housing crisis on refugees fleeing gruesome conditions and wars. 

The current parties at Westminster are destroying our livelihoods and our planet.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is prepared to stand up for what I believe in, treating all people fairly. I want to see a socialist society that meets the needs of humanity and protects the planet for the future.

Standing for the local council as a socialist candidate is my way of trying to catalyse change. 

We have to start somewhere!

Why I am standing in Reading

Melanie Dent, Reading TUSC candidate and Socialist Party member

I live in a working-class area of Reading in the Redlands council ward and am also a Reading Borough Council tenant.

Every day I see people struggling against the cost-of-living crisis which sees working-class people pay for the greed of the 1%. I myself have had occasions when I have had to choose between two essential items while grocery shopping simply because I cannot afford both. I have seen people having to leave their shopping behind because they can’t afford it. I hear people on the bus and in the street despairing about how they will find the money for item X or bill Y.

This is absolutely disgusting in the sixth-richest country in the world. Of course there is always money to bail out the banks or fund the latest Tory vanity project, but not enough to give NHS staff, who brought us through the pandemic, a much deserved inflation-proof pay rise.

That is why I am standing in Redlands, to show ordinary people that we can fight back and say no to cuts and austerity.