A ‘People’s Budget’ to defeat cruel cuts

Naomi Byron, Tower Hamlets Socialist Party

The list of council cuts in Tower Hamlets seems tailor made to hit the worst off and most vulnerable. In one of the youngest boroughs in the country, with overcrowding that even the council admits has gone back to the level of the 1930s, Mayor John Biggs is proposing to cut £200,000 from child and adolescent mental health services.

Even crueler is the ‘saving’ of £41,000 (a drop in the ocean by council budget standards) by scrapping the free laundry incontinence service.

Some cuts, such as scrapping free homecare for the elderly, are political cuts aimed at the previous administration who had managed to keep that, making Tower Hamlets the only council in the country still to offer it.


None of these cuts are necessary. Tower Hamlets Council has a funding shortfall of £31 million this year, and general reserves of £71 million inherited from the previous administration in June 2015.

The Labour council is in an ideal position to use some of these reserves to fight the cuts. But they seem intent instead on doing the dirty work of the Tories.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is arguing for no-cuts budgets to be put forward, using borrowing and reserves, as part of building a mass campaign to defend jobs and services and end local government cuts.

In Tower Hamlets, TUSC and the Tower Hamlets Independent Group of councillors are holding a joint meeting against the cuts, asking local residents, trade unionists and campaigners to help draw up an alternative ‘People’s Budget’ for Tower Hamlets.

Come along, bring friends, neighbours and colleagues and help us build the fight to stop the cuts. The meeting is at 7pm on 14 January at the Alpha Grove Community Centre E14 8LH.

Southampton Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition is also hosting a meeting to create a People’s Budget as Southampton faces over £90 millon of local government cuts. Speakers include Sean Hoyle, RMT national president; Keith Morrell, Southampton Councillors Against Cuts and Sue Atkins, Save Bitterne Walk-In. The Southampton People’s Budget takes place on Saturday 9 January, 2pm in the Meon Suite, James Matthews Building, Guildhall Square, Southampton.