Campaigning against council cuts in Nottingham. Photo: Paul Tooley-Okonkwo
Campaigning against council cuts in Nottingham. Photo: Paul Tooley-Okonkwo

No cuts to jobs and services!

After issuing a Section 114 notice, committing to only fund the bare legal minimum of services, Nottingham Labour council has had commissioners sent in to run the council by the Tory government. Socialist Party members in Nottingham, where members play an active role in Nottingham Save Our Services, have campaigned against the cuts, we publish extracts from the leaflet.

The Socialist Party condemns the imposition of unelected commissioners onto the city. We want a democratically run council making decisions to protect services and jobs not cutting them.

The commissioners are there to do the bidding of the Tory government and push through cuts, sell assets and privatise services. 554 full-time-equivalent posts are at risk.

The three commissioners will cost up to £510,000 each year if they ‘work’ the 150 days allocated, just in ‘salaries’ plus expenses. The lead commissioner – Tony McArdle – will be on £1,200 a day!

The secretary of state’s intention is the powers he is providing to the commissioners be used “to ensure the authority takes the necessary steps to achieve the best possible outcome for Nottingham residents and the public purse”. The best outcome is better jobs and services, not cuts.

Nottingham’s overwhelmingly Labour council, with 50 out of 55 councillors, was clearly feeling the pressure from council trade unions, the Nottingham Save Our Services Campaign (supported by the trades council, unions and campaigners) and other campaigns.

Rumours exist of arguments amongst Labour councillors, with a proposal to find more money to stop some closures including libraries and to prevent charges for the Greyhound Street toilets.

But the current council leadership clearly has little intention of protecting all services.

Further protests will take place outside the Council House on the council’s budget day, Monday 4 March and Nottingham Save Our Services is organising a demonstration on Saturday 9 March.

Rather than fight the government for more money, for years the council had a failed commercialisation strategy costing tens of millions of pounds. It has passed on Tory and ConDem cuts – over £300 million since 2010 with more than 1,000 jobs gone.

This Tory government has robbed Nottingham of around £1 billion over the past decade! A needs-based no-cuts budget should be put forward by any of Nottingham’s Labour councillors who really want to fight the cuts, combined with an appeal to other councillors elsewhere in a similar position.

If Labour councillors won’t fight, they should step down so candidates who will can stand.

In the 1980s Liverpool City Council stood up for the residents of the city and fought Thatcher’s Tory Government. In 1984, they won back the equivalent of £120 million in today’s money, in the process creating new employment, building council houses and public amenities and protecting existing jobs and services.