Birmingham Council. Photo: Elliot Brown/CC
Birmingham Council. Photo: Elliot Brown/CC

Katie Simpson, Northampton Socialist Party

Working in a council-funded team, you cannot help but be acutely aware that such funding can be stripped away at a whim. Northampton will soon be losing Pause, a service dedicated to supporting women who have had children taken from them by social services. The initiative lost its bid for council funding despite overwhelmingly positive outcomes and a clear need in the local community.

This tightening of funds comes amid a £5.2 billion budget ‘black hole’ in local councils’ finances, even after £2.5 billion of cuts this year. Once again, adult social care services are being hit hardest due to rising costs both from the cost-of-living crisis and the increase in demand for these services.

£5 billion deficit in local councils’ budgets this year

Labour chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier MP, has expressed alarm, but has presented no call for action against these cruel austerity measures that will leave more people without essential services. This will ultimately cost the government in the long-term with increased hospital visits and 999 call-outs, more criminal damage and fewer people able to access the workplace.

It is vulnerable people and their loved ones paying the price of a crisis caused, once again, by the wealthiest in society. Yet none of the main parties are able to represent ordinary people. Labour are always keen to point out the failings of the Tory Party but never willing to fight. Nowhere have Labour councils refused to implement cuts and campaign for the resources their constituents need.

The Socialist Party is part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition which campaigns against the cuts and has consistently put up candidates in council elections. Working-class socialists, trade unionists and activists, fighting for jobs, homes and services. Because if we don’t who will?

Stop press

As the Socialist goes to press, Birmingham council, facing a £1 billion hole in its budget, has issued a Section 114 notice, meaning they will only fund the statutory minimum services and appeal for money from the central government. See ‘Fight back against budget ‘black holes’’ for an article that appeared in the Socialist about Birmingham council’s financial situation and the fightback needed to solve it.