Brighton TUSC outside hustings we were excluded from
Brighton TUSC outside hustings we were excluded from

Save St Peter’s school

Vote TUSC on 11 January

David Maples, TUSC candidate in South Portslade by-election

The Tory government has cut Brighton and Hove Council funding by over £110 million since 2010. Senior councillors in the local Labour-run administration are now discussing £33 million in further cuts.

But councillors have a choice. They can wring their hands, ration services like adult social care, and implement Tory cuts, or they can stand up for the communities they are elected to  represent.

Where’s the money?

In the South Portslade by-election the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is campaigning for a no-cuts budget. The council should set a budget to meet community needs. Labour leader Keir Starmer should pledge to restore council funding cut by the Tories when he’s elected prime minister.

The council is closing St Peter’s Community School. This sets a precedent. Other schools will close and have classes removed.

The last thing pupils need is to be moved to another primary, and then to secondary. They have already had massive disruption because of the pandemic. If pupil numbers are reducing, there should be smaller class sizes.

Primaries are more than just schools. They are building blocks of local welfare, where the community meets, and families get support when other services fail.

There is a vigorous parent-led campaign against the closure. The parents have ensured a high participation in the council’s consultation.

The parents have pressured the council, lobbying it before Christmas. 250 people were on that protest. They also included social workers on strike, Palestine protesters, and parents opposed to another school closure – St Bartholomew’s.

All the way

The parents are willing to fight all the way. The involvement of the school workers’ trade unions would strengthen the campaign.

The Green Party proposal for an all-party working group to examine primary school provision falls far short of a commitment to keeping all schools open. The proposed closure can still be stopped. Electing a TUSC councillor would shock the establishment parties, and could help force a U-turn to keep the school open.

Last year, Labour and Green councillors voted to close Mile Oak Library. £33 million of cuts will mean more proposals like library and toilet closures.

End the uncertainty. The budget proposals should be published now, rather than after the by-election, so we can oppose them.

During a cost-of-living crisis, council tax has been increased by the maximum permitted. New charges have been introduced and others increased.

Parking in Brighton and Hove is exorbitant. Gas and electric are going up.

This is a wealthy country. But the money is in the wrong hands.

In the last year, the 100 largest companies have paid £79 billion in dividends. In the last two years, the energy companies have made £170 billion in ’excess profits’.

Rather than squeezing residents, the council should use its reserves and borrowing powers to freeze council tax and stop the cuts. The council could then build a mass campaign to get funding from government restored.