Hundreds of Liverpool Sure Start parents demonstrate against cuts

On Thursday 19 April the parents of Liverpool Sure Start centres came together to demand that the Education Select Committee of Liverpool City Council hear their reaction to the proposed 53% cuts to children centre services.

Parents presented a petition to the committee which boasted over 8,800 signatures, with online signatures pushing the petition count over 10,000.

The demonstration, organised by parents’ groups across the city, was supported by both Unite and Unison, alongside the much appreciated support from Tony Mulhearn, mayoral candidate for Liverpool, representing the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Tony Mulhearn demands that cuts against children’s centres be stopped in his six-point policy programme.

The support received from Tony and TUSC was invaluable, allowing the parents to run their own demonstration whilst having the experience onside to ensure our voices were heard effectively.

The demonstration was a huge success with around 300 people (children as well as adults) turning up to voice their opinions outside Liverpool Town Hall. We had media coverage from the Liverpool Echo and North West Tonight.

As the council meeting began, a successful road block was actioned showing council leader Joe Anderson and the rest of the Labour council that children’s centres are an invaluable resource.

Parents across the city believe that children’s centres should not be facing cuts of more than double the national average, as these centres provide support and education to families facing a wide spectrum of problems.

Be it domestic abuse, post-natal depression, single parent families, behavioural support, nutrition advice, breastfeeding guidance or social interaction for parents and children alike at a time that can be so very isolating, children’s centre staff are highly trained in quickly and adeptly identifying the needs of every family that walks through the doors.

To lose these services would cause a whole array of problems in the future, which would affect multiple agencies including the NHS, education services and social services. Liverpool Sure Start parents believe wholeheartedly that every child matters.

Laura Mannion, Sure Start parent

Tony Mulhearn – the anti-cuts Liverpool mayoral candidate

Tony4Mayor is running a fighting campaign against the pro-cuts parties and Nazi pigeons! The official ‘opposition’ parties on the council, coupled with the ‘Independent’ mayoral candidates, are nowhere to be seen.

National media fixations with the establishment and fringe candidates bear no relation to reality in the city.

The central question is whether to implement the cuts or fight the cuts. From this question, there is no ‘independence’.

Talk on the street is of Tony Mulhearn versus Labour council leader and mayoral candidate Joe Anderson.

Debate among union members is about how to support Tony and TUSC’s anti-cuts alternative. Among those fighting the service cuts ruthlessly retailed by Anderson’s Labour council on behalf of Cameron’s Con-Dems, there is no question – Tony Mulhearn is getting their support.

The far-right on the other hand are visible only in their embarassment after it emerged that the BNP candidate’s only qualification to stand is ownership of a pigeon loft in the Old Swan area!

Tony4Mayor has struck a rich vein of enthusiasm for our anti-cuts and socialist message. We are tapping this for votes on 3rd May.

But we go well beyond this and are already building for beyond polling day, with a stronger anti-cuts movement, TUSC, and Socialist Party.

Hugh Caffrey

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 23 April 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.