Nottingham Save Our Services meeting. Photo: CHris Tregenza
Nottingham Save Our Services meeting. Photo: CHris Tregenza

Jon Dale and Gary Freeman, Nottinghamshire Trades Union Council, and Nottingham Save Our Services

It was standing room only at Nottingham Save Our Services’ (SOS) first public meeting outside the city centre, in a local community.

Since the Labour-controlled city council announced massive cuts to services, and over 500 full-time equivalent jobs threatened, the SOS campaign has held successful city centre meetings, a march, and protests outside the council.

Now the campaign is developing into the estates. The Meadows area was leafleted door-to-door, with campaign stalls too.

100 attended the meeting, and heard passionate speakers from the local Meadows Action Group, Friends of Meadows Library (FOML), the local bowling club, and the community centre. They could all be closed by the impact of the cuts.

150 children had attended the Christmas party in the library, put on by FOML. A woman said her son only learnt to read at the library, and was now at university.

45 different groups use the community centre, where staff have to run around with buckets, because the roof leaks in heavy rain. The bowling club is run by volunteers.

But all this voluntary effort by local people needs the council to provide buildings and back-up services. These cuts will wreck much that holds the community together.

Anti-cuts councillor

Councillor Shuguftah Quddoos – the only councillor to vote against the council budget – got a great reception when she spoke.

After the cuts were announced, she attended the first meetings to oppose them. Shuguftah has been inspired to hear of the Poplar Labour councillors. 100 years ago, they went to prison to defeat unjust attacks on their community, with the slogan: “Better to break the law than break the poor”. And they won a victory.

Shuguftah said she would do that too if needed. She said how disappointed she had been that no other councillors joined her in voting against the cuts budget. She was immediately suspended from the Labour group.

Some argued in the meeting that there was no alternative but to vote Labour in the coming general election, to make sure the Tories are defeated. But it was clear many in the meeting were not convinced by that, and want to vote for a candidate that will defend their community.

Nottingham Save Our Services will be organising more meetings in local areas, aiming to work with already established groups, and with new groups too, set up to fight the cuts.

Read what we’ve said before at ‘Nottingham marches to oppose cuts’