Croydon protest against council tax rise. Photo: Berkay Kartav
Croydon protest against council tax rise. Photo: Berkay Kartav

Take the wealth off the super-rich

Rae Cox, Oxford Socialist Party

Years of brutal cuts by the Tories and Labour have left their wounds. In Britain, four million people are more than 50% below the poverty line!

As of the last budget, a further £19 billion has been taken from services such as the courts – suffocating from caseloads; transport – coming off the rails; and councils already on the verge of collapse.

One in five council leaders in England think it is very or fairly likely their council will need to issue a Section 114 notice this year or next – unable to fund more than the services they’re legally obliged to, if that!

And who are they trying to make pay for the budget shortfalls? Those already desperate for homes, jobs, and services. 9 out of 10 councils are planning to raise council tax in April, many by the maximum amount allowed without a referendum – 4.99%.

The government sees no issue with £50 billion of ‘defence’ spending while letting a fifth of people languish in poverty. All of this while globally, the top 1% owns as much as the bottom 70%. In Britain, 50 families own as much as the bottom 33.5 million people. (See ‘What can Britain afford?’ on pages 8-9 for more)

But it doesn’t have to be the case, not by a long shot. We only have to look back at the Militant-led Liverpool Council from 1983-87 to see what socialist councils can do, with the support of workers and some backbone. 5,000 new council houses, thousands of jobs created, mass rallies in support numbering up to 50,000 people, and £120 million in today’s money won from the Thatcher government!

Change is possible, we can fight back, but we need socialist councillors who are willing to stand up and fight. Socialist Party members are standing as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, alongside others, armed with a socialist programme to fight the cuts and win the resources working-class people need.